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The Benefits of Having a Coach

Cynthia Murray: Posted July 14, 2020

When you hear the word "coach" your mind probably goes back to your high school varsity team or little league experience or to the likes of famous coaches such as NFL legends Don Shula, Tom Landry or college basketball Coach Tony Bennett.  I still remember by high school volleyball coach and reminisced fondly when reading the recent newspaper article that he had retired from coaching.  We tend to have these fond memories and think so highly of the men and women on the sidelines because they have the amazing ability to inspire discipline and greatness in the athletes who they coach, both on and off the field.  If you're like me, our coaches did not just teach us how to handle a ball or a racket, but how to handle life with dignity, integrity and a goal-driven attitude.  The same is true for professional coaches.  When you have a good one, you have a great thing!


However, many people and companies still don't readily see the value in hiring a coach.  They make the mistake of assuming that coaches typically help with "soft skills" that there is not an ROI on the money spent.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Coaching done right has enormous benefits to both the bottom-line and to the sustainability of the company or organization.  Let's take a look at a few major benefits of professional coaching:


1. Better productivity and efficiency:  A person or employee with a coach gets the benefit of having someone with a trained eye to watch and observe them from the outside looking in to identify what I call "blind spots" - areas or habits  that we cannot see which are causing problems in performance or at least create inefficiencies in our work.  The person being coached will greatly benefit from that coach on the sidelines who consistently watches the person's plays and helps them to auto-correct, thereby enhancing skills that lead them to professional success.  This not only feels amazing to the coachee/employee, but actually causes them to work more efficiently.


2.  Retention: So, when you have a happy and productive employee (even if you work for yourself) you have a valuable asset.  The person will be able to reach goals and perform better because they are no longer going in circles unable to ascertain why they cannot overcome certain specific problems like poor inter-personal relationships with clients, customers or colleagues, consistent failure to get promoted or win contracts.  Once these obstacles are overcome, the individual feels confident to stay on in their organization and to even push higher and produce more for the company or organization.  They may even become a cheerleader inspiring other colleagues.


3.  Reaching S.M.A.R.T. Goals:  Coaches help an individual to identify and reach their goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  Whether you work for yourself or another, there are few things more satisfying that reaching these goals and enjoying the fruit of doing so!


4.  Profitability: With a professional coach, you can create a top performer in yourself or someone else that brings home the bacon!  When the individual works more efficiently and stays on at the organization meeting and exceeding goals, profit is sure to follow!  It becomes a win-win situation that increases the bottom line in business.  It's so much better to spend money on improvement through a coach than to waste money on lost profits, endless remedial efforts or worse, lawsuits that could have been avoided with some professional proactive measures up front.


Trust me, I've seen it first-hand with the doctors, business executives, military personnel and employees that I have coached over the years.  I really enjoy this aspect of my job and would be honored to help any of you too as your personal professional coach or as a coach to members of your team.  You'll be glad you made the investment!


Cynthia Murray is the CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC and has more than 20 years experience leading in local government, corporate America and with her own international non-profit organization of which she is founder and Executive Director. She is a published author and sought-after keynote speaker. Cynthia teaches, trains and speaks globally and is expert in leadership development and team-building.


Being the Only Minority in the Room​ 

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2020

(Deep topic, long post that's worth the read)


In the wake of the turmoil and sadness surrounding the death of George Floyd in 2020 every American is thinking about racial disparity and how they may be impacted and how they may be part of the problem or part of the solution. Good. We all should take a long pause and reflect on how we can make this world a better place, indeed a more just, free and equitable place. That equity being sought for minorities (and frequently women) is in every area of life and community, including the workplace.


If you are part of a minority group and a professional, then you (like many others) may find yourself being the only representative of that minority in the room or at the table in a company, organization or other professional groups, like local bar associations. Perhaps, if you are female, Black, Latino, from a different nationality or ethnically diverse from the majority in your workplace, you may have experienced this professional challenge first-hand.


Yes, you or someone close to you may know exactly what it feels like to be one-of-a-kind or at least a member of a small group in a prep school, organization or field of practice in your community. It can be uncomfortable, unsettling, even intimidating. However, with education, intentionality and sensitivity, it doesn't have to be a bad experience. Truth is that it is the painful reality for so many minorities and women. I'll admit that I am an eternal optimist and I truly believe that things can and will get better, but first let's take a look at some specific circumstances, data and solutions. Please keep in mind that this article is NOT an attempt to bash or shame anyone, but rather to identify a real sociological challenge and find best practices and attitudes to overcome it.


The Current Condition:

So often, the higher minority professionals go in any organization or company, the more this "being the only one in the room" occurs. In fact, this is even more true if you may fall into multiple minority categories at the same time. That was my case. I personally know what that's like as a black female. You see, I was the first Black Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for the County of Albemarle which is in (Photo cred: Wikipedia) my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia - an area with a storied past (a mix of both good and bad history) and the place of the awful white supremacist Unite the Right rally that took the life of local resident Heather Heyer on August 12, 2017. That was an event which our entire community still mourns and laments, but by which we refuse to be defined.


In over a decade of public service as a prosecutor there were never more than about five or six actively practicing African American attorneys in our entire legal community with me, which is quite large, (as lawyers seem to love Charlottesville)!

I transitioned from the courtroom to the boardroom in a career change that took me to Northrop Grumman as a Senior Business Management professional in the military defense industry. The absence of diversity relative to Black females was even more noticeable in the field of military defense which mostly male dominated. I am compelled to say that I rarely felt looked over, undervalued or ostracized because of my race or gender, but that was in large part due to the fact that I am intentional about being bold and confident so as to been seen, heard and given opportunities to perform and obtain upward mobility. I definitely had to learn when to fight for such opportunities and when to simply let things go for one reason or another.


