Guest Post By Victoria Greene
It’s fair to say that America is a fairly divided place right now, with wildly differing ideas about what’s right and wrong. Whatever your views, our blundering, boastful President does seem to have mastered one thing, and that’s showmanship. As he appoints more than a few questionable characters to office, many of us remain distracted by the latest inflammatory statements he’s made on Twitter, or by what’s going on with Celebrity Apprentice. As intelligent entrepreneurs and business owners, here are 8 lessons we can learn from his strengths and weaknesses when it comes to courting publicity.
PR is rooted in positive relationships
Most CEOs respect PR, or at least understand its function. Whatever their feelings towards it, they accept that in positions of high power or visibility, it is necessary. For better or worse, Trump is not most CEOs.
Donald has yet to realize that at the root of PR is a carefully tended network of positive relationships, built on clear and transparent communication. He mistakenly considers himself an ‘expert’ PR person, despite his total lack of tact, sensitivity, or awareness. Let’s not forget, he appointed a hedge fund manager to run his communications office.
For the life of him, Trump cannot seem to hold on to a PR chief, and the reason is quite simple – no self-respecting, professional PR person wants to work for a boss who thinks he can do better, and who will publicly shame you for trying to do your job.
How to apply: Dale Carnegie says in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People: “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive”. In other words, an aggressive approach will get you nowhere. He also says that “Winning friends begins with friendliness” – another simple yet oft forgotten pearl of wisdom. Take a look at this list of the 100 Most Trusted People in America. They are well-liked, charismatic, and many of them are actors. Interestingly, none of them are TV bullies.
Sometimes you need to take an unconventional approach
Some believe that Richard Nixon lost the 1960 presidential race due to his poor TV presence, compared to JFK, who understood the power of the medium. Trump is, of course, no stranger to television, having perhaps more experience with it than any other presidential candidate in history. Throughout his election campaign, he consistently eschewed conventional politics in favor of sensationalism and sound bites, in contrast to Hillary’s more measured approach.
What’s more, while Clinton worked to secure votes across all demographics, Trump lasered in on a specific target audience – white, working class men who had been feeling less represented under the previous Democrat government. In marketing we are often advised to ‘find our niche’, and it seems that the same could be true of politics.
How to apply: There are lots of ways to get unconventional with PR, though it’s no guarantee that just because your campaign is unconventional, it will be a success. From publicity stunts and viral videos, to riding trends and putting out crowdsourcing content, the internet has made it much easier to be imaginative. Check out these Timeless Creative PR Ideas.
If you fake it, you’ll probably get found out
Earlier in Trump’s career, several New York reporters spoke with a John Miller or a John Barron – two supposed PR men who sounded suspiciously like Trump himself. Miller and Barron were particularly insightful, sharing detailed explanations for Trump’s actions and love life, all the while presenting him in the most favorable light possible. You can read the full transcript of one of John Miller’s interviews here.
Of course, these strangely forthcoming sources were none other than Trump himself, and if you read or listen to the interviews, it is startlingly, ridiculously apparent. At one point, he even forgets to speak in the third person. The lesson here? It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t pose as your own publicist and expect to get away with it. Oh – and the tan isn’t real either.
How to apply: It’s fairly straightforward really – just be honest and authentic about who you are and what you do. If you don’t fake it in the first place, you don’t get found out. Lance Armstrong was a celebrated road racing cyclist who many people admired, until the doping scandal came out. Likewise, Tonya Harding was a famous figure skater, whose career was left in tatters after she hired a thug to break her rival’s leg. The public hates a cheater, so keep your record squeaky clean.
You must be willing to listen to advice
PR professionals are much like counselors. Their job is to advise the client on the most effective approach to communications, if they want to achieve certain goals. They are a valuable asset to the team, and a smart client will realize the importance of listening to their advice, even if they end up taking a slightly different course of action. A sensible business owner will involve their PR person in all big-picture discussions.
The thing about Trump is, he really doesn’t want anyone’s advice. He wants to do his own thing and he thinks he’s got PR sussed. When Spicer worked at the White House, he griped about his limited access to the President, yet was still blamed when things went wrong.
How to apply: Benjamin Franklin said that “wise men don’t need advice – fools won’t take it”. If you’re attempting to navigate the choppy waters of publicity, it’s better to do it with a legitimate expert at your side. Part of a PR practitioner’s role is to train their clients to effectively face the media, as well as making their client’s reputation as strong as possible. Ultimately, they help to keep you focused and moving towards your goals – with the force of the media on side.
The celebrity phenomenon
Whether your feelings towards Trump are mild or extreme, it can’t be denied that he is something of a sensation. For better or worse (and likely worse), we’ve never had a figure quite like him on America’s political stage. We now live firmly in a culture of celebrity, and Trump – a longstanding TV star and populist bigmouth – is known by everyone. It shouldn’t really come into the equation when you’re running for President – yet it does.
Why? Because with their deity-like status, we listen to what celebrities have to say. So in 21st century America, should we be surprised that a celebrity has managed to become President? It’s wall-to-wall (pun intended) publicity, be it good or bad. Whether you love or despise Trump, he remains a popular topic of conversation – and that’s just what he wants.
How to apply: So how can you find ways to keep people interested in you? To enjoy the kind of engagement that Trump gets online and in the media, it’s all about being engaging and having a stance or opinion that people relate to. Today’s consumers are discerning about which brands deserve their time and attention. Don’t be afraid to start discussions, and fan the flames to keep them going. Experiment to find out what resonates with your audience, and mix up your timing, language, and use of imagery.
He tells it like (he thinks) it is
Trump doesn’t speak the political tongue. Everybody knows that – just look at his Twitter feed. Instead, he seems to say whatever comes into his head, without much of a filter to speak of. Agree with him or not, you always get the jist of what he’s saying. Some politicians do themselves a disservice when they speak in political jargon, alienating the less articulate voters.
Honestly counts for something in PR, even – or especially – if that honesty is controversial. Trump’s followers love him for his willingness to tackle any subject, in particular those that more seasoned politicians dance around.
Why is this so appealing? Because we value people who give us perspective on things that matter in our culture. In other words, we love someone with a strong opinion. And Trump – well, he is big orange hot air balloon of opinions.
How to apply: We want your perspective on what matters to you and why it’s important to your audience. Your strong opinion about a topic you care about sets you apart from your competitors who may have a different take – and sets you up as a thought leader. News shows are made up of people proffering different opinions on a topic then backing those opinions with facts, research, or other evidence.
Pick an enemy (or several)
Branding experts will often tell you to identify an enemy and position against them. That enemy doesn’t have to be a person, it could be a system, a state of the world, an injustice, or an opinion. The world’s top brands all have distinct enemies – and Trump is a brand too.
