Building Confidence


I was chatting with a woman at a networking event a couple months ago. She confided in me that it was the first time she had attended one of these types of events. It was apparent that she was not in her comfort zone and although I was quite preoccupied with greeting other people, I tried to keep an eye on her. Every so often, I made a point to check in with her and engage her in conversation.


A week ago, I ran into her again. This time, I had the ability to spend some quality time with her and really have a true conversation. As we got to know each other better, she confessed that this networking event was going a lot better than the first one. Because I had watched her out of the corner of my eye at the previous event, I knew exactly what she meant. And then she said, “I have been watching you. You are so confident talking to people. It’s just so easy for you. I’m just nothing like that and this is really hard for me.”


I shared with her that a person is rarely born with networking skills. Like everything else in life, you perfect the skill with practice. If you haven’t had many experiences walking alone into a party or event, it can be overwhelming and even daunting. If you’ve spent the last 20 minutes in the car on the way to the event convincing yourself how you don’t want to go, it will be that much harder. In lieu of this, let me offer a few tips to make socializing a bit easier.


Turn off your brain and just take action. When you walk into a packed room, you can easily be overwhelmed by the experience. The key is to take action and move without thinking about it too much. Don’t analyze the experience or the individuals present. Just force your body to move, walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Whatever you do, don’t grab a chair and sit down. I know that feels safe, but it immediately will put you at a disadvantage. It will also give you the opportunity to overthink what is going on and feel worse about the situation.


Realize that the best networkers are great listeners. If you are good at listening, you have already made it to first base in networking. You would be surprised how people truly enjoy talking about their selves. My suggestion is that you have a list in your head of the questions you might ask. For example, where do they work, have they been to this event before, etc. Also, when you become a little more comfortable, you might point out something about the person that you admire. For example, maybe they are wearing a beautiful scarf or great looking earrings. Conversation often flows from there. You can ask deeper questions with the answers you receive.


Greet everyone with a smile. We receive the bulk of our message from nonverbal communication. Therefore, your smile, your body, your hand gestures, relays the majority of the message to your receiver. Remember to approach people with a nonverbal message that communicates, “I am very interested in meeting you and want to be here today.” Your message shouldn’t say, “I am dreading every single minute of this and can’t wait to get out and I am absolutely not interested in learning anything about you.” Don’t laugh; I remember meeting a woman that conveyed this very message to me.


I didn’t take it personally because she treated every person at the lunch the exact same way.


Treat everyone that you meet in life with the same level of interest. I just discussed this with a new friend I met networking. Nothing burns us more than when we meet someone who’s warmth and friendliness is in direct relation to whether we can further their career. Apparently, it’s all about what’s in it for them. Be friendly and kind with everyone. Period.


If the suggestions here seem too difficult, you might have to further develop your acting skills. Eventually, with enough practice, this whole thing called networking will become more natural.

An Intense, Inspirational Experience

As I mentioned last week, I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Israel and Jordan. It was an exhausting but life-changing experience. One of the most incredible, intense experiences I had during my visit was seeing Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial. After leaving the museum, it was difficult for me to even articulate the emotional effect it had on me. Seeing the pictures and stories of the millions of people that had perished affected me in a way that I didn’t anticipate.


As time passed and I was able to make sense of the experience, I became interested in better understanding what had motivated the heroes that attempted to aid and assist the Jews. These brave, courageous women and men risked their lives and their family’s lives to do the right thing. They refused to believe the Nazi propaganda and unlike the majority of the population, they refused to turn their back on innocent victims that were treated unjustly. If they were caught aiding the Jews, chances are, they and their families were killed instantly.


One such hero is a Polish Catholic Social Worker named Irena Sendler. She served in the Polish Underground, the Zegota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw. Irena was responsible for checking on the status of the Typhus outbreak inside the Warsaw ghetto, where 500,000 Jews resided. The Nazi’s were terrified that the disease would spread outside the ghetto walls. Irena smuggled food, medicine and clothing into the ghetto for the families.


Irena was able to secretly remove 2,500 children from the ghetto. Many were disguised as packages. She provided false identity documents for them and hid their real identities in jars, which she buried in her friends backyard. Once they were safely out, she placed them in homes with Polish families, nuns and priests. These courageous volunteers risked their lives in order to welcome these children into their homes. At the end of the war, the children would be returned to their families.


