Sticks + Stones

“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.”



Sticks + Stones                                                                            (image via Google)

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? OMG. That was actually something we put into children’s minds.

I like to think we have evolved more intellectually and emotionally to know how incredibly damaging that message is. But sadly, that is not always the case.

Words matter… in business and in life.

  • They create an awesome experience. Or create a not so awesome one.

  • They help build confidence. And they can destroy it.

  • They build relationships. And break them.

  • They build trust. Or create doubt.

  • They can excite me. Or they can bore me.

How much time do you spend choosing the words you are using in your business communications, both online and off?

How much care do you use when choosing the words you use when coaching a team member or speaking to a colleague?

How conscious are you of the words you choose when talking to yourself? (and please don’t even tell me you don’t talk to yourself. We all do. Whether we are conscious of it or not.)

Some wander through the social web, through business, and life, using words that have the potential to cause damage. But some choose to use words that empower, enrich the conversation and create awesome experiences.

Your choice. Choose wisely.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Posted in ENGAGE, GROW on October 20th, 2014

Mad Love For @larisadoll

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

 Zig Ziglar


Mad Love for Larisadoll


Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

Social listening and healthy stalking does have its privileges. And that is exactly how I discovered and met one of the most passionate and inspirational hairdressers I have ever known, Larisa Love aka @larisadoll on Instagram.

If you read my blog or listened to my Masters Series interview with Winn Claybaugh, then you have heard me speak of this awesomeness creator. I have been watching and listening to her for almost a year now.

One of the most awesome things I get to do at Passion Squared is connect with the best of the best, study them, learn from them, and many times actually meet them offline, then carry that message to my clients and community.

I’m not gonna lie, I am a big fan, and when Larisa and I set our date to meet, I got butterflies in my tummy. Why? Respect. Plain and simple. I knew this girl was special, but I also knew I only knew her online persona. And awesomely enough, she also works in the most beautiful bungalow at Butterfly Loft Salon in Encino. So butterflies were for sure an appropriate emotion.


So what did I learn about what makes Larisa so awesome?

1. Authenticity
Larisa is the real deal. As beautiful inside as out. This is probably the most important thing to learn about her success. Authenticity is everything in today’s world, and you can be Insta famous, have a gazillion followers, but fall flat offline if you are not truly authentic.

2. Focus + Direction
Larisa has such insane clarity of direction and focus for such a young (in years) human. People often ask me what is one of the most common challenges I see working with small businesses in the beauty and wellness worlds. My answer. Focus and direction.

3. She Knows Her Why
Larisa is crystal clear on her why, promise, purpose and target market as a brand. She is consistent in her work, her brand identity, her boundaries, and how she presents her brand and creates stories that matter on Instagram. She knows her brand why. Remember, as the awesome Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

4. Instagram Can Build A Business
Larisa learned very early in her short 4-year career as a hairdresser that Instagram would be the platform to engage, connect, build relationships and ultimately grow a business that has her booked until 2016 with 800 people on her waiting list. She chose one platform, she chose to focus intently on it, and she has never wavered. She spends at minimum 2 hours a day creating content, posting and engaging with her followers. You may think 2 hours is a lot of time. My question back to you is are you happy with your marketing plan and how it’s helping you grow your business?

5. Consistency
This could be Larisa’s middle name. Her beautiful work speaks for itself. But what matters even more is her consistency. In branding, in hair, in engagement, in posting, in content creation, and in voice.

Can every stylist have 40K followers and an 800-person waiting list? I don’t really know. But what I do know, is the above traits and actions are just some of the reasons Larisa has been SO successful, and it also happens to be traits and actions I see in many others creating awesome in their business.

As I have said before and I will always say, there is NO secret or magic pill. Creating awesome takes commitment, courage, consistency and most of all caring. And Larisa is all of those things and so much more.

If you are not already, follow @larisadoll and learn. Then go out and create your own kind of awesome.

A big shout out of gratitude and thanks to Larisa, her beautiful, kind and talented BF @dylankelly and David and Alexis, the awesome owners of Butterfly Loft Salon for such a special evening. I am in awe of all of you and so grateful to know you.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

(awesome photos courtesy of @larisadoll)

Posted in ENGAGE, GROW, PASSIONISTA PROFILE on October 13th, 2014

The Wake Up Call

“The Universe is not short on wake up calls. We are just quick to hit the snooze button.”

Brene Brown

the wake up call

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

Many of us have had them. Some of us don’t know we have. And some of us just hit the snooze button when they happen.

Wake up calls happen all the time, in business and in life. The opportunity for us is to listen for them and to them, if we want to create an awesome biz + life.

Wake Up Call #1
A few team members are asking for raises all within a few days of each other. To me, that is a sign of something deeper. Meaning, it’s time to connect with those team members to see where they are in their career and life. Something is behind the desire for a raise. What is it?

 Wake Up Call #2
A slew of social posts about a particular company seem to be gaining momentum and people are just not happy. Will that be a wake up call, or is that company not even listening?

Wake Up Call #3
People begin not showing up to meetings, or come in late to work. Do we build resentment or decide to dig deeper into why that is.

Wake Up Call #4
Sales begin to slowly drop, less new clients are coming in, and staff is leaving. Do we see that as a wake up call or do we hit the snooze button and blame the month, season, weather or staff member.