The Statistics:

In July 2011 Diversity Inc published an article which emphasized the fact that there are very few Black, Latino, Asian and female CEO's of Fortune 500 companies in the United States. At that time, Blacks comprised only 1.2%, Asians 1.4%, Latinos occupied 1.2% of the top corporate roles and women topped the list at 4.2%. The article also highlighted some of the top 50 companies that have a strong showing overall in diversity in the CEO position. A few of the companies and CEO's were:


Black CEO's:

Kenneth Chenault of American Express (whom I have personally met)

Kenneth Frazier of Merck & Co

Don Thompson of McDonald's (Wikipedia photo right)

and Ursula Burns of Xerox

There were and are now others, but the list remains short, even though there is no shortage of talent to fill the positions.


The Challenge:

Being a senior or high level minority professional in your company or field creates unique challenges. By the time you are the CEO of the company those challenges are perhaps completely overcome, however, they likely still exist within the industry at various levels beneath the C-Suite level. When you have not quite risen all the way to the top there are probably still obstacles to overcome.

Work as a minority professional is somewhat of a sociological experiment for each person. Since people naturally tend to associate with others like themselves in appearance, background or beliefs, when someone who is different for whatever reason shows up on the scene, there can be an unspoken chasm between that individual and the rest of the majority group. In today's environment this isolation tends not to be as overt as in decades past (think of the movie Hidden Figures) and may in fact be unintentional. Nonetheless, this separation is a natural social phenomenon that is harmful at work.


The good news is that this silent division can be overcome in most cases, and must be overcome in the workplace to foster unity, productivity, innovation and a happy, healthy "home away from home" where every employee feels welcome and valued. Creating an inclusive work environment is not always easy, but it's definitely worth the effort!


5 Unspoken Do's and Don'ts of Diversity and Inclusion: These keys will help to make your professional experience easier a minority professional. And, oh yes, if you're not part of a minority group and you took the time to read this post and/or talk about it with your work team - Thank you. Bravo for reading and for caring about your amazing minority coworkers whom you can help to feel welcome at work!


1. Confidence counts. As a minority in the workforce, don't lose your confidence or think less of yourself in comparison to others in the group simply because you look different and are not a carbon copy of the culture of the majority. You must recognize that you are in the room because you are value-added. You would not even be there if you did not bring skill, talent and expertise to your team. They need you there.


2. Be open. Try not to take the initial feeling of separation so personally. Remember that everyone involved must adjust to working with people who do not look, sound or perceive the same way that they do. The good news is that over time with the right attitudes of and strategies employed, you and your coworkers can grow to develop trust, friendship, mutual respect and admiration.


3. There are no cookie-cutter fixes. Don't feel the need to always be defensive or to overemphasize your differences thereby antagonizing other coworkers in your group. By allowing yourself to let your guard down a bit, you just might see that you have more in common than first meets the eye. If you do encounter instances of prejudice and discrimination, decide what you are comfortable with in terms of the best way to handle the situation for redress. Sometimes you might choose to have a candid talk with the individual offending colleague, but at other times you may need to raise the issue to higher levels of leadership and/or Human Resources. Do what you feel is best for you. Not every circumstance will be the same. As with most challenges in life, you'll need to choose your battles and remember that every conflict is not always about race. You may just work with an "equal opportunity jerk!"


4. Break stereotypes. Do not settle for being "the best in your minority group." Instead, set your goal to simply be the best. Period! I like the statement of Danica Patrick, the female race car driver who in the last few years became the first woman in history to obtain the top spot at NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series race having qualified at the Daytona 500 International Speedway and topping speeds of 196 MPH! In a statement to the press Danica stated, "I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl."


5. To quote legendary singer Billy Joel, "Don't go changin'!

Never, never, never try to change to be like anyone else in order to fit in. Sure, there is organizational and corporate culture and there is nothing wrong with embracing that so long as in doing so you do not sacrifice the essence of who you are as a person. That includes standing by your values, and to a certain extent, your own personal culture - the very thing that makes you so unique, awesome and a diversity gem on your team! Do celebrate both your similarities and differences between you and your colleagues. Above all, just be who you are and bring all of your wonderful talents to the table each and every day.


Cynthia Murray is the CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC and has more than 20 years of experience leading in local government, corporate America and with her own international non-profit organization of which she is founder and Executive Director. She is a published author and sought-after keynote speaker. Cynthia teaches, trains and speaks globally and is expert in leadership development and team-building.

Can We Talk? Workplace Conversations and Current Events

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2020

There is a lot going on in the world right now and it's impossible to escape being in the middle of it all even at work. COVID-19, race riots, a teetering economy...Everywhere you turn there is a breaking news report on TV in the lunch room, a protest sign or even an actual protest on your way to work.


You might see an inflammatory political headline on the newspaper in your office waiting room or a group of coworkers could be huddled together to watch the latest conspiracy theory video in the kitchenette.


Indeed, there are probably topics that you would rather not discuss at work which are the proverbial "bear in the room", but the conversations about those things loom all around. So, unless you work alone from home you, like so many others, work with people who are experiencing and witnessing the same things that you are, but perhaps from a different perspective

.

It's not hard to understand that those in your circle of colleagues may hold vastly differing opinions about current events than you. How you choose to handle those conversations in your workspace will likely make the difference between working in an environment of peace and unity or chaos and division.


Not only that, you might have clients, patients or customers that walk through your doors who will hear your conversations or just feel the atmosphere that has been created. Their experience may mean the difference between keeping or losing their valued business.

Of course, personal interaction is good, but in stressful times like the ones in which we are living we need to know how to handle these topics of conversation appropriately. Let's talk today about some ways that you can best handle these issues in your office or in your work space with tact, professionalism and compassion.


1. If you are the boss or office manager, you might have a blanket policy that such discussions are off limits at work, but that will be very hard to do with feelings, opinions and emotions running high. I'm not an expert in employment law, but I am not even sure that would be legal. Of course you can require conversations at work to be about work only, but what about break times? You should consult with Human Resources to be sure.


