For Women & Co. by Mercedes Cardona, OMH Communications
Once a year, you probably have to sweat out the annual employee performance review. And, if your employer is doing it right, it’s not only when you find out how much of a raise you’re getting, but where you stand and where you’re going in your career.

A glowing performance review is always a good experience, but a negative one doesn’t have to be a setback. You can turn a bad review into an opportunity to grow and improve your career if you handle it the right way. “Plenty of highly successful performers have had a not-so-stellar review at some point in their career,” says Nancy Sherr, life coach and owner of A Zestful Life in New York.

The first priority is to stay calm and objective—a tall order after hearing negatives about yourself, but it’s important if you’re going to be constructive going forward. “By handling the interaction in good form, you’ll illuminate your ability to remain professional in what may be a challenging situation,” Sherr says. “Becoming defensive, argumentative, angry, or sobbing will not lead to a positive outcome.”

The easiest way to remain calm is not to respond right away. Most employers will give you a copy of your performance review in writing for your records, so sit with it and really pay attention to the critique. Then, ask your supervisor to explain what his or her expectations are: What exactly would have earned you a good review on each point?

“Let it sink in,” says Linda Wright of Wright Co-Active Coaching. “A lot times if you’re handed a bad review, you see it as: ‘You’ve done poorly and everything is wrong.’ Well,” she points out, “that may not be the case. It may be one area where you need to work.”

How to respond is another issue. Experts disagree on whether to contest the substance of the review. Unless you have some specific achievements you want to point out that were overlooked, arguing that the criticism is unfair can be counterproductive. After all, it is based on the impressions of your supervisor about how you perform within the company.

It is a good idea, however, to set up a time to sit with your supervisor and develop a plan to work on the weak spots that were mentioned in the review. “Everyone is not super-duper at everything,” says Robin Samora, president of Let’s Make You Shine. “It’s a good idea for the supervisor to be able to expand on your strengths and offer suggestions for things they think you can do. You can also ask what development programs are available in the company.”

A negative performance review doesn’t have to be a setback.

If you’re told you’re having trouble expressing yourself or participating at meetings, you can ask if the company will help you join a training group such as Toastmasters. If it’s technical or language skills, maybe your boss can help you line up training or classes. The bottom line is: You need to own up to the trouble spots and offer ways to improve.

During the performance review, listen carefully and ask questions, but frame them in a positive manner: “What would have been a better solution?” is better than “What would you rather have had me do?” A good manager will perceive your interest and focus as a good sign, says Sherr.

Samora recalled once in her twenties when she got a 2% raise that she felt was smaller than she deserved. So she set up a meeting, asked her boss to reconsider, and she not only got a bigger raise, but a confidence boost, as well. “There’s always a nice way to say everything, even when it’s unpleasant,” she says. “You have to be able to stand up for yourself.”

Wrap up your meeting by setting up a timeframe to check in again with the boss to ask about your progress. Regular check-ins should be a part of your routine, anyway.

Negative reviews rarely come out of left field, say experts. If they do, it can be a sign that there’s something wrong in the workplace or how you fit into it. If that’s the case, you need to take inventory and decide how to move on. It can be asking for a transfer to another department—or maybe starting a job search.

“You can tell if the supervisor is willing to work with you or not,” says Wright. “If they gave you a bad review and just want to get rid of you, you’re going to know that.”

For Women & Co. by Mercedes Cardona, OMH Communications

Need a little direction in your life or career? Is that rut you’ve been in feeling less like a rough patch and more like a lifestyle? It might be time to call in a professional.

“It’s a good idea to look for a life coach when you’re stuck, you seem to be spinning your wheels, and your gut tells you there’s something more, and that you need to make a change,” said Robin Samora, president of Let’s Make You Shine in Boston, MA.

So what do life coaches do, exactly? Generally, they help you clarify your life and career goals and develop a plan to make them happen. A coach will help you set up the steps you need to take and follow up—either in person, by phone, or online—as you work through each step. You will need to do the work, but the coach will serve as a guide and facilitator.

“A life coach is to a therapist as a personal trainer is to a doctor,” said Nancy Sherr, life coach and owner of A Zestful Life. “Life coaches work on forward momentum and goal-attainment tailored to the client.” (There are times, however, when you may need some extra-professional help. If you suffer from burnout, and you think depression may be a factor, you should talk to your doctor and work with a therapist.)

The costs of coaching vary widely, depending on the region of the country and the coach’s experience and credentials. In a major city like New York or Los Angeles, $150 to $300 a session or $500 to $1,000 a month is not unreasonable for top coaches, said John McGrail, life coach and author of The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation (Career Press, 2012).

