Why negotiating ALL benefits when interviewing matters!

Negotiating is a skill we all practice throughout our lives personally or professionally. 

Whether it’s negotiating what restaurant to eat at on the weekend, where to live, what movie to see, etc. as you can see, they range from the smallest of things to major choices we make in our lives.

In our careers, it’s no different and many times, it’s in our professional lives we seem to get tripped up and don’t consider ALL our options as we consider what’s important to us, especially when we’re interviewing.  With enough experience, practice and time, it’s a skill that can be nurtured especially when it comes to negotiating money.

Most candidates when they’re interviewing think of the monetary benefits they’re hoping to earn – a bump on their base salary as they consider their next move.  Salary and bonuses are usually at the top of the list amongst a number of other motivators that are important when interviewing.  Depending on what’s driving your move and desire to change, they may vary in level of importance.

So why do we get choked up when it comes to asking for money?

The truth is, most people are uncomfortable asking for what they want, especially money and more importantly, are not always prepared for the discussion or how to ask.  When I was in the very early stages of my career, I remember sitting across from a manager I had at the time who I admired and happened to be male and I flat out told him, “I hate asking for money…” and his answer to me was, “why?  You work hard, you’re performing, you should ask for what you want.”  That’s it.  Nothing complex, no long lecture, just, ask for what you want.

Of course, there’s more to it and it takes time, experience, practice, etc. to get comfortable with negotiating (and personally, I’m still working at it), but I never forgot that.

Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO so if there’s anything you take from this post, ASK for what you want! 

When you’re interviewing and you’re lucky enough to make it to an offer stage, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

Be open and transparent with your salary expectations – this should really be shared before you get to this stage as most companies will want to understand if they can afford you at the early stages of the interview process.  The last thing you want to do is go through a number of interviews only to reach an offer stage and learn the company just doesn’t have the budget to meet your salary expectations.  Having said that, be clear with what you’re looking for – i.e. 10% increase on my base, $10K sign on bonus to cover X, etc.

Be prepared to negotiate ALL benefits – as mentioned earlier, everyone has various motivating drivers that are important to them and salary is not always the main and only benefit of interest.  What else is important to you?  Work from home?  Vacation time?  Commute allowance?  Think about what these options are.  Also, consider discussing what the flex is around these items early in the process.  Some benefits are company-wide policies that are less flexible to be offered to new hires coming on board.  Again, be prepared to discuss openly the benefits that are important to you.

Ask a trusted colleague or friend if you’re unsure of how to deliver your message and articulate what you want – again, for the purpose of asking for what you want, if negotiating isn’t something that comes easy to you, practice ahead of time with someone you trust and know.  Ask them to role play with you and ask for feedback.  We don’t always see our own blind spots, so asking for someone else’s perspective can be helpful.

Be prepared to get a NO to what you asked for – so this is not always easy to hear and can be deflating especially if you’re trying to seal the deal with a company and new opportunity.  Going back to the above, consider other options you can negotiate, but also, consider this to be a sign that it may not be the right fit if none of your requests or asks were met.  This isn’t about giving up and walking away, however, if you’ve made every effort to explore and consider ALL your options, the one to walk away is also one to consider if you’re requirements aren’t met.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What would you add to these suggestions? Is there a negotiation strategy you’ve used that’s been effective?

Happy negotiating!

Lisa xo

Networking to GIVE – not to receive: 4 networking tips to keep in mind

Networking is critical as a professional.  Whether you work in corporate, you run a small business or you’re in the midst of a job search, inevitably, networking will be ongoing for you through out your career.

Relationships help drive our success in all areas of our lives and many times, business relationships can develop out of nowhere and when you least expect it.

Events, conferences, workshops, you name it – they’re great for networking. They can also be intimidating if you’re attending solo and I completely get this. They are however the perfect way to put yourself out there, without having to be attached to a buddy and unintentionally limit yourself from meeting people you wouldn’t normally socialize with or meet.

I’m sure most of you have heard, “give with the intention to give and not receive” and this I wholeheartedly agree with.  When it comes to networking, some of the most organic conversations I’ve had have come out of me sharing something with someone and with no expectation of getting anything in return.  From those conversations, in some cases, the bonus has been a friendship that has developed with a few of these individuals.