So, you don't have to enforce an absolute "No Discussion" policy, but you certainly want to set expectations of all staff to maintain an atmosphere of professionalism. For example, it might be appropriate to avoid all conversation about such sensitive topics in front of clients and customers. If a client or customer actually initiates the conversation, a helpful strategy could be to tactfully steer the conversation in a different direction, being careful to always express your appreciation for them by thanking them for their patronage and wishing them to stay safe and well.


Further, a reminder to employees to avoid the use of profanity, name-calling or raised voices (even when not directed at any particular individual) may be necessary due to the high emotions around such topics. I recently experienced such a situation at a local home and garden store. The employee's voice was raised as he was just speaking to another employee about an issue. This caused the tension in the area to be tremendous! You could have cut it with a knife. Patrons shopping were uncomfortable and wanted to just check out and leave. I certainly did!


2. Depending upon the situation and environment at work, it may not only be appropriate, but healthy and compassionate to formally address the issues with your staff and reassure your team that they are valued and welcome. Let them all know how sorry you are that the community is going through these storms, but you are there for them. They will appreciate it. Some of your staff may even need to take time off or leave work a bit early to process, avoid an anxiety attack and just regroup to be their best selves. Be sensitive to that and fair in the application of such policies. The point is, be aware of your employees' needs and be sensitive to their suffering in these challenging times.


3. As a co-worker, you are under no obligation to engage in any conversation that is brought to your desk or to answer when asked what your opinion is. You have the right NOT to talk about certain things. In most instances, people will respect your right to say, "I respect you (all) and your opinions, but I really do not want to talk about it." You could also say, "I hope we can turn things around for the good for everyone, but I don't want to share my opinions at work." Such phrases are non-confrontational, but clear and direct.


If you do not want to be that direct, then perhaps you can just change the course of the conversation. This will not always be received well though, as some people will try to insist that you communicate about it or interpret your wanting to talk about something else as being callous and insensitive. That is not fair to you, but you cannot control how people think. You can only control the way that you act toward and treat others. Hopefully, that will always be with professionalism, genuine care and respect. That's the key to peace and harmony in the workplace.


Here's believing with you for better days ahead. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, but I believe that together and with the right attitude of mutual respect, we will supersede and rise above this adversity.


Cynthia Murray is the CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC and has more than 20 years of experience leading in local government, corporate America and with her own international non-profit organization of which she is founder and Executive Director. She is a published author and sought-after keynote speaker. Cynthia teaches, trains and speaks globally and is expert in leadership development and team-building.


Small Business Matters

Cynthia Murray: Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 1:07 PM

Hi CME friends!


I hope that you are all safe and well as we try to navigate the new conditions and parameters as a result of COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers have definitely been with you all! It's been a long while since I've sent you a blog and I'm super excited to connect with you all again. I want to know how you're doing. I'm pulling for you...


We know that the economy has taken a hit, but some of the hardest hit have been small businesses in the US and around the globe.These businesses are the foundation of our economies and they are owned and operated by our parents, siblings, friends and many of you. I understand. I'm in this with you and your businesses matter to me and my team.


I'm always thinking about how we can help and support our friends and colleagues out there and we got the idea to roll out a new CME series supporting amazing small businesses called “Small Biz Shout Outs!”


Each week we intend to feature a great small business that operates in excellence and integrity and always goes the extra mile for clients and customers.


Today we're featuring Femi Adun, a certified leadership facilitator, author and publisher with Grace House Publishing. Femi is the founder of Eagle World Outreach and PactLeadership where he teaches and trains on effective leadership principles. Grace House Publishing published my last book and it will soon be released in Spanish. They’re awesome!


You can connect with Femi on Facebook and Instagram following @PactLeadership CME offers some of the same services, but there’s no competition here, just respect!


If you’d like to nominate a business in your area, please contact us with your recommendation as to how they meet the criteria and provide their contact information and a photo.


Thank you and keep being awesome!

Surviving in the Midst of Change

Cynthia Murray: Posted Sunday, March 15, 2020

If you are one of our local readers, you may have noticed what happened here in Charlottesville, Virginia only about two weekends ago. It was a lovely Saturday morning in the upper 70's F, which was ridiculously warm for these parts. Folks were out in shorts and T-shirts enjoying the summer-like weather. Then, around 2:00 pm the sky became ominously dark and a strange sound was heard outside. Loud thumps battered the cars and the ground as small, perfectly round balls of hail came through in a storm. Heat one minute and ice the next!


The climate has still been up, down and all around in the last few weeks, causing one to turn on the air conditioner in the car one day and put salt on the ground for ice the next day. Ah, spring! This wacky season brings a lot of change and, at times, frustration. It's the same in the professional world right now.


There are many things that are in flux in the United States at this very moment. Those things have many business people scratching their heads wondering which direction to go or what action to take as the country adjusts to a new federal administration. The economy is also changing and unpredictable. This makes for what some might call a "wild ride" until things normalize.


So, how do you, as a leader or as an entrepreneur hold on, survive and hopefully, continue to thrive during this volatile season? There are a few principles that can help you to succeed even during times of unpredictability and rapid change:


1. Remind yourself and your team of your core values. Core values help you to maintain true to your goals and principles when having to make decision about the future. It's best to stay true to your values in every decision-making process.


2. Remain steady and consistent as much as possible. Like most people, your customers, clients and staff will find great comfort in relying on your same excellent products, services and policies when so many other things are changing around them. They will appreciate the stability and be more likely to stick around as a loyal partner with you and your company.


3. Avoid making knee-jerk reactions. As is true in so many situations requiring change, it's best not to react to a changing situation too quickly, but to take time to adequately analyze and review the situation and then to take the best appropriate action based on all the relevant information. This will avoid making decisions that are too drastic, causing unnecessary loss or damage.


