Attitude Adjustment, Podcast

SDN EP 52: The Five Basics of Killer Success That Most People Forget

We get so caught up in listening to famous people and looking up at the stars that we forget the basics of business success that we have to do every day.

Success isn't all about the amazing last second three point shots. It's about the basics of your sport.

Read More
Attitude Adjustment

SDN019: How I made $400,000 from a single conversation

One of the best things you can be in life and in business is more outgoing and more approachable when it comes to making new friends. I thought I'd use this time between us to talk about my history- how I'm more outgoing, more boisterous; how I make great connections, how I shake more hands, and how it's benefited me in my life and in my business.

As far as I know, as a kid, I was always very outgoing. I never knew a stranger. Everybody was a friend. I don't ever recall having a fear of speaking to strangers, but I know that a lot of people do. They are afraid of approaching people, talking to people, and making friends out of strangers.

How did I get here?

I thought about my history and what it took for me to get over that. At one point in time, I realized I was more outgoing than others. Even though it was never a fear of mine, I can still think of a couple of different milestones, or experiences I've had that helped me become as approachable as I am.

Like I said, as a kid, I was already very outgoing and very approachable. I didn't see an enemy in every room. I would come up and talk to everybody probably to the point where it scared my mom because most parents like their kids to be afraid of strangers and I was never, ever afraid of a stranger.

In high school I joined the marching band where we did several public performances. It was part of the job to be boisterous and outgoing in order to attract the attention of the judges and others in the world of competition. I'm not sure if that ever really helped, but I’m sure it contributed to the evolvement of my personality.

Once I joined the military, a friend and I picked up a side job as disc jockeys. This meant we had to be on a microphone, talking to a large group of people, on a regular basis. Most of them sober, but a good chunk of them were also intoxicated. We always had to be entertaining. We always had to introduce events. We always had to basically make people enjoy their time with us, in between playing music. Everyone would come out to see us, to have a drink, and to get away from the stress of life. It was very important that we talked on a regular basis. I really got comfortable with speaking in public and realized that I wasn't so much concerned about making mistakes as I was making sure people had a great time.

Later in life, as I embarked on a technology career, I realized I really enjoyed teaching and speaking in public. I would get involved in teaching classes at the different companies that I worked at. Most people would shy away from teaching classes, especially technology classes because you have a very rough crowd, but not me. I would always look forward to them, even jump at the opportunity. I would rather be standing up in front of a classroom, teaching what I know. And because technology can usually be a pretty boring topic, I’d teach in a way that was entertaining and fun.

Eventually, as I left my formal job and embarked on my own career in 1998, being able to speak to a group of people, whether it was 2 or 200 people, became essential in business. I was travelling all over the world, to different countries, speaking about technology and training people on the technology for the company that I was working for. I actually ended up as a consultant and as one of the better trainers because I was able to communicate ideas very well. On many occasions, people said that they really understood and liked the way that I taught the subject.

The $400,000 conversation ...

There is even one particular time I can remember standing in a airport line in Oklahoma City where being more outgoing and approachable landed me several hundred thousand dollars in business with the US government. This was post 9/11 and the lines were long and slow. I struck up a long conversation with a department manager for the Veterans' Affairs. As we made our way through the airport line we talked about many topics, some of them work-related. Once we were on the other side of the metal detectors, we exchanged cards and parted ways. About a month later she called me asking if I could come in and do some IT analysis for her. That single conversation started a multi-year government contract that ended up in $400,000 of additional revenue. I've had many other scenarios like this where being a little outgoing was very beneficial for my business.

I thought I'd review some reasons why I think people aren't as outgoing as I am. These aren't really faults or problems; these are just my observations and why I think people just sometimes have a little bit more fear about being more outgoing.

The first reason is past experiences. One of the first places you have the opportunity to express yourself is ask a kid, in school. And kids are cruel. Let’s say you’re performing on stage- theatrically or musically. All your buddies are in the audience and they're poking fun at you. They're laughing at you. They're throwing stuff at you. They're not really the kind of people that encourage you. They are your peers and you really respect their opinions, and your peers are being cruel to you.

You may have had an experience similar to this or something else that has really dissuaded you from feeling safe enough to put yourself out there, to be more public or vocal with your opinions. Past experiences might also lead to my second point, which is, I think, people have a really high fear of making mistakes.