I had no expectation of if they would develop into business opportunities and for me, I was interested in the long-term connection, whatever that might look like.  I’ve heard many times as well, that people need to be mindful of being prepared to offer an exchange of some sort or to be mindful of people’s time when you’re networking, and I don’t entirely agree with this.

Again – if you’re giving to give, then you’re not concerned of ‘time being wasted’ or what you can ‘get’ in return.  It’s a mindset and being open-hearted, with offering a piece of wisdom, advice, insight, etc. that can help someone else.  If you’re ‘tuned in’ and think beyond the immediate interaction, many times, you in-turn could be benefitting from the exchange, and you might not even realize it!

The experience of meeting someone new, learning something about another person you just met, perhaps an introduction to another contact of theirs are experiences in themselves that have meaning to them.  Similar to my experience, you could ultimately be making a new friend at the very least.  It may not seem like anything in the moment, however, be open to the possibility of what could come out of that interaction.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re attending your next networking event:

  1. Be OPEN – don’t be attached to WHO you’re going to meet, whether or not you have something to ‘offer’ and be yourself
  2. Give without expectations of receiving – believe it or not, you giving your time to someone is giving.  Don’t underestimate your value and what you have to offer.  Be open and genuine in giving without expectations
  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – events where you don’t know a soul are the perfect opportunities to put yourself out there.  Get in the mindset of going to an event on your own – you might actually enjoy yourself! 😉
  4. You won’t connect with everyone and vice versa – it’s possible you attend an event and walk away from it not having met anyone you connected with.  That’s OK!  You may not connect with everyone you meet the first time and vice versa.  At the least, you’ve learned if that’s the type of event you would participate in again and you know for next time.

Networking doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, calculated experience when you have the right mindset towards it.  Be open and if you’re going to be open to giving your time or insights, do so without expectation of getting anything in return. 

What have been some of your favorite networking experiences? 

Happy networking!

Lisa xo

How to be a bada$$ at work and stay true to your values!

Whether you work in a corporate job or are an entrepreneur, there’s always a balancing act of how much of the real you to show.  You want to be true to who you are, yet societal rules, unspoken politics and corporate hierarchy (in some cases) dictate that only a part of you shows up, while the other parts remain hidden.

But what if something happens at your company where your values are compromised?

Recently this came up for me in my own personal experience and as much as I’d love to say it was easy to deal with and justice prevailed, sadly it didn’t, and it got me thinking. 

How often does this happen in the workplace and how do people deal with it? 

Throughout my career, time and experience have told me this is more common than you might think, and most people don’t know how to deal with it.  I’ve had countless conversations with professionals who have shared a story or an experience they’ve had where something happened that was a direct clash with their values.  In fact, in many cases, they were having a conversation with me because they chose to leave their jobs due to a misalignment with the company and their core values.

So, I got curious and thought about a few things to keep in mind if you’re faced with a situation at work that infringes on your values:

1. What’s the lesson you can learn from that experience?

When something happens where you feel your values were compromised, what’s the lesson you can walk away with?  Are you able to take a step back and consider, what is this experience trying to teach you?  Lessons sometimes come much later after an experience has occurred, but sometimes, it doesn’t take long to realize what an experience is trying to show you if you’re aware!

2. Is there an opportunity to educate your company to help them evolve?

Yes, it’s possible your efforts could fall on deaf ears and your company may not be ready to ‘hear’ or be open to receiving your message to help them evolve.  At the very least, it’s an opportunity to educate where they may be missing the mark.

3. How can you use the experience to help yourself and someone else? 

The disconnect you experienced with your company could be the very gift that you can give to not only your company or someone you know to help them evolve, but yourself.  It’s very easy to internalize and personalize an experience where you feel like you’re the only one in your organization that stands strong to holding your values close to heart.  Instead, consider this a GIFT that you’re honoring your values and recognize that they’re important enough to you to stand for.  See this for what it is and use it to help yourself assess any next steps or course of action.

It’s never easy when you’re put in a situation where your values are being compromised, especially in the workplace.  While it might be difficult to just up and leave your organization if it’s not an immediate option for you, you do always have a choice. 