4. Be proactive. If you can identify reasonable possible changes that could affect you or your business, your leadership team can analyze what protective measures might be put in place to be prepared for some eventuality. Perhaps that are cost effective measures that could be put into place now that will minimize loss and adequately manage risk. Think of it this way, it may not rain during your trip , but it's not a big burden to carry a small umbrella when you travel!

Following these simple tips can help you to keep your business running smoothly with minimal interruption, damage or loss while the political and economic climate is changing daily.


Thanks and happy Spring!

 It's Okay Not to Be Perfect!  (An Open Lett​er)

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, May 22, 2020

One of the major principles of successful leading that I have come across in my years of training and working with supervisors and staff is that a little appreciation of those who for you goes a long way.


I have encountered many people who stated that they were pleased and satisfied with their employer's various ways of saying, "Thank you" to them for a job well done. The converse is also true, I have spoken with people who said that one of the main reasons that they resigned their job was the fact that they did not feel appreciated by their supervisor!


I found it interesting that the employees did not always expect or need to have a raise or any monetary gift of appreciation. In fact, most people stated that they were very pleased with a verbal thank you, and other recognition in front of their colleagues, family or friends.


One of my business coaching clients recently hosted a gourmet catered Thanksgiving Employee Appreciation Luncheon at her home for her entire staff!


She invited me to the event to come and facilitate a team building workshop after lunch. The meeting included team

(Not all staff pictured here)

building games and an opportunity for the staff to (1) provide valuable feedback about any workplace challenges, (2) discuss new changes in the company and (3) to take a fresh look as a team at ways to start the new year off well in January. It was great fun and a tremendous success!


One staffer was quick to share how much she valued a simple certificate of appreciation for her very valiant effort to complete a challenging project. The certificate meant so much to her! It was a simple, but valuable gesture that went a long way toward her job satisfaction.


Here are some examples of what you or your company might consider as ways to show appreciation to your employees:


1. Present a certificate in the presence of colleagues and family, such as this elegant certificate sold by Staples.


2. Host a special lunch at work or off site for the whole team.


3. Give a bonus or other gift.


4. Make an announcement of a job well done by someone at a team meeting or on the PA system.


5. Give some other token of appreciation such as an Employee of the Month parking spot.


These tips will surely help to keep your team happy and satisfied in your employ! If you would like to host a team-building and/or an employee appreciation meeting this year, please feel free to contact me, Cynthia Murray, using the information below. It will be my pleasure to help you!

There is Power In Your Pause

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, May 29, 2020

During the COVID-19 Pandemic I cannot tell you how many people have told me, "Cynthia, I'm working from home or work at my company has dropped off, but I seem to be busier than ever!" I know the feeling and I can see how that happens. With what appears to be a slowdown or extra time on our hands, ideas begin to flood our minds such as home improvement projects. Then there are those recently thrust back into the job search due to a layoff or an entrepreneur whose work has slowed, both of whom are working feverishly trying to generate business, new leads and income.


Let's not forget the professional who, because of company furloughs, is now doing the work of 2 or even 3 people! Everyone in the above category is doing their best to stay well, sane and relevant in these most unusual times!


Whew! That's a rat wheel for sure, and oh boy, do I get it! In fact, I've been on it! I am definitely a person who works hard and, sometimes, to an extreme. Honestly, I wear many hats as CEO Cynthia Murray Enterprises, a practicing attorney and Executive Director of a non-profit organization (Divine Women of Destiny Ministries Intl), I have to make a conscious effort to balance my work load and stop working at a reasonable time.


I understand that there are times when you and I have to work overtime to complete a project or prepare for a big meeting or presentation, but that should be an exception, not the norm. Now, more than ever, you must take care of your primary asset - YOU! I've made it a habit of working hard, but stopping work at a reasonable time like 6:00 PM on most days and 4:00 PM or 5:00 PM on Fridays. I try super hard not to work on Saturday. We need rest for our bodies and our minds to be at the top of our game!


I am certain that when we set reasonable work-hour boundaries for ourselves, we will get so many great ideas so that we can be innovative and work more efficiently. I've tried it and it works. I'm encouraging you to do the same and let me know how you feel. I'm confident you'll say, "Great!" So please remember to come up for air! There is power in taking a pause.

Cynthia Murray is the CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC and has more than 20 years experience leading in local government, corporate America and with her own international non-profit organization of which she is founder and Executive Director. She is a published author and sought-after keynote speaker. Cynthia teaches, trains and speaks globally and is expert in leadership development and team-building.

Leadership Development is Vital to Your Organization

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, May 21, 2020

I am passionate about leadership and not only helping individual people to become excellent leaders, but also helping organizations to develop a culture of leadership for sustained growth, longevity and the creation of an amazing place to work. In that environment employees feel valued, they are more productive and the organization becomes a center for excellence to be admired and emulated by other entities.


Leadership development is vitally important to the success and sustainability of any company or organization and it takes intentionality and hard work to cultivate.

In fact, recent statistics indicate that 83% of companies say that they value leadership development at every level, and indeed, the vast majority of training money is spent on this area, yet recent those same studies indicate that only 5% of companies have fully implemented development at all levels. Not only that, there is wide consensus that most leadership programs have not produced the kinds of results anticipated.


So...what the heck is going on? Why is money being thrown at an issues and yet there is still a gap in leadership preparedness between retiring baby boomers and younger professionals who are expected to take the reins of leadership?


I have a few thoughts from my research on what is happening:


1. The leadership training is probably not lacking (except perhaps they are not including enough hands-on opportunity learn skills like communication, etc.). More likely, the real culprit is the organization's failure to actually allow the participants in the leadership program to practice leading projects and teams. They learn great principles, but are never given the chance to use them.


2. The organization talks a good talk and their rhetoric about valuing leadership development stops after the meeting ends. They spend large sums of money on a program, but then do not adjust the corporate or organizational structure to support and demonstrate the skills and values that were taught in the leadership course.


All of these problems CAN be fixed rather easily. An organization must invest in leadership training programs for all levels from high-potential workers with no leadership experience to seasoned managers and even C-Suite officers and VP's that allow participants to practice the skills hands-on during the training.


