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"Mumtaz!" — Excellence As the Foundation of Your Life

Being A (Gay) Father

I was reflecting to a friend of mine last week who happens to be a therapist on how amazed I am at what a great father I am (and what great kids my twins are turning out to be) given that I come from divorced parents who did not get along in addition to being gay and not knowing any other gay couples with children from whom I could learn.  I feel that I owe this to all the inner work I have done on myself to accept the past, create a compelling vision for my future and learning to be in the here now founded on a bedrock of personal values which I live out. 

Social Networking Isn’t So Social

“Social Networking Is Not Very Social. It’s very easy to compile a list of friends and contacts through social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn and think that you’re well connected. I much prefer the power of picking up the phone and dialing a number rather than texting or even e-mailing someone. In business it’s all about the connections and I know of no better way to connect with someone (aside from face to face) than picking up the phone and saying, ‘Hi.'”

Say “No” and Mean It

This article shares some ideas you can use to make sure you don’t find yourself doing something you’d very much prefer not to do.

How can you confidently respond when someone makes a request you’d prefer not to accommodate?

The question has just been posed.  Pause.   Was your inclination to say yes, even though there’s a voice deep down saying “no.”   Well, let’s raise the volume on that voice.

What possible reasons could there be for saying no?

  • It’s beyond your means?
  • It’s beyond your comfort level?
  • You have no interest?

Identify all the reasons you have for saying “no.”  Identify which stem from a lack of confidence, versus a sincere disinterest in fulfilling the request.

What would happen if you said yes?  Perhaps:

  • You would be considered a teamplayer
  • It would make your boss happy
  • Your visibility with higher-ups would be improved

It’s comes down to a simple cost/benefit really.

Would the discomfort involved in saying yes outweigh the benefits of possibly going along with the request? 

Or, do the benefits outweigh your temporary discomforts?

The role of guilt

Saying “no” is hard for many of us.  Guilt often comes into play.  Whether this guilt has its foundation in religion, a proper upbringing, or a worldview that simply says “it’s not nice to say no”, we often recognize it and make decisions we’d rather not be making, based upon it.

Saying “NO”

You’ve made the decision, after scientifically weighing the results of your cost/benefit analysis, do honestly say “NO”.   Well, go ahead and say it clearly, and self-assuredly…in the mirror.  Look yourself in the eye, and do it.  Just say “NO.”   Say it like you really mean it, and then say it again as you would to whomever made the request of you.  When you pretend you’re speaking to the person who made the request, does it come out differently?  Practice and experiment with different ways to say “NO” until you find one you’re comfortable with.

Then go, and say “NO.”

 After you say “NO”

 If you’re used to giving in to others, then guess what?  After all that practice, you may just be surprised to find that they are not willing to accept it!  They may push, rephrase the question, or make a new, not altogether different, request.  Be prepared for this!  Know your boundary—what ARE you willing to do?  Revisit the questions you asked yourself before—what would happen if you said no, or yes?   If you are serious about saying “NO” then stick to your guns.   Tell the individual making the request that you would appreciate it if they respected your wishes, and ask them to refrain from pursuing it further.  If you are comfortable expressing your “reasons why” then do so speaking from your personal perspective.

 Tips on how to say your ”NO!”

 1.   The “Wet lettuce NO”

 If you are going to say NO, you must say it in a way that means NO!  Saying NO in a quiet, unassuming voice is like a hand shake that is floppy and limp.  By saying NO in a non confident manner it will make you feel as though you have got to convince the other person about your decision and the reasons why you have said it!

 2.   The “Mr Angry NO”

 This is at the other end of the spectrum in how to say NO.  It is done in an aggressive manner and usually said with contempt.  It is not an effective way to communicate your NO.  Here are a couple of examples:

“NO. I’m not doing that rubbish. You’ve got to be joking aren’t you”
“NO. I wouldn’t lower myself to do that piece of work”

3.   The assertive NO

This is the best way to say NO!  In a firm, yet polite voice say: “No. I will not be able to do that for you”  Also, if you want to say the reasons why, keep it short and sweet.  “No. I will not be able to do that for you. I will be having my hair done at that time”

 4.   Use effective body language

When saying NO remember the power of non-verbal communications.  Look the person in the eye when you say the NO.  Shake your head at the same time as saying NO.  Stand up tall.  Use a firm tone in your voice.

 5.   When all is said and done

Don’t forget that when anyone asks a question of you, you are perfectly OK to say, “Can I think about that and get back to you.”  No-one should be pressurised into giving an immediate answer, even if the delay is only a couple of minutes. It will give you some time to think it through and to gather your thoughts.  It will also give you some time to think about how you are going to say it, the words to use and your body language.

Saying NO exercise

Practice makes perfect as they say!

What I would like you to do for the next 7 days is to start to say NO more often.  So whether it is the double glazing salesman, the cold call, “Would you like fries with that” or the shop assistant – practice saying NO to one person for at least the next 7 days.  You will be an expert come the end of the week!

What will happen?