It's one thing to make a mistake when you're at your desk, by yourself, on a computer and there's nobody around. But making a mistake while in front of a group of people can be mortifying for some. You may have the fear that this group of people is smarter or wiser than you or just understand the topic better. Maybe you voiced your opinion once and somebody beat you down by saying, "You know what? You made a huge mistake there. That's not at all what's going on." Once that happens, it could be harmful psychologically and you may really want to turn back into an introvert and never speaking in public again. That goes along with my next point, which is fearing what people will think of you.

The judgement of your peers brings fear which might be holding you back ...

From the moment you stand on a stage, or in front of a room of people, you are being judged and listened to. People are judging everything from the tone of your voice, your rate of speech, how your hair/makeup/clothes looks, to how you walk, use your hands, or how your slides look. There are 100 different things that people can judge about you once you are in front of a group of people speaking. Criticism of any of these factors could be a huge point of self-consciousness. This could be another reason you may have the fear of being more outgoing.

The last reason may be something as simple as you don't feel you have anything to say. Often times when people approach me about going into a public speaking career, they're like, "I love the idea of public speaking, but I have nothing to say." Then we have to work with them through that and figure out, "What's your business? What's your message? Why do you enjoy public speaking, or why are you afraid of public speaking and how can we get you over that fear when you don't think you have anything to say?"

Those are a few reasons why people come to me and say that they do not want to get involved in the world of being more outgoing, or specifically public speaking. I'm going to run through some benefits that I've had over the years by doing it and then maybe give you a list of things you can do next to get started yourself.

First of all, I can tell you that I've made more friends by being more outgoing, or for lack of a better term, exposing myself more. I wear my heart on my sleeve, put my opinion out there and am just generally more vocal about what I think. By doing this, I have made more friends. I could also tell you definitively that it has generated more business and better business for me whether it's speaking to someone when I'm in a coffee shop line, or speaking at a conference or training event. Being more outgoing and willing to share my opinion in a very verbal fashion has helped my business tremendously.

If you want to run your own business, being outgoing and approachable is not optional ...

If you're someone who is an entrepreneur, or wants to be one, this is going to be a skill that you're going to have to have. One of the last benefits I've realized is that by being more outgoing and willing to speak up in public, you're actually considered more of an expert. People will buy more from an expert than they will from an amateur. It's not what's in our brains or how much experience, or intelligence we have about a particular topic. The expert is the person that stands up and says something about a topic. It's not the person who knows the most- it's the person who says the most and markets the most.

If you're someone, like I said, who's going to be an entrepreneur, or you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to get your opinions heard and you want to be considered an expert, being a public speaker, being more outgoing with your thoughts, feelings, and opinions is going to be crucial.

How do you get started in this world? How do you get started being more outgoing and being more approachable? It takes practice. All good things take practice. You have to practice it on a daily basis.

How do you practice being more outgoing? You talk to strangers more. I don't have any problem talking to strangers, whether it be at the bookstore or the coffee shop, I have no problem approaching someone, finding a common point of interest, and then maybe introducing myself and saying, "Hey, I noticed you're drinking the same kind of coffee I do. What do you think about it? Have you tried this?" Or, when I'm looking at business books, or technology books, I'll see if somebody has a book or they're contemplating a book. I'll find a common point of interest.

One of my best ways to introduce myself to a stranger has always been to find a common point of interest and then leapfrog it from there. Find people in random places, coffee shops, and bookstores are great places. Find a common point of interest and springboard from there. Also, I would encourage you to attend more public events where there are people that want to network. People attend networking events for the specific purpose of meeting new people. Everyone's going there for the same reason you're going there, but often times people that go there are really shy. There's a lot of networking going on. In those particular cases, remember that you're all there for a common purpose whether it's you have a common love of scrapbooking, model cars, or video games- remember that you're all there in the same place for the same purpose. You want to take advantage of that. You know what their common interest is. You don't have to worry about finding one like I was talking about earlier in a coffee shop, or in a bookstore. You already know there's a common interest there.

You use that common interest as a springboard to basically make a new friend and connect with that person off line and that in turn will beget new relationships after that. You're going to have to be more outgoing yourself. You can't wait for people to approach you. When you want to be more outgoing on a particular topic, you are going to have to proactively go out and talk to people. That's how you're going to build relationships. That's how you're going to become better and more comfortable at it.