Next, they must allow the employees to practice what they learned "back at the ranch" giving them increased responsibility as they prove that they are mastering the concepts and leading teams or projects to success.


Finally, the company must show a commitment to value and support the leadership principles that have been taught and not simply go back to business as usual by allowing poor leadership practices to continue.


If an organization or company can do these three basic things, it will help to secure its future with a happy employee base that looks forward to coming into work everyday, takes pride in the work produced and gets winning results!


At Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC, we'd be delighted to help your organization reach that happy place in leadership development. If we can help you, just reach out and give us a call. We'll be there for you when you need it most!


Cynthia Murray is the CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises LLC and has more than 20 years experience leading in local government, corporate America and with her own international non-profit organization of which she is founder and Executive Director. She is a published author and sought-after keynote speaker. Cynthia teaches, trains and speaks globally and is expert in leadership development and team-building.

Private​ Practice Pays 

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, May 7, 2020

At first glance, one might think that when I say "private practice" in this blog title I am referring to a solo career outside of the normal corporate or organizational setting. As many of you know, I'm also a lawyer with my own private practice, not working for or with another firm. And yes, I enjoy that facet of my career, but, I am not trying to persuade you to quit your job and hang out your own shingle or go it solo. That's not the kind of "private practice" that I'm talking about here.


I am talking about practicing your skills alone, by yourself when no one else is watching. Yup, perfecting your craft behind closed doors. I've always said, "What you practice in private will get you praised publicly!" It's a fact.


So many people are at home and away from their office or job environment. Some may still be working, but have far more time on their hands than they normally have due to things slowing down. I want to encourage you today that it's the perfect time to practice whatever skills that you have so that when you come out into the main stream again you are at the top of your game!


The skills are innumerable and can include things like writing, inventing or producing media. Whatever it is that you're already good at doing, take it up another notch by practicing a few extra hours behind the scenes. After all, the old adage is true: Practice makes perfect. I guarantee that over the next months and into next year you'll be so glad that you did!


Stay safe and well~

Cynthia Murray, CEO

A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way

Cynthia Murray: Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2017

One of the major principles of successful leading that I have come across in my years of training and working with supervisors and staff is that a little appreciation of those who for you goes a long way.


I have encountered many people who stated that they were pleased and satisfied with their employer's various ways of saying, "Thank you" to them for a job well done. The converse is also true, I have spoken with people who said that one of the main reasons that they resigned their job was the fact that they did not feel appreciated by their supervisor!


I found it interesting that the employees did not always expect or need to have a raise or any monetary gift of appreciation. In fact, most people stated that they were very pleased with a verbal thank you, and other recognition in front of their colleagues, family or friends.


One of my business coaching clients recently hosted a gourmet catered Thanksgiving Employee Appreciation Luncheon at her home for her entire staff!

(Not all staff shown here)


She invited me to the event to come and facilitate a team building workshop after lunch. The meeting included team

building games and an opportunity for the staff to (1) provide valuable feedback about any workplace challenges, (2) discuss new changes in the company and (3) to take a fresh look as a team at ways to start the new year off well in January. It was great fun and a tremendous success!


One staffer was quick to share how much she valued a simple certificate of appreciation for her very valiant effort to complete a challenging project. The certificate meant so much to her! It was a simple, but valuable gesture that went a long way toward her job satisfaction.


Here are some examples of what you or your company might consider as ways to show appreciation to your employees:


1. Present a certificate in the presence of colleagues and family, such as this elegant certificate sold by Staples.

2. Host a special lunch at work or off site for the whole team.


3. Give a bonus or other gift.


4. Make an announcement of a job well done by someone at a team meeting or on the PA system.


5. Give some other token of appreciation such as an Employee of the Month parking spot.


These tips will surely help to keep your team happy and satisfied in your employ! If you would like to host a team-building and/or an employee appreciation meeting this year, please feel free to contact me, Cynthia Murray, using the information below. It will be my pleasure to help you!


© 2012-2017 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Do Rules Rule?​

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, November 4, 2016

A lot of people don't like rules in an organization, but they are necessary to maintain order, efficiency and even accountability and fairness. A company or organization without rules will lack consistency and eventually fail due to the absence of structure. However, In order to be of maximum benefit and respectfully observed, it is important to allow flexibility as well.


I'm not advocating "rule-breaking", but I am encouraging people to be sensitive and aware to times when a rule may not need to be applied. I know that may sound strange coming from a lawyer and a judge, but even judges look to the "spirit of the law" in application of justice for the litigants before them. No one wants to strictly apply a rule that doesn't make sense in it's context. One must use discretion.


I recently watched a movie entitled "Deepwater Horizon" in which an oil rig exploded and many people were unnecessarily killed because, in part, some people in authority decided to forego a require safety testing. Then, when things started literally blowing up, another person in a supervisory role would not allow his colleague to implement shut down measures because he had not been give the "go- ahead" from his supervisor. The only problem? His supervisor was badly injured in another part of the vessel and was not able to quickly get to them to lead! As an instructor in leadership, this movie had me on the edge of my seat identifying all of the internal problems that caused this disaster in Louisiana a few years ago.


So, my afternoon matinee with friends last week prompted me to give a few principles in dealing with rules in our business or organization and how to best apply them:


1. If a rule is consistently causing an undesirable result, then the rule likely needs to be changed or eliminated. It could be that a certain rule was good and necessary when it was first instituted, but is no longer relevant in the current operation of your company.


2. In your process of making rules, be sure to legitimately allow for flexibility in their application so that people in authority can avoid unfair consequences. It is important to note that when there is a diversion from the stated rule, that is not done haphazardly or capriciously, but rather based on a rationale that is fair and transparent to be recorded.


3. If an organizational rule does not make sense or will cause extreme hardship in its application in a particular instance, consult with decision makers and stakeholders about departing from the rule in that instance.