Eventually, the Nazi’s discovered Irena’s actions and captured her. She refused to divulge any information even though she was severely tortured. While imprisoned and waiting for execution, she was rescued by the underground resistance and spent the remainder of the wartime in hiding. Very few children were ever reunited with their parents since almost all of the individuals in the ghetto perished.


Irena was one girlfriend that definitely had her inner sass. She was courageous, strong and clear on her convictions. She knew what was important to her in life and she was willing to risk all to be true to her beliefs. She refused to sit by and watch innocent people be treated unfairly.


So what about you? What would you do in such a dire situation? Would you have the courage to stand up for what you believe in or would you keep the “status quo” to stay safe? Are you a follower or a leader? What is your legacy to the world? It doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic as Irena’s, but what will people remember about you? Do you live your life in fear or do you push yourself outside your comfort zone?


It is my hope that you will take a lesson from Irena— let go of fear and live your life to the fullest. Be true to yourself and go after what’s important in life. Irena refused to back down to the “no’s”— she believed in possibilities even in the face of such doom. We all could learn a thing or two from this courageous woman.


For more information about Irena, go to

Instinctive Behavior

I just returned from a two-week trip to Israel and Jordan.  Each day was jam packed with history, culture and new experiences.  As I think back to what moments were the most inspiring and life changing, there is one incident that I just can’t shake.


My husband’s Aunt in Tel Aviv had suggested that we meet her at a restaurant for dinner. She had mentioned that it was located in the old town of Jaffa, which is full of history, shopping, great restaurants and bars.  We decided we would walk around for a few hours and do some shopping before joining her for dinner since the area appeared to be a trendy, fun part of town.


Thirty minutes before our agreed dinnertime, we began our walk to the restaurant.  Quickly, I noticed that we were leaving the “happening area” and walking away from the city.  I asked my husband, “are you sure we’re walking in the right direction?”  He assured me that we were most definitely following the route to the restaurant.


We walked down the street for what seemed like forever, searching for the restaurants address. It was slowly dawning on us that we were going to be late.  Looking around, I sensed that the neighborhoods were definitely changing. My hair was up on the back of my neck. “Are you sure this is an okay neighborhood to be walking through?” Again, he assured me that it was. Secretly, I wondered why this restaurant was located in such a seedy area of the city.  I was feeling extremely uncomfortable, but I chalked it up to being overly dramatic and didn’t say another word.


Now 15 minutes late, we were beginning to get anxious. We knew his Aunt would be worried as to why we weren’t there yet.  My husband spied a group of police cars in a parking lot and decided to ask one of the policemen if they could help us. He interrupted them and asked if they knew of the restaurant, but they were very little help.  Suddenly, we did a 180-degree turn and realized that the restaurant was right in front of our eyes. My jaw dropped when it came into view. My husband and I just stared at each other and slowly (very slowly) walked up to the door of the restaurant.


The entire time we ate our dinner, I felt that same feeling tugging at me again.  You know, the one that tells you that something is very wrong but you just can’t put your finger on it. Dinner could not be over soon enough for me!


We left the restaurant and called a taxi to our hotel.  Suddenly, his Aunt became agitated as she listened to the news. In the last two hours, there had just been a stabbing and shooting right next door to the restaurant! My husband and I looked at each other and remembered the large group of policemen we had asked for directions.  Apparently, they had better things to do then help two tourists find their way to their destination.


Which leads me to this thought: I knew all along that we were not safe. My instincts immediately told me that we were in danger.  Yet, I didn’t pay attention to my feelings. I doubted my own assessment and just ignored that gnawing feeling inside of me.


You can’t see, hear or touch your instincts.  Sometimes, you may question whether they really exist.  However, your success, health and happiness in life are dependent on you tapping into your instincts.  If you can make your life decisions by combining the tangible evidence presented to you, with your “gut sense”, you will be unstoppable.


After that incident, I am making a new commitment to trust my gut!


Making Your Dreams a Reality



I recently read an article about a nurse that worked with terminally ill patients. She had become aware of the many regrets her patients spoke of as they entered their last phase of their life. One of the most popular regrets that she heard over and over was the following:


“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life that others expected of me.”


Many of her patients felt that they had wasted years of their life trying to please others; not seeking what was in their heart. Does that resonate with you? If you were to find out today that you were in the last phase of your life, would you grapple with any regrets? So, what has been holding you back from living your dream?


