Every morning I’m greeted by an anomaly, a Northern Cardinal bird that is hell bent on protecting his territory from himself. Day after day he is there to fight himself when he sees his reflection in a vehicle mirror. You might feel sorry for him and think, “Poor little bird he doesn’t know any better.”
Enter Harry a former co-worker that had a victim complex. Every day as he set out to do his job, he was a disagreement waiting to happen. He had all the traits of good employee save one, being cordial and treating his coworkers as clients. Eventually, it was too much, and he was fired.
Every day we brush with the Harrys of the world who live to pick a bone or a fight with others. Or maybe at times, we have acted like a Harry. They are the Cardinals fighting a futile cause that wastes energy and time. Since I knew some of Harry’s past, there may have been a direct link to his failed dream. Harry was a former educator who held an important position in a school in from Latin America. Like most immigrants, he took any job he could get, and he settled down. Ironically, he was always educating his coworkers on their infractions of not following protocol.
This job was his territory, so he thought. He would defend his actions in being rude to others as just getting others to adhere to company policy. In essence, he took it upon himself to be the policy police. His position was one that he interacted with all the operations people regularly. I never got on his bad side because I found it easier just to do what was expected.
The bird cannot change his actions. Every day he fights himself until he’s exhausted. That intrusive bird was always staring back at him always wins. If you are channeling your inner Harry, give yourself a break. Conceive a new reality of how your life could be. Believe it with all your heart that you can make it happen. Work hard to achieve it. The first takes boldness, the second faith, and the third grit.
February 11, 2016–At age 21, Anna Maria Otamendi, had to choose one of two paths in life, being a Concert Pianist or practicing her degree as a Geophysical Engineer. Her love of music was first planted in her heart and soul at the tender age of five. Her father wanted to live his unfulfilled dream of being a musician through his children. Anna Maria’s father was a self taught guitar player who never realized his passion of being a professional musician. Unbeknownst to Anna Maria’s father, his desire to have his daughter play the piano had unintended consequences, leading her to choose the path of a musical virtuoso.
This Venezuelan born native and East End resident went on to accept an assistantship position and a master’s degree at The University of Wisconsin. Although, her family was disappointed and cut her off, thousands of music aficionados around the world have enjoyed the Anna Maria’s unique performances. Her personal journey and her tenacity to be the best has given her a depth and wisdom to coach and mentor her students at the University of Houston Performing Arts.
Anna Maria has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist at important venues and with renowned orchestras in Austria, Panama, Brazil, the United States, Spain, Italy, and Venezuela. After finishing her two-year tenure as Studio Artist at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, she is a Visiting Professor at the University of Houston, as well as Music Director, pianist and conductor for different programs at HGOCo. She has won First Prize at all the major Venezuelan piano competitions, as well as the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition and the Ouro Branco Festival Competition (Brazil).
On Valentine’s weekend February 12, from 6 to 10 p.m., Anna Maria along with her Moors Opera Center students will be performing a first and one of a kind, “Musica de Amor” (Music of Love) themed world class performance at The Esplanade. This free open air performance features award winning students, Sydney Anderson, Royce Strider, Caroline Geenen, Danielle Wojeik, Andrew Gilstrap, and Kaylie Kahlich.
Anna Maria and her troupe of singers want to bring their talents, love, and passion for music to East End families. This rare performance is another dream come true for Anna Maria to inspire Hispanic children and in her own way pay it forward. Anna Maria’s story has a happy ending with her father eventually coming around and becoming her number one fan. When she performs in Venezuela he is there every time as a front row enthusiast cheering her on. Do not miss this opportunity to experience opera singing in the open air.
If you have ever observed someone that is extra-ordinary at doing something, you are witnessing a high performance trance state. Some examples of this are, outstanding musicians, athletes, chefs, speakers, writers, litigators, and others. If you look closely at their eyes, their vision is out of focus because their primary attention is inside their mind and body. They enter into “The Zone” where they operate at their peak. In this high performance state, they fire on all cylinders and they can do no wrong. They are completely congruent; all their inner systems are in alignment working in the right sequence or simultaneously. Years of practice have created a wiring of their neurology and muscular body that what they do is done unconsciously, or without thinking about it. This is a relaxed alert state where time is distorted to slow down or speed up.