At this point, Trump has made many enemies, and he has a habit of calling them out and going after them. Choosing an enemy gives your campaign a focus – it’s the classic scenario of ‘us vs. them’ that galvanizes large groups of people into action. It’s a great tactic for businesses. Is it a good one for politics? It’s certainly been successful at getting Trump into office, but as to the effects on society and the world, it all starts to feel like a dark and dangerous road.
How to apply: So every brand or personality needs an enemy, but that doesn’t have to be a competitor. It could just as easily be an idea. A nutritionist might position processed food corporations as ‘the enemy’. A pro web designer might frame DIY website builders as ‘the enemy’. For an artisan coffee shop, it might be instant coffee. Whether it’s a belief, an assumption, or a rival business, every beloved brand has something to push against and rally behind.
If you don’t have the instinct for it, leave it to the professionals
Anthony Scaramucci has said that Trump has ‘excellent public relations instincts’. So is that true? He certainly represents something different, and something different – especially in politics – is pretty irresistible. But I would argue that overall, Trump’s PR instincts are fumbling at best, and volatile at worst. And they appear to be getting worse. His weeklong assault on his own attorney general in July was apparently ‘all his idea’. Good one.
Trump is used to the selective media exposure granted by his TV lifestyle, but as President, you are on show 24/7. PR decisions are more critical than ever. The best bosses understand their own strengths and weaknesses, but Trump’s inflated view of himself means he won’t listen to others. From a PR perspective, it will be interesting to see where his ego leads him over the course of his time in office.
Trump famously exaggerates, but if you’re looking to implement his tactics into your own business PR campaign, maybe think twice. Exaggeration and dishonesty are no way to do business – and you will be found out eventually. If you’re trying to get more media attention for your business, here are some good guidelines. What we can take away from his success is the importance of picking an enemy, leveraging social channels, being true to yourself, and being memorable. But we can also learn to become better listeners, better bosses, and better people.
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.
Vicky is a freelance writer and ecommerce marketing consultant. She loves following politics and drawing lessons that can be beneficial in other areas. In her spare time, Vicky shares her knowledge by writing for a variety of digital publications.
Here’s what I know. Most of my clients and course participants are terrified when they get booked to be a TV guest. Much as they want it, it insecurities rear their head— starting with how they look. So I made it my mission to unearth the best products to whip a bod and face into form for a guest spot on a TV show. We start six months out and cover you right up to your moment in the green room.
Typically you don’t have six months to prepare so best to start now.. The goal is to look your best. And more importantly not to focus on how you look so you can be your most engaging and engaged self.
I heard comic and actress Jessica James on Terry Gross on Fresh Air discussing her audition for the Jon Stewart show. She said Stewart told her, “Here’s what you need to know. I already saw your tape. I already think you’re really funny. The only thing that you have to worry about is just being present with me. That’s all I want is for you to be present with me.” James said, “And just for this guy to just release me and just be like, hey, just be yourself, it’s fine, was really, really liberating.”
So I recommend the same to you. Be present and be yourself. It’s the most important gift you can give to those who are watching you. And your audience can see who you are in less than 1/10 of a second. It’s called thin slicing. Your audience knows whether they like, trust, believe and will buy from you in less than a blink of an eye.
Of course you want to have your sound bites prepped so you can integrate them into the conversation naturally. Keeping in mind to “be the message you want to give” as well as delivering the content of the message in an easy to understand manner so you serve your audience’s needs – and the host/show’s goal of creating a lively, entertaining and informative show.
Prepping your face, neck, chest and body before a media interview is as important as prepping your mindset and messages. If you look and feel good from the inside out then it’s easier to focus on the message you’re here to give.
If you’re fretting about bulges or imperfections you’re doing a disservice not only to yourself, but to those looking to be entertained by or to learn something from you.
When you fully focus on what you’re here to give versus how you look or what you’ll get out of it, then your generosity of spirit carries a lot further than perfect hair, clothes, and make-up. That said, I’m focusing on making the most of your natural beauty and showing you how to enhance the skin you’re in.
A quick note: Some of the products I’m reviewing are ones that I’ve used for a long time and love and trust. Others I’ve received recently and have been trialing them and giving them to others to test as well.
To be as accurate as possible with my results I tried products in succession over a four-month period using different products on my (different parts of my) face, neck, chest, hands and body. They range from a few dollars to hundreds.
esthechoc anti-aging chocolate
What I love most: Ummmmn….it’s dark chocolate!
The science: After 10 years of extensive research, scientists at Cambridge Chocolate Technologies have developed the world’s first chocolate to protect skin against the aging process from within.
This is my very favorite anti-aging product for three reasons.
- It’s absolutely delicious.
- It’s something I can do every day with no effort.
- It’s anti-aging from the inside out so I’m nourishing my insides while getting a glow.
“esthechoc is the world’s first (patented) nutricosmetic with a strong, scientifically proven impact on the metabolism of aging skin,” states Cambridge Chocolate Technologies who developed this delicious and effective wrinkle buster.
One square of esthechoc‘s dark chocolate has just 38 calories and 2 grams of sugar. But there is one big problem….it’s so delicious that you want to eat the whole box all at once! I’ve been consuming it for three months now, one square at a time, and my skin is markedly different.
The place where most people use Botox – the frown lines and the lines in my forehead – have diminished about 50% and the lines around my mouth have softened as well. esthechoc is well-known in Europe and is rapidly becoming a favorite anti-aging “nutricosmetic” in the United States as well.
A few facts: One 7.5g piece delivers as much flavanol activity as an entire large bar (100g) of dark chocolate. It also contains as much of the plant-based antioxidant astaxanthin as a full serving (8oz) of wild Alaskan salmon.
Astaxanthin is considered by many experts to be the most powerful antioxidant on the planet. esthechoc bars are natural, vegan, gluten free, diabetic-friendly and work for all skin types. Results have shown that it slows aging, boosts circulation, oxygenation and detoxification in as little as 21 days. Scientists say it can make skin look up to 30 years younger. I sure look forward to that.
Joovv Full Body Red Light Therapy
What I love most: Joovv works from the inside out in 5 minutes a day.
The science: Why and how red light therapy works.
Joovv is first in-home, full-body, red light therapy device designed to treat your entire body in less than 5 minutes. Because of its ability to enhance ATP production at the cellular level, red light therapy helps reduce wrinkles, repair sun damage, fade scars, enhance muscle recovery, increase collagen production, and many other benefits.
Before Joov, most consumers had to use small handheld devices or pay for expensive services offered only in spas. Now, you can use Joov in the comfort of your own home and follow in the footsteps of fitness hackers like Dr. Mercola and Dave Asprey and dozens of others who are using this cutting edge therapy to hack their health.
I’ve been using it for about a month now for an average of 10 minutes a day and it’s cut my use of Advil in half after a hard Aikido (Japanese martial arts) work out. I recover faster and feel more energized on a daily basis.