4. Again, do not break governmental or regulatory rules which are instituted for the legitimate purposes of the government, but be an advocate for change where the rules no longer make sense. To do otherwise could jeopardize your organization and your job.


5. In drafting rules, make sure that they are (a) reasonable, (b) clear and understandable and (c) properly communicated. This will help to ensure that they are consistently followed to the benefit of all involved.  

Don't Be Afraid To Lead

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, October 14, 2016

 It's October and the month usually associated with scary things because of Halloween. It's curious how some cultures actually like being terrified...but I don't think being afraid is something that we should embrace. Unfortunately, some people are afraid to be a leader, though by choice or selection, that is exactly what they are.


Let's take a look at some reasons why people fear leadership and what can be done to turn the lights on those fears and kick the "boogie man" out of the office!


1. What if I fail? This a common fear among people whether they are in leadership or not. No one likes to fail and leaders are (or should) be the one ultimately responsible for the success of a project or program. But, we don't always get it right the first, second, third time or more that we try something. There are many factors that attribute to the success or failure of an endeavor. The greatest of champions did not always win every match, but we remember them for the victories that far outweighed their defeats! So, do the best you can, be proactive and look for obstacles to success to overcome them. If you make a misstep, learn from it and move forward toward victory on the next go around.


2. I don't like to tell people what to do. Some people think that if they give people orders and hold them accountable for their work that they will not be liked...and we all want to be liked. However, no team can function properly without direction. It's chaotic and frustrating for everyone. As a leader you owe it to your team to give them clear and concise instruction and direction on what needs to be done. Keeping them accountable is simply part of the job for program success. Keep in mind that you don't have to be mean or even micro manage if that is not your style. It's not necessary to bark the orders to get them done. Be kind, respectful and grateful, but also be firm and consistent so that your team knows you have expectations of them to fulfill your requests.


3. I am not expert in all of the aspects of our product, service or program. It's okay. Many successful leaders say that they are not expert in everything or have all the answers, but they surround themselves with competent experts who advise them. That takes a great weight off of any leader's shoulders. You should not be expected to be a know-it-all on everything. It should be sufficient for you to have the skills to lead your team so that they can provide the best answers and expertise to the team. So relax! You don't have to be a one person show!


I hope this helps to remove, or at least abate, your fears about leadership. If you've been tapped for such a position, someone had confidence in your abilities to lead and perhaps this article has boosted that confidence in yourself!

© 2012-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Remove the "Bad Apple" From The Bushel

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, September 30, 2016

 You have likely heard the phrase "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch." That statement is not only scientifically true, but socially true as well. A rotten piece of fruit produces a substance called ethylene. When that rotten apple is in contact with other perfectly fine fruit, it causes the good fruit to ripen too quickly, produce ethylene and begin to rot as well.


This scientific phenomenon with fruit can easily be seen among a group of people such as work teams. It literally only takes one person with a nasty attitude and rotten behavior to negatively affect the rest of the team with which he or she works...and it doesn't take long to do it.


If you have a "bad apple" on your team, you must identify them immediately and take the appropriate actions to help them change their negative behavior or you will unfortunately have to remove them from the group, team or even the entire organization.


So, how do you identify such people? What are the behaviors and attitudes that they exhibit? Here are a few to watch out for:


1. Bullying behavior. This is especially concerning for people in a supervisory role. Such individuals are excessively critical of their subordinates and undermine the efforts of the team.

2. Rude behavior. The rotten behavior is exhibited by that person who is rude and disrespectful to others. This lack of courtesy and mutual respect causes those around them to feel unimportant and not part of the team.


3. Always requiring unrealistic expectations. This may be part of the bullying behavior where other's work is never good enough. When the work is in fact excellent, they take all the credit, but when it's less than perfect he/she berates the worker and belittles them, often threatening them with some negative consequence or being fired.

This behavior over a period of time will literally infect the rest of the team. Morale will drop. Few people will want to communicate or work with that individual. Others will begin to reflect the same negative behavior as the perpetrator and, at worst, those great employees who work with or for that negative individual will leave the organization, often never to be heard from again.


So, if you want to keep great talent, then you have to be willing to remove bad talent from the equation. Consider the fact that it's more beneficial to rid the organization of someone with this rotten attitude and behavior than to risk losing a slew of less talented people with great attitudes, high morale and a desire to constantly improve for a team win.

© 2012-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Executive Presence and Work-Life Balance

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, September 8, 2016

We've all been hearing and reading about executive presence and how developing it can greatly increase your ability to be noticed for your "it" factor, and, ultimately, promoted on your job or elevated in your business or profession. But, there is more to executive presence than confidence and being well-dressed and well-spoken. What about just being "WELL"? It is so important for you to be healthy, happy and whole in your life. This has a powerful and direct impact on your executive presence.


I recently had the privilege of teaching a one hour webinar for the School of Executive Presence, founded by EP expert, Angela Nuttle. Angie (as I call her) asked me to teach at her "Mastermind Coaching Call" on this subject which is so near and dear to my heart - work-life balance and how it affects one's executive presence. The things that we discussed were simple truths, yet so very profound!


Angie and I did not want to hold these nuggets of wisdom from those of you who are not enrolled in the School of Executive Presence. So, we've agreed to publish this link to this valuable one hour webinar (with audio and visual) FREE to bless you with this one hour that just may change your life...

Please set aside just one hour to listen to this powerful teaching: https://fccdl.in/AHyPxvnfk


I urge anyone reading this who has a desire to develop executive presence and live a happy, fruitful and satisfying life while maintaining a successful career to sign up for this program as soon as possible. I am a coach in this dynamic program with many other highly skilled coaches where high achieving professionals and executives from around the country participate together with great success!


To learn more, please go to the website for the School of Executive Presence to learn more about the opportunities awaiting you! If you are interested in private professional coaching sessions with me, just contact me on this website or by phone. I would be honored to help you achieve your professional goals as I have with my clients around the United States!


