What is Your Biggest Fear?

Would it surprise you to find out that the FearLess Negotiator has held onto to a fear since the age of eight? I had no idea how to remove a life-long fear. Which seems crazy.

For 17-years, I’ve taught others how to become #FearLessNegotiators through my Keynote speeches, in coaching sessions and in onsite customized Negotiation client programs.

And yet, I had no tools to remove my life-long fear of tornadoes. The sound of a tornado siren paralyzes me. More than once, a tornado threat caused me to hide, huddled in a corner of a basement.

I was afraid of something I’d never seen and only heard twice. I’d seen pictures of homes destroyed by tornadoes in neighboring Kansas and Missouri.

My first tornado was at age 8. My mom took my brothers and sisters to hide in our basement as a tornado passed near us. I recall the roar of the tornado as it passed to the west side of our home but it didn’t damage our home or property.

Ever since that day, when I hear a tornado siren, I pace, In a panic, I search for a shelter, I cry and I hyperventilate.

Recently, on a lovely summer morning, I was having coffee at one of my favorite spots with a colleague and fellow speaker, Chukky Okobi. Chukky is a former Pro-football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He proudly wears a gorgeous Super Bowl ring. We were discussing the materials we share with our audiences as keynote speakers. The subject of how to be FearLess came up frequently.

Although my back was towards the window, I sensed something outside had changed. No tornado sirens warned me of danger. As I turned to look outside, I saw a dark ominous sky, storm clouds rolled outside, rain fell in sheets, winds blew. I went into Tornado Flight mode. I needed to find a safe hiding place.

As far as I was concerned, the meeting and our conversation was OVER!

I had moved from a relaxed conversation to full panic mode in 2-minutes. Chukky said, “would you like to get rid of that fear, forever?” I laughed. The idea of being free of a 50-year fear was insane.

He promised me he could  help me do that. In fact, we could do it on a Zoom call. It would take less than 30-minutes and my Tornado fear would be gone forever. Forever? No way.

Check out the video and see how my fear of tornadoes disappeared. I’ve been put to the “Tornado Test” two more times since I worked with Chukky and I’m #FearLess.

Thank you Chukky. If you too have a fear, or an emotional block  that keeps you from living the life you were meant to live, Call Chukky Okobi. He’ll share the “Basic Instructions” with you.

School Violence

School Violence

This morning, I called a friend who is a Facility manager at a large company in Phoenix, Arizona. She said let’s talk later. She said, “I’m pretty busy right now, we’re running a fire evacuation drill.”

That got me to wondering, how often companies and schools run drills? Drills of every kind. There are drills for natural disasters: Fire, Tornado, Flash Flooding, Earthquake, Hurricane etc.

And in our current daily life, we must also be aware of and prepare for Terrorists, and Active Shooters. Sometimes the violence comes from within the walls of a company and the perpetrator is a disgruntled employee. At other times, it is a student who is angry at their teacher, school administrator or even a fellow student who is bullying them.

Less frequently these days, and I am thankful for this, the individuals doing the shooting are not domestic terrorists. That is not to say that any actions taken by our law enforcement organizations have reduced the threat or possibility of violence from someone who is not a US citizen.

Statistics would seem to show that we are killing our fellow American citizens. 

Terrorist and Active Shooter drills are a sad fact of life today. The number of drills that are mandated by the states for schools is essential. Is it adequate? I don’t know.

This article was originally written the day before the latest terrorists shooting at Stem School at Highlands Ranch Colorado in which 18-year-old Kendrick Ray Castillo heroically lost his life protecting his classmates as he fought to stop the shooter’s rampage. Kendrick sacrificed his life that others would live. whttps://www.cnn.com/2019/05/08/us/kendrick-castillo-denver-stem-shooting/index.html

A 2018 BBC article analyzed the number of US school shootings in which at least a life was lost or there were individuals wounded. In 2018, there were 113 killed or wounded in 23 shootings. .