Use your voice for good and speak your truth even if your voice shakes.

Have you ever faced an experience in your workplace or with a client where your values were compromised? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I know it’s a bit of sticky topic but one I hope you see how helpful it could be to share with others how you might have dealt with this in your own experience.  If you have anything else to add to this topic, I’d love to hear it just the same!

Lot’s of love

Lisa 

Spring is around the corner! What’s your new beginning?

Have you ever thought about how the ending of something in your life or business could very well be the beginning of something new?  Most of us tend to focus on what we’re losing, giving up, sacrificing, ‘ending’, vs. what it could mean for the start or beginning of something new.  Even if we don’t know what that is yet!

For me, this time of year always marks the start of new beginnings and the obvious ending of the Winter season.  Many of us in North America LOVE this time of year as it marks the start of longer days, warmer temperatures, sunshine and patio season is in sight. 

How can we apply this same meaning of changes of the seasons to our own lives?  Embracing a new start and welcoming the new, while saying goodbye to the old and why is it so hard for us to be open to what’s to come?

The idea of something ending can often be interpreted as the ‘loss’ of something.  We take it to mean something much deeper and attach a sentimental, or a symbolic meaning to the experience.  Whether we’re expecting a specific outcome or result, associating a particular achievement to an experience, associating status or even feeling like we have to prove something to someone else.

Here are a couple of examples of what this could look like in our lives.

You’re anticipating a promotion and lose the opportunity to someone else.

  • You say, “I’m not good enough”

You interview for a position and you don’t get it.

  • You say, “I’m not smart enough”

You apply for a business loan and you don’t get it.

  • You say, “They don’t think I have what it takes”

You launch your first program/workshop/masterclass in your business and no one signs up.

  • You say, “What I have to offer isn’t valuable enough”

Nearly every one of these examples, can be chalked up to your self-worth. Not feeling good enough or not feeling worthy enough as you are, regardless of how you finish any of these sentences.  We almost instinctively internalize it to mean something about our own self-worth. 

So, what if instead you re-framed your answers and said this:

You’re anticipating a promotion and lose the opportunity to someone else.

  • You say, “There’s something bigger in store for me”

You interview for a position that you don’t get.

  • You say, “There’s a better position out there for me”

You apply for a business loan and you don’t get it.

  • You say, “Now may not be the right time, I’ll try again”

You launch your first program/workshop/masterclass in your business and no one signs up.

  • You say, “I’ll review my offering, and launch it again”

There is ALWAYS a better way to view the ‘loss’ or ‘ending’ or perceived ‘missed opportunity’, to a greater blessing up ahead or something ultimately better for you.  You may not know what that might look like, or what it might be and you may not always get what you want when you want it, but you do get what you need in the perfect time. 

Your job is simply to be open to what could be without being attached to what was lost or what’s ending.  The first shot at something also doesn’t have to be the last, so yes, try, try and try again.

What can you look at in your own life right now that you feel you didn’t get? That promotion, that new job, that big win or sale and instead, what could be the ‘new beginning’ that is waiting for you?

Let me know in the comment box below!

Spring is around the corner, can you feel it?

Lisa ❤

Gender bias and how YOU can move the conversation forward

On Friday, March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day where we honored and celebrated women around the globe for political, cultural and economic achievements to name a few.  While it’s recognized on this special day, I’m personally reminded daily of the brave, courageous and strong women I’m surrounded by and who I admire who are showing up and pushing the boundaries. 

I participated in Lean In Canada’s workshop on Friday where we discussed women’s bias and what we can do to help educate and change the conversation.  My commitment leaving that evening was to write about it through educating you with how you can help increase the conversation and hopefully influence change.

With that said, I’m hoping I can inspire you to be that brave soul who can be informed and offer new perspective regardless of your role in your place of work.

Gender bias is real and happens more often than you probably think.  It also comes in many forms in the workplace.  While it happens to both men and women, studies have shown women have experienced these biases far greater than men.

From receiving fewer promotions than their male counterparts to being passed up on important projects, to the biggest one that I think many of you will agree on where women are still earning less than men.  According to a study conducted in 2017, Pew Research Center showed that 42% of women in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender.

So, what does gender bias look like in the work place?