You can stand in front of it naked or with clothes. If this seems time-consuming let’s reframe that as you can use your time in front of the Joovv effectively to prepare for your media appearance.
Suggestion: You can record your sound bites ahead of time on your phone and then play them back to yourself to help get them ingrained. Also, keep saying them aloud until they become second nature, like you’re talking to your bestie. You’ll heal your bod and your anxietyat the same time.
Oh, and you’ll also get a kind of mini-facial and weight loss boost as the Joovv works on those wrinkles, increases collagen and helps wash away fat cells and decrease your appetite.
Attention men, this also helps up your testosterone.
Joovv is my new groove. Here is my routine. I stand in front of it and:
- Meditate (standing so no leg or neck crinks). I do a simple meditation from Dr. Brian Alman that connects the breath with your goal that I highly recommend for you too and share in this webinar.
- Visualize and send out good feelings and healings to those I love and those I don’t yet know. Making this a practice will shift your attention from yourself and help you focus on serving your audience – which is the essence of good publicity. If you don’t know where to start you can recite this Buddhist prayer for compassion in action that helps heal yourself and blesses you to gain the capacity to heal others. Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
- Practice upcoming speeches and sound bites for my new program True Shield: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls. I’ll be meeting journalists and producers in person at the Publicity Summit in New York in October and want to use my time most effectively with them. Your verbal pitch should be about 20 seconds. And your written one about 100 words. Now is the time to practice out loud.
- Watch Aikido videos on my phone to improve my technique – which needs quite a lot of help. I set it on the top of the Joovv and enjoy.
You can choose to watch videos of people you want to emulate and/or of yourself so you can see what it working well for you and what you want to change for your next on-camera interview.
Skinade Marine Collagen
What I love most: Beauty from the inside out.
The science: Active ingredients boost your body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in as little as 30 days.
Skinade increases collagen in the bloodstream by adding 7000mg of hydrolysed marine collagen peptides (smallest molecular weight on the market of 2kDal) from each bottle (daily dose), which triggers the body’s own collagen production by firing up the fibroblasts, our own “collagen factories.” In essence you’re giving your skin a boost to manufacture more collagen every time you sip.
Since I can’t tolerate sucralose I gave Skinade to my sweetie’s personal trainer who has tried a number of bovine collagen products, which she called “gross” and can have a funky taste. Skinade uses marine collagen peptides sourced from fresh water fish but there isn’t any fishy flavor. She’s used it for a month and loves the tangy taste.
She says that her skin is softer and more vibrant. And, “I felt like I was doing something good for myself by drinking it.” Skinade uses an advanced technology with a “Patent Pending” formulation that delivers essential nutrients in a “liquid formulation promoting high absorption and bioavailability.”
You can get this product for 30, 60, or 90 days pre-bottled or in concentrated liquid sachets so you can just add water – which is the ticket when you’re traveling. Skinade’s tag line is, “better skin from within.” Instead of taking a pill or shot you can drink your way to more beautiful skin. Bottoms up.
PMD Personal Microderm
What I love most: You only need to do this once a week.
The science: See the results of clinical trials.
The instructions for this device say, “The PMD is a serious skin care tool and there is a learning curve.” That said, it’s quite a quick curve. I was fearful at first to use such a device as I’m a pain weenie. But I followed the instructions to a T watching THEIR video first, not other videos on the Internet many of which are inaccurate. And it looked like it was a cinch.
The concept is clear. Once you’ve followed the skin cleansing instructions you choose the white training disc to start and then graduate to the gray disc. Once your skin becomes acclimated you can graduate to the other discs depending on your tolerance for dermabrasion.
You move the PMD quickly across the surface of the skin in an organized manner following the video and diagram that’s included and do not make a second pass over the surface you’ve covered. I’ve done it four times so far on my face, neck and chest and the instructions state that after a series of 8-12 treatments you’ll see a reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes and age spots.
What I suggest is that you use this device to exfoliate to increase the effectiveness of any of the anti-aging products as they’ll get absorbed at a much deeper level after these microderm sessions, so your beauty routine will produce results faster.
TwinMedix X Smart Exfoliator + Pro Travel Kit
What I love most: No fuss or mess.
The science: Skincare innovations in ingredients and delivery.
Who ever heard of a cleansing routine that’s fun? I was really tickled by several of TwinMedix’ products in their Pro Kit which travels well.
Exfoliation, starting at least three weeks ahead of your TV guest appearance, will create a smooth surface for your moisturizer and make-up. All products work better after exfoliation so this is an essential step in your beauty routine. TwinMedix Pro: Essentials X smart exfoliator gel removes dead skin cells with the smoothing power of Dead Sea Salt.
It beads up and rolls right off. It was kind of like an unexpected magic trick. I used Costco’s Baby Wipes for a quick clean up. Don’t forget your neck. You gently massage your face in circular motions and voila! you’re done. I like this as it was super fast – 30-60 seconds and super fun. So your total time from start to finish is two minutes to get your skin prepped for their A-15 serum.
Beyond the fun factor, my skin got kind of luminous. So I admit I found myself marveling in the mirror for a few moments. #notvain.
I also loved their O2 Oxygen Facial Mask that was equally funtastic. You squirt it on, lather it on your face, neck and chest and it foams up white and then dries clear. You rinse it “once you feel the bubbles ‘pop’” away and you suddenly look more awake and alive. Brilliant.
What I love most: It doesn’t hurt.
The science: Reinventing the wheel with micro-needling and area specific serum.
MesoLyft is a new take on Mesotherapy. I’ve had Mesotherapy treatments from Dr. Lionel Bissoon, who brought this famous French beauty secret to the US, with subtle and dramatic results. Celebs sneak into his office before big galas to youthify and this treatment is a natural and effective alternative to fillers and Botox. Mesotherapy also excels in the treatment of cellulite, weight loss, body sculpting.
It works by delivering vitamins, minerals and homeopathy with hundreds of tiny pin pricks under the middle layer of the skin (meso) so your skin naturally produces collagen and rebuilds. Over time you look better and better, so people would just comment on how relaxed or radiant I looked several months after treatment.
Since Dr. Bissoon is in New York and I’m here in California and haven’t had a treatment in years, I was thrilled to try MesoLyft, the dermatologist approved, fragrance free formula that is delivered through a micro-needle wheel that you can easily control. Just pump and roll. Simple as that.
Since the wheel is small you can get to “hard to reach” places like between your eyes and bridge of your nose. Also, you can control the pressure of the needles.
How does it work? MesoLyft creates small micro channels in the skin that allow the skin to repair itself naturally while also providing a deeper infusion of ingredients than traditional products alone; all without damaging the skin. See how easy it is here.
