Get A Grip

By Sheryl Nicholson, CSP


Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

I was driving back home after the birth of my grandson,  Jorden.  The birth, the miracle, the blessing and yet he made me aware of a poignant deficit in our lives.  From the minute he was born, that baby wanted to get a grip.  It didn’t matter if it was Mama’s breast or Daddy’s finger; he had to get a grip.  It was a natural instinct to make a human connection.

I thought about how isolated working people have become today.  We don’t have time for ourselves let alone others. I remember 31 years ago when my first child was born and how we would go on picnics with our neighbors.  If I didn’t have pictures of our camping trips I believe I would have sworn we never had time to just take off for days for the woods.  No phone? No computer?  No kidding!

So why is a People Connection so important to maintaining a balanced professional life?

1.  Advancement

With rightsizing and mergers, no job is guaranteed. Gold watches as retirement gifts come from a past era.  You need to be aware of what other opportunities are available to you. HR directors still prefer to hire someone that has been personally recommended over a resume in response to a newspaper advertisement.

According to Training Magazine, put out by the American Society for Training and Development, the college student today will have five different dedicated careers before he/she retires.  Always knowing “what else is out there” is a good skill honed by being connected with others.

In Harvey MacKay’s book, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, he talks about the impact of networking on the advancement of a career.  With his techniques, his own children were able to graduate from college with a database of over 3,000 names.  Think that will come in handy with their job search?  His book also pointed out the difference in the way men and women network. I certainly have changed some of the things I do based on his techniques.  So pick up that book this week and enjoy while learning!

2.  Risk-taking Confidence

Your confidence is higher when you walk the risk-taking tightrope with a “people net” below you.  Not all of us are lucky enough to be married to the same type of personality pattern we bear.  Opposites attract, fun to date, but challenging when married. Some marriage counselors agree that it’s impossible to expect to get ALL your needs met by one person (your spouse). Develop that support net legitimately, outside your marriage through associations, church groups, and civic clubs.


3.  Knowledge and Diversity

There are definite advantages to getting a grip with people who are NOT like you.  Since I’ve had the opportunity to live abroad and speak a foreign language, I believe Americans must work harder to become tolerant of diversity.  When I travel several thousand miles in Europe, I hear different languages, taste different foods, see different clothes, and customs.  Here, that same number of miles brings identical malls, franchised foods, and maybe a little accent in our common language.

Peak performers stretch their minds by getting a grip with as many people as they can.  They strategically grasp the hands of others that can shorten their learning curve.  Remember we are moving from the technology age to the information age and you can’t expect to know it all.  You can balance your life by relying on the knowledge of others.

Your success in life will depend upon how well you recognize, understand, and connect the differences in your people puzzle.


About Sheryl Nicholson, CSP:  CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker and Author and rated in the top 8% in the profession.  She has been doing training since the 1980s and also has a private coaching business. She is known as a People Productivity Expert focusing on skill development in sales, leadership, time management, goals, communication, and life balance. Her articles are published everywhere. For more information view or call 727.729.4937.

SOAR In Your Zone

By Sheryl Nicholson, CSP


Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Good Morning Sleepy Head!  No?  You’ve been up before dawn, had your coffee and already got 3 hours into your day?  Good for you!  For the rest of us…we too need to find our “zone”.

All of us have zones of energy, creativity, sleepiness.  Does it make sense to work creatively in your sleepiness zone?  Of course not…yet we will schedule appointments and take on projects when we are disconnected from our own energy.  So take a week and make a note in your calendar of the times you feel E for energized, S for sleepy and C for creativity.  Then schedule your appointments around your own zone.

When you’re working in your zone, you never look at a clock for the time…it just flies by.  Personally, my creativity often comes while driving.  To get the most out of that time, I bought a tiny MP3 recorder that allows me to store 14 folders with over 8 hours of creative thoughts.  It’s so much better than the old tape recorder that you had to fast forward and rewind to find what you were looking for.  And this MP3 player allows me to download that file onto my computer and then convert that to text.  Wow!

