Archives For Business Strategies

By Dr. Susan Ziebarth

People tend to love or hate Valentine’s Day. Whether you are a devotee of the day or a person who celebrates anti-valentines, you may discover that focusing on yourself can actually make you better at appreciating and giving to others be they lover, family, friend or colleague. This blog post offers you three arguments to put yourself first in order to grow your business or advance your career.

High achieving women are passionately driven to make a difference. Often these women have multiple roles which bring multiple demands on their time.  Many of us begin to see taking time for ourselves as a luxury that we cannot afford. There are also those among us who may not even consciously be aware that we are harming our loved ones, our businesses, or our careers by not thinking of ourselves.

The airlines recognize that we need to be told to put the oxygen on ourselves first before we help others and yet on a day to day basis we forget to breathe. Many years ago as a CEO of a national organization, who was focused on her career, I ignored my body when it complained to me.

Eventually, it complained loud enough to make me visit my osteopath. His diagnosis – I wasn’t breathing. I thought he was nuts but I discovered I really was starving my body of oxygen.  I had to become much more conscious of my body and listen to what it was telling me — I had to slow down. I had to breathe.

Time is money is a phrase that is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. The effects of that philosophy have shaped so much of what we do. We tend to break down our day into time and money segments and we ramp up our speed so we can try to fit more and more into those 24 hours we have each day. Many high-achieving women have become whirling dervishes of multi-tasking.

Own Your Value

In his book Value Based Fees: How to Charge – and Get – What You’re Worth, Alan Weiss writes about the courage and belief systems that underlie consultants not focusing on true value for their clients. Time units are a much easier way to measure but do they really measure successful outcomes and true value for clients? The challenge for women business owners and women executives is the undervaluing of their worth – not considering the true value they offer to their clients and organizations. While focusing on yourself may sound like an odd way to help your clients, it really isn’t. The time spent in bringing your unconscious thoughts to the conscious level can greatly enhance what you can offer and allow you to flow with what you are doing.

Stop Multi-tasking

Do you still think that your ability to multitask is a factor of which to be proud? Think again. The evidence shows that giving yourself time to focus on one thing at a time helps improve productivity and success. You may realize you are currently living a myth if you think that others are just not as proficient at multi-tasking as you are. Look at this infographic at to see if any of this research sounds a chord within you.

Slow Down

Give yourself 20 minutes to watch Carl Honore’s TED talk  In Praise of Slowness

Carl says that “By slowing down at the right moments, people find that they do everything better: They eat better; they make love better; they exercise better; they work better; they live better.”

So what do you think? Can you spend just one day – perhaps Valentine’s Day – and look at how to you can better own your value, be more productive by focusing on one task, or can you slowdown to be more present with your experiences?

What is your biggest challenge in trying these three things? Please leave a comment below.




By Dr. Susan Ziebarth

Sometimes lessons come from the weirdest places. Nick Nanton and JW Dicks highlighted lessons learned from looking at the Twinkie as an Eternal brand. What struck me about this fun and helpful post is that they highlight the significance of emotions to the life of a brand, the internal alignment employees need to have with the brand, and the value of storytelling to build recurring business.

Branding is often thought of as “all of the promises and perceptions that an organization wants its customers to feel about its product and service offerings” (Davis, S.M.). So how can we determine what feelings we want our customers to feel and how do we act so as to inspire those feelings? Perhaps the answer is to first do some soul searching. In Brains on Fire, the authors take a stand that they prefer the word identity over the word brand because they feel that by “finding your purpose in the world as a company, you unearth your soul” (p. 110). What is your story?

At times we get so involved with developing a marketing plan that it becomes an exercise in itself and segregated from the identity of the culture and purpose of the business – the identity and your story. “Brands provide a sense of meaningful identity that is distinct from the particular product or service being offered” (Blumenthal).  It may appear to be easier for packaged goods in retail and business to business marketing to sell because they have tangible objects. However, brands that excel know what service providers who offer intangible offerings that often offer a promise for the future know – you need to know the values and the why behind your brand.

What is uniquely you? What do you stand for? What do you do? Why do you do it? The energy you invest in answering these questions will allow you to convey a more personal, authentic, and soulful brand. A brand where people are likely to feel the emotions you desire they feel. Before you start looking at marketing opportunities, budget, and evaluation options etc. get clear on your identity. Who are you and what do you do? Remember your answer does not have to be cast in stone. Just as people grow and change so can your brand, just make the changes consciously to stay true to your identity.

Reference: Blumenthal, D. (2003). Internal Branding: does it improve employee’s quality of life? Institute for Brand Leadership. Retrieved March 2004, from