Many coaches create packages or have sliding-scale fees to accommodate clients with all ranges of income. Coach Steffi Black in Toronto said she charges $90 per session to students and the unemployed, and $150 for working clients. Her three-month intensive package, including email and phone follow-up, starts at $1,200.

So how do you find the right coach to make your investment pay?

Coaching is not a licensed profession, but there are a number of coaching organizations that offer training and certification. Most coaches will belong to one or more of them, and these organizations are a good place to start looking, advises Keri Kuerbis Lehmann, a coach in the San Francisco area. The International Coach Federation will help you find certified coaches, but contacting coaching schools will give you a clearer view of the coach’s philosophy, she said. The ICF has a referral service and membership directory online and a tip sheet with sample questions to ask a prospective coach.

A life coach is to a therapist as a personal trainer is to a doctor.

Most coaches will offer a complimentary session to see if there’s a fit between coach and client, notes Amelia Gandomi Lewis, owner and coach of Advance Yourself Coaching. “Do you feel an instant rapport and understanding with the coach, or as if you are talking to someone from another planet? Your instincts will tell you if it feels right,” she said.

McGrail advises making sure you find someone who works in the areas you want to improve, and ask for referrals to past clients you can talk to. “If a potential coach will not offer you a chance to talk with clients with whom they have worked on similar issues,” he said, “in two words—don’t go!”

McGrail also suggests looking for someone who will not only teach you how to get where you want to be, but also show you the tools to work on your own, not expect you to stay dependent on them. “Someone who keeps you hanging on and writing checks may not be as interested in your empowerment as in filling their pockets with your money,” he said.

 

I’m so excited to share some great news with you. Today I am the featured Inspirational Luminary on InspireMeToday.com, sharing my wisdom with the world. This FREE website is one to bookmark!

Inspire Me Today features the ‘Brilliance’ of a new Luminary every day. You can start your day with the wisdom of Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Neale Donald Walsch, Marci Shimoff, or one of hundreds more, now including me. I’m so honored to be with such esteemed company!

To help you stay inspired, you can sign up to receive this 3 minute ‘Today’s Brilliance’ pick-me-up each day by email, by RSS feed or as an iPhone app. You can even subscribe to it on the new Google Currents.

Please visit the site today and help me inspire the world. If my traffic and comments break records, they’ll share my content with millions of additional people too! I hope you’ll check it out, leave a comment and share it with your friends.

From the folks at Inspire Me Today and from me, thank you in advance for your kind support. I know you’re going to love InspireMeToday.com! Together we really can inspire the world.

Be inspired, always,

Robin

Click Here to listen to listen in on Enterprise Radio host Eric Dye & guest Robin Samora discuss the following:

  • Who is Robin Samora and what qualifies you as a Business and PR strategist ?
  • Who needs your services?  How does a client work with you?
  • Can you give us an example where you’re especially proud of the success of one of your clients because it shows a direct result from your counseling?
  • Name the symptoms experienced by someone who needs to embolden their lives by strategizing with you?
  • Why can’t people sort this out themselves…what does strategizing with you provide them that they can’t do on their own?

TIP: You are your own brand and you need to market yourself with that in mind.  Identify who you are and what your company stands for before hitting the road with the latest PR gimmick. What good is it if the world sees or hears you and thinks of fuzzy kittens on your YouTube video, but you’re selling hardware? You need to develop a strategy for your self-promotion that just doesn’t get you out there, but instead gets you out there with meaning, with creativity, and that’s consistent with your business mission. You need to be able to stand out in a crowd.

Robin Samora is a business and PR strategist who helps entrepreneurs take a leap of faith to make more money and get recognized in a crowded marketplace.  Her passion is coaching professionals to expand their limits to get the business and attention they deserve – so they can share their gifts and profits with the world.  With a background in business and marketing, Robin not only drives clients to uncover their personal profit centers, but she goes one step farther – she works with her clients to uncover unique strategies to bring their messages to the masses. Robin is a life-long entrepreneur, idea-generator and the founder of the Let’s Make You Shine Fund, which empowers young women to advance their education and use their special gifts to help others.

I am excited to announce that Partner Promotions will be representing Ovation TV at the Shakespeare on the Boston Common Friday, July 29 – Sunday, August 14th.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s annual free Shakespeare on the Common production will be All’s Well That Ends Well, at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common, in partnership with the City of Boston and Mayor Menino.

This is the 16th year of Shakespeare on the Common, and All’s Well That Ends Well is a Shakespearean comedy and globe-trotting adventure of how far one woman will go to win the heart of her beloved.

