April 2010


On Friday, Michael Bivins shared with us on Views From the Top that he was supporting a worthy cause. March for Babies is a wonderful cause and they are marching on April 25th. So please take a moment out to make a donation to the March for Babies. See Mike’s message below:

We are proud parents of our daughter who has been chosen as a poster child for the march of dimes march for babies fundraiser campaign. I made a pledge to raise money for this cause and walk. I’m asking each of you to make a donation to this campaign at www.marchforbabies.org/sportyrich. If $1 is all you can donate we will reach our goal.

Thank you all lets start the walk!

Mike Biv

If you missed the show on Friday, please take a moment to check it out. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop/2010/04/09/the-man-show or catch it on iTunes.

People are good at making goals, New Year’s resolutions, dream lists and plans. But there’s a fundamental problem with them. They leave room for interpretation, revision and even delay. Where’s the accountability? So I gave it some thought, and I’ve decided never to make “goals” again. OK don’t be alarmed. I know I’ve told you in the past that goal setting is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success. But I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do that any more.

You see, people set out to achieve their goals and genuinely have good intentions. But often life, work, circumstances, family, health, and a host of other things often get in the way. Goals are flexible in people’s minds and we’re often inclined to postpone them or disregard them altogether. We’ll say “well I couldn’t do that today, so I’ll get to it tomorrow”. Or “my money is short this week, let me put this training/course/coaching/conference off until next month, or maybe next year when I’m ready”. The intentions are there, but some times the execution and implementation are off. And we rationalize why we couldn’t meet the goal to try to excuse ourselves or make us feel better when we don’t meet them.

Here’s what I propose. Instead of making goals or resolutions, we should make promises. Yes, make a series of promises to yourself. You see when we make promises, we are held accountable. When you make a promise to your child, you move heaven and earth to make it happen so he or she isn’t disappointed in you. When you promise to get a task done on time at work, you do what needs to be done to get the job done so your boss isn’t disappointed in you. So why not make promises to yourself? Think about it. Some of the mot successful people are successful because of the promises they make to themselves. “I promise I will never be poor again”. “I promise myself I will move up within my company”. “I promise I will start my own business”. Making a promise to yourself is much more effective than setting a goal. Goals are fine, but promise yourself success. There’s something psychological about a promise. It means you WILL get something done. There is no postponing or forgetting. You will make it happen by any means necessary. Think about how you feel when others make promises to you that they don’t keep. It isn’t so nice. Well can you live with breaking a promise to yourself?

The next time you sit down to write your goals, rephrase them into a series of promises you make to yourself to guarantee your professional success. And to give them extra added incentive, assign time lines to those promises, then fulfill those promises to yourself as if you were your child, boss, spouse, parent, etc. What “promises” have you committed to make to yourself? Please share!

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

Well, I don’t mean like that. It’s a contest! For 5 lucky folks in the Metro Atlanta area, I’m giving away five 2-hour gift cards to ROAM.

If you feel you deserve one of these cards, post your comment here letting me know why you need to “get a room”. I will choose 5 lucky winners. The gift cards are valid for 2 free hours (and they’ll even throw in coffee service!). You must present the card to redeem. Not transferable or redeemable for cash. This contest will ONLY last until Monday, April 12 at noon (or until I have the five winners, whichever comes first).

In case you haven’t heard of them, Roam is the coolest place in Atlanta to go when you’re tired of conducting business in the local coffee shop. They offer small, medium and large meeting rooms to fit any need. They even have a cafe, a common area and free Wi-Fi. It’s the ultimate shared work space community where people “work, connect and grow”. So if you need to escape the home office or are tired of coming home smelling like coffee, try Roam. They are located in Alpharetta off Windward Parkway and North Point Parkway. Locations coming soon to Buckhead and Midtown!

If you have Comcast, be on the look out for their new commercial (I’m in it!).

Don’t forget to tell them Adrienne sent you. For more information about Roam, visit their website at http://www.roamatlanta.com.

Hi all.

After I sent my newsletter out this week, I received lots of email about the article I wrote for the newsletter. Everyone thanked me for touching on the things people often don’t say when speaking about networking etiquette. So I thought I’d share it here. Enjoy!

4 Surefire Ways to Damage Your Networking Relationships (and What You Can Do to Save Them)


Now you know I’m all about positivity. I don’t allow any negativity in my sphere. But every now and again, people will do things that make me have to address it. I have said on many occasions that networking is a team sport. While I want everyone to be themselves and “keep it real”, there is a time and a place for everything. And for somethings, there is NO time and place. Below are the top four networking pet peeves of mine. I share them not to complain, but to educate. Please stop and think about each of these and determine if you fit the mold. If you do, STOP IT immediately.