  • You will feel much more confident and proud.
  • You will find that practice makes perfect—the more you confidently say “NO” the easier it becomes.
  • Others will respect your wishes and take you seriously the first time you say “NO.”
  • You won’t find yourself doing things you never wanted to do in the first place.
  • You’ll have more time to focus on the things you do want to be involved in.
  • The list goes on from there…

Up Close with Diana Williams

Communicate Effectively To Achieve What You Want

In a world where quality relationships are dependent upon quality communication, coaching helps you identify your communication strengths, and weaknesses, including how to study your own body language as well as others.

You’re In Control

Eliminate negative habits
Sometimes you know what’s wrong. You have a weakness and you can’t seem to break the habit. Coaching helps identify the underlying root cause of such barriers to change.

Feeling Stuck

Are you feeling stuck?

Are you ready to grow your business beyond where you are now?

Are you looking to have more free time outside your business?

These questions point to challenges in having the business that you have always envisioned. Moomtaz Coaching supports solo entrepreneurs (a.k.a., solopreneurs) by creating the time to find ideal clients and serving them with “purpose”. My  experience with solo entrepreneurs spans back many years, including my personal experience of growing my business from zero to multi-million in sales, and I’ve faced many similar challenges that you have today.

Appearance on WABC-TV

Appearing on WABC-TV along with Andrew Rigie of the New York City Hospitality Alliance on Up Close with Diana Williams on WABC-TV.

Full description of 5 new measures announced:

Identification of violations for which businesses should receive a warning or opportunity to cure the violation instead of an automatic penalty or fine.  Most business owners want to and try hard to comply with regulations, but sometimes because regulations may be complex or confusing, are unable to do so.  More emphasis needs to be placed on educating business owners on how to better comply with regulations, not on punishing business owners when they fail to do so.  Legislation being introduced in the Council will require agencies that interact with businesses to identify any violations for which a cure period or opportunity to receive a warning does not exist, and to make recommendations for whether a cure period should or should not be adopted for each such violation.

WABC TV Diana Williams, Farid Ali Lancheros, Andrew RigieElimination of obsolete violations.  There are countless regulations that small businesses must adhere to, some of which have become obsolete.  Potential violations that remain on the books, but are no longer enforced, can be a source of confusion and a hindrance to small businesses unaware of informal agency practice.  Every agency that interacts with businesses will undertake a review to identify violations that are obsolete, and to recommend those that should be eliminated.  Once these violations are identified, the Council will act through legislation to wipe them off the books for good.

Streamlining of regulatory processes; Simplification of the Place of Assembly permitting process.  Through the feedback received by the Regulatory Review Panel from small business owners, the Mayor and City Council are working together to streamline regulations that are unduly burdensome or inefficient.  The first reform from this ongoing effort is simplification of the place of assembly permitting process, which is currently an overly complicated process that involves duplicate work by the Department of Buildings and the Fire Department.  Legislation being introduced in the Council will simplify this process, so that business owners need only interact with one agency in order to receive and later renew a place of assembly permit.

Standardization of customer service training for all agency inspectors. Presently, some agencies incorporate elements of customer service training into their inspector training programs, but others do not.  Legislation being introduced in the Council will require the Mayor’s Office of Operations to develop a standardized customer service curriculum for training agency inspectors, to review each agency’s inspector training program, and to certify agency training programs that include the standardized customer service curriculum.

Designation of agency liaisons to serve as points-of-contact with chambers of commerce and industry groups.  Legislation being introduced in the Council will require every agency that interacts with businesses to designate an employee to serve as the agency’s liaison to the regulated community.

5 New Measures To Help Small Business

New Legislation developed by the City Council and Mayor will eliminate unnecessary obstacles that hinder business growth City Hall, NY – Today, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Committee on Small Business Chair Diana Reyna, Council Minority Leader James S. Oddo, Committee on Government Operations Chair Gale A. Brewer, Council Member Inez Dickens, Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh and Chief Business Operations Officer Tokumbo Shobowale announced several measures to ease the regulatory burdens on the city’s small businesses.

These measures are a result of the Regulatory Review Panel, a joint effort by the Mayor and the City Council to scrutinize City regulations and how they are developed and make recommendations to recast them, eliminate unnecessary obstacles that hinder business growth, and enhance public participation in rulemaking. These new measures follow up on and further the initial 14 measures announced by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn based on the Regulatory Review Panel’s April 2010 recommendations.

Speaker Quinn was also joined today by Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, Robert Bookman and Andrew Rigie of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Carlo A. Scissura, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Ploeger, as well as representatives from New York City small businesses including second generation newsstand operator Bernard Uhfelder, Paul Seres of the Lower East Side restaurant the DL, Jeff Bank of Carmine’s, former Brooklyn business owner Vinnie Mazone, and Farid Lancheros of Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope.

The measures announced today include:

• Identification of violations for which businesses should receive a warning or opportunity to cure the violation instead of an automatic penalty or fine.

• Elimination of obsolete violations.

• Streamlining of regulatory processes; Simplification of the Place of Assembly permitting process.

• Standardization of customer service training for all agency inspectors

• Designation of agency liaisons to serve as points-of-contact with chambers of commerce and industry groups


George Constantinou and Farid Ali Lancheros


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