Keep calm and color on

What is the most powerful, impactful trend right now?   Coloring! What? .... isn't coloring something you did when you were a kid?  Well, perhaps you did.  Now you have permission to do it as an adult because it is great for you!

The next time you are planning an important corporate event, team meeting, or training session consider adding color to your tools of engagement.  You may realize many benefits:
  • To ward off distractions
  • As an approach to problem solving
  • To improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages, all levels within the organization 
  • Artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems
  • Develop and improve interpersonal skills
  • Manage behavior,
  • Reduce stress,
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Build self-awareness
  • Achieve insight

Coloring and art have been around for ages.     Today,  use it as a powerful stress buster.  Assembled are helpful meanings to get started:


Mandalas are sacred circles that have been long been used to facilitate meditation in the Indian and Tibetan religions.   They are created and looked at to center the body and mind.  Mandelas are variations or symbols of circles often found in halos, prayer wheels, religions, architecture and nature.    Now, they are used as a healing tool and a form of meditation which suggest they can boost the immune system, reduce stress, combat depression, reduce pain, lower blood pressure and  stimulate the release of melatonin, a hormone believed to slow cell aging and promote sleep.


The word "tattoo" was brought to Europe by explorer James Cook when he returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand.   (In his narrative of the voyage, he referred to "tattaw". )

Popularity has steadily risen where artists, executives, and mainstream every day people swarm to "tattoo shops", "tattoo studios", or "tattoo parlors" to undergo their own personalized stamp of creativity.  Today, tattoo enthusiasts refer to tattoos as:
  • ink
  • skin art
  • tattoo art
  • tats

Coloring books:

Paint books and coloring books emerged in the United States as part of the "democratization of art" process.  The McLoughlin Brothers are credited as the inventors of the coloring book with The Little Folks' Painting Book.  

Another pioneer in the genre was Richard Outcault who authored  Buster's Paint Book in 1907.   It launched a trend to use coloring books to advertise a wide variety of products, including coffee and pianos. Until the 1930s, books were designed with the intent for them to be painted instead of colored.  Coloring books are widely used in schooling for young children because they tend to be more interested in coloring than other learning methods.  Pictures are also more memorable than simply words.

Educators conclude that all, regardless of background, students benefit from art as a means of enhancing their conceptual understanding of the tangible, developing their cognitive abilities, improving skills, finding a profession, as well as for spiritual edification.

Color therapy:

Colour as a holistic therapy dates back thousands of years.  Color gains energy from light and why it is used as Color Therapy.  It can have a major healing impact on us as humans.

Colour Therapy is a complementary therapy for which there is evidence dating back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and India. Colour is simply light of varying wavelengths, thus each colour has its own particular wavelength and energy.  It can have a major healing impact on us as humans. 

Art Therapy:

Alternatively,  art therapy is a relatively young therapeutic discipline.  It began in the use of the arts in the moral treatment of psychiatric patients in the late 18th century.  It arose out of  a non-conformist religious tradition,  arising in English-speaking and European countries. The early art therapists who published accounts of their work acknowledged the influence of aesthetics, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, rehabilitation, early childhood education, and art education, to varying degrees, on their practices.  A British artist named Adrian Hill came up with the name  art therapy in 1942 while he was recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium.  Hill caught on to the therapeutic benefits of drawing and painting while convalescing.  He wrote that the value of art therapy lay in "completely engrossing the mind (as well as the fingers)…releasing the creative energy of the frequently inhibited patient", which enabled the patient to "build up a strong defense against his misfortunes". He suggested artistic work to his fellow patients. That began his art therapy work, which he authored a book "Art versus illness." in 1945.

Another key figure, artist Edward Adamson, became the "father of art therapy in Britain" after he was demobilised after World War II.  He helped Hill extend work in long stay mental hospitals.  Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer are credited for being art therapy pioneers in the United States.  

Best Sellers:

Currently, the top sellers on are the featured adult coloring books:

Our lives become busier with each passing day and as technology escalates so do our access to work, obligations and stress. Coloring allows adults a way to slow down, feel calm and use meditative coloring for relaxation.

Unleash your creative spirit with this sophisticated anti-stress colouring, doodling and drawing book. The flowing lines, sweeping swirls and highly-detailed patterns on every illustration have been created so that anyone and everyone can enjoy making something beautiful and calming. Increasing focus through creativity can benefit those who find it difficult to unwind or struggle to find their inner artist when faced with a blank page. There are no instructions, no rights or wrongs, and no need for expensive art supplies - readers can simply doodle and colour in any way they wish to create unique and exquisite pieces.