  1. Whining and using the guilt card. I’m not going to get into the details but suffice it to say this was used on me recently. The quickest way to lose a connection with someone is to play the guilt card under the pretense of clearing your heart. Instead of going down that slippery road, if there was an incident that bothered or worried you, reach out to that person via phone or face to face (not email) and express your concerns. It may be just a simple error, or they may genuinely not know that they’ve hurt or slighted you. Life is too short to hold grudges. We’re all adults and should act accordingly. So next time you feel slighted, reach out to the person via phone or face to face to get clarity. You’ll be surprised how much time, aggravation and relationships you end up saving.

  2. Asking for favors when you’ve never engaged with the person. This one really gets me. You connect with someone and a few months or years go by and you don’t hear from them. They don’t reach out to you, you don’t reach out to them. Then one day out the blue, this person reaches out to you and asks for your help. What the…. Listen, just because you’re connected on a social networking site or perhaps were introduced at an event and exchanged cards, unless you’ve cultivated that relationship in some way, you are never ever entitled to ask for favors. You can solve this by taking the time to connect with people. You don’t have to send weekly email or call every day. But every quarter, make it a point to reach out. Send a news article that made you think of them. Send them an update to let them know how you’re doing and ask for an update in return. Recommend a book or event to them. Just keep the lines of communication going. That way when you do need a favor, they will know who you are and might be willing to help you out.

  3. Giving out contact information without clearing it first. Yes, people do that. Just because you have a networking relationship with someone doesn’t mean you have the type of relationship where you can arbitrarily give out contact information. They may want people to reach out in a certain way (ie: phone, email, etc). Or they may prefer to screen the type of people they will connect with. Unless you have a personal relationship that goes beyond networking, and you know what their preferences are, don’t blindly give out contact information without asking first. Always ask first. Also you can ask them in advance how they prefer introductions. You’ll go a long way in preserving your relationships.

  4. Ignoring the very people you’re supposed to be connecting with. LOL, Yes,people do that too! Listen, you already know how I feel about connecting on social networks for the sake of high numbers. If you’re serious about networking with people and building relationships, please make the effort. If you’re invited to coffee, accept the invitation or come up with an alternate date and time. Don’t just blow them off. You NEVER know what blessings and opportunities you might be missing by blowing them off. They may be the key to or know someone who is the key to the very thing that you need. Don’t just rely on them reaching out to you. I don’t care how busy you are, reach out every so often.

Networking and relationship building is a mutual responsibility. Make sure you’re not doing anything to damage your relationships.

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

Remember when you were kids. Everyone had dreams about being a doctor or lawyer or firefighter or circus performer (WHAT!?). You get what I’m saying. When we’re young we were idealistic and the sky is the limit. We’re told to dream big and aim high. Then we go to school, graduate, and we’re thrown into the work world. Unless we’re in a highly skilled profession such as doctor, lawyer or accountant, we end up taking some entry level or management training job “for now”.

That’s fine by most standards, but what if your heart is somewhere else? There are so many people who settle for jobs for the sake of getting a stable paycheck. The problem with that is they then become trained to work for a paycheck. Huh? I know, I can hear you saying “huh?” in your head. Again, there’s nothing wring with that for the average person who is only concerned with just getting good benefits and a paycheck. But if you have a dream in your heart, I for one say you should follow it.

How many times have you said “I’ll just stay in this job for 2, 3, 5 years then I’ll look for something else”. Ten years later you’re still doing what you hate just to get a paycheck and benefits. Let me ask you some questions. What did you go to school for? Why didn’t you pursue your dream job? Did someone tell you “no, you can’t do that”? Well let me tell you. I’ve never been the corporate type or one that does well working for other people. I was a half Black half Puerto Rican girl who grew up in the projects where it was expected that we went to school, but it was also expected that we got a comfortable job with benefits. In fact, when I was younger I always dreamed that I would run my own business. But my parents were not interested in hearing any of it. I got my first job at 17 at a department store. I loved fashion but was told I could never make a real living in that. I moved on to banking to follow my Mom. Hated it! Left that to go to work as an Admin in a recruiting firm. Within six months I was upgraded to Recruiter. From there I opened my first business.

For the longest time, even though I had a successful business, it wasn’t my passion. I remember years ago I wrote in a journal how I wanted to have a magazine. I was told how I needed tons of money and that the market was super competitive. I said after that I would love to have my own cable channel. I was told I didn’t have the resources, money or connections to do that. So I stuck with recruiting even though I wasn’t happy. Last year when I turned 40 I stepped back and and evaluated my life. Yes I made great money recruiting. Yes I had a fabulous business. But something was missing. I wasn’t doing what I wanted. I thought back to what I wanted over the years and my mind kept coming back to TV channel and magazine. Again, I got the same comments about money and resources. But this time something was different. Social Media had leveled the playing field and I had a kick as network of people in my corner. So I went for it (not in the traditional sense but I still went for it).