Frequent public speaking will make you more comfortable ...

I promise you the more public speaking you do, the more networking you do, you will become comfortable with it and you will get better at it. There will always be a little bit of fear, but eventually it won’t be so bad. I don’t think that ever completely goes away. My interest in building my business, my genuine interest in other people's stories and their lives overrides that fear and as a result, I've been able to make some great friends in this world. I've made some great business contacts and my personal growth has blossomed as has my business growth. I hope this has helped you maybe figure out how to be a more outgoing person. I'd love to hear your feedback on some other tips and tricks that you've done, or ways where you've seen your life or business transform by being a more outgoing person.

Thank you for reading.

Read More
Attitude Adjustment

You Are The Light

With the name Holly you cannot even imagine the number of holiday socks, ornaments, trinkets, and cards I get. Let me begin by saying I am NOT a Christmas, or holiday baby either. I’m often telling people “Holly’s the name, holidays are the game.” I do happen to love the holidays. That time of year when everyone pretends to be happy, and joy filled. Yet when honest we all know that just beyond the surface of the Santa hats, menorahs and gifts is a little exhaustion, and fear.

As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season rapidly approaching and you feel the energy of exhaustion setting in remember you are the light. When you see the menorahs going up remember you do not have to be Jewish to recognize the light in you. As you witness the holiday trees full of colored lights and the homes in your neighborhood going up on the houses remember you are One in that light.

At the holidays we do not even have the opportunity to do nothing. We must remember we are One in our one-ness as a spirit. May you enjoy a holiday season just a little less stressful this year. In the spirit of Stop Doing Nothing, this season. Give yourself a little break. Take one thing off your “to do” list so you can simply be with the energy of love that surrounds the holiday season.

Let me know, what will you take off your “to do” list this year to simply become a little happier. Send me an email at: [email protected].

Me, I think I’ll take putting up that second tree off my to do list. One is probably enough.

Love and light,


HollyDuckworth, CAE, CMP is CEO of Leadership Solutions International as consultant, speaker and facilitator on leadership and spirituality.

Author of Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association For Success, Holly is a columnist for MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange on the meetings industry and writes a regular international column on the future of spirituality in business for Science of Mind Magazine. She lives in Denver Colorado Learn more at, on LinkedIn and follow her on twitter @hduckworth

Read More
Performance & Productivity, Personal Development

How To Get Unstuck And Started (Even If You Love To Procrastinate)

We’ve all been there. You have. I have. Stuck.

Maybe you need to get your sales up or write a book. Maybe you need to deal with a staffing issue (or you need staff). Whatever the reason…being stuck sucks.

The good news is there are hacks that’ll get you unstuck, moving and productive again.

Before we get to that …

Advice is like water. Everyone needs it, but we don’t give it much credit for making life happen. Ask a person in the middle of a desert if water is “helpful” and you’ll get a different story. Why?

When you recognize the “cost” of being stuck the solution is much, much more valuable. So, before we dive into solutions I know work, think for a minute about the alternative. What is the real cost of being stuck?

If you don’t pick up the phone and call the client back. If you don’t create a deadline and start working on that book. If you don’t create those emails and ask people for the sale.

Procrastination has a cost.

Feel it? Good. Now, let’s move to getting you unstuck.

Ten ways to get unstuck, moving, and productive again.

1. Get real.

Think how many decisions you’ve to make in your life. In a year’s time this will seen minor, so why not just do it?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  - Churchill

2. Take a break.

When you focus your attention on a task completely unrelated, your mind can return to the original task refreshed and with a new perspective.

"Never taking a break from thought work actually reduces your ability to be creative" - Kimberly Elsbach, UC-Davis

3. Get physical.

Stand, stretch, go for a run, walk your dog -- physical movement increases the flow in your circulatory system, releases feel-good neurotransmitters (like Dopamine, and Serotonin) and puts you in a positive mood.

“Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain … it’s so good it’s like Miracle Gro.” - Dr. John Ratey, Harvard.

4. Stop doing list.

What is filling your time AND holding you back? Make a list (Jim Collins calls it your ‘Stop Doing list’) -- one of the fastest ways to get started is to stop doing those low-value tasks that are chewing up your time.