When I conversed with the publicity rep and she exclaimed, “It doesn’t hurt!” Their pain free delivery system was designed along with top scientists at MIT and Harvard to introduce a sleek yet pain-free way to incorporate serums and exfoliation into one easy-to-use device. I had my doubts. And was curious to try.
To my delight she was right! I used this daily around my mouth for a month where I have deep lines above and below my lips where and I’d almost given up hope of an improvement. Now, I rarely think about these bothersome wrinkles that are much less deep. MysoLyft has become one of my favorite beauty secrets.
One Two Magnetic Eyelashes
What I love most: Takes less than 30 seconds to get the false eyelashes on. In a word: Godsend.
The science: Two tiny magnets sandwich your natural lashes between two ultra-lightweight fiber strips.
I read about these eyelashes on Popsugar and my first thought was, “I must have them.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m a total spaz with glue. I recommend false eyelashes to all my women clients for their TV appearances. Why? You want to illuminate your eyes and draw attention to one of your most expressive features. This helps keep people focused on your message.
The more people are distracted by your expressions, movements, hair, and clothes the less they hear and absorb your message. We want your audience fascinated and focused on what you have to offer.
One Two Lash™ has several different types. Original, bold and accent. You might use the original for magazine shoot and the bold for media appearances. You can add in the accents to get the exact look you want. But either the bold or original will work fine depending on the look you’re going for.
Go for bold if you’re looking for a more lush, dramatic look, like Rachel Maddow. I recently wore the originals, geared more toward the everyday, to lead a media training workshop and after a few minutes after I’d put them on I forgot that they were even on. No more glue. Whew.
Alana Mitchell 4-1 cleansing pod
What I love most: The ingenious packaging.
The science: Committed to true claims.
This 4-in-1 Cleansing Pod looks like puff ball in a bag. It’s a cleanser, exfoliant, sponge and masque all in one. You dampen the pod and squeeze it to activate it. There’s enough of the ingredients in each pod for your face, neck and chest so you can also treat your décolletage. After it dries and you let the mask set for 10 minutes to intensify the “brightening effect.”
After that you simply rinse with water and voila, you’re done. It’s good for 2-5 applications. I admit my face looked rather radiant. Do this the day of your on-camera interview to brighten your face.
I also liked the Quick Comeback Masque which was inspired by Korean beauty and contains two chambers; pop the top chamber and the liquid reacts as it combines with the lower chamber, resulting in a fresh mask that delivers tightening effects to the face for up to 48 hours — so use this the day of your on-camera appearance. It went on super easily and peeled off like Saran Wrap – with zero mess. This is a real winner for traveling.
La Difference Instant Face Lift
What I love most: The moisturizer light and absorbs easily.
The science: Triple Stem Cell Plant Therapy: Veegum, Acai Palm, Chinese Basil, White Oak.
I used this moisturizer which contains a proprietary 6 Peptide and Resveratrol Complex formula not only makes skin appear younger, but hydrates and moisturizes on my neck daily for a month and it plumped out the chicken-neckness that was developing and made it less noticeable. Also, the spot at where the collar-bones meet was getting a bit saggy and this took out much of the sag.
Many TV news commentators interviewed via satellite, or other less experienced media guests often pay little attention to the neck — which can prove a major distraction given wrinkles, flab, and uneven make-up. So prepping this area in advance with La Difference will allow you to do a better job of using make-up that matches your face to include your neck, chest and décolletage. Remember, we want your ideal audience focused on your delightful presence and important message, not on sags and wrinkles.
The Instant Face Lift, which comes in a syringe like tube, dramatically lifts and firms the skin, provides instant results, tightens and strengthens skin and contains antioxidants to fight free-radical damage so use this first before you moisturize.
Created in a FDA-approved, scientifically-advanced laboratory, La Différence Cosmetics Instant Face Lift and all LDC™’s products use plant stem cells as well as clinically-proven ingredients that work on a cellular level to provide instant rejuvenation and hydration of the skin, while powerful tightening actives work to reduce visible fine lines and wrinkles. An excellent combo.
Osmosis StemFactor Growth Factor Serum
What I love most: It works.
The science: Faster, deeper delivery of real human stem cells into the skin.
The newly formulated Osmosis StemFactor Growth Factor Serum contains over 540 uniquely identified proteins and a higher concentration of growth factors that help erase fine lines and wrinkles.
This product boasts that it has 350% more growth factors and skin proteins than the closest competition, and the company recently discovered a new method for accelerating the stem cell output of growth factors to rejuvenate the skin.
Can you say, “skin superhero?” This might like a sound a bit of science fiction, but no worries, the micronized compounds making up this powerful serum do not contain any animal-derived collagen or highly processed ingredients.
What the formula does contain is actual human stem cell-derived molecules of collagen, elastin, SOD (superoxide dismutase), fibronectin, and the star ingredient, tropocollagen.
Rather than begin Frankensteinian, it’s quite the opposite as all of these are components that our skin produces naturally, making it easy for the skin to recognize and incorporate these proteins back into the system.
I applied this turbo-charged super serum to my forehead, frown lines and the crease at the top of my nose. Nothing I used before this seemed to effect that stubborn crease — until I used this. There was a significant difference in depth of that crease and frown lines. Happiness. Now I look less “worried” and more alert. I’ll be continuing to use this product as it’s proven itself.
Livad Anti-Aging Cream
What I love most: Creamy but quick-drying.
The science: 92 Percent of women surveyed in an 8-week study agreed that their skin felt smoother after using this cream.
You’ve heard of bio-identical hormones, right? Now there is a bio-identical moisturizer. Bioidentical vitamins A, D, and E are naturally found in your body, which means less irritation and more long-term benefits for you. The formula works beyond fine lines and wrinkles as well and naturally blends into your skin’s biome for long-term improvement.
What you won’t find: ingredients that artificially plump and cover. Instead you’ll get a “naturally occurring vitamin cream that smooths fine lines and wrinkles,” according to Dr. Janet Prystowsky considered one of Manhattan’ top (board certified) dermatologists who created this cream for the general public. In addition to improving skin smoothness, over 60% of women in an 8 week study said their skin’s elasticity, brightness, and firmness also improved!
One of the key benefits is that this can be used more often than creams with retinol, which can be drying and irritating. Since this cream is thick and rich I’ve been using it on my cheeks for a month and it’s plumped and smoothed them. So count me in as one happy camper along with those gals in the 92% and 60% studies.
Lumion™ Skin Natural Hydrating Oxygen Mist with HOCL
What I love most: So refreshing and light.
The science: Infection-fighting compound found in the human body’s immune system protects skin and treats ailments.
The first of its kind, LUMION utilizes hypochlorous acid (HOCL), an infection-fighting compound found in the human body’s immune system to fight bacteria, smooth wrinkles and treat skin aliments (including eczema, rosacea and acne) without ever introducing foreign, potentially harmful chemicals into your bloodstream. HOCL compound originates from electrically charged Dead Sea salts, water and oxygen.