Helena loves Bertram, but marriage is the last thing on Bertram’s mind. With boundless wit and tenacity, Helena pursues Bertram from Paris to Florence and through a maze of obstacles thrown at her by chance, circumstance, and her fiancé’s recalcitrance, finally emerging victorious.

The program, which has become a beloved civic institution, will draw an estimated 75,000 people over 16 performances.

I hope you can join us!

Often we’re so consumed in our own thoughts that we forget to realize — if we’re taking the right steps, and have intention and inspired action in our work, and in our passion, that the pieces of the puzzle will fall together. What puzzle? Projects that require multiple strategic steps, by a handful of people, with a purpose and focused end goal in mind.

And so it happened today, or yesterday really, as I write this in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The start of the week, and a jam packed day, the kind of day with clarity, activity and excitement every entrepreneur dreams of. Baboom. Our press releases were read, noted, and the media were on their way. A photo session was scheduled, as well as plans for an upcoming interview for Let’s make You Shine, and the Make Money Monday Tour. All this, at today’s MMM stop, the Coffee Break Café in Quincy.

Wow.

Even more Wow, was that a young business owner from Canton, came to see me at the Tour stop, and just happening to be there, had photos taken too, with the Patriot Ledger. Tina Prisco, from Te Salon came to meet me for free business advice, got an hour’s worth of ideas, and just by chance, got unexpected added value to promote her salon. That’s what I call great timing.

One person can start a business, but it takes a team to grow a business. That’s tweetable.

Tina, listen in.

Sales, writing, consulting, social media, payroll, technical work, PR, joint ventures, public speaking gigs, newsletters, interview series, and I could go on, take time. Lots of it. The life of an entrepreneur, and the many hats we wear, and the many who wear those hats, work best when pieces fit like a puzzle.

I am grateful to my team who help lay out the pieces to the puzzle, and strategize where to put them.

I am grateful for their expertise, because I’m only one person.

It takes one person to start a business, but a team, a great team like mine, to grow a business.

Don’t force the pieces of a puzzle to fit. Each has its place, and reason to be there.

You can be an expert, but not of everything.

Share the wealth. Let everyone shine.

There’s such pride in a finished puzzle.

One night, quite late, I visited my local Border’s bookstore.  I was looking for reference material on Confidence and Charisma for an upcoming tele-class.  Most of my lesson was thought through, but being a book junkie,  I wanted more scientific data. After all, is it true that confidence and charisma can be part of your DNA?  My listeners would want to know!

Lucky for me, I had the help of a wonderful Store Manager, Dan, who spent the last 15 minutes of his shift concentrating on my project – in fact, right up to the 10:00PM closing hour. For a slow Monday night, I probably raised his store’s GNP. I purchased four books, all business related, and promised to read every one of them in the next coming month.

While I was checking out, I introduced myself to Dan and told him who I was, what I was doing, and asked if there were ever opportunities for speaking engagements at Borders.

I followed up, about six weeks later in person, and again by phone. Then, by a proposal, bio, and photo – an electronic press kit of sorts.

Next month, on May 17th I have a speaking gig at Borders.  And, it will be customized to Border’s request, but also based on my expertise.

I’ll have six weeks of free publicity and promotion from Borders, and my team will be supporting me — preparing press releases, Facebook postings, and Tweeting about my talk.

One late night visit to a book store.

One opportunity to, “just ask”.

What are you asking for?

You’re a busy entrepreneur pulled in a million directions.  Meetings, network receptions, events, campaigns.

Sometimes it’s hard to fit it all in. If you’re promoting yourself properly — You Have Your Info Out There! That means press releases in a steady flow about where you are and what you’re doing.  It also includes social media components.  I’m fairly new to social media, but have a team of textperts and experts who are also on the go, helping “me” get out there in the marketplace.

If I can’t get out there, how can I help you get attention in a crowded marketplace? That’s my passion!

So, what do I do?   Set up a Google Alert on myself.

One night I came home to three postings on the web  (see below) :

I might have been skiing, I might have been working, I might have been creating a new proposal for a client, or on a strategy call with a small business owner.

But the bottom line is this.  My name was out there.  And Google let me know.

Thank you Google.

I appreciate the referral.

 

Robin Samora, Business & Life Strategist, discussed ways to use your brilliance to boost your bottom line at a gathering for small business owners and entrepreneurs at the Citizen’s Bank in East Milton on February 15.

The group was eager to learn from Samora, a successful entrepreneur who has launched two companies and makes it her mission to help small business owners make more profits, get more attention, and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Robin, who has worked with major Fortune 500 companies promoting products and services, wanted to utilize her talents and years of business experience, realizing that she loved working one on one with clients and small businesses.