I’ve also found that when I’m in the mood to write…that’s what I do.  I don’t stop to take phone calls or check my email.  I write while it flows and when the tap is dry…I move on to other things.

I’m NOT a morning person so why would I schedule important business meetings around breakfast?  I wouldn’t.  There are always exceptions.  If the client IS a morning person and requires that time of meeting to be in his or her zone, then I comply.  But I know my energy will be off so I make sure I mentally prepare before that meeting and I follow up with an energized phone call later when I’m in MY zone.

I have a friend who works best in the middle of the night.  She has small children and takes care of them in the day time.  She cooks dinner and “switch hits” with hubby allowing him to play and bathe the kids and tuck them in.  This allows her to get into her zone and work.  After the kids are down for the night and she tucks her hubby in, she gets up and works until 3 in the morning.  It works for HER.  She thrives on that schedule.  It wouldn’t probably be out of anyone else’s zone.  But who cares?  Where in the rulebook of life does it say you have to work 8-5?  It doesn’t.

So find your zone and soar within it!


About Sheryl Nicholson, CSP:  CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker and Author.  She has been doing training since the 1980s and also has a private coaching business.  She is known as a People Productivity Expert focusing on skill development in sales, leadership, time management, goals, communication, and life balance.  As a private coach she focuses on Successful Presentation Strategies.

Turbulent Times Makes New Talented People

By Sheryl Nicholson, CSP


Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

As a Professional Speaker, when I first step on the stage, I’m seeing a lot of “deer in headlights” looks from my audience attendees.  There’s a lot of stress out there.  Everyone’s worried about lost incomes, and/or lost retirement funds.  Then there’s the question of who’s going to pick up the kids, pay for the doctor bills, help with elderly parents and still find time to take an evening class to further your own career?

Stop…take a breath.  Here are 3 tips to get refocused.

1.  List the things you know how to do TODAY that you didn’t know how to do just 2

short years ago.

What counts?  EVERYTHING!  It shows growth.  So a new recipe, rollerblading, taking a computer course, learning about finances yourself, becoming an involved parent, surfing, needlepoint…everything counts!

Life is full of choices each and everyday.  Some days we are forced to make a choice by circumstances beyond our control.  But if we rise to the occasion and can learn from that experience (even if it was a bad experience) then there is GROWTH!  And growth is advancement!

2.  Write down your Worst Case Scenario.

Then create a plan in the event that your worst-case scenario did happen.  You don’t have to put the plan into action…the goal is to feel prepared and then release that fear because you ARE prepared.

Statistically, there’s been a lot of research around worry.  Over 90% of the time our “worst-case scenario” doesn’t happen.  And yet look how much time we’ve wasted worrying about the “what ifs” in life.

3.  Find and Be a Cheerleader.

Who in your life or on your campus begins the day with a whistle or a song?  Find that person and learn from their joyous attitude.  People don’t want to be around tired and negative people and it’s pretty impossible to sing or whistle when you’re tired or negative.  That’s why kids are loved — it’s their joy of life.

And when you’re having a good day, find someone who needs your positive energy.  The ebb and tide of life will guarantee that there will be times when you will be upbeat and times you will be quiet and thought-filled.  When you can’t get an enthusiastic beat going, remember we are often cheerleaders of everyone else in our lives, make time to be your own!


About Sheryl Nicholson, CSP:  CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker and Author.  She has been doing training since the 1980s and also has a private coaching business.  She is known as a People Productivity Expert focusing on skill development in sales, leadership, time management, goals, communication, and life balance.  As a private coach she focuses on Successful Presentation Strategies.


The IDDMs of Procrastination

By Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

I know, I know…I should start an exercise program, I should fix that hole in the screen, I should take the car in for an oil change.  Am I the only one that procrastinates?  I don’t think so.  It’s a topic that comes up often in my seminars.  With some research and discussions with psychologists I was actually able to develop an easy formula to explain why we procrastinate and then tips to stop.  Great right.