Art therapy provide healing and growth experiences, and stimulate creativity.  Creating art images is a safe and natural way of communicating feelings and experiences.  People are able to see themselves more clearly, gain different perspectives, and unblock feelings and issues that may otherwise be difficult to bring to the conscious.  We have an energy language in our body that informs us both literally and symbolically.  Immune system neuropeptides transform thoughts into matter, storing emotions and memories in body tissues.  These stored negative experiences, relationship issues and belief systems generate negative energy that affects our health.  The rational and censoring left brain can keep us from this information.  Through meditative aspects inherent in the art therapy process, we tap into the right brain, connecting to symbols, images and perceptions that speak to us from the unconscious. These images may both surprise and inform us.  The act of externalizing images releases repressed memories, stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system to calm us, and the images become our teacher.  By connecting our conscious with our unconscious we gain a more congruent sense of self, improving mind, body and spirit.

Color on

Try it and see if it improves your mood, helps you concentrate, reduces pain, or eliminates stress.  How about improve the morale and retention at your next corporate event?   I've assembled a "Color me Doodle" board on Pinterest along with some of my favorites here for you to help yourself to. 

Call, calling and calling again

"You just can't beat the person who never gives up."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ~Babe Ruth

Many sales professionals probably wonder if they're being annoying or why they're not getting a call returned. They go so far as dreaming up tricks and innovative attention getting antics that fall flat.  So how much is too much?

I don't think there is a clear cut answer, yet I know statistically, 85% of all sales reps give up after the first call ... yet most opportunity happens after the 5th call!

I've often had to internalize my approach and ask myself what I am doing and if I were sitting on the other side of your voicemail, email or written letter, what would prompt me to respond.  I know that if it isn't working, I need change it up and try some new approaches:
  1. Understand the value you and your organization will bring -- how you can you solve problems, eliminate headaches, increase revenue, improve profits?
  2. Provide proof:  A tempting nugget on how you do what you claim?  Who else have you done it for?
  3. Be explicit about why you are calling or why they should call you back 
  4. The higher you call, the more compelling their reason to call you back should be
  5. Script Option: I appreciate how busy you are ... I will call back at such a such time (the earlier the morning the better) 
  6. Script Option: If I am calling you and you are not the appropriate person I should be speaking to, I would appreciate if (i.e. your assistant) or you get back to me with the appropriate person's name (I've done this, and then it looks like you've been referred top-down)
  7. ALWAYS have a reason for your call and a reason WHY they should talk to you
  8. Research: The best time to call a prospect is between 8:30-10:30 a.m. yet most people believe it is just after lunch (which is the worst time)
  9. Research: The best day of the week to call someone is a Thursday
  10. If I were to leave you a message saying I'm calling about life insurance (no, I don't sell that .... but who doesn't get a lot of those calls?) ... you'd automaticly delete me ............. but if I were to call you to say I have important ideas on succession planning that have proven successful with other executives like you (specific name dropping is always better) ... would you take that call instead?
If you examine your "pitch" you have to be honest with yourself.  Are you saying the exact same thing as anyone else creating noise in your prospect's mind:  I'm better, provide quality, solve the ultimate problems, save money, have deals, better act now, etc. etc. etc.
You have to develop strong relationships with key decision makers.  If you do, they will want to help you succeed because you've helped them in some way. Go ahead and ask them how many calls they get and which ones they answer and why?

Many times you will discover that they get a ton of calls/e-mails a day so they all start to sound the same. Yet disciplined decision makers also realize that they can gain the best information from their trusted circle or go to people who will help them solve a problem. They hardly want to pass up an opportunity to learn ways to save money, save time, ease pressure, solve problems. If you can "hit" that note in your voicemail or message, you may be more likely to connect.