© 2012-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

The Five "P's" of Professionalism

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, June 24, 2016

Being a professional is not just about the education that you have and the skill with which you work. It's really so much more than that. But, somewhere along the way modern society seems to have moved away from professionalism to the detriment of the people whom to be served.


This could just be a reflection of the times in which we live, but the reality is that professionalism is valuable and timeless. Those who truly master it are successful.


This phenomenon about professionalism was recently brought to my attention by two people: first, a pilot sitting beside me on a flight back home from Atlanta and then a young man who is a physical trainer for the NFL and the son of a close family friend. As the pilot and I struck up a lively conversation, I soon asked him about the job market for pilots in today's economy. His answer shocked me...


He said, "I am not only a pilot, but also one of the people who interviews and hires new pilots. The market is wide open for anyone wanting to become a pilot because of the very great need for more professional pilots. The problem is that the industry is almost accepting anyone who applies and the pool of young people applying is often disappointing." He went on to say that they come in dressed sloppily in wrinkled khaki pants and a disheveled appearance. Their documentation is inexplicably missing or in disarray when handed over to the interviewing panel. This brings me to the first "P".


THE 5 P's:


(1) Polished. As a professional, one should always look her/his best in a professional setting, especially when meeting people for the first time. There is an expression that says, "The first impression is a lasting impression." Further, a disheveled appearance gives the impression that the individual does not care about the task at hand or take it seriously. It communicates that they don't pay attention to details. So, the reasoning goes, if they don't care much about their own appearance and organization, they probably do not care too much about you or the product and services that they are providing to you.

(2) Polite. I'm sure that at some point in your life you've gone into a professional office and been offended by the rude manner in which someone treated you. Perhaps they served you with disdain or an attitude of superiority or entitlement to your business. That is a huge mistake!

A real professional and his/her staff should treat all of the people in their professional sphere of influence with dignity and respect. This goes without saying...And yet, I'm saying it! Everyone deserves respect: the janitor that dumps your trash, your best paying client, the new client and the client with a complaint. As professionals, we must always apply the Golden Rule. It creates an atmosphere in which others feel welcome and they will surely refer others to you for the professionalism and respect that show to all.


(3) Punctual. It is so important to value others' time. If you have an appointment with a client, it is imperative to be on time or communicate a valid reason as to why you cannot be on time. With schedules as busy and packed as they are today, people really appreciate punctuality from their professionals. Waiting a few extra minutes in a doctor's or lawyer's office may be expected, but long delays from any professional don't bode well with clients and you may lose their business if you cannot consistently respect their time.


(4) Personalized. Today we live in a world in which many services are computerized and it can be long before you ever speak to a live (or at least the right) person when you call a professional's office. However, the more personalized attention that can be provided to a customer or client, the better they will feel about keeping you as their preferred provider.

The young man who is the trainer for the NFL is so personable and the players just love him because of the specialized attention that he gives. They invite him over to eat and socialize. He will do some things with them, but certainly not over do it. He told my friend (his mom), "Mom, I don't want to spend too much personal time with them because I need to maintain a proper professional boundary with the players. Wow! This wisdom came from a twenty-something year old! Now, that is real professionalism!


(5) Performance-oriented. This facet may be the most important of all. A consummate professional takes proper care of the task at hand for his or her clients and customers. After all, no matter how polished you look and clean your office is, no matter how polite your receptionist is to all who walk in the door, at the end of the day, if you don't do what your client is paying you for with your very best effort, the work is all but a waste of time. Clients deserve our best efforts to get the job done for them as though we were receiving the service ourselves.

These points in this article are not so much for you CME polished professionals, but helpful for some young or new professionals that you might encounter and, perhaps, mentor. Feel free to share these points with them for their own growth, development and ultimate success!


© 2012-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Avoid The Communication Crash!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Monday, June 20, 2016

Over the past two months in various situations I have become even more aware of how crucial proper communication is between people for optimal results within a team, organization and even within families. Proper communication is fundamental not only to the viability, but to the sustainability of any group.


If members of a team fail to follow the law of good communication they can expect, sooner or later, to be involved in what I call a "communication crash"! But, have no fear. There is a way to insure against the crash and ways to repair damage should one occur. Let's look first, however, at the ways that such a communication accident can happen:


THE COMMUNICATION CRASH!:


1. When people do not communicate early enough.


If information or instructions are not provided with enough advance notice you run the risk of team members being unable to assist and perform their job due to prior commitments. They may also be unable to access necessary resources, tools, etc. by the time they are needed. Emergencies happen and that is not the issue here. I'm talking about regular meetings, events or other requested action. When team members do not have the information that they need to do their jobs, it creates inefficiency in last minute rearrangements which can even lead to time wasted and spending excessive amounts of money for having to pay more for something at the last minute...think plane tickets and hotels for example.


The same crash happens when team members do not give advance notice to their leaders of their own unavailability or the need to change schedules, causing their employers to scramble to cover for their absence. People have been fired for that very thing. INSURANCE TIP: So, be sure to communicate needs and expectations often allowing people time to fulfill their responsibilities.


2. When people do not communicate complete important and relevant information to the entire team.

The result of this lack of communication is that the whole team is disadvantaged. They are unable to perform to maximum ability and excellence due to missing details, and not being on the same page with the leader. Confusion sets in because vision and expectations, are not clear.  

Further, if some members of the team have the adequate information and others do not, it raises doubts about loyalty to everyone. A person may ask, "Why didn't I receive all of the information? Am I not in good graces with the leader? Is there a clique forming and I am not in the loop? Am I not trusted with the information?"


It's vitally important that no one on the team feels left out and that each person is appreciated and included as much as possible. If people do not feel like they are a part of the team they will likely leave. INSURANCE TIP: Make sure to include your team on important communications in whatever form and provide full information, not bits and pieces.