I work with many clients that are struggling with moving forward. Often, there is a part of them that desperately wants to change their life, but they can’t figure out how to go about this shift. But there is more to it than that.


Many people will go to great lengths to avoid failure. I certainly get this; I don’t like to fail either. However, I hate to be stuck even more than failing. If given the choice of failing or being stuck, I take failing. You know why? Because I believe that I’ll just dust myself off and try again. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just dust myself off…and try again. Rinse, lather, repeat. This is the way YOU need to think about life. The bottom line is this: failing is not a great feeling, but it’s so much better than NOT going after your dream. At least you’re moving in SOME direction. In the end, you won’t regret not being courageous enough to go after your dream.


What is your dream? Is it to quit your boring desk job and do something artistic? Did you always want to go back to school? Do you feel crazy for even entertaining the thought? You need to face this fear and get on with it.


People hold on to values and expectations from their childhood. Maybe you grew up in a house where you learned that success was becoming an accountant and having a steady job with a decent income. You absorbed this because you wanted to please your family and you counted on them to give you sound advice. So you went to school and got good grades, graduated and received a plum job. You worked hard and moved up in the company. But at some point, you begin to feel angry and unhappy. Each day gets a little more difficult but you keep trudging forward because it’s the right thing to do. Hopefully at some point, you can face the feelings you’re experiencing, let go of the guilt and realize that only you can change your life. You can build a life that matches YOUR expectations.


You get stuck in the daily grind and time goes by. How does that happen? One minute you’re wiping the nose of your 3-year-old son, and the next, you’re attending his graduation. Time seems to fly as you get older. You might put off your dreams for a number of reasons. Maybe you feel that your kids are too young and need too much attention for you to follow your dreams. You might feel that you just can’t afford it— you have so many bills to pay and focusing on YOUR dreams is too indulgent. Trust me, it will always be something while time keeps flying by. There will never be the perfect time to go after what you want— you just have to make right now the right time.


I hope you take the next few minutes to think about your dreams and how you need to make a commitment today. Make a commitment to live true to you and go after your best life!

4 Bad Career Moves


Do you know women that make success at work look easy? Do you ever wonder why some girlfriends soar in their careers while others falter? I’m sure that at some point in your life, you have asked yourself these questions. If you are truly serious about succeeding in your career, then it might behoove you to take a step back and give this some thought.


Over the years, I’ve observed a number of behavioral patterns that stand in the way of women accomplishing their goals in the workplace. Here are just a few for you to ponder:


Staying in a position at work way beyond its expiration date
Are you good at recognizing when it’s time to move on? Have you ever stayed at a job way too long— hoping things will get better? If you’re known for your persistence and determination, this is one situation where your admirable qualities can get you into trouble. You see, there’s a time to fold your cards and just move on. If you don’t, resentment sets in and your attitude inhibits your job abilities. Tap into your instincts to make the best decision because staying in a job beyond its expiration date is a bad career move.


Bringing your personal problems to work with you
In the many hours you spend at work, I’m sure there’s at least one day in your memory where you let your personal problems get in the way of your effectiveness at work. Let’s face it, at some point it happens to everyone. However, if you make a habit of bringing your own emotional baggage into the workplace on a regular basis, you run the risk of sabotaging your career. Earning a reputation as emotional or high strung is a death sentence for your career. Make it a habit to practice strong boundaries in the workplace— work hard to keep the emotions out of the equation.


Refusing to acknowledge the workplace politics
When I was working in career development in the school system, I spent time teaching high school seniors how to interview. Often, a few of them would express to me how they thought it was beneath them to “try to say the right things just to get the job”. They felt that this was disingenuous and beneath them. I would explain to them that regardless of how they felt, this was how the real world worked. Some women never grow out of this type of thinking. You might believe that just doing your job well is enough to receive promotions. However, if you really want to move up, you need to acutely observe and understand the political culture at work. I am not suggesting that you need to sell your soul, but you certainly need to be able to play in the game.


Digging in your heels and refusing to change
In today’s world, organizations are rapidly changing. You might be expected at work to learn a new system and within a year, that process is obsolete. Because of this, companies are in dire need of employees that are flexible and comfortable with change. Be honest— do you struggle with accepting change? If so, this can hinder your ability to be successful in your career, whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee. So wake up and accept the facts— change is synonymous with success.


