Author, Coach, Educator, & Realtor

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

The Nay-sayers; Don’t listen

A few encounters recently lead me to reflect on how I react when others are negative about an idea or plan I have developed.

A friend of mine Jackie Dishner first pointed out the word “Nay-sayer” in a presentation she gave to a group of business women. (I would highly recommend her as a motivational speaker.) It was the way she said it with so much disdain combined with laughter that first caught my attention.

A Nay-sayer is anyone who does not believe. They don’t believe in you, your ideas, your abilities and most likely don’t believe in change or creativity.

When I encounter a Nay-sayer my first reaction is usually doubt in myself. It takes a lot of work and self-esteem to just let it roll off your back and proceed straight ahead.

I have worked very hard at letting this occur and I have found that each time I regroup, revisit, clarify my goal and plow ahead I come out even more determined to reach my desired outcome.  

Then I share my plan or aspiration with more people and dismiss the Nay-sayers until eventually I find someone willing to give encouragement. The moment I have been waiting for – someone who believes.

Right after the first believer my enthusiasm and determination begin to ascend. I add to my plan. I can envision the outcome. I can get more people to believe and they in turn share their belief – and so the ball starts to roll.

Eventually the ball becomes so big that it takes everyone involved to carry it up the hill to the top of the mountain – where we can all see clearly the final outcome or result. And as a group who have supported and encouraged each other we are very proud of our accomplishment and the result we’ve attained.

This pride both individually and collectively ironically was part of the original plan. Pride in our contributions. Pride in our determination. Pride in our ability to change, to grow and to help each other along the way.

And so the journey begins again. We develop a sustainability plan. We develop the next growth plan. We look around for what we can improve or what gives us more joy and satisfaction.

Then we dismiss the Nay-sayers and find our new group that will help us on our next journey just as we will help them.

I’ll see you along the way in the valley and meet you at the top of the next mountain.


Kate Rakoci

Reference:  Jackie Dishner

Recommended reading: “Our Iceberg Is Melting” by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber


The Wearing of the Green

I know why every year I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It has to do with a mother whose maiden name was O’Connor and was born on the Emerald Island.

I started to wonder why others who may not have the same heritage are always happy to enter into the celebration. Then I came up with my own theory.

In life as in business it takes all different types of personalities, strengths and skill sets to get the best possible results on any task. We more often than not work with others and discuss our differences; different styles, different opinions, different methods. In doing so we have an opportunity to learn and grow from those around us. We can also create the best possible teams getting the best possible results (as illustrated in “Our Iceberg Is Melting” by John Kotter — a good read).

However commonality makes us feel like we belong. When we have something in common with others we create a bond. We feel liked, welcome and safe (a shared vision or goal is the result of working as a diverse team and creating common goals).

Ultimately we need both differsity and commonality to move forward for the desired outcome.

I choose to think of St. Patrick’s day as a display of both. For one day we can all be different and the same. We can wear green and shamrocks, drink green beer, look for leprechauns with pots of gold and have fun regardless of differences and nationalities.  We all have a mutual goal —- to have fun and be with others who want to have fun.

If you have the opportunity to create fun at work even better — we could all use laughter and humor to keep things in perspective. It’s also a great day to show your appreciation for a job well done.

So pass out the shamrocks, dust off the Irish jokes, wear green and tell everyone you meet “May the luck of the Irish be with you!” today and always.

Stand a head above the crowd and say “I”

If you’d like to differentiate yourself from everyone else around you, use the word “I” and use it properly!

It is not “me and Kate Middleton” , nor “me and my friend”.

It is not “me and Colin”, nor “me and the rest of the attendees at the Academy Awards”.

It is “my friends and I”,  “Saint Patrick and I”, “my boss and I, “my fellow constituents and I”, “the whole gosh darn world and I”.

It’s a simple formula to remember when you actually want to sound like you know what you are talking about and how to express it appropriately.

You always come last — and you refer to yourself as “I”.

Our forefathers apparently understood courtesy and manners. They gave us a language that showed respect and regard for others. Others come first.

If you truly want to be different and value others as much as yourself a simple start would be to use the English language correctly.

It shows your determination to be the best you can be at whatever you do. And, those people who appreciate effort will take notice.

It is not our place to “correct” others. Everyone has a choice on how they want to be perceived and how they choose to communicate.

But I guarantee if you consciously make an effort to go back to proper grammar others will notice, and if they notice maybe they will copy. Set the example.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Let yourself be flattered.

Show how you stand apart from the pack.

Goals; make them realistic but NOT pessimistic

"Halfway There"
Halfway there

 You’ve taken some time for yourself and formulated your goals (January 17 topic). You’ve “wordsmithed” them to create experiences (January 22 topic).

You’ve realized that stated goals are very powerful. They dictate everything, your choices, your behaviors, your attitudes, and most importantly where you spend your energy.

One more caution —  the experts say to be realistic and set goals within your control.

However too often this can lead you to be afraid to set a goal because of your perceived view of outside influences (the economy, your current job, negative friends or coworkers, etc.).

I encourage you to be realistic but not pessimistic. You do have control over your own life. You can attain your goals regardless of other people’s pessimism or even your own.