Here are some ideas to give you incentive to keep plugging: 
  1. Remember, they're busy. Yes, many are intentionally ignoring you. Many more are simply too busy to answer every call/e-mail they get.
  2. Remember the executive assistant.  They often are an extension and typically know what hot buttons their boss may react to.  They DO have the power to slam the door, open it up, inform you who may be better suited to address your offer, and schedule appointments.
  3. Keep in mind, that many decision makers become cynical after dealing with sales people who over promise and under deliver
  4. Try sending a introductory letter so that you can carefully lay out what it is you are offering, how you've helped others, and when you will call to set up an appointment to share your ideas in depth.  Who gets real mail these days that aren't glossy and scream junk mail anymore?
  5. Be persistent but classy:  they're counting on you to give up after the first or second call
Go beyond standard information gathering and persevere by asking more meaty questions:
  1. Can this person I converse with sign a cheque or contract?
  2. If not, then who is the decision maker for your services?
  3. Who can influence the decision maker on your behalf?
  4. Who are the end users?
  5. Are their any holes that you can fill that can give you a toe in the door?
  6. What outside factors influence that decision -- a current contract, established partner, relative who is a vendor or service provider?
  7. What is greasing the wheels of commerce -- sports or concert tickets? Wining and dining?  Promotional products?
  8. Do they have a purchasing policy or process that you must follow?
  9. Are their specific channels that you should go through?
Most professionals who enter the field of sales tend to be more uncomfortable calling on an executive than they are an administrative person.  Many try to snow their managers and executives that have a conversation with just about anyone is a contact.  The truly successful sales professionals know most of this information and more:
  1. Who their customers are -- what challenges are they facing to serve their own customers?
  2. What is impacting their industry -- government regulations, ongoing changes, outside influences?
  3. The history of their purchasing decisions:  who, why and what criteria did they use to establish a relationship with a vendor?
  4. What knowledge do they need at the table:  being technical is not always the key, asking great questions often leads to better opportunities.
If you are faced with driving revenue into your organization, it means that you are in the sales game.  Take pride in understanding what drives customers to your doorstep and what you can do to ensure they stay.  Everyone has a part and a place -- it starts with recognizing that it takes a lot less time and resources to keep a customer happy than it does to find a new one.
"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."                                                                          ~ John D. Rockefeller

Focus on the good ... not the bad

"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results."
~Willie Nelson 

It is far easier to write about one's personal experiences than based on others. We all face situations that tick us off, perplex, astound, shock, disgust us.  However, we all need to dig deeper to look for the positives we encounter.

I was flying in a particular Canadian airline this past week, whom I was disappointed in their service last year.  Unfortunately, I did use my social media skills to bring it to their attention.  And, attend to it they did.  It reminded me of one of the greatest advice ever received in my career:  "people don't always judge you on the mistakes you make,  but they will judge you based upon how you fix them."  How true that is!

Seriously, though.  You would think that most brands have a look out peeled towards negative social media posts.  They react so quickly.   Some call it damage control.  However, disappointing as it sounds, if you pay them a compliment, you will hardly, if ever, be acknowledged.  For example, I did tweet what a marvelous experience I had, without a peep.... What does that say about the force of social media?  Shouldn't it be a force to be reckoned with in its ability to spread good news?  Why not simply focus on what is good?

Scan through the feed on Twitter or trending topics and it will likely be about scandal, shock, sadness.  Heck, I thought I strayed away from media for that very reason.  I used to think that if I wanted to be disappointed, shocked, saddened, all I had to do was turn on the news or pull out a newspaper.  It all amounts to the biggest scoop or the loudest headline rather than anyone or anything helping others.  

It doesn't say much about us as a humanity that we swoop in and glue ourselves to stories about those fallen from grace, accidents, horror, beautiful babes, controversy, terror and beyond .... first.    Then there are the broadcasts cloaked as wisdom that scream "pick me, click me".  We are all guilty of being rubber-neckers: slowing down to view the scene of others' accidents, blunders, misery, mayhem, catastrophe, power plays.

There is a lot to be celebrated about in our world:  births, bravery, beauty, cuteness, poetry, wisdom, knowledge,   We do celebrate our sports teams, heroes, events, cities, countries, or communities.  Sadly, in much lower dosage.  

I do try, as many of us do, to be someone associated with positive vibes, celebratory congratulation, admiring wisdom, bravery, courage, and the little guys and gals who make a difference in our world.  I adore the discovery of someone or some company who is doing some thing that is making a difference in making our world a better place.

Certainly, I would love to have earned the fame and wealth of Oprah who for the most part does incredible things for young girls and education.  Or, be the world's wealthiest billionaire, Bill Gates, who will always remain the found of Microsoft and not of the philanthropy those riches have empowered him and his wife to bestow to make the world a better place. 

"If you don't get out of the box you've been raised in, you won't understand how much bigger the world is." 

                                                                           ~Angelina Jollie Pitt

What about Angelina Jollie Pitt, wouldn't it be easier to label her as a femme fatale or marriage wrecker than to acknowledge her as an accomplished actress first, married to Brad Pitt second?  You will find further down the line a humanitarian (and in my opinion, should be at the forefront) an even greater example for women's health: putting health before beauty or what society expects.

I believe it within each of us to encourage one another, champion causes that are for the good and shun anything negative.  We have the ability to stop ourselves from pulling the thread to prevent unraveling.  We can control what we seek, promote, share and pronounce on social media.  

"Things don't have to change the world to be important."

~Steve Jobs