Take this mist with you when traveling or on the TV set to hydrate and refresh your skin. The beauty of this mist is that you can use it before or after you’ve got your thick TV make-up on. Spray it on before to wake up your skin. Spray it on after to set your make-up or just to refresh and revive when you need a lift.
Often after I’ve been the guest on a TV show my face breaks out from all the make-up products that I don’t normally use. Lumion™ helps fight bacteria and prevent breakouts so you’ll be ready for another guest spot the next day. Their motto, “Let your skin breathe.”
One other thing I love. They give $1 for every bottle bought to Lonely Whale Foundation. Bravo.
Want to be “instafamous”? Tag and hashtag them on Instagram @lumionskin #LUMIONlife. Good luck!
Eminence’s Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum
What I love most: Vegan friendly and smells as good as pie.
The science: Eminence Organics uses the best natural, organic and Biodynamic® ingredients.
Eminence Organics Skin Care provides natural products with rich benefits from the earth – many ingredients are grown on their organic certified farm. For centuries, Europeans have said that rhubarb is also beneficial to healing bruises, reducing redness and swelling. Not only is rhubarb a magical addition to your beauty counter, but it is also a superfood that can benefit your diet as well. (I’m a big fan of strawberry rhubarb pie, you?)
As an important national TV interview or book tour arrives your added stress might lead you to the candy jar. Stop! Sugar has been known to be harmful your skin and can contribute to jowl area sagging, deep crevices around the laugh lines and discoloration of the skin. Instead, do something good for your skin with this nourishing serum.
I had so many products to test on my face I decided to use this on my hands – even though it’s a serum designed for the face. I’m getting some age spots which this lightened considerably in a month, so you wouldn’t even notice the light sprinkling of my freckles or spots.
If you’re doing a cooking show or doing a product demonstration expect close ups of your hands as you chop veggies, hold or point to an item. A manicure goes without saying, but dry skin and age spots as well as rangy cuticles can be distracting. I love the company attitude as well as they state, it helps your skin “Bounce back to its youthful glow.” I’m all for that.
Scrubz Body Cherry Almond Burst Sugar Scrub
What I love most: Instant smooth skin top to bottom.
The science: Emu oil’s qualities.
“All the ScrubzBody products are handcrafted with love in small batches — and you can tell. Makeup, sunscreen and other products work much better on polished skin. Whether you’re preparing for a photo shoot or TV show appearance, and you want skin to be supple, smooth and moisturized this scrub could become your instant favorite.
It is whipped with pure Shea Butter and Emu Oil (in the Scrubz+ products only) in addition to the 8 natural botanical oils included in all their scrubs. Roberta Perry, the Founder and President of ScrubzBody™ Natural Skin Care says, “No other moisturizer is necessary and your skin will be clean, smooth and soft.” So true.
It’s a good thing that on the Cherry Almond Burst Sugar Scrub jar it says, “Not for consumption.” Because the smell of this will make you want to eat it on the spot. When my sweetie sniffed me fresh out of the shower after using this scrub he said, “Yum, you smell like candy. I want to bite you.” No worries if you’re not keen on smelling edible. The scent wasn’t detectable the next day, so it didn’t compete with my perfume.
While salt scrubs can be drying sugar scrubs are kinder to the skin. You don’t want the camera picking up any flakes or scaliness on your skin. Use this the night before you’re on-camera — your lips included — which we often forget to exfoliate. Be sure to pat yourself dry instead of rubbing so the oils have a chance to sink into your skin and you’ll look gloriously moisturized.
L’eggs Silken Mist Control Top Panty Hose
What I love most: The comfort and silkiness.
The science: Soft, silky innovative knits.
If you’re looking to control those little (or big) bulges on your tummy, hips, thighs put on a pair of L’egg’s control top hose. I was grateful that these were so comfortable. I was also amazed that this covered my veins, bruises and discolorations so my legs looked smooth and glowy — and minimized those chunks at the tops of my thighs.
The brand uses soft, silky innovative knits with a control-top panty to provide the smooth look under dress skirts and you can wear these under pants as well to smooth little lumps, elongate your legs to create a slimmer profile and take off five pounds.
You can get seconds on sale for less than $5 that is such a good deal you don’t need to worry about snagging. That is way less than you would pay for any body shaper. Before L’eggs I was a staunch Donna Karan fan – and still am. And these rival Karan’s at a fraction of the price.
I remember one client telling me that she wore a body shaper to her first media interview so she could take off those 10 pounds that television puts on. But there was a small problem: she could barely breathe. It created a distraction that kept her from being her best. In these stockings you’ll breathe easy.
The Brow Gal™ by Tonya Crooks
What I love most: You can use this wet or dry.
The science: Beautiful, innovative customized brows.
This eyebrow “powder” comes in a sleek black case perfect for travel and included a “spoolie” an angled brush on one end and mascara-like wand on the other. The convertible brow, created by Tonya Crooks, a makeup artist who works with Megan Fox and Cara Delevingne, comes in three compacts, with a full size, double ended PRO:
- Dark Hair 01
- Brown Hair 02
- Light Hair 03
Each compact contains a warm, neutral, and ash tone to allow you to mix and match your perfect, custom color. Once used wet, the pallet will revert back to powder consistency, ensuring the product does not dry out.
I wetted the lightest color brown and mixed it with the slightly darker brown of The Brow Gal to not only create a higher arch, but it was easy to “paint” in areas where my brow was thinning. I could make my brows look thicker and still natural. If you want highly stylized “fashion model” or “instagram” brows you can create those too. Not sure how to shape or fill-in your brows? Watch the tutorials.
I first use Maybelline Brow Drama to cover the stray grays and give my brows a bit of texture, even out the color and give them a bit of stiffness to hold their shape.
You can use the spoolie to brush your brows upward if you want less stiffness. For your TV show appearance you want expressive brows that are a bit fuller than what you might create for a magazine shoot or a speaking engagement.
Sea Radiance Rapid Eye Lift
What I love most: It feels fresh and grease free.
The science: Unique nozzle that prevents antioxidant destruction.
Sea Radiance Rapid Eye Lift was created by Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board certified dermatologist with a private practice on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and a celebrity following. It’s made with Sea Elixir, a unique blend of organic sea flora, organic botanicals and peptides with more than 100 times the antioxidant power of Vitamin C.
Brides and their makeup artists love it because they see immediate improvement for fine lines and wrinkles and this is also perfect for an on-camera interview. It comes in an easy to carry tube that you gently squeeze to release a small amount of the cream. Its unique nozzle dispenses the product without allowing air to enter the tube and destroy the antioxidants and prevents waste.