So I call these my items of procrastination and we’ll use an acronym of IDDM.  Ready?

I = It’s gotta be perfect.  People often come and tell me they’re going to write a book.  When I ask how far they’ve gotten, they look like deer in headlights.  They haven’t even started…because they’re waiting for everything to be perfect.  If you are an avid reader, like myself, then you know — there isn’t a perfect book out there.  Every book I read has misspelled words, or a page number missing, a page printed upside down, etc.

Solution:  So what’s the cure?  That old saying…”Doing something is better than doing nothing at all.”  Get out of that paralysis and take a baby step.  You’ll find you can take another and another!

D = Don’t tell me!  Isn’t it interesting that some people can ask you to do something and it sounds like a request — while out of the mouth of someone else — we hear it as a command!  I’ve found people don’t like to be told what to do from 2 to 62.  How do you change a command to a request?  Change your ears…and words.  That is what I love about the power of language.  Here I’ll show you.  Fill in the blank I should ______.   Now say it three times…feeling guilty?  Feeling obligated?

Solution:  Now change the word “should” to “choose” and read the sentence three times.  Feel more empowered?  So that’s the solution.  When you procrastinate on something because you feel you heard it as a command, simply change the word and make it your choice.

D = Dessert first!  I often procrastinate of things because they’re no fun.  I like dessert not liver!  And returning phone calls to me runs in the “liver” category!  I understand fully why I don’t like it…being a time management expert — I know that if I call you and you’re working on something and I interrupt — it will take you 22 minutes to refocus at that level after my call.  Emailing is my preferred form of communicating because you pick it up at your convenience.  But I found I was getting a bad reputation for NOT returning phone calls and they began adding up.

Solution:  Do the thing you’re procrastinating on in bite size pieces then reward yourself.  So now I take 10 phone calls and return them…it only takes a few minutes — because all I get is voicemail.  I’ve put the ball back in their court and then I go give myself a treat…it may be a cup of coffe, a walk around the office, a short dance to my favorite music…but it is OFF my list.  Yeah!

M = Maybe it’ll go away.  No it won’t!  That thing you’re procrastinating on is like a big fat ugly toad sitting on your desk.  You work around it all day, hoping if you ignore it, someone else will pick it up and deal with it…whty won’t!  And you’re getting a reputation for being an ostrich…burying your head and ignoring the situation.  That ugly toad will be sitting on your desk and on your things to do list tomorrow.  So how do you handle this type of procrastination?

Solution:  Eat a toad first thing every morning!  You know the rest of the day is gonna be better after that!  That’s right — the thing you don’t want to do — just DO it!  You will feel accomplished and energized the rest of the day.  Promise!

©2008 Sheryl Nicholson

About Sheryl Nicholson, CSP:   CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker, Trainer and Author, and rated in the top 6% in the profession.  She is considered a people productivity expert and her articles are published everywhere.  For more information view or call 727-729-4937.

What Doesn’t Show Up On A Resume That Will Get You the Job

By CSP Sheryl Nicholson

January 2009

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Congratulations you’re now on the adventure of your life.  And today you have so many more choices than your grandparents could have ever dreamed of.  Know that according to research statistics, you will hold 5 different careers in your lifetime…so this job you’re now looking for will probably be your first stepping stone.  And it’s important that you step not lightly, but solidly!

You’ve taken a class on getting past the interview.  You’ve bought your new suit to look the part, maybe even decided on a new hairstyle and made a professional opinion about wearing glasses or contacts.  You’ve invested both money and time in your education and believe you have a great chance with such a well-prepared resume.

Today’s employer is learning how to read between the lines and with a personal interview now’s your chance to leap from the paper and show them that you’re the best candidate for their job.

As a People Productivity Expert ™ I’ve asked several employers why they will take college graduates over non-college graduates and they stated simply “It proves they can finish something they start.”  I then asked what two things that don’t show up on a resume will get someone hired and move them up the corporate ladder. Want to know the answer most often given?