See a glimmer of yourself in any of these? Then maybe it’s time to make the needed changes so you can achieve your dreams

Remembering Mom

Around Mother’s Day, my thoughts are always with my own mother who I lost many years ago.  Although she isn’t around to see her grandsons grow up, her influence has definitely been felt throughout the years.


I was one of those lucky few that had a mother that passed down an excellent blueprint for being a mom.  She wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Neither am I. However, she definitely got the most important things very, very right.  So, in memory of my mom, let me share why my mother definitely had her inner sass.


She was always nonjudgmental when it came to my life decisions. Which means, she listened to me and let me make up my own mind.  She didn’t tell me what decision I should make or what I should think.  She just listened and helped me come to my own decisions.  Even though I knew what she would want my life to look like, I knew she accepted me for who I was at my core. Looking back, I don’t know how she kept quiet in certain situations! But she did, and her unconditional acceptance truly helped me become a strong woman and have my own voice.


She repeatedly told me that I deserved the best in life. Guess what happened? I grew up to think that I deserved the best in every aspect of my life.  I’m not talking about entitlement here! I was always willing to work hard to get what I wanted in life. I just felt that I never had to settle for anything and I was certainly never desperate. Not with men, jobs, friendships etc.


She was a kind, loving person that showed how she felt about you.  This used to embarrass me when I was younger. Why did she always have to get in personal conversations with the bagger at the grocery store? Why did she have to grab the hand of whomever she was talking to?  It used to drive me crazy until I was older and realized how people really felt about my mom. They loved her. She was a warm, caring person and people felt her warmth when in her presence.  Their walls came down when she was around. Funny thing is that I often find myself saying and doing the exact same things.


She taught me how to handle conflict in a healthy manner.  My mom and I had horrendous fights that often ended in tears and with doors banging (that was me).  However, no matter what we fought about or how bad it got, we always talked it out and got to the bottom of the situation.  We always ended the fight hugging and saying that we were both sorry.  Fights between my mom and dad played out the exact same way.  What I learned was this: you can have bad conflicts where you express how you feel but still work things out at the end. Because of this, I always felt confident in conflict situations and never shied away from uncomfortable truths.


She treated every person with the same amount of respect.  It didn’t matter if you were a garbage collector or you ran a large corporation.  She really didn’t care how much money you had in the bank.  What she wanted to know was this— were you a kind, caring person that treated others well?  I learned at a very young age not to be impressed by what people possessed, but by how they live their life.


So thanks Mom, for giving me such a wonderful example of a woman that has her inner sass. Although you are no longer physically here with me, I sense your presence daily with everything that I achieve in my life.




Think Before You Post!

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I spend a lot of time on Facebook.  I’ve definitely taken full advantage of this form of social media to grow my business.  Yes, connecting with my old high school friends and family has been unbelievably fun and enjoyable. However, the more time I spend on Facebook, the more I become concerned about its misuse and the message that women could be unintentionally sending to 300 of their closest friends. In lieu of this, I have compiled a list of Facebook do’s and don’ts for women that want to succeed in their careers and their relationships.


Give some thought to what you post on your status updates. Please.  Is this update something that’s going to make you look positive to the 800 people that might read this? Does it send a message that is congruent with the image that you desire to portray in your career life? How about this— would it sway someone’s current opinion of you to one that is negative? If you’re posting a picture, is your dress too revealing? I’m no prude, but multiple pictures of you with your breasts prominently displayed while you’re partying might not be the best image for your career or your personal life in the long run. People have been known to make quick judgments based on a few pictures.


Attempt to limit the amount of bragging you post on your page. This seems to be an epidemic of on Facebook.  Think about it this way— would you go to a party of 100 and attempt to tell every single person present how your daughter just received the absolute highest score in the school on her Math exam? Now be honest— would everyone there truly be interested? Then you understand how this isn’t any different. Being humble and modest are wonderful qualities that seem to be lacking these days. They make you quite likable.  For women that are promoting a business in social media, the rules change a bit.  A certain amount of boasting is necessary in order to market your business.  You need to come across as effective, competent and successful.


If you must partake in some sleazy Facebook posts, please use the privacy options.  If you revel in your freedom to post whatever you feel like posting, please be smart about it.  I can be your friend, but I don’t need to see all your posts. Set up your Facebook page so I can’t see what you are doing in your personal time. Please.  It certainly is changing my impression of you and I am sure you don’t want that.