Statistically, that means there was one shooting every 8-days. That study is based upon a 180-day class year and the 23 school shooting in 2018.

What happened to fighting on the school playground to settle differences? How about those old-fashioned pushing and shoving matches that involved forcing another kids up against a locker? Or invitations to take it out on the playground after school? School fences used to protect our children from chasing a ball into the path of a vehicle passing the school. Fences can’t stop bullets.

Arming teachers with weapons or having guards with guns on school campuses is not the answer. I believe choosing that solution only teaches that disagreements must be managed with force, whether it’s with guns, other weapons of choice or even using a vehicle as the weapon.

Does Might Mean Right?

Once the school day is over, guns move to the streets. If individuals do not know how to manage their anger, fury, rage or even the small disappointments that everyone experiences, they will resort to the weapons they know, have seen and are familiar with.  

Without training in non-violent methods to manage disputes, quarrels, arguments and misunderstandings, the quick and easy solution is to pick up a gun. The outcome for some in these situations may be death. 

Corporations teach Conflict Management, Dispute Resolution, Anger Management. They hire outside consultants and invest in programs that will help their employees “Play Fair” at work.

Let’s put some serious funding into training our children how to” Play Fair” too. This should involve teaching them to #Negotiate. #MakeTrades. #ExploreOptions. #DiscussDifferences.

Learn how to #CalmTheInnerAnger. #CountToTen. #MeetInTheMiddle. #BeALeaderNotAFollower

Our children need the adults in their lives to follow the same rules. Be the Role Model your children need.

School administrators negotiate and maneuver legislators into funding these programs. Corporate Executives partner with schools to support these programs. The children reach with #Negotiation and #DisputeResolution programs will be your managers and executives tomorrow.

We all must be responsible. Our children deserve it.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.

If You’re Drowning and Can’t Swim, Would You Read a Book or Hire a Swim Coach?

If You’re Drowning and Can’t Swim, Would You Read a Book or Hire a Swim Coach?

What I know to be true is that books are nice. Books do not change behaviors. When you must make a life-change, hire a coach.

Currently, I work with 3-coaches. They help me:

  1. Grow my business.
  2. Increase the impact my speeches have on my audience.
  3. Add more humor to each speech. 

Why do I need coaches? Fear!

Fear gets in the way of growth. Fear of hearing? NO. Fear of failure. Fear of what someone will think of me (that I’m pushy). Fear of losing what I have (a job, relationship, home, friends, financial security).

What I will do is walk through fear with a partner. That’s the only way I would have gone skydiving or done two 10K’s or started  my own business at age 50.

What I do know for sure is that real change comes from coaching and hands on training.  

Over the past 35-years, I’ve advised clients on and negotiated for them on:

  • Financial loan and lease contracts
  • Salary increases
  • Employment package terms and conditions
  • Multi-million equipment bank agreements
  • Service arrangements and software contracts.
  • Real estate deals
  • Sales of companies and assets.

When an athlete wants to improve their performance, they hire a coach. When a singer wants to advance their career, they retain a vocal coach or music teacher. If a professional speaker wants to  advance their proficiency in front of an audience, they hire a presentation coach and perhaps a vocal coach.

Why would honing one’s negotiation capabilities be any different? If athletes, singers, speakers and  entrepreneurs read just 1 book or as many as 20 books to improve, would they FearLessly change?

I think not.

You will run faster, catch more passes, hit more homeruns, win more top performance honors, make more money and change more lives with a coach!

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.

The Catholic School Nuns Got It Right: What You Need to Know to be Successful

The Catholic School Nuns Got It Right: What You Need to Know to be Successful

All but one of my Catholic Grammar School teachers has long ago departed this world. I am sure they made their trip to Heaven in a Nano-second. Certainly, they earned Premier Seating Status immediately to the right hand of Jesus Christ.

As I look back, I am so appreciative on the twelve years of schooling I received from The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. Those women were saints. They earned their angel wings for enduring the classroom stress of thousands of belligerent, unruly, button-pushing, sometimes naughty Catholic boys and girls.