Some examples include:

  • Performance bias – A simple review of your organization to see if there’s an imbalance between men and women can speak volumes. 
  • Educate your leadership team that balance across gender helps the bottom line and brings different perspectives and experiences to the business.  Where is there an imbalance?  Is it across the whole company, a certain division?  Also, look at your company’s recruitment strategy to see how you’re attracting and hiring talent into your organization.
  • Wage gap – According to the Women’s Foundation of Canada, women with the same experience, socio-economic and demographic background earn approximately $7,200 less than their male counterparts per year, according to an Ontario Government report.  This was updated as of August 2018.
  • We’ve seen some progress in closing the wage gap with examples from companies like Salesforce.com. In 2018, a $6M gap would soon see to pay men and women equally across the company. But there’s definitely room for more improvement.  Where can you improve and how can you close the gap in your organization?
  • Maternal bias – women often face this when their male counterparts are being promoted to leadership roles or being overlooked for special projects upon returning from maternity leave.
  • There is often an assumption made when women leave the workforce to start a family, they won’t be able to handle the same level of work upon their return. Educating your leadership team that all opportunities that can help stretch and advance their employees should be left up to the employee to choose. Empower your employees to decide whether they can take on a new challenge.

There are many more types of biases that we can add to this list, however, I wanted to leave you with just a few common ones.  While moving the needle can take time, increasing the conversations in our organizations and creating awareness is a start. Educating what gender bias looks like, and how we can #BalanceforBetter, takes action.

You change the conversation by witnessing it when it’s happening and educating your leadership team on gender bias, followed by proposing a solution. It starts with having the conversation, bringing awareness to it and coming up with actionable solutions.

Remember, courage over fear, faith over fear and keep in mind, the smallest of efforts can often make the biggest impact. Don’t ever doubt that your words mean something.

What can you do in your organization to continue the conversation?

I’d love to hear from you and encourage you to use your voice and share your perspective!  Let me know in the comments below.

All my love, ❤

Lisa

Lead with the WHOLE you at work – not just the professional


In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about the brain, but in the future, they’ll be about the heart.

Minouche Shafik, Director, London School of Economics

Showing up holistically in every aspect of your life takes courage and knowing who you are.  We’ve been conditioned to believe that, in the workplace, work is work and the parts of you that make you human don’t belong there.  Time amongst others is challenging us to evolve and begin to look at our employee’s or ‘our people’ in the workplace as a WHOLE person.  Not just the professional that’s at work Monday- Friday.

Our work places are changing, the way we work is changing and it’s time we do too.

I’m thrilled to see that there’s increasing conversations on how to evolve leadership. Thereby challenging the way we bring ourselves to work, challenging the way we hire talent, challenging our expectations of what the workplace means today.  Can we start to see more organizations modeling these changes as part of their core values?

Part of adopting this as a core value in your company – one that prioritizes people first, and thereby accepting your employee in full, is leading by example.  Leadership in its truest forms.  It’s leading with people first over profits. 

It’s understanding that as individuals, we’re whole rather than just playing a role in the workplace.  Yes, you need to make money, yes you run a business, yes you need the best people to perform to help run and drive your business. You can do all of that while accepting your people as whole individuals, vs. just professionals.

Brene Brown, author of Dare to Lead. Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, discusses leadership in the most courageous way and challenges our definition of what leadership looks like. For me at least it has. We need more conversations around brave work, tough conversations and leading with whole hearts.

Having productive discussions on what I like to call, leading with heart, is one thing but modeling this behavior is another.  When you lead as the whole you and not just as the President/CEO/Manager, you encourage others to do the same. You create a culture where it’s acceptable to bring your whole self to the work table. You’ve invested in your people as whole human beings.

When you’re leading as a whole person and not just the professional, here’s what that leadership looks like:

  1. Leading with your whole heart
  2. Demonstrating kindness, openness, and transparency
  3. Leading with self-compassion, compassion for others and empathy
  4. Embracing diversity and celebrating inclusiveness
  5. Getting up after you fall and trying again
  6. Celebrating all wins big and small
  7. Practicing recognition and gratitude daily
  8. Honoring downtime as much as work time
  9. Embracing creative solutions
  10. Mirroring your purpose and values

What might happen if you began to lead with your whole self and created a culture where your employees were free to be themselves?