Fess up to your real desires. Imagine what your life would be like. Take it one step at a time.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

Find the people in your life that you can share your goals with freely. The people who will support and encourage you to keep on moving forward. Keep in touch with them regularly for positive feedback.

If you have the right goal for you and you feel you are not progressing, remember these thoughts when things seem harder than anticipated.

Don’t leap to the end; think incrementally

Incentivize yourself

Celebrate your victories

Believe you can attain and you do deserve

Be resilient

AND at the end of every day reflect on the progress you’ve made — take a deep breath, smile and know that tomorrow will get you yet another step closer to your goal.

"Sunset over Gulf of Mexico"

“Wordsmith” Your Goal

"Getting to the center of your goal"

Take a close look …. at what you really want when you set a goal? Take time to evaluate your goals and say what you want the end result to look like.

What is the detailed picture you want to experience?


I read an article by Martha Beck on goal setting strategies and I was really impressed with her insight on the topic.

Her insight is as follows:
In setting a goal you need to focus all your efforts on the quality of the experience you want to create (not the situation).
Her method is to use adjectives in setting your goal instead of merely nouns and verbs. It is a tremendously powerful tool.
For instance if my goal is to be financially independent.  I should state it using adjectives about how I want to feel when I accomplish this goal.
What if I reach my goal but I have no relationships and feel lonely, or do not have good health and can not really enjoy my financial independence because I am physically dependent on others.
What do I really want? Freedom? Independence? Choice? The ability to be generous? The ability to help others? To be free from worry? The ability to work on what I want instead of what I need to in order to pay the bills? Etc.
As Martha Beck says, adjectives in a goal define the experience — not the situation.
Great advise. Start looking closer at your goals and sprinkle them with adjectives. Visualize how you want to feel. 
Each day make choices that make you feel the way you’ve envisioned and move one step closer to the goal.  

Turn your resolutions into goals; one step at a time

This time of year we hear a lot about resolutions.  What is the difference between a resolution and a goal? 

The definition of a resolution is “a promise to yourself that you’ll make a serious effort to do something”. 

When we make New Year’s resolutions we often say “I will” or “I’ll stop”.  We look at a behavior or we focus on a short-term change (losing weight, exercising, doing something better, etc).  These seem to represent steps toward something else.

The definition of a goal is “the end toward which effort is directed”. 

This would indicate you will be taking steps (resolutions) that will ultimately get you to an end you desire. Synonyms according to the dictionary are: aim, ambition, aspiration, dream, end, idea, ideal, intent, intention, purpose and target to name a few.

I encourage you to look at the resolutions you may have verbalized and evaluate how to broaden them to express your ultimate goal.

If your resolution was to lose weight or exercise more,  is the goal really to be happy, healthy and self-confident?  If it is to be more helpful to and tolerant of others, is the goal to be compassionate, loving and have peace of mind.

The goal is so much more than the resolution. It is how you want to experience the world around you, it’s how you envision living your life.

You can start attaining your goals immediately.  If you have your goal clearly in mind, every time a decision is required you will choose your course with intention.  Your goals will light the path to your ultimate destination.

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there.” Lewis Carroll

Set goals, change them whenever you feel the need, believe you can attain them and you will be on the path of your chosen life.





Dear Santa,

Santa I am not your typical admirer.  I have spent decades believing in your wisdom and magic.

In my first decade I knew you as the giver of my deepest desires.  I asked for the toys that were most popular and the fashions to help me look in style.

You were always so generous.  If occasionally I did not receive my specific request I always knew you had simply run out of time or materials and I would be first on your list for next year.

I was normally a good child in hopes you were watching (well, truthfully you and God).  I knew my good behavior would be rewarded somehow, whether in this world or the next.

In the next few decades I believed you worked through others.  I helped you fill the stockings, go shopping, wrap the presents and spread good cheer through the holiday season.

I was your personal elf that walked among the children and adults to spread your message of giving and your joy of service.

There was no need for you to use your resources on my behalf because I was already being rewarded abundantly by those around me.

But I still knew you were watching and that you would continue to be proud of my good behavior.

These last decades I have come to appreciate your gifts with even greater awe.

You give all children hope.  You offer redemption and forgiveness on a regular basis.  You never give up when the going gets rough.

You start over every year with a clean slate and build up to the most wonderful presents imaginable.  You sprinkle the world with love, harmony and peace.

You never tire of being the twinkle in a child’s eye or the leader of an unseemly band of followers.

You never get stressed or give up and always make the lives of those you meet better for having known you.

You are unselfish, unwavering and some might say unbelievable!

Santa this year I am writing to tell you I still believe.  I believe in your goodness, your power, your gifts and your example to all of us.

I am once again writing to you for continued love, joy, peace and prosperity for each of us as my present from you.

I have been on my best behavior (mostly).


Kate Rakoci

Your biggest fan and believer.

P.S.  Don’t forget that new project too!  And in case you need advise from me, all my friends, family, associates and neighbors have been very good as well.

Dear Reader,

If you want to save on postage you can add your letter to Santa in the “comments” section of .  I assure you it will go express delivery!