Greater Impact Blog

“Mother Nadia Bilchik and daughter Julia Kesler, are as colorful, outspoken and accomplished, and as different as they are alike.”

Read the full article at the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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Atlanta Jewish Times article: Mother-Daughter Style Spans Continents

“Mother Nadia Bilchik and daughter Julia Kesler, are as colorful, outspoken and accomplished, and as different as they are alike.”

Read the full article at the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Read the rest of this article

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I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak at TEDxEmory. The overall theme was: What makes your heart beat? And my topic was Owning Your Confidence: How to Overcome Nervousness and Exude Confidence in High-Stakes Situations. I discussed several practical techniques to help you excel in even the most stressful of situations. They are practices I’ve developed over many years of being on television and speaking professionally around the world.

While neuroscience describes what happens when we get stressed and nervous as fight, flight or freeze, it doesn’t necessarily give us practical advice on how to overcome these moments. And that’s where my techniques come in.

The first one is building what I call a Positive Emotional Memory Database™. This is essentially a mental library where you store memories of experiences that make you feel confident, and you can “check out” or “access” any time.

Think of moments from your past when you feel you really excelled. Maybe it’s a presentation where you came across as particularly confident, or a meeting where you shared an idea that was well received. Make a mental note of those experiences so they can be readily called to mind during stressful moments.

Its important plan ahead rather than wait until a high-stakes situation arises. And you can start now:  Take some time today to think of several noteworthy experiences you’ve had that made you feel like the best, most confident and competent version of yourself. Recalling those experiences beforehand, when you are relaxed, will make it easier for you to bring them to mind later when you’re about to walk in to a job interview, give an important presentation or start a critical conversation.

Remembering occasions in your past when you accomplished what you set out to do – when you interacted successfully with a group or manager, or got a promotion– will remind you that you do indeed have what it takes to excel. And this, in turn, will boost your confidence so you can do it again.

And what’s more, neuroscience supports this practice.  As we repeatedly access these positive thoughts, neural pathways are created in our brains.  This makes us more likely to continue thinking positively about ourselves in the future.

This first technique you can begin implementing today. Stay tuned for the next one!

Leadership Presence

The Greater Impact of Call Me Ted!

Call Me Ted, the legendary media mogul’s biography, is fascinating reading, and I had Ted Turner’s life story very much in mind when I recently  had the privilege of covering his  80th birthday party for CNN.

The guests included Al Gore, Jane Fonda, Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour, Sanjay Gupta, Judy Woodruff, Chris Tucker and other industry leaders and celebrities.

But while it was certainly an experience to be in the company of such accomplished individuals all paying tribute to CNN’s legendary founder, what was most revealing about who Ted Turner really is were the other guests. They included his  long- time housekeeper, hairdresser, Montana ranch workers ,lifelong friends and his children and grandchildren.

It was Miss Lily, his housekeeper of 30 years,whose tribute to Ted touched me the most. She spoke about her love for her boss, the man who insisted she call him Ted.

Lily was followed by Ted’s Brown College roommate who spoke eloquently about his buddy’s loyalty, humor and fearless courage. Then George McKerrow, Ted’s partner at Ted’s Montana Grill, took the stage and spoke about Ted’s passion, philanthropy, vision, and love of bison.

It was these moments that stood out the most because while Ted Turner founded CNN and Turner Broadcasting and gave a billion dollars to the UN, what makes him most extraordinary is that he still picks up litter, switches off unnecessary lights, is good friends with all three of his ex-wives and treats the people who work for him with same dignity and respect that he accords presidents and politicians.

“Call Me Ted” reminds us that failure, trials and tribulations are all part of life’s journey and that success is a zig zag, not a straight line. And it is Ted Turner’s respect and regard for all of the people that he has encountered on his life’s journey that makes him such an extraordinary human being.

I Can See You Naked! Nixing Your Nerves

Given the choice of having a root canal or giving a speech, many opt for the former. Indeed, few tasks are more intimidating for many than giving a public speech or presentation.

One of the more popular suggestions for combatting nerves and feeling less intimidated is to visualize your audience naked.The idea is that if you could visualize your audience without their clothes they would appear more human, and therefore you would feel less vulnerable.

Well, while this may work for some, there are far more effective ways of dealing with the nerves that tend to hijack us before an important meeting, job interview or high-stakes presentation.
I like to take a multi-pronged approach, both mental and physical, to nix the nerves and project confidence, competence and charisma. You can call it Nadia’s Five Step Fix:

Step 1: Don’t fight it; feel it. In a high-stakes situation like this, a certain level of anxiety is entirely permissible. So, rather than fighting your nerves, embrace them. Doing so takes care of the unnecessary additional tension that fighting your nerves contributes to the situation.

Step 2: Practice, practice, practice. Nothing beats preparation. Accordingly, make sure that you plan preparation time and then practice until you are entirely comfortable with the material, so comfortable that you can recall your material even if you are slightly nervous. It is particularly important that you practice what you are going to say at the start of your presentation, meeting or conversation.

Step 3: Take the medicine of positive past memories. Developing a series of positive past memories is the most powerful antidote we have to nerves. Start by making an inventory of the highlights of the past few years of your life. Really think about your unique achievements and capabilities.

Step 4: BREATHE. Deep breathing neutralizes the adrenaline in the body. This simple physical approach is wonderfully calming and effective, which leads me to

Step 5: Contract and relax your muscles. The easiest way to do this is clench your fists tight, hold your breath and then release the air.

I assure you if you take the steps above and if you speak at a relaxed pace and pause regularly you will feel much more confident and project competence and charisma.


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The Greater Impact of Doing More Than Just Showing Pp

You may have heard the saying that “90% of life is just showing up” It’s something I say to myself whenever I cross the threshold of the gym or attend a neighborhood committee meeting.

The question is, do we really show up?
There is a big difference between physically being somewhere and really participating actively.

This applies to everything from being at work to social interaction.
I am so tired of going to social and professional events where people are showing up physically but not mentally.

Last week I was having a conversation with a family friend, or at least I thought it was a conversation until he literally started texting while I was mid sentence. He did it as if it was perfectly acceptable and normal. Resisting the urge to grab his phone, I graciously excused myself and walked away.

I didn’t take it personally or start questioning my ability to engage, but what I did do was feel incredibly sad. I was sad that as a society we have become so alienated, sad that so few people really want to get to know each other beyond superficial niceties, and sad that virtual engagement has become so seductive.

Of course I am as guilty as anyone of being dependent on my device. The only difference between me and family friend is that I am conscious of my addiction and the sabotaging impact it can have on interpersonal relationships.
So as you read this, think about the last event you attended, be it personal or professional and then ask yourself whether you “just showed up” or actively participated.

In other words were you fully present or was your mind elsewhere. Were you actively engaged or were you on your phone?

All I ask is that from this moment on we all work not just on showing up, but really showing UP with energy, interest and respect. Let’s kick it UP a notch!