If you’re motivated to evolve and embrace a new way of leading, a new way of working, start by making a conscious choice to lead differently. Years of ‘doing things the way it’s always been done,’ doesn’t mean it needs to take years to unlearn and embrace a new way of being.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What’s one thing you can do today to embrace a NEW way to lead?

Leave a comment below and remember, inspired action comes from a desire to change and a willingness to move forward. 👊

With so much love ❤

Lisa xo

Why a ‘side hustle’ and a full-time job can co-exist

So many of us are exploring our options to earn an income in new ways than ever before. The popular ‘side hustle’ is becoming more common as people explore possibilities and opportunities beyond the traditional 9-5.  For those who don’t know, a side hustle is simply a business venture or side business that you do in addition to your full-time job.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to, take that passion you have for, i.e. making jewelry, baking savory sweets, painting for fun, etc. and want to create a business out of it, then dipping your toe in a side gig without completely leaving your full-time job, can be the perfect opportunity to share your passion and make money while doing so.

If you do what you’ve always done, how will you know what else you can do?

In one of my coaching sessions recently, I had a client of mine talk to me about a side hustle she created at a time when she was in between jobs. She was challenged on if she should continue to manage it as she recently landed a new job at a non-profit organization.  Well, congratulations were in order to celebrate landing a new job, and while she was over the moon excited, she was struggling on if she should continue developing her side hustle.

So, we explored this further as she really wanted to make it work given the time already invested in it.

While we covered this topic in greater detail, here are a few things we talked through.

What’s important about your side hustle?

Her side hustle is being a fitness coach.  She’s devoted to health and wellness for her own well-being and wanted to serve others in the same way given her own personal struggles and how she was able to change her life.  She realized it was important for her on a much deeper level, then just making supplemental income and trying something new.  This was an awareness we uncovered that helped her see how much of a priority this was for her.

When you envision yourself working as a fitness coach, how do you feel?

This was another great awareness for her.  When she described herself working with clients, she felt empowered, strong, and like she was making an impact in people’s lives.  It brought a sense of fulfillment she hadn’t felt in years. She loves the feeling behind doing this work and it was far more rewarding than she could have imagined.

What’s the cost of doing nothing at all?

Aside from the obvious (not feeling the fulfillment she got from being a fitness coach) she felt as though she will have wasted the investment, she already made in creating her side hustle.  She started this business venture with the intention that it would be a small, hobby like business and an opportunity to give back in a field that she personally had attributed much of her own personal transformation to.  To abandon it and not do anything, would mean to let go of her initial investment and personal fulfillment she got from it, along with losing a few clients she was already supporting.

What would success look like?

Success for her would be devoting 5-10 hours/week on her side hustle, maintaining her new full-time job and having enough energy and time to do both without compromising the other.  She could scale back or do more as needed with flexibility, the financial investment was manageable, therefore not having to make any risky or large investments.

From here, we explored options she came up with on how she would continue to develop and grow this side hustle of hers in the midst of a new job.  They aligned to the ‘WHY’ behind her side hustle which for her, was more important then just tapping into her creative potential. 

A side hustle may not be for everyone, but if you’re even the slightest bit curious or pondering taking on a new challenge, it’s a great opportunity to explore a creative venture, generate supplemental income and it’s a safe investment as you don’t have to leave a full-time job to do it. Unless of course, it turns into something where you want to!  More importantly, it can re-ignite a fulfillment you may not be currently feeling in your full-time job and reward you in ways you never would have expected.

Take a chance, test the waters, get out of your own way and try something new.  Besides, how will you know what else you can do, if you’re always doing the same thing?

Give yourself the gift to BE Present

Photo by Lisa De Nicola

Welcome back!  To a new year, a new start and 365 days ahead of you to DO whatever it is your heart ❤ desires.

Coming back from a relaxed holiday with lots of time for rest, sleep (LOTS of sleep), family time, filling my belly (and soul) with love and yummy treats.  I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.  The return to work after the Christmas holidays can sometimes be overwhelming as many of us are often being greeted by an avalanche of work that is just waiting to get done. 