Despite numerous disruptions, those nuns graduated many well-educated kids who knew the difference between right, wrong, white-lies, alternate truths and “rounding off the edges.”

The Grammar Patrol
Catholic kids excelled in grammar. We knew how to diagram sentences and religiously made sure every sentence had a subject, a verb and an object. We knew where to place adverbs and adjectives. And for gosh sakes, we survived Spelling Bees, Phonics and mastered lists of 10-20 new words every week as we increased our vocabularies exponentially. We knew how to identify a subordinate or independent clause.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Clean-up Your Mess
I assure you that if Sister Beatrice were still in the classroom, she’d take out her ruler and swiftly wrap the knuckles of politicians that assassinate our grammar and language. The internet and social media expose the good, the bad and the ugly lawmakers daily who should return to grammar school for the basics.

Tweets, photos, and videos have all changed the way we look and perceive our political leaders.  They cannot hide, nor can they permanently remove misspelled words, racial rants, and promiscuous photos from the digital world with their “fixers.” Back in the day, offenders had to wash chalkboards and paint over defaced walls.

They do not receive good marks for creativity when they make-up names for countries, rivers or mountains they can’t find on a map. Nor are they rewarded when they attempt to bluff their way through a speech or conversation by misquoting scripture in a pious tone of voice, as if they were Biblical scholars. Folks, if you don’t know what the Big Book says, pick it up and read from it. Life is an open-book test.

True Confessions
And what about the dust-up that would certainly occur when it came time to experience a First Confession? Confession was the time that all good Catholic boys and girls admitted their misdeeds and transgressions to the priest regarding poor judgement, profanity, name calling, and half-truths uttered about friends and family members behind their backs. Sometimes the brazen kids had even taunted and confronted “enemies” on the playground at recess. Those kids were known as bullies. They did not attract many friends.

At confession, we owned up to casting insults and aspersions on someone’s character by creating an embarrassing nickname. Confession came with stiff penalties assigned for lying, making false accusations or ridiculing someone for their physical or mental disability.

The parish priest would not let anyone off the hook with an excuse like “I Misspoke” or a suggestion that the priest should consider viewing the situation from my perspective.  Children knew the real consequences for their sins. They had to fess up and say, Yes, Father, I Lied!

And in Arithmetic, when pressured to quantify a problem or add up a column of figures, would Sister Mary Exactamundo allow for an estimated response like “I think the answer is Billions and Billions?”

The Future is Bright
However, do not worry about the fate of children not exposed to the Benedictine Sisters. There’s still hope for those who flunked out of Catholic School. They can aspire to serve in Congress, become a Senator or maybe even President of the United States.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.

Bicycle Helmets: Child’s Play or Serious Business?

Bicycle Helmets: Child’s Play or Serious Business?

The Center for Disease Control reports that: less than half of the millions of Americans who ride bicycles wear bicycle helmets. For example, a national survey conducted in 2001-2003 found that only 48% of children ages 5-14 years wore bicycle helmets when riding Older children were less likely to wear helmets than younger children.

In 2010 in the U.S., 800 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 515,000 sustained bicycle-related injuries that required emergency department care. Half of the injured cyclists were children under the age of 20. Ten-percent of the injured children, 26,000 of them, sustained a traumatic brain injuries.

As a bicycle helmet proponent, I want to remind all bicyclists to wear your helmets. Parents, set the example for your children.

Over 10 years ago, I was one of those adults who never wore a helmet, until the day I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as I rode my bike on K32, between Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

An accident can happen in a few seconds, however the damage to my brain lasted for a long time. Common words disappeared from my memory. I had difficulty with proper sentence construction. Severe headaches were frequent.

A TBI is the wound that no one can see. I was one of the fortunate to recover. I eventually regained my memory and about 99% of my vocabulary.