When you engage the conscious mind at a task you are very clumsy and it seems difficult. The conscious mind can only process 7 bits of information plus or minus 2. That means that at the most 9 and at the least 5 but your unconscous mind up to 30 billion bits per second. Think of when you first tried to learn to drive a standard shift vehicle. You were only managing, 1.) focus on the road, 2.) the steering wheel, 3.) the clutch, and the 4.) gear shift. Recall how difficult it was at first to know the sequence for taking off, turning, or stopping and all you were doing was managing 4 primary steps. After extensive practice, you could get behind the wheel without thinking about it. That was an operational trance state where you processed hundreds of bits of information automatically without thinking about it.
The unconscious mind is your loyal servant and it will act on any command you give it unless it determines that it’s not good for you. If that’s the case it will run self sabotaging patterns. The unconscious mind does not know the difference between that which is imagined and that which is real. It will react with all the body sensations in the same way. Your greatest strengths and vast amount of resources all lie in the unconscious mind. I became highly interested in this field three decades ago and went on to be certified in clinical hypnosis by Dr. Jeffery Zeig one of world’s most renowned psychologists and clinical hypnotists.
I’ve used my knowledge in designing highly successful advertising campaigns, producing radio talk shows, writing, coaching athletes, and executives, removing PTSD and other remedial applications, as well as peak performance conditioning.
Join us on Wednesday at 2p.m. CST for a Blab session to listen how I helped a dentist overcome his fear of going broke and how I did it. If you have any question you want to ask me I will gladly share with you my knowledge. May The Force Be With You!
The power of imagination has been known for centuries. Every great philosopher has opined about the capacity of man to imagine and create a better world. In fact scientists credit the area of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex (the location that drives imagination) with being one of the most important advantages of human evolution.
Every great athlete and top achiever knows the power of visualization to juice up their neurology and motivation. The unconscious mind closely associated with the right brain does not know the difference between something you imagine and something that is real. That’s right, your brain and all your body mechanisms are easily fooled into thinking of a visual image as being real. To illustrate try the following experiment; visualize cutting a juicy yellow lemon and imagine biting into the meaty part.
If you are like most people, your mouth waters and your lips pucker up in response to the mental exercise. Your body begins a biochemical chain reaction to prepare for and adjust to the spike in citric acid. Every single material invention had its start as an idea in the inventor’s mind. This is why the power to visualize your goals and heart’s desire is so important. This is easy to say but not so easy to do if you never learned how to visualize.
Our mind responds to the input from our five senses. People fall into one of 3 general categories of a preferred or dominant modality, visual, kinesthetic (or feeling), and auditory. In America 60% of the population are visually oriented with 20% auditory and 20% kinesthetic. Visual people have a movie screen in their mind constantly running to process and execute tasks. Research has demonstrated that at times these mechanisms malfunction, especially from major emotional hits in life.
Over the years, I’ve worked with individuals to help them re-calibrate their minds. If you want a quick boost to your motivation let me give you some tips. Imagine you are sitting in your favorite theater and visualize yourself inside the movie screen accomplishing one of your goals. See it from start to finish. Now re-run the exact same movie but now visualize it in I-Max size with surround sound hearing the Rocky theme song. Make the colors very vibrant and sharply in focus. See yourself bigger than life, being congratulated or reaching a milestone that lets you know you succeeded.
These are the sub-modalities or subset of elements of the visual channel of your mind. Learning to run your brain is essential to have sustained and progressive success. If you don’t, by March your new year’s resolution of a new fit physique will be represented in your mind in black and white, out of focus, and about the size of a small TV. Not very motivating and your brain represents that as not being real. The take away is learning to run your brain can have a huge pay off in 2016.
“If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.” Sydney Madwed
As you peer into the horizon of a new year all kinds of possibilities are there for you to create, grab, or collaborate with others to achieve your heart’s desire. You may be filled with optimism and the drive to make it happen with your New Year’s list of resolutions. What are the odds of you claiming 2016 as your banner year? That number is dependent on your preparation. In general, for the masses less than 10 % can truly claim come December that 2016 was a stellar success.
Continued and long term success does not happen in a vacuum or by accident, it has a definite structure. One of the biggest factors, if not the most important thing, is how you run your brain. Since your mind didn’t come with an owner’s manual, it’s imperative you learn how it works and how to run it like a super computer that it is.
While the masses are addicted to taking selfies and living in a virtual bubble, success is there for the taking of do-ers who are committed to the absolute desire to “go-for-it.” The super achievers have the same drives and desires as the masses, they just happen to have a different playbook and focus to play the game of life. In my experience, they are very discriminating to seek out the knowledge of the difference that makes the difference. In plain English they are after the knowhow of the winning edge. The pursuit of the unfair advantage to succeed effortlessly. Let me illustrate this for you.