Why did I share that? Because I wanted to show you that even I have had times where I went against my heart to do what I had to do to bring in income. But why should you continue doing that? Why should any of us? Don’t let this economy bring you down or keep you from exploring what your passions are. You may want to try a new industry, job title, company, or even leave corporate altogether for entrepreneurship. Don’t let other people keep you from exploring your dreams. I always say that people who try to talk you out of something you love do it because they themselves are either afraid that they can’t do the same or they’re angry because they don’t have the guts. Don’t carry other people’s junk. And definitely don’t let the talk of this economy scare you from taking chances. There is no reward without taking risks.

Take a few moments this evening to write down the different things you’d like to try. Then work on making them happen. Don’t think about it, don’t rationalize it, just do it. When you free yourself from convention thinking (ie: paychecks and benefits) you find what you truly love. We only have one life to live. And it’s too short to be miserable. Don’t let anyone make you defer or abandon your dreams. Find your bliss.

Til Next Time,

Adrienne Graham

When a woman decides it’s time to leave the corporate world and head off for entrepreneurial pursuits, it can be an exciting time in her life. She gets visions of freedom and no boss or time clock in her head. She imagines what it will be like when she gets her first big six figure order. She even thinks about the day when her business is given an award for being outstanding in her industry. The first couple or months or even years are filled with wearing the many hats of the business and facing some hard realities. Then she hits that wall. You know that wall. Where you feel like a tons of pressure is on your shoulders. You’re doing the accounting, the marketing, the networking, the client development, the sales calls, the HR, and every other hat that comes along with running a business. And you stall out. There’s a disconnect between where you want your business to be and where it is at this moment.

Well, shortly after Thanksgiving 2009, 8 phenomenal women took a chance on me, their businesses and themselves and enrolled in the Next Level Business Coaching Program. Each had different concerns about their businesses and were at different points, but the common trait they had was that they were stalled. Between the intensive weekly one on one coaching sessions, monthly group calls, special guest education calls, etc, the ladies initially didn’t know what to expect. But as we got a rhythym going, each started experiencing phenomenal breakthroughs with their businesses. I am so very proud of the success they’ve all achieved and my only regret is that I don’t get to work with them longer. I made a promise to them at the beginning of the program that we would take this journey together and that I would be brutally honest. And I was. While it is a business program, we worked on strengthening their confidence and the way they looked at their businesses.

If you listened to my radio show this past Friday, Views From the Top, I had the ladies on the show (yes all 8 of them) to talk about their experiences in the program. They shared their initial fears, obstacles they had to overcome and the milestones their businesses (and they) have reached. Below is a brief introduction to the ladies and what they had to say:

Mel DePaoli is the president of Omicle, a change management company and author of CONTRACTORS: Doing it Right Not Just Getting it Done. She works with companies on the various aspects of how the core of their business directly affects the perception of their brand, which in turn affects their bottom line.

“Adrienne was a great resource for finding new technologies to help me grow my business. She also is very successful at making you step outside of yourself so you can look at how to approach situations in new ways.”

Quantane Higganbotham is the owner of Virtual Possibilities, LLC. With over 10 years of administrative, customer service, sales and legal experience, Virtual Possibilities, LLC provides administrative support solutions to business owners.  She supports business owners who are looking for me to partner and grow with their business.

“The Next Level Coaching Program has challenged me to take my business to the next level. I appreciate Adrienne for taking the time to direct me and challenge me to not only look at what my competitors are doing, but also what they are not doing. You have no idea how much you have helped me. You have carved years off the development time in relation to my concept. She is awesome. The coaching program is not mediocre. If you are not ready to take your business to higher heights, this program is not for you.”

MaryBeth Reeves is a busy mother of quadruplet 3 year old daughters and the Chief Executive Mamma of Scrapbook Mamma, a custom photo book company. When she found herself without a job a the end of 2008 she took the entrepreneurial plunge.  Scrapbook Mamma makes custom photo books for those who want to do something wonderful with their pictures, but don’t have the time or the inclination to do it themselves.

“Working with Adrienne was the kick in the butt I needed to put my business growth into overdrive. I had stalled in my pursuit of a major development of my company before working with her and I did not even realize it. In 2 months of working with Adrienne, I accomplished more than I had in 9 months on my own. Her direction, motivation, encouragement and deadlines propelled me to the next level faster than I could have imagined. I just hope I don’t lose the momentum on my own.”