If you live in Kansas City, and your child receives a head injury and loses consciousness, even for a second, be sure you receive care and assessment from Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. They have an excellent head trauma program. My niece received excellent care and rehabilitation there following a head trauma from an accident in which a school room partition knocked her unconscious.

On our street, we are known as the Helmet House. We always have extra bike helmets for children who we find are not wearing their helmets or who have outgrown their old he;lmet. .

One of the 11-year old boys on our street skipped a helmet one day this past Spring and of course, he fell. Fortunately he only received some cuts and scrapes, but now we never see him without his helmet.

If your or your child received a head injury recently, you need to know how to recognize the symptoms of TBI and to visit a doctor if one has experienced a blow or jolt to the head. Some common symptoms associated with TBI are forgetfulness, problems concentrating, low-grade headaches that won’t go away, loss of balance, and lack of energy.

Even though the kids are heading back to school soon, there’s many more beautiful months of bike riding ahead. Protect yourself and your children. Wear a helmet!

7 Life Lessons from a 5-Year Old

7 Life Lessons from a 5-Year Old

In August of 2013, while in the Austin, Texas airport, I sat sipping a cup of coffee at the airport café before boarding my flight to my next workshop in Denver.

As I wait for my departure time announcement, I people-watch. The next encounter would be one I will always remember. I had a 7-minute education from a lovely 5-year old little girl named Natalie, dressed in pink from head to toe, pulling her compact pink and purple backpack. She and her mom, dad and big brother were on their way to Disneyworld when our paths intersected.

Natalie became the teacher and I was her student that day as she taught me: 7 Life Lessons To Remember No Matter What Age You Are!

During our brief conversation, I learned that her birthday is June 27thand her favorite colors are pink and purple. She was fascinated with colors and hoped to teach me a few in case I did not know my colors. Her lesson began by naming every color she saw around us. As I recall, she knew them without one mistake. And each time she saw a color, like a blue suitcase rolling by, she quickly added other “Blue Things.” The sky is blue. My brothers bike is blue. My mommy’s eyes are blue. The next color to catch her eye was green. And off she went into a litany of green things.

When I asked her about her trip, she admitted that this was her first airplane flight and that she was a little afraid. Her primary fear was of getting lost. We discussed holding on to her mommy’s hand so that would never happen. She spontaneously grabbed her mommy’s hand and mine as well. I was surprised at her immediate trust of someone she’d just met.

As we continued to talk, topics bounced around. Next to pop into her head was that mommy had told her she must eat her vegetables. And that she was supposed to take a nap on the airplane so when she woke up she’d almost be at Disneyworld. Unlike grownups, Natalie had no notion of what topic would be appropriate “airport conversation.”

As her mother and dad indicated it was time to move on to their gate, I asked Natalie to promise me to hold on to her mom’s hand and eat her vegetables. At that point she walked very close to me and locked her tiny little finger into mine. I had never been asked to make a “Pinky Swear.” The serious look on her face indicated she definitely would keep her “Pinky Swear” promise.

She then put her arms around my neck and gave me three hugs. Waved goodbye and began the long walk  down the airport hallway, holding her mommy’s hand. She took a few steps and turned around and waved to me. The pauses and goodbye waves continued for what seemed to be an eternity. She probably did not see the tears rolling down my face. All sound ceased. People disappeared. All that remained was the tiny figure of Natalie turning the corner and waving for the last time.

It’s been 5-years since that chance meeting and recalling it still brings me to tears.

What are Natalie’s Seven Life- Lessons?

  1. If you’re lucky and look, you’ll see a favorite color everywhere.
  2. Be brave. Help others to be brave even if you’re doing something for the first time ever.
  3. Hugs are free. Give three.
  4. Pinky Swears must be locked to be binding.
  5. Share stories and toys.
  6. If you’re afraid, it’s ok to hold someone’s hand.
  7. It’s Ok to keep looking back when you wave goodbye. However, once you turn the corner, it’s time to look ahead for your next adventure.

Natalie, thank you for teaching me those essential and practical instructions.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.