Years ago a famous attorney came to me to help him overcome his fears of expanding his practice to other large Texas cities. In his mind he equated expansion to a gamble where he placed all his chips on the table and he stood to lose everything he had, if he failed. He had already hired other consultants to help him and his fears were bigger than any solution he threw at them. In my mind it was a no brainer, he was a self made millionaire with a large war chest to open up a satellite office and be an instant success. This attorney was after that illusive magic bullet to help him beat this fear that had dominated him for 15 years of planning his expansion.
After a major intervention he had clarity and complete congruency to go forward. I traveled to the first target city, San Antonio. I met with all media to create a media plan. I did a market study to identify the major competitors. I located an ideal office space and vendors he would need to launch. The complete playbook was there for him to pull the trigger. Within a couple of weeks I could see this was still too much of a stretch so I told him he needed to open up another office within the same city. The strategy was simple; this would be his pilot launch to learn in his own backyard all the logistical nuances of an expansion.
On the day of the launch we did a radio remote broadcast on a talk show I produced for him. The new office was a runaway success. It was opened in the heart of his largest demographic. New and established clients preferred that office rather than drive across town. In less than a year that office was doing more business than his central office. Jerry valued expert advice paying top dollar for it and running with it. He knew the difference that made the difference. Others who don’t know that they don’t know how to run their brain will not even invest in a book, a seminar, a continued study of how their mind works. They are the masses driven by impulse and controlled by the herd mentality of their social circle.
The take away is, learn to run your brain or pay the price of others running it for you. A successful mindset requires preparation. Preparation requires study and or a coach or mentor. To your success, happy be-ing and do-ing.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust off of daily life off our souls.“ Pablo Picasso
Art is a powerful force that feeds some of the primal needs we have as human beings. A couple of these that are obvious are; art helps us find purpose and meaning and the need to be a part of the community and making a contribution.
To this end, the Parra twin brothers came up with a novel idea of creating a traveling art display. They call themselves the Art Rebels. Recently they got on my radar so I had to go check out their traveling display. As it turned out, I got to interview some people that turned out for the first time, an art buyer and the Parra Twins.
First how did they come up with the name, Art Rebels? Their response, “Art is a form of messaging that may not fit the conventional main stream ideology. Art is not bound by norms or confined to palatial museums. Our motif for displays is very rustic, used freight palates, that in and of itself is a statement.”
On a Sunday Afternoon, I asked one of the art lovers, Darlen De Leon, what made her come out to check out the art exhibit. A first generation immigrant from Latin America she said she just felt she needed to experience a reconnection with Latino art. Why? Well she works in a work environment feeling disconnected from a higher purpose. She lives a sanitized existence where she strives hard to do a good job while aspiring to climb the authority hierarchy leading to more opportunities.
One art buyer I spoke with, told me she just had to have one painting for a new house she is building. Her vision was glued to one particular painting that just called out to her. She explained how she is the art decorator and that her husband just had to love the painting also.
One other important element of the display is, Gracie Chavez, a DJ who plays music that is synchronistic with the venue and the art on display. It’s like she gives a voice to the art exhibition.
The Parra Twins are serial creators of community projects that they heavily promote on all their social media platforms. Currently, they are scoping out a new bar to showcase their art. It’s well worth you check out this “Art with Cold Brews .“
Stay tuned for something very big happening in the Latino art community. The Parra twins are one of the promoters and supporters of this venue.
Customer service is the mantra of the current market. Discriminating consumers, as well as a competitive market place, have forced many businesses to drum the need for excellent customer service into each and every employee. Take my recent experience, for example.
My over forty eyes made it necessary to purchase eye glasses. Jesus Cardenas, a representative at a local optical store, greeted me with “You have great insurance!” I could not help but to raise my eyebrows in surprise. A competitor just up the street had just informed me how lousy my insurance was! A successful business knows that the customer is king.
The motto of a fiercely competitive marketplace is “If you don’t sell them, your competition will!” History teaches us how many an advertising campaign has gone down in flames due to poor customer service from apathetic employees. So which was it? My insurance seemed to be a pivotal point in my treatment. Jesus, the friendly tech, took the time to verify my insurance himself. The competition did not even let me “hold the puppy,” a strategy to let the customer try before they buy a product.