Don’t post about every single moment of your day. Why would anyone really care that you ate a smokehouse turkey sandwich from Panera at 12:30? Think— would someone find this interesting? Don’t post every single thing that comes to your mind during the day. If you truly want others to read what you write, don’t inundate people with posts. After a while, it’s just too much and people stop reading.


Refrain from coming across needy and attention seeking in your posts. Don’t laugh— I see this everyday on Facebook. I’ve said it before girlfriends, if you’re struggling with some issue in life and you’re feeling down, you don’t share it with 800 people. I know it doesn’t feel uncomfortable sharing this when you are sitting at your computer, but you’re sharing WAY too much information with hundreds and hundreds of people. Again, would you share that with each person at a party with 100 people? Remember that people make judgments based on what you are revealing.


I enjoy Facebook as much as the next person.  It has been very, very good to me. But if any of this hits too close to home, then make some changes to your social media habits today.


Making Healthy Changes

It’s no secret that making changes in your life takes hard work and a strong commitment.  There’s no magic elixir you can drink to be happy, healthy and successful.  Or so I thought.  The story that aired Monday morning on Good Morning America challenged this belief.


According to the reporter, a young woman was planning her wedding and was having difficulty fitting into her dream wedding dress.  It was important to her that the wedding was absolutely perfect and, of course, she wanted to look thin on her special day.  Therefore, she made an appointment with a doctor that placed her on the KE diet.  What’s the KE diet? Let me explain further.


The KE diet is perfect for men or women that want to lose 10, 15 or 20 pounds FAST.  The doctor inserts a feeding tube into the individual’s nose that snakes down into their stomach, enabling them to be fed only by a constant drip of protein and fat for 10 days. The daily diet includes only 800 calories and contains zero carbohydrates.  The doctor explained on the segment that the food solution can be carried in a bag-like purse and is a hunger- free, effective way of dieting.


The young dieter paid  $1500.00 for this experience.  Her reasoning for taking such a drastic, expensive measure to lose weight was the following,” I don’t have all of the time on this planet just to focus an hour and a half a day on exercise— so I came to the doctor.” She mentioned that one drawback of having the feeding tube was that friends kept asking her if she was sick or if she was dying.


As I’ve said before many times, it seems as if everyone wants a quick fix in life— especially this woman.  The truth is that she could easily lose those 10 pounds with a commitment to eating right while incorporating exercise into her daily routine.  What I’m describing is a healthy lifestyle change— which she’ll need to do anyway or those 10 pounds will be back in no time. And by the way, my suggestion to her weight dilemma is FREE. You don’t have to make a 1500$ investment to eat healthy meals and last I checked, you aren’t charged for going for a walk. Not to mention that exercise would be an effective stress reliever as her wedding day approaches.


Is part of this her need to make everything absolutely perfect? This particular young woman believes in her heart that her wedding day will not be complete and won’t have meaning unless she loses 10 pounds. Sometimes we focus so intensely on the details that we have difficulty seeing the big picture and what truly matters in life.


The reality is that her day is never going to be perfect.  Life is not perfect and the details of our lives are never without error.  Her wedding day can be quite wonderful and lovely even if it isn’t perfect.  At the end of the day, she’s still going to be married, and if she loves this guy, having a wonderful day should be enough. In the long run, the perfect weight, the perfect flowers, and the perfect bridesmaid dresses are not going to make you any happier. Yes, choosing to be happy, healthy and successful in life can be hard work— but it is very worth it!





It’s Just Common Sense

Anytime I get the chance to share my thoughts with other women on how to become sassy, I’m one happy girlfriend! I was lucky enough to give a presentation to a group of awesome businesswomen with Key4women at Key Bank yesterday.  Of course, I discussed the 6 steps to finding your inner sass— which was an extension of some of the principles that are presented in my book “31 Days to Finding Your Inner Sass”.  I presented 6 key topics that are absolutely essential to happiness and success in your professional and personal life. I covered things like knowing your strengths, risk and change, communication skills, firm boundaries, baggage in your life and problem solving.


After the presentation, a woman came up to me and thanked me for sharing the information. And then she said,  “You know, everything you talked about is just common sense. There’s nothing you spoke about that I already didn’t know”.  I agreed with her wholeheartedly and told her that I was very aware of that fact.  After I left the event, I spent the evening thinking about this.