“The "stop doing" list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions.” - Jim Collins, author From Good to Great

5. Change your environment.

Clear the desk clutter, work from a local cafe, use paper instead of computer -- sometimes, a change is as good as a start.

"As a species, humans have evolved to respond to novelty, once we've become accustomed to something, we may grow immune to its effects. - Hugh Thompson, Ph.D

6. Be kind to yourself.

It’s easy to blame yourself -- don’t. You’ve been here before; you are capable and you will succeed. Have faith you will get through this period, just like every other time.

“Practicing self-compassion provides us with the kind voice and warm embrace we need in difficult times so we courageously do the right thing.” – Forbes

7. Let go of the past.

It’s hard to get started when your attention is on what didn’t work in the past. Take a deep breath, let it go and focus on what you want to create in the today, for the future.

“Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think.” - Tim Pychyl, Ph.D

8. Get advice.

Usually we can’t see the forest for the trees when we’re too close to the problem. Ask a good friend, hire a coach - even ask on-line. And then listen.

“When you ask for advice, people do not think less of you; they think you are smarter.” - Maurice Schweitzer, PhD of the Wharton School

9. Create a deadline.

A little tension (like a deadline) can move mountains and end procrastination. Give yourself a Decision Deadline (for the full project or a practical solution) and stick to it.

“Deadlines allow us to clarify our thoughts and create an action plan.” -  Dan Ariely, Ph.D

10. Create tiny wins.

Frustrated about sales? Call one prospect. Want to lose weight? Start walking 20 minutes a day. Need to apologize? Write a card. Any forward motion is a tiny win in the right direction.

“When you feel good about what you did, your brain will change. It will want to do the behavior again in the future. That leads to making the habit stronger.” - B.J. Fogg, Ph.D

Ten ways to get moving. All work. Only one question ... what are you doing here (get started).

Hugh Culver co-created the world’s most expensive tours (to the South Pole), started five companies, and teaches experts the business of speaking.

Read his blog on the business of speaking.

Follow him on Twitter @hughculver

Read More
Attitude Adjustment

Harvest Your Good: 7 Things to Release Into the Wind

Every fall I take a moment to enjoy the leaves falling from the trees and truly recognize that with each leaf falling the tree is giving up a part of itself it no longer needs. Trees do this naturally. Human beings on the other hand, releasing means work.

Being a leader in this transformational time means being open and willing to try new things and expand your comfort zone. 7 things to consider releasing like the leaves:

  • your need to be perfect
  • your need to have all the answers
  • your past
  • friends or relationships that no longer serve you
  • fear you are not enough
  • lack of money or resources
  • attachment to the way things have always been

Together we harvest the garden this fall take a moment to harvest your good. You can do this in a variety of ways

  • Start a journal
  • Begin a meditation practice
  • Write a thank you note and mail it
  • Vision what you want for the holiday season

As the energy of this planet moves to the darkest parts of the year honor the change of seasons by choosing what you want to change about yourself. Release those things no longer serving you and claim fully the things that will.

Let me know what you claim for yourself this fall via email [email protected] Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP is CEO of Leadership Solutions International as consultant, speaker and facilitator on leadership and spirituality.

Author of Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association For Success.

Holly is a columnist for MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange on the meetings industry and writes a regular international column on the future of spirituality in business for Science of Mind Magazine. She lives in Denver Colorado

Learn more at, on LinkedIn and also follow her on twitter at @hduckworth.

Read More
Attitude Adjustment

5 Must-Read Favorites to Expand Your Successful Life

Summer is the easiest time of year to justify doing nothing. What you do each summer also defines the successful and the not so successful.

I find summer to be a great time to read and learn. 

For me a balanced life is about growing in five areas mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial intelligence. So, I give you 5 books one for each area. I have read and loved these books. Each one has given me opportunity to educate myself, reflect, choose to change and have great conversations with others.

Summer reading list:

  • Mental or business growth:
    • Why by Simon Sinek
  • Physical growth:
    • 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
  • Emotional Growth:
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  • Financial Growth:
    • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Spiritual growth: So many books here I wish I could send you my entire library. Here is one of my recent favorites
    • Future of God by Deepak Chopra

And a bonus short book:

  • The Abundance Book by John Randolph Price

This summer even if you feel your body, mind and spirit telling you to take a break.