Lots of under eye potions that promise to get rid of my dark circles and wrinkles just haven’t worked — until this one. After one week my sweetie said, (with no prompting…) “Your dark circles are disappearing.” Then he tried to scam me to give him my Sea Radiance Rapid Eye Lift that I would not relinquish. Since he sees me every day I considered this big progress. By using this product you’ll lessen the amount of under-eye cover up make-up you’ll need to use so the camera doesn’t pick up those dark dips. A find.
G.M. Collin Instant Radiance Anti-Aging Eye Patches
What I love most: Quick eye repair.
The science: The hydrogel texture is formulated of a unique mixture of ingredients, providing a feeling of comfort to the eye area.
These eye patches make your eyes “pop “after use. In 20 minutes my crow’s feet had plumped up and gave me a more relaxed look. These can be used on the plane, before bed, or right before a TV show appearance. They immediately and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and fatigue.
The unique mixture of active ingredients sink into the skin, leaving the eye area hydrated and rejuvenated. The packet comes with 5 pairs which you can use two weeks time before you appear on TV for more of a transformation, or individually, the day of your on-camera media interview.
LOVEBUD Puff Puff Past Eye Cream
19. LOVEBUD Puff Puff Past Eye Cream
What I love most: Lose that under eye puffiness.
The science: LOVEBUD products are made using hemp seed oil (not cannabisoil), which makes them 100% legal in all 50 states.
LOVEBUD Puff Puff Past Eye Cream uses hemp seed oil as the main active ingredient. Hemp seed oil is quickly gaining recognition as a natural anti-aging superfood for your skin. It is high in Vitamins A, C and E and has a concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that our skin loves. All LOVEBUD products are vegan and cruelty-free. They are also PEG and Paraben-free.
Originally formulated to solve the under-eye puffiness problem associated with aging, the Puff Past Eye Cream also eliminates under-eye puffiness caused by lack ofsleep. If you have a restless night before your big national TV appearance you can put it on in the morning and expect to see results in as little as 20 minutes.
While it has natural active ingredients such as phytoplankton extract, green tea extract, arnica oil common in other eye creams hemp seed oil is the star here as the phytosterols reduce inflammation and redness, which is why puffy eyes disappear almost instantly after applying the cream. You can look bright eyed even on a few hours of shut-eye.
MOA Aphrodite Facial Oil
What I love most: The intoxicating rose-geranium scent.
The science: Rosehip oil is nature’s retinol.
Magic Organic Apothecary’s Aphrodite Facial Oil from London: Made with a Rosehip Oil base, and enriched with precious Damask rose essential oil helps dry, sensitive skin that is prone to redness and blemishes. Rosehip oil is very rich in vitamin A, C and essential fatty acids. The natural skin regenerative properties have been revered in folklore over the centuries all across the globe.
This magical “dry oil” blend, suitable for all skin types, promotes cell turnover to reveal radiant, balanced skin — which we all want.
One thing you might not know: Rosehip oil is nature’s retinol, but without the irritant. In addition to Rosehip, Organic Yarrow (hero ingredient in all MOA products) is added to help to even skin tone and calm irritation so if you have any kind of flare up this and marshmallow extract will soothe and calm. Use this 3-6 months prior to special event for best results.
Confession. I don’t use sun block. It burns my eyes no matter where I put it on my body. So my chest has quite a few freckles. I wasn’t aware of how many I had until my photographer, Abigail Huller, did a light touch up on that area for my final photos. (My face is not retouched. Much as I’d like to look 10 years younger I wanted my photo to really look like me, flaws and all.)
But the chest freckles were distracting, hence the editing. I used this marvelously scented oil for a month and my freckles are barely noticeable and now look like a sweet sprinkling. So you can use this on your face or hands as well. I tested it on my chest so I could get an accurate read on the result. Thumbs up.
Skindew Propitiation Luxury Body Oil
What I love most: It sinks right into my skin and lifts my mood.
The science: Vitamins, omega3 and antioxidants.
Right after my shower, after toweling off, I shook up the Skindew Propitiation Luxury Body Oil’s gorgeous black glass bottle containing this luxury body oil, and sprayed it on all over my body. It absorbed right in without leaving any slick residue on the surface of my skin. I experimented with it in the morning and my skin drank it right up. So Skindew Propitiation absorbs equally well on dry skin.
I also tried adding it to my go to Beauty Without Cruelty Fragrance Free Hand and Body Moisturizer and while I liked the effect I preferred using it solo. It actually made my arms glow and helped lessen the psoriasis on my elbows as it is full of hydrating oils like argan, avocado, meadowfoam seed, and rice bran oil – and preservative free.
Use this the day of your interview to turn dry skin silky and enjoy the hints of aromatherapy that “stimulate a positive mood.” The scent is also heavenly and light and it actually did make me feel happier each time I rubbed it into any part of my body. Love it. A true luxury.
Travertine Quattro Olii body oil
22. Travertine Quattro Olii body oil
What I love most: Plumps the skin.
The science: Healing and rejuvenating ingredients.
To smooth and moisturize your arms “rapido” Travertine’s Quattro Olii body oil is an emollient body oil that restores and nourishes the skin. I like this oil because it absorbs faster than a cream and doesn’t leave a residue so it won’t get on your clothes.
If you’re planning to go sleeveless, for those of you with Michelle Obama arms, this is excellent product for any skin type and can also aid in the healing of eczema, psoriasis and acne (and those annoying bumps on the back of your arms).
The oil is packaged in premium violet glass to protect the ingredients from ultra-violet light. This method dates back to ancient Egypt. Plus, the bottle is TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule compliant, so you can carry it on, jet anywhere and reuse this bottle for future media appearances.
Inlight Intensive Line Softener
What I love most: Award-winning 100% organic skincare from UK handcrafted by homeopathic doctor.
The science: Clinical trial in Rome, Italy shows remarkable reduction of lines in just 28 days of daily use.
This luxe anti-aging product uses chlorophyll-rich spirulina and barley grass, both with powerful anti-ageing and antioxidant properties, argan and bitter cherry oils with their legendary capacity to “mop up” free radical damage. Less like a cream and more like a solid oil, it’s been formulated to specifically nourish and stimulate the skin’s collagen production and regenerate deep lines revealing radiant, smoother skin.
The creator, Dr. Mariano Spiezia makes a point that I agree with when says, “Ageless beauty doesn’t have to be a complicated affair; but it can be a divine, luxurious ritual.” This product moisturizes the skin and gives it a velvety feel while reducing “dark marks” and makes you feel like you’ve had a spa treatment. I also love that it’s 100% organic, free from synthetics and chemical fragrances and smells divine.
Paleo Pro Protein Powder
What I love most: Pure grass-fed beef protein vs. beef collagen protein.
The science: 26g of protein per serving. No sugar, whey, or soy, hormone, antibiotic and gluten free. Pastured grass-fed beef.