Wake Up Call #5
A series of not so awesome YELP reviews are posted about a business. All saying similar things. The front desk staff is not nice, nobody answers the phone, the bathrooms are dirty. A wake up call? You bet. But only if the business is listening.

Wake Up Call #6
A feeling of stress and overwhelm continue to fill our bodies. Is this a wake up call? You bet it is. It’s time to look at our lives and begin to create space to breathe and get to the source of the stress and overwhelm so it can be fixed.

Awareness is the key in listening for wake up calls. It is so much easier to hit the snooze button versus dealing with issues, problems or wake up calls. It takes a ton of courage to listen for them and deal with them. And until we do, be prepared for that alarm to keep ringing.

Do you have any wake up calls you have ignored only to have them come back bigger and louder? I would love to hear your thoughts. I’m listening.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Posted in ENGAGE, GROW on October 6th, 2014

PS: I Know You Liked Your Post

“Focus on how to be social, not do social.”

Jay Baer



Liking Your Own Posts?

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

So I asked a very simple question last week on Facebook and Instagram, thinking I would get a pretty straightforward answer. “Is it OK to like our own posts on Facebook, Instagram or any other social platforms?” I applaud all those who courageously shared their thoughts. Thank you!

Now I could have been more clear, I was speaking about business pages and posts, not personal. So this post is about business pages and my professional view is based on countless hours of engaging myself, reading, researching, following respected leaders in the space, and watching my own and my clients behaviors and analytics.

The short answer
No, there is no need for your business to like its own posts. And if people are paying attention, it looks kinda lame and desperate.

The longer answer
Why Are We Even There?
The purpose of engaging on social platforms for business is to share, engage, listen, build relationships and create connections. Based on the objectives of the business being on a social platform, those actions could result in increased traffic to your website, referrals and revenue.

How Can We Create More Engagement?
1. Sharing your business posts to your personal pages (if the target audience is similar) can increase engagement on Facebook, since personal pages seem to show up more in the news feed than business pages.

2. Creating a content strategy that creates value for your followers.

3. Posting consistently and often. How often? It depends on your audience. And only trying different approaches and measuring them will give you that answer.

In the end, the goal is not to try to game the system, the goal is to create relevant, meaningful content that adds value to your community. Whether its on Facebook, Instagram, a blog or e-newsletter.

We move towards what we focus on. So instead of focusing on likes or being seen, I say we focus on how we can be of service to the humans that choose to follow us and listen to us. And liking your own post just does not fit into that.

What are your thoughts? Please share your comments below, or on Facebook, and of course, you can always inbox me. I’m listening.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Posted in ENGAGE on September 29th, 2014

My Night With Jared Leto

“If you are willing to walk the path of a dreamer, then anything is possible.”

Jared Leto


30 Seconds To Mars Concert

                                       (images via Jared Leto Instagram, follow him, cause he’s awesome!)

Here is the audio version of this post, thank you so much for listening.

So yes, this happened. My awesome Sis Lisa got tickets to see Jared as an early birthday present to me. I mean, wow. Best Sis ever, right? This post is about my night, and actually, my recent love affair with the human that is Jared Leto.

The Leto Experience
I have been a kinda fan of his for a while. But I became a mega fan when I watched his awesome doc Artifact. I mean to be honest, I think I have watched it a gazillion times. And each time I cry. So there’s that. And his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, OMG. No words really except for the fact that I lost some of the most awesome humans during those times in the 80′s to AIDS, and the story touched deep in my heart. So when Jared won the Oscar, well, you can only imagine my emotions, and yes, I cried.

So, to be able to see him live, I wondered if my love affair with him from afar would become stronger after seeing him LIVE. Well, of course, the answer is YES, squared!

What is it about him that I am so obsessed with? His humanity. Yes, he is a #megababe, but that is not what it is. He is real. He is authentic. He connects. He creates. He engages. He cares. He is vulnerable. He dreams. He is imperfect. He is passion. He is love.

As I sat at the Hollywood Bowl that night, having a panic attack, which is another blog, I knew I had to get incredibly focused as to not lose my s#%t! So I choose to focus intently on him. On his dialogue. On his energy. On how he connected with the audience. And again, I cried.

Authenticity + Transparency
In a world craving transparency and authenticity, to experience Jared Leto LIVE confirmed to me that the true way to make a difference in the lives of others is to truly care. To authentically & passionately connect and engage. To be whole. Not one person on Instagram and another at a concert.

At the end of their set, he shared with the audience that the band would be at their merch tent signing CD’s for as long as they could. Are you kidding me? An Oscar winner? A mega rock star? Signing CD’s? Yes. Because they care.

The Lesson
The lesson in all this? Authenticity, transparency, passion & caring are and will continue to be the foundations of an awesome business.

No matter how big or how small you are, if you allow your head to blow up, become driven by ego, get too “busy” and full of yourself, and think you are “too big to fail” all I can say is proceed with caution.

If you are a passionate studier of business, if you are passionate about artists, please see Artifact. And if Jared comes to town, well, you know, you just gotta go!

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

PS: A big thanks to my Sis for creating an awesome night for me, and having so much compassion & patience when I have panic attacks. I love you Sis!

Posted in ENGAGE, GROW on September 22nd, 2014