A simple phone call confirmed what I already knew: I could buy a pair of glasses for only a ten dollar co-pay. The competitor wouldn’t even take the time to show me his wares. Jesus facilitated a win-win situation. He and his colleague who helped me got the sale and I was a happy, satisfied customer. I may not have the look of Fifth Avenue but I got just the glasses I wanted. The true value was the discovery of a business that values service, as well as business, from a Hispanic consumer. A satisfied customer had become a potential gold mine for referrals.
Ambiance is an essential part of the buying experience. The first retailer was chosen for convenience. Once the door swung shut behind me, however, I had a sense of stepping through a time warp. A sterile, impersonal environment with décor from decades past told the story of a dying business.
Utilitarian furniture, old glass display cases, and an unfriendly owner was my first clue I should have turned and ran. The owner was trying to come off as trendy and modern. Instead, the store looked like a Seventies Show rerun. His locale only added to the problem. The over-priced frames did not reflect the consumer’s needs. I was shocked to see high priced frames that spoke “Galleria” demographics.
He was either stuck in time or in serious denial. Long gone are the days he could showcase Versace to a booming petrochemical town. Purchasing a pair of glasses from this retailer could have meant the price of a mortgage payment for a blue collar, working class family.
I didn’t even rate a blip on his radar screen with my “lousy” insurance. It was like a high noon showdown in the wild west. The owner took the first shot with his judgment of my insurance. I took the final, killer shot by thanking him and walking out. Another sale lost without any attempt to make a deal.
Now let’s look back on Texas State Optical (TSO). The initial impression when crossing their threshold was of a waiting area that was inviting and visually appealing. I was no longer the sole target of a scornful owner. Even with several other customers present, I was able to approach the counter and be immediately greeted .
Jesus took my information and invited me to have a look around while he verified my insurance. It was ironic that their shelves displayed some of the same brands carried by the competition. The location was within a few miles of their market opponent but they were light years ahead in the game.
Stylish frames ranged from very low cost and practical to the latest designer wares that could have impressed even the most discriminating buyer. Combine this with a friendly sales staff and you have a winning approach for the Hispanic market.
The pride and dedication with which Jesus did his job comes as a family tradition. A tradition passed on from his father, who has over a decade of experience as the top optician. He is the “go-to” man when in a pinch. No custom order is too difficult. TSO also is vested in reproducing quality.
Mr. Cardenas is the head trainer for this retail group of outlets. Jesus comes off as a typical, well-advantaged kid. Appearances can be deceiving. The young, assimilated Hispanic flawlessly delivers service with a smile and in your language of preference. The reality is, he and his family came to the United States from the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.
Mr. Cardenas was a physician in his native Mexico. His only guarantee in life in the United States was the belief that, if he worked hard, his children MAY enjoy a better lifestyle. I am certain that if the full story was told, you would have the content for a “novella” based on reality.
The days of doing odd jobs at the pizza parlor just to put food on the table are long gone. Mr. Cardenas has become another American success story thanks, in part, to an employer who values good work ethic, and dedication allowing employees opportunities to excel.
TSO enjoys a hefty increase in profits due to their commitment of not letting a customer leave unsatisfied. Price is seldom an issue. Their innovative business model allows customers to arrange flexible payment plans that won’t break the family budget.
They even took my “lousy” insurance! Need your glasses fast? Not to worry. Just ask Jesus about the story of a soldier about to be deployed. TSO went above and beyond the call of duty by getting this soldier his glasses in a few days. It is customary to wait as long as two weeks.
Jesus laughingly jokes. “We just wanted to make sure this defender could see what he was doing!” Is great customer service as simple as treating the customer as king, being creative, and innovative in meeting a customer’s financial needs? Jesus and his father would say yes. They have the advantage of working on the cutting edge of Hispanic marketing. This retailer keeps pace with the beat of the Latin rhythm.
Jesus demonstrates all that is right when a company focuses on quality sales experience. At his young age of twenty three, he has already performed a tour of duty with the United States Army. He knows the reality of being an “Army of One.” It certainly felt that way when he gave me a picture perfect buying experience.
Jesus will someday reach his dream of being a civil engineer. Meanwhile, this dynamic father and son team displays the best of what a creative company recognizes in service to the customer. My short trip up the street had more benefit than saving me from a cynical retailer who could have ruined my day. It allowed me to discover this hidden business gem in Pasadena.