 Slow down and pick up one of my favorite books as a way to keep learning, laughing and loving the life you are creating for yourself.


Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP is CEO of Leadership Solutions International as consultant, speaker and facilitator on leadership and spirituality. Author of Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association For Success, Holly is a columnist for MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange on the meetings industry and writes a regular international column on the future of spirituality in business for Science of Mind Magazine. She lives in Denver Colorado.

Learn more at, on LinkedIn and follow her on twitter @hduckworth.


Read More
Attitude Adjustment

Dropped The Ball On Your New Year Resolution: 3 Mid-Year Tips To Rebuild Accountability

As Ryan Seacrest dropped the ball in Times Square did you drop the ball on the goals you set this year? No matter if your life or business plan is on a calendar year or fiscal year you must pick up the ball again. A resolution is simply a choice. Choose to get back on track. 

3 Choices To Get Back On Track: 

  • Re-confirm what you really want. State your vision out loud. - Do you still believe it is possible to achieve the goal you have set toward your vision?
  • Confirm each task that needs to be completed and when.
  • Set up a weekly check in with yourself on your progress.

Bonus action – Celebrate your success along the way. Now that we are six months into the year look back what are the action or actions you have taken to get yourself just a little closer to your dreams? 

Share them with me via email at [email protected]

Hold yourself and your team accountable! Be love and share your light in your business and your life.   


Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP is CEO of Leadership Solutions International as consultant, speaker and facilitator on leadership and spirituality. Author of Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association For Success, Holly is a columnist for MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange on the meetings industry and writes a regular international column on the future of spirituality in business for Science of Mind Magazine. She lives in Denver Colorado. 

Learn more at, on LinkedIn and follow her on twitter @hduckworth.

Read More
Attitude Adjustment

Plant Your Purpose: 5 Things To Grow Your Life This Spring

Spring is finally here! April, our time for renewal, and planting seeds in the fertile soil. What if this year we really embraced planting new things as leaders?  I invite you, this spring make a commitment to spring into Spirit at work.

“There is nothing to be healed only the truth to be revealed.” ~ Ernest Holmes

Let’s reveal spirit in our businesses as we surrender our work as peace, joy ease and love! PLANT These 5 Things this Spring and watch your garden grow … 

  • P – Purpose, this spring re-commit to the company vision statement. If you cannot do this find a way to update the vision statement.  Or choose to move to a company vision you can commit to.
  • L – Love – Make a commitment each day to love what you do. Love it or leave it.  This world needs people who are alive.  Spring into your life with love.  Do one thing you love this month simply for the art of loving it.
  • A – Authenticity – Brene Brown made vulnerability and authenticity cool with her book The Gifts of Imperfection, this spring be yourself a little more fully. If you love to draw, draw something.  Always wanted to take a cooking class, go for it.  Be you just a little bit more and surround yourself with others doing the same thing.
  • N – Newness every spring we are invited to step into the new ness of nature when we see a daffodil the promise of a tulip or a bee flying by. Take this month and plant a new thought, belief or action in your life.
  • T – Trust every gardener who plants a seed has full trust it will bear fruit. They know that a carrot seed produces a carrot and a tomato plant will create tomatoes.  What do you trust in?  You may not even be aware you trust in your next breath.  It’s always there, right?  Plant a new seed of awareness in your life.  Do you want more abundance; plant the idea of abundance in your mind.  Want more health focus on the seeds of healthy eating and exercise this spring and summer.

As the sun returns and our days get longer so too does our energy to plant a garden, plant a planter box or plant something new in your life.  I’m not so much a gardener, and I do love the harvest each fall.  When you break down planting into these simple ideas purpose love, authentic, newness, and trust this is the kind of planting I could enjoy.  Affirm the good in your business and more good will come to you. 

We are one heart, and one mind. What will you plant this month to live the life of your dreams?  

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  


[email protected] 

Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP is CEO of Leadership Solutions International as consultant, speaker and facilitator on leadership and spirituality. 

Author of Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association For Success, Holly is a columnist for MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange on the meetings industry and writes a regular international column on the future of spirituality in business for Science of Mind Magazine. She lives in Denver Colorado 

Learn more at, on LinkedIn and follow her on twitter @hduckworth.  

Read More