There’s a sense of urgency to get things started, to gain some momentum having been off and business dormant for a few weeks.  To get some traction on projects that might have been set aside to get done or started on in the new year.  Not to mention, re-adjusting back to your weekday work routine of early mornings, preparing for your commute ahead (mentally and emotionally), early nights and let’s not forget your diet.  Gone are the holiday treats and magically you’re back to morning smoothies, soups and salads for lunch, etc.  😉

So how do you ensure a great start to the year without losing yourself in the hustle and bustle of routine? 

BE PRESENT.

Being present allows us to BE in the moment.  It helps us stay connected in the task at hand, the person we’re having a conversation with, or the meeting we’re trying to participate in, etc.  It also allows us to remain grounded and puts us in a relaxed state.  Particularly if you’re one who easily gets anxious by constantly projecting to the future or playing into the distractions that surround us all.  Just like maintaining balance in your day to day has its benefits, being present is equally just as important.  You can easily notice some of the benefits listed above once put into practice.


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Believe me, I recognize the number of distractions we’re surrounded by.  Including those convenient devices we all walk around with 24/7, which can seem impossible to let go of all the time.  But the beauty that detaching and being in the moment in just the smallest of ways can offer us, is priceless.

In a world where we’re constantly planning for our futures or worrying about what happened yesterday, it’s no wonder we can’t appreciate the present moment for what it is!  The truth is, you’ll never have that same moment again if you’re too busy focused on the next thing to do.  What time you have to go to the gym, or that you have that appointment you need to make before you forget, etc. etc. etc.

I try my best to put this into practice every day, whether I’m by myself or with people and while it’s a work in progress, the benefits I can confidently say make a difference.  Not just for me, but the people I’m with as well.

Start with baby steps that can help shift your behavior.

Put your phone away when going to a business meeting or meeting a friend for coffee.  Not on the table face down – AWAY.

Take notice of your breathing and the way you feel whether you’re alone or with people.

If you have a nagging or recurring thought, notice it and let it pass.  Re-focus your attention to what you’re doing.  Writing down your thoughts or journaling before starting your day can help let go of any thoughts you might have and clear your head if you have a busy mind.

If you have someone in your life who is FABULOUS at being present – take notice of them!  Being around others who are equally present can make it easier to learn from and adopt simple practices.

Take notice of your surroundings.  Even if you go to the same coffee shop, ride the same bus or train everyday to work.  Try doing so without music in your ears, reading your book or scrolling through Instagram.  Try just sitting there without having to do something.

Again, baby steps to shift behavior.  It’s about progress, not perfection.  Give yourself the gift of BEING present and take joy in the benefits.

As always, I’d love to hear from you and please don’t be shy to share your thoughts!

What are some ways that help you BE present?

Thank you SO MUCH for starting 2019 with me!  I’m looking forward to the year ahead and what’s to come.  Thank YOU again for allowing me to fill your inbox each week, your time, attention, and energy. 🙏

With so much heart ❤ , 

Lisa xo

When turning down a MAJOR business opportunity is the RIGHT decision

These days, so many of us have a ‘side hustle’ in addition to a full-time gig OR you may just be a straight up entrepreneur and that’s all you’ve ever known. The corporate gigs haven’t been your thing and you only know how to work for yourself, following your dreams whether through a product or service-based business.

Maybe you’re on the other side of that and have been in a full-time job and have made the decision to leave and pursue a business of your own. (yay! Koodo’s to you)

While the better part of my career has had me focus on people and cultivating relationships with all sorts of talent, I’ve learned on my personal journey how important marketing is to any business.  Regardless of your path as an entrepreneur or small business owner.

Continue reading “When turning down a MAJOR business opportunity is the RIGHT decision”

Why giving back is not just good for you but your business too!

As a client when you’re researching companies to buy from, what do you typically look for?

As a candidate when you’re embarking on a job search, what do you look for in the companies you’re interested in?

Today, where technology is at our finger tips, we have more options and ways to research companies which offers us more decision-making power than ever before.  We may do some fact finding through research, ask for referrals, read reviews, navigate through websites, etc. all in an effort to help reach a decision.

What if part of your clients decision-making process was considering organizations that give back?  

Continue reading “Why giving back is not just good for you but your business too!”