I can’t decide which flavor I like better the Ancient Cacao or Aztec Vanilla. Both were yummy and satisfying. There are enough Paleo protein powders on the market to make your head spin. And many that claim to be Paleo aren’t. What makes this one different? It’s literally “Farm to Shake” with three ingredients: grass-fed lean beef protein, egg protein, and your liquid of choice.
The lean-beef protein here is essential. Paleo Pro is very high in naturally occurring beef collagen, around 70-80%, but it also contains lean tissue protein, just as if you were to eat a steak, this is key, which is a complete protein source vs. collagen. Why is this important? If you’re on the run and supplementing your diet because you need higher protein needs, using just collagen will not fulfill the need and can actually be harmful, not helpful.
Additionally, absorption and consequently assimilation of these amino acids after digestion is much higher when complete proteins are present. In short, this shake will sustain and nourish you properly as a snake or meal replacement when you’re on the go.
Vegan? No problem. There’s the Paleo Greens powder for you. Need to recover from a work out or day where you feel depleted? My sweetie, who works out weight lifting, likes that he can add these high quality carbs (from the sweet potatoes) to his post workout protein drink so it jump starts his recovery.
Pack a pouch of portable Paleo Protein into your make-up bag to instant sustained energy — which you’ll need to pull you through a TV appearance. This is the sane solution when you don’t have time to eat or when your energy flags (which often happens when you’re on tour madly jetting from TV studio to TV studio in a time crunch).
Carry your BPA free plastic cup “blender” with you, which comes with one of those silver balls to smooth out the lumps in the powder with your liquid of choice. I prefer almond milk, but you can use coffee or any hemp nutmilk, tigermilk (just discovered this) or even water for a quick mix. You can pick up an unrefrigerated box of Almond Milk at Trader Joes or Whole Foods so you can easily tote it along.
Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Founder of Hudson Valley Nutrition LLC, Christina Towle says, “As a busy professional and mom I like to have a this shake to stay slim, vibrant, and youthful.”
What I love most: It hurts so good.
The science: The design earned the S.T.E.P. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Production) Award by the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, DC.
One of the most important wellness tips to maintain optimal health is to focus on muscle recovery and mobility. The BodyworksBall, a portable self massage tool (picked by Oprah for her “O List”), can help at home and on the go so you’re relaxed and pain-free as a TV show guest.
I wanted to try this as I’m a big fan of regularly using two tennis balls taped together (or put into a stocking) that I roll on to relieve tension in my back.
With the BodyworksBall™ I don’t have to get on the ground. Instead you use it up against a wall. It kneads out those kinks and crinks so good. So you could actually sneak in a session in the green room to loosen up before you go on-camera. Get rid of “tech neck,” aching hands and feet, shoulder knots and get instant relief in less than a minute.
Originally designed for elite pro athletes to use when traveling which required a special non marking rubber, to not damage the walls of the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton. It won’t wreak any walls while you decompress. Made in America and create by a female. Go girl!
Rosehive Super Foods Box
BONUS! Rosehive Super Foods Box
What I love most: Surprise! You don’t know what goodies you’ll get, but they create instant delight.
The science: Nutrient-packed superfood snacks, herbs, cooking ingredients and recipes delivered to your door every month.
Every month Rosehive Superfoods has a new theme and is co-curated by someone in the health and wellness industry and includes super delish stuff. “I’d like to think of us as the super delicious, energizing, packed with greens morning smoothie versus grandma’s boring brussel sprouts,” says superfoodie organizer Jillian Berswick.
Here are a few things that came in mine….
Take along the Lakanto Monk fruit sweetener so your glycemic index doesn’t spike and then drop. The zero calorie, zero glycemic sugar replacement comes packaged like giant Pixie Stix (remember eating those as a kid? I confess I still love them and brought a bunch to Bali to give away to kids and then poured most of them down my own throat during the wee hours of the night when the chanting and cock crowing kept me up.) Shame.
When I first saw the bag of Cocoburg vegan coconut jerky, chili lime I thought, “Yuk.” I’m a carnivore and couldn’t imagine any vegan jerky measuring up. Fact: I ate the whole bag in one sitting. Bring this satisfying snack with you to chew on to calm your nerves and relax your jaw before you go on-air.
The other superfood that is a perfect “carry with” is K’ul energy artisan crafted superfood bar that’s 70% dark chocolate and loaded with cranberries, cherries, pomegranate, raspberries and maca root for stamina. In a pinch this can suffice as a mini meal and can help you recover from “oxidative stress.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I do know that right before you go under the hot lights you’ll want to calm down. And if this little bar of goodness can help I’m all for it.
Love the metal straw that was in my box. I prefer to drink my protein and green drinks from a straw. You’ll want to as well to preserve your lipstick and to make sure you don’t unknowingly have a green or “milk” mustache. Whenever you can, conserve time and energy so you can spend your time relaxing and focusing in the greenroom, before your moment in the spotlight. The last thing I want to be worrying about is my make-up, hair, and clothes. I want to focus on connecting with the host and the audience.
What I noticed first when these anti-aging winners arrived on my doorstep was the packaging, the first impression. Most were sumptuous, luxurious, elegant, hinting at the promise inside. A few arrived rather disappointingly drab or sloppily assembled. Packaging is important. It’s the first impression, the first look and feel even before a product comes out of its box.
So while beauty comes from within we first see you as a whole “package,” your overall presentation. That’s why this piece focused on taking care of all the details of your appearance.
One of my favorite things to say to my clients is, “Practice your sound bites so you’re free to be spontaneous.” The same goes for your appearance so your energy is freed up to focus on enjoying the moment and connecting to your host and audience.
About Susan Harrow: For the past 27 years, Susan has been the brains + heart behind Harrow Communications, a media coaching + marketing agency based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has trained thousands of people in verbal and non-verbal communication so they can grow their business and be true to themselves.
She’s the author of the bestseller, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (HarperCollins) a marketing book for women, is a former teaching tennis pro, and has a black belt in Aikido.
Recently, she’s created a program called, True Shield: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls that teaches young women 12-24 how to protect themselves in 10 of life’s most difficult and dangerous situations that they’ll likely encounter — and stay safe.
Her newest offering is a woman’s empowerment course called: Braggart, Bitch or Ball Buster™: How to avoid being called the 3 Bs and get what you want.
Disclaimer. Some of the products come from my private product stash. Others were sent to me to trial. I get no monetary or any type of reward or affiliate payment for any of the products I’ve reviewed. This article represents my frank experience and opinion.
I am an affiliate for the publicity summit, an event that I am attending in New York this October. I only recommend products or services I stand behind, use personally and believe will give you tremendous value. Enjoy!