     1.   Risk Taking Skills

It’s not your daddy’s job anymore.  In your daddy’s days, you could show your credentials and get the job you were “most qualified for” and then work there to build stability and retirement…for years!  The workplace has changed significantly now.  Everything in the workplace is changing: software, equipment, employees, job descriptions, mission statements, product…and so employers are looking for people who are risk takers and can adapt to change quickly.

A proven risk taker is adventuresome – but not someone who takes a flying leap and then looks back to see if he/she prepared a parachute.  Risktakers are constant learners.  They are fascinated with life and the opportunities it offers.  Risktakers tend to be positive attitude thinkers. Risktakers tend to be leaders and are often looked up to by their team members.

Companies want people who are comfortable with analyzing and preparing for risk and who show leadership skills to get others on board.  So what have you done throughout your life to show your risk taking skills?

Give Examples – Maybe you lived and studied abroad.  Maybe you take “unusual studies” outside your field of expertise so that you’re testing yourself for growth in other areas.  Maybe you took a risk by being a leader for a new fund raising project and built a team for success.  Have you invented something?  Have you done research on a particular area that could show promise to change things? Maybe you took a risk and along the way mentored someone to be a risktaker in their life that has given them higher confidence and success.

Risktaking examples should be on the tip of your tongue and if you aren’t asked about that talent – make sure you add it into your interview.  How do you do that?  You could simply state:  “Are risktaking skills valued in your organization?  I’d like you to know that it’s a quality I possess.  I enjoy helping an organization advance while being flexible in the process.”

2.  Presentation Skills

Can you speak with confidence to audiences of 2 or 200?  It’s often quoted that the fear of public speaking is listed above the fear of dying in the Book of Fears.  So when you tackle that fear, you get recognition and respect from all. Taking a public speaking class in college is a start but it’s only the beginning.  Have you taken a Dale Carnegie class and are you involved in your local Toastmaster meetings to further your talent?

When an employer knows you possess that envied skill – you get the opportunity to demonstrate your talent at employee meetings, conferences, and even to vendors.

It’s all about knowledge of material, speaking with confidence, and being authentic (leave the ego behind).

Again think of past examples you can offer in your interview.  Did you lead a debate class?  Are you a spokesperson for a non-profit organization that you helped? Do you lead a Bible study?  Have you been on stage as an actor in a play?  Do you do karaoke (sober) in front of a crowd?  Have you volunteered in the political arena campaigning for a candidate?  Did you make sales presentations while you were working your way through school?  All that counts!

The worst thing you can do is alert your interviewer that you do not possess these two talents.  If asked – make sure you respond positively with a committed answer like “I’m actually looking for ways to improve that skill.  What books, or groups would you recommend I read or join to get more knowledgeable?”   Then follow-up on that information.  Send a thank you letter reminding them that you’re taking action on the tips they gave you.

I have a saying “if you are unique you have no competition”. So what are you doing uniquely different to help that interviewer remember you from the dozens or hundreds they have been interviewing?  No I don’t mean calling everyday or becoming a stalker.  Yes, always send a thank you for their time and interest with a note that you’re looking forward to being a part of their team.  Then send an unusual postcard once in a while to stay in touch.  Keep an eye on what that organization is doing and let them know it by sending a congratulatory email or basket. Did you know you can get a Google account that will send you press releases about the organization?  This can be a valuable tool with up-to-the minute information that will benefit you in staying current with what’s going on with that industry.

You have the look, you’ve got the tools, and now you have some “insider information” about two skills you can boast you own that can give you that edge when interviewing and just may be the connection to get you that job.  Remember success is always in your hands!


About Sheryl Nicholson – CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker and Author.  She has been doing training since the 1980’s and also has a private coaching business.   She is known as a People Productivity Expert™ focusing on skill development in sales, leadership, time management, goals, communication, and life balance.  As a private coach she focuses on Successful Presentation Strategies,  For more information go to