In life, we get into our daily routines and go about our business.  Often, we are so busy that we can’t see straight.  We run from one meeting to the next, to picking up the dry cleaning, to picking up the kids, to running to the store, to running home to make dinner.  We’re on overdrive and we’ve become quite proficient at getting as many things done at one time as possible.  But the problem with this is the following— when we are running at such high speed and trying to fit everything into our schedule, we often miss the obvious.


Then suddenly, we stop and realize that we are unhappy.  Whether it’s in our personal relationships or the satisfaction in our professional life, we know that something is just not right.  It’s difficult for us to articulate exactly what the problem is, because we haven’t been feeling.  We haven’t truly been checking in with ourselves to see how things are going.  If we did, we wouldn’t be able to get all our “things” accomplished and, let’s face it; it’s just easier that way.  Maybe we were feeling before and being diligent about leading a healthy life, but slowly, we fell back into our unhealthy patterns. When we do finally check in, we don’t like what we find and we’re not sure what to make of it or how to get out of this place.


Yes, all of what I stress to being important to your health, happiness and success in life is common sense. However, the truth is that few of us are actually living our lives in this healthy manner every single day. On some level, we’re aware of these important principles. Often, however, we just stick that thought as far back in our minds as possible so we can continue to get things done.  Only until life seems to bubble over and smack us in the face can we ignore it.


That’s where I come into the picture. I’m the reminder that you need to make some changes in your life. I’m the cold water in your face, warning you that you can no longer ignore those little pesky issues that are holding you back from being your best in your career and personal life. Because here’s the thing— those pesky little issues, as common sense as they may be, become huge monster issues when left unaddressed. So I’m doing my best to make sure that you don’t let that happen. Here is your wake-up call, girlfriend— deal with that stuff now!


Tough Lessons in Leadership

Everywhere I go these days, I hear a lot of women talking about leadership. It appears to be the latest buzzword in the business world.  So, in your opinion, what is the difference between being a manager and being a true leader?


My first job out of college was as an Assistant Manager in a Retail Store. I was trained to understand my job responsibilities and how to effectively perform each task.  However, no one trained me how to actually handle employees. I vividly remember the first day that I was on my own and in charge of the store.  I instructed one of the veteran employees, Mary, to merchandise the new clothes that had just been placed on the floor. Mary, who had been there for years, glared at me and loudly said “no”.  She then refused to listen to me.  I handled the response from her with finesse, professionalism and maturity; I went in the back room and cried alone in the corner.


But while I was in the back room crying and frustrated, something quite wonderful happened.  I went from manager to leader in the next few minutes.  I stopped crying and began to think about how I was going to accomplish my goal; getting Mary to respect my authority and work for me. I realized that I obviously needed a different tactic.  I hatched my plan in the back room; my best strategy was to go back out there and appeal to her compassion.


I went out and asked if we could have a little talk. You see, I knew she had informal power in the store and could convince others of what ever she believed. This was why it was vital that I handle this situation delicately and appropriately. In our talk, I let down my guard and shared with her that I was struggling— this was all new to me and I really needed her help.  I asked her if she would be kind enough to help me through this venture.  Seeing me vulnerable, she jumped at the chance to help and support me. The truth is that while I was in the back crying, I had an epiphany.  In the few weeks that I had worked with her, I noticed a few things about what made Mary “tick”.  I understood what motivated Mary— she was a caregiver and wanted to be needed by others. Also, she wanted to be respected for her expertise and knowledge in the store. She was unimpressed by the recent confident college graduate that they had just hired.


From that day forward, I never had any trouble with Mary.  In fact, Mary loved me and would do anything for me. In the end, Mary respected my work and encouraged me to move up in the company. In those few minutes where I lost my composure in the back, I internalized a lesson for a lifetime.  I forever would understand the real difference between a manager and a leader.  A manager is hired to complete tasks.  A leader completes tasks but much, much more.  A leader knows that in order to be truly effective, she needs to understand how to motivate and inspire each employee.  A leader puts her own feelings aside to accomplish this goal because she sees beyond the short-term goal of completing tasks. The truth is, I knew I wanted to rise to the top, so I figured I better find a solution to my first simple dilemma in management.  And I did.