I’m in a tizzy right now. I have an unknown, itchy red rash under my arm. My stomach is upset and bloated. And my office has a giant pile of clothes on a chair I’ve been meaning to take to the consignment store, but haven’t. When I want to shift something, I clean out. But sometimes, the shift doesn’t come soon enough. And stuff piles up.
While I continue to consult with some amazing and talented clients, at the same time I’m also moving into a new direction with my True Shield: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls. So I have a foot in both worlds — which can sometimes be crazy making. Like worried nights pacing and writing at 3:00 am, searching for that roll of sweet tarts I have in the laundry room cupboard for such emergencies.
For one thing, I didn’t really realize that I was a start-up. But that’s what I am. I have a business with no track record for a new idea.
Verbal self-defense for girls
I have all the measurements in place, but have yet to have anyone complete the program. Everyone in the schools and organizations who have purchased it is starting in August or September and while it will take me just 3 months or so to get initial statistics and evidence-based results it will take me about 9 months to get a full picture of all the survey results.
That’s almost a year! Panic. Seems like forever and a day.
Starting something new can be a maddening and discouraging process. I want to chat a bit about the three things about the process, which is often hard to love. Failure, faith, and perseverance. We are often told to embrace the journey. While that is a noble thought, the muck during the journey can weigh you down something fierce.
I just heard an interview with Jessi Klein on Terry Gross’ show Fresh Air talking about getting an Emmy while having a three month-old baby and having to pump breast milk during the ceremony which nicely sums up why embracing the journey is necessary to happiness. “…Having a baby is really hard on a marriage. So things with my husband were just – I’ll just say they were very hard ’cause we were just so tired, and it’s so crazy. And I just suddenly felt very much like, oh, I won this Emmy, and tomorrow I’m getting on a plane and I’m going right back into my own little struggles.
And nothing is really different. Like, this was great but now it is over. And I just have to be back in my sort of currently overweight, milk-laden body and waking up at 2 in the morning and 4 in the morning. And it’s hard. And the Emmy is amazing, but all of this will continue. I think it just brought into very stark relief in the moment what would have been the truth no matter what I was doing. But it was very immediate, which is that this doesn’t really mean anything for your actual happiness or your life.”
the journey is the reward even if it doesn’t feel like it
We think when we get to the big award, reward, end game, whether it’s finishing a book, landing a big deal, selling a bunch of stuff, finding love, that suddenly the world will become rosier and all that ails us will fall away. Yet, happiness often comes on the heels of failure — though rarely soon enough, it seems.
You’ve heard the expression “Fail fast.” It’s about trying a bunch of new things and letting go of the ones that don’t work. So first I had to find people to call schools and organizations. I used Upwork and went through about four people before I found the two that consistently got results- i.e. they called the decision makers to set five-minute appointments for me to discuss the program. I failed fast with the callers by starting them all at once on different excel spread sheets for my target markets.
Failure number two. Schools are a hard sell. Most principals, counselors or PE teachers loved the program. Then it had to go to committee. Then through the budgeting process. Guess what? 99% of the schools couldn’t afford my program due to budget cuts or lack of funding. Many said that would have to get independent funding in order to implement the program. So, we moved on to organizations. Organizations totally got the concept and wanted the program. Problem? Funding. They were used to getting most of their programs free as they were mostly funded by other organizations or grants.
So, I started researching how to get grants. Getting a grant is a laborious, time-consuming and confusing process. In short you have to make sure your mission is in absolute synch with the grantor, then you typically have to earmark those who will get the funding. Which meant that I had to start getting commitments in writing about which organizations were really keen on using my program so I could list them in the grant.
Another problem with getting grants to fund the people who wanted the program is there are no guarantees that I’ll even get the grant!
So all that work could be for nothing.
I hired an expert for that to make sure that I was on the right track. But, after talking to many of the grantors, they told me that had hesitations about giving money to an unproven program — even though they loved the idea and said would go to bat for me.
My faith began to flag. Am I really going in the right direction? How many obstacles do I need to go through before I give up? So I turned to my friends. They told me to keep going. They said it was a much needed idea. They said to find a way in. They said hold fast. Today, a man in charge of programing for the Boys & Girls Clubs said he had faith in me and my program and that all girls need it. “Stay in touch. This is a great program.”
One of the things that I recommend to my clients and course participants when they aren’t getting any traction with the media is to tweak. If you send in a pitch or press release and no one is biting, try a twist. Approach your topic from another angle. Switch up the perspective. Go in the back door— a non-obvious angle that isn’t a direct pitch for your business, book, product, service or cause. Think small and get specific.
What seemed to spark real interest in the contacts I was speaking with is this idea of teens and college girls teaching each other. This is my big dream for my program to become self-sustaining in this way. So my business mentor said, “Let’s approach your course from this angle.” So I did.
I got immediate interest from a Boys & Girls Club that serves an at-risk community and already has volunteers that are groomed in community service through their Keystone program. Perfect.
The head of programming for a department of education said that she thinks she could wrangle 20 girls to train that could then be dispatched back to their schools. Fantastic.
Today, I talked to a man who works in five schools where Opioid addiction is rampant. When I told him about my vision he said, “I can’t believe you just said that. We have those girls at the ready and we’ve been wanting to do something like this the up their self-esteem.” Yes.
Keep your focus on the vision.
By focusing on my original vision, the big dream and bigger mission and slightly shifting the approach, I’m now getting a more enthusiastic response — because it directly taps into the organization’s bigger mission as well.
Am I still discouraged, downtrodden, despairing and weepy? Yes. I cried my eyes out last week, and sobbed on my sweetie’s shoulder, and starting thinking about tossing in the towel. Seriously. On other days, after making calls for hours and not reaching anyone who can make a decision or having people tell me that they get a similar program for free, I feel exhausted and hopeless and have the urge to gorge on cookies.
Then I think about all the time, energy, money and inspiration I put into this. And keep going.
I talked to Susan Kennedy yesterday (SARK) about my plight as she’s an expert in keeping a person’s creative spirits high. The advice she gave me was, “When I’m tempted to deflate in this absence, instead I’m going to fill myself with presence. I’m going to remind myself of my vision and certainty.”
Which all requires discipline and managing what I tell myself. After I bemoaned my plight I told Susan that I did believe that I could already feel that my program was instituted far and wide, helping girls all over the world — and that it had already happened and that I just needed to catch up with it. We talked about the fact that we have no idea how this program has touched people and where it will reach — now and in the future.
Does this mean I won’t have days when I feel it’s all hopeless. No. Like Jessi Klein I’ll still be mired in my own daily struggles, but thank God I don’t have to pump breast milk. When I imagine her life I think I may have gotten off easy. Though it doesn’t feel that way. I just have to get through this next patch, I tell myself. I will remember the discipline of keeping to my vision and certainty. And I invoke the question I’ve told you to ask yourself: “What is my next step?” That is my question. I keep following the answers, wherever they lead.