Cynthia Coleman is the Founder of Coleman Communications is the media brand of Cynterprise. We have plans for cookbooks, magazines and other print media along with to television and radio broadcasts. Our first release, Sports Cynts, is a sports talk cooking show where listeners can follow along with her as she prepares recipes and engages her audience in sports conversation.

“The Next level Coaching Program has helped me to focus what I need to do to take my business to where I want it to go.  With the information I received, I have no doubt that my company will be a success and I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about starting a business, who’s business is already running and needs a boost or a business who is looking to grow and take it up a notch or to the next level.”

Esther Phahla is a Certified Public Accountant with broad experience in all phases of taxation and accounting . She works with clients in a variety of industries including:- Health care (physicians, etc), manufacturing, construction, real estate, distribution and service. She is interested in small businesses and their owners.

“This Coaching has helped me to get out of my comfort zone and take action in growing my business. By implementing the strategies that I have learned from Adrienne Graham, I have grown personally and professionally.”

Bernie Frazier is the President of CareerVolution, LLC, a career navigating and job search skills training company, Bernie offers a comprehensive curriculum for people who are seeking their next career opportunity but aren’t sure how to make it happen.  She offers effective; “can do” insights that can help jump start a career, propel it to the next level, or catapult it in another direction.

“Adrienne has been a God-send!  Her willingness to share her experiences and ideas has been very valuable in helping me develop my own business.  She has an uncanny way of taking your ideas and stretching them and you beyond the comfort zone in order to reach the next level.  Adrienne is a walking “rolodex” of great resources; it’s remarkable!  I feel much more confident in where I’m going and what I can do, and I know Adrienne has played a key role in bringing this to life.  I can’t thank her enough.”

Kristina Cox is the Founder and CEO of Prime Accumen Creations. P.A. Creations is for business professionals and individuals seeking a lasting impression with their audience and is a one stop shop for marketing, design and communications.  Kristina was named VIP Woman of the Year for 2009/2010 by The National Association of Professional Women.

“The business coaching program has been a blessing. Adrienne was the miracle worker I needed to help me restructure my company. She brought out the six figure mindset that I needed to get to the next level.”

Maisha Hart is the owner of Legal Plus, a boutique staffing company in Los Angeles.  Legal Plus (also known as LP Staffing) has been in business since 1979 placing administrative support personnel with companies both small and large throughout the southern California area.  LP Staffing, offers temporary, temporary to hire and direct hire services and in addition to personnel services, they also offer our clients payroll services.
Now, don’t just think this was all about me “teaching” these ladies anything. It was a learning experience for all of us. They helped me put the finishing touches on this incredible coaching program. From well known special guests to candid conversations to the group interaction, this program is designed for women serious about stepping outside of themselves and focus on doing what needs to be done to get to the next level.

Not everyone can be accepted. There is an application process and only ten women are chosen each quarter. So if you’re ready to take it to a whole other level, stop by the website today and complete your confidential application. Applying is free and everyone who applies is interviewed and screened.

So, are you ready to go to the Next Level?

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

What are the common traits between Oprah, Martha Stewart, Barbara Corcoran, Sheila Johnson and so many other successful businesswomen? They continuously find ways to take their businesses to the NEXT LEVEL. They’re always looking ahead, and make adjustments as needed to achieve their goals. And they realize they can’t do it all alone. Most importantly, they aren’t afraid to make things happen!

Stop being stuck! Too many women, people in general, let outside influences keep them from growing their businesses. They let the economic circumstances keep them from making the right moves to improve business And some even let their basic business foundations crumble, resulting in them returning to corporate instead of fixing what’s wrong so they can prosper. Sometimes all it takes is stripping down to the studs and changing the way you do business.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, 8 women decided to take a chance on their businesses and me and joined the Next Level Business Coaching Program so that they could become unstuck. It has been an incredible journey and they are here to share their experiences with the program and talk about the transformations and revelations they’ve learned about themselves and their businesses. Tune in to hear all about it and to ask questions about taking your own business to the next level.

If you’re considering starting a business, or have a business that is stalled, or have a business that you are itching to take to the next level, you cannot miss this show. If you have a business and you are feeling like you need to go back to corporate to “make ends meet” you definitely cannot miss this show!

Tune in at 9AM EST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop and you can join the chat room during the show to ask questions. We’ll answer them live on air.

And if you tune in live during the show, I’ll share the special link for you to receive the special discount rate if you’re application is selected for the program. But you have to tune in to find out what it is.

“See” you then!

Adrienne Graham

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