3. When people do not respond for long periods of time.


For the sake of this discussion, we are not talking about someone simply forgetting to return a phone call, text message or email. That may happen from time to time. We're talking about failure to reply when there is no real reason not to respond. When that happens, relationships can be seriously damaged because lack of communication (even with no malicious intent or problem) because it creates doubt about the reason behind the silence.    


First of all, not responding to someone with whom you are in relationship is just plain rude, unprofessional (in a business setting) and will leave a bad impression of you and the organization that you represent. Moreover, without explanation or apology, people will come to their own negative conclusions about your lack of response to them.  

They will begin to ask questions like: "Is she angry with me? Is the situation or organization unimportant to him? Does she care about me? Have I offended them? Do they no longer want to have this relationship?" All of these questions and doubts can be avoided when there is proper communication. INSURANCE TIP: If you receive a communication which obviously requires a response from you, reply as quickly as possible, even if you tell them you have to get back with them later. If you replied late, apologize and provide an honest explanation for the delay. It will be appreciated!


4. When problems go undiscussed.


If you don't talk about problems, they go unresolved (and only get worse with time). Failure to communicate regarding problems, complaints and dissatisfaction only causes such matters to fester and creates the scene for more damage down the road. INSURANCE TIP: Don't be afraid to talk openly and honestly about situations for the overall health of your team or organization. Failing to do so will cause a crash in the form of people, even the leader, leaving the team on a moment's notice, and that is never good.


AFTER THE CRASH...THERE'S HELP!


If you could not avoid the crash, then you probably can repair the damage. Just like with car accidents, get help immediately. Get the best advice that you can on how to repair and get started making those repairs right away. Reach out to the people or person affected by the poor communication and acknowledge what happened.  

Be aware that your explanation or excuse should be coupled with a sincere apology. Then, make every attempt to assure the person or people that you do care and that you will make efforts to avoid this crash happening in the future. It could be the difference between a long and happy relationship or one that ends in a total loss. So, happy driving to you and/or your team on the road of success with good communication!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Communicate Your Opinions

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, June 9, 2016

 By nature I am a people-pleaser. The best part of that character trait is my ability and willingness to help people and to sacrifice my own needs and wants in favor of others. On the flip side, the thing that is dangerous about this same trait is that, at its worst, it has caused me in times past to suppress my own opinions, needs and desires for the wrong reasons, i.e. to be liked, accepted, approved, etc.


That coupled with my desire for everyone to be at peace and just get along caused me to refrain from speaking up and communicating my opinions from things that were wrong with goods and services that I received to telling people what I really wanted in work situations.


That kind of reticence is not helpful to anyone and can cause problems that can be avoided if you only speak up and voice your preferences. When you give your opinion about things that may be wrong, corrections can be made which will bring needed improvements.

Let me give you a prime example. At a previous place of employment assignments were being redistributed between my co-workers and me. The new assignment that my supervisor wanted to give me was more than a stretch assignment. It was almost a disaster waiting to happen because of an over-extended workload and my lack of experience in that particular area of work which was very specialized.


In a nutshell, I did not think it was a good idea and I simply did not enjoy that kind of work nor did I want the assignment. However, I agreed to take on that job to at least give it the "old college try" and to be a team player, both of which are important. Fortunately, I was able to do the work for over a year, but it was a considerable burden in time and effort for the reasons that I mentioned above. As it turned out, any benefit that could have been derived from the change in assignments did not outweigh the burden.


When it came time to review the change, I voiced my concerns with constructive criticism and my supervisor saw the wisdom of removing that assignment from my workload. If I had not spoken up about what I really thought and wanted, the train wreck surely would have occurred sooner or later!

Today, I don't hesitate to express my preferences, concerns or complaints in any setting, from poor service at a hotel to concerns on a board on which I might serve. Of course, you have to pick your battles and sometimes it's best to be silent. But, there are many times when it is better to speak up, so long as it is done in a courteous and professional manner.


So, I want to encourage you to address issues head on and do not let your opinions and concerns be swept under the proverbial rug. Your opinion matters and you should voice it even if it goes against the majority. Trust me when I say that you and everyone around you will be better off for your openness and honesty.


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

You Must Take Risks To Succeed

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, May 12, 2016

 No one ever reached great levels of success by always playing it safe. The people that you can think of who made great achievements were all dreamers...risk takers, but the outcome was well worth the risk.


Why? Because they took the time not only stretch their imaginations, but to assess how best to make their dream a reality.


Such success from great inventors like the Wright Brothers, political leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs comes from the mind and soul of someone who saw not only the value of their dreams, but carried the belief that their dreams could come true!


It's that vision and belief that is the driving force for the action required to bring the dream to fruition. And, so often, the vision is far bigger that what you could achieve without taking a leap of faith. What does that leap of faith look like? I'm so glad you asked! Here are three common chasms on the road between you and the realization of your dream and the key to building the bridge.


1) Show me the money! You likely don't have all of the money, resources and support readily available that you need to accomplish your goal. This will require you to be creative and build the support that you need by sharing your dream with others who will join in and invest in your vision.


2) Am I in the wrong place? Your dream may require you to move to another city, state or country or even to resign from your current job. Those are major decisions, but it may be the single most important risk for you to take in order to fulfill your dream.

3) If at first you don't succeed... Like most successful creators, you may not succeed the first, second, third time, etc. that you attempt to bring your dream to life. Don't throw in the towel so fast! It may take multiple tries. Just ask Thomas Edison, the inventor most famous for inventing the light bulb, who said, "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Now, by encouraging you to take risks I am not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind by investing everything in a mere idea. Whenever you have a great idea, project or dream that requires you to take a leap of faith, my advice today is simply "look before you leap!"

My theory and experience has always been that even the biggest dreams and goals are best reached when a person takes the time to assess what is required to get the job done.


In essence, to achieve big dreams you have to step out of your comfort zone into a "promised land" that you have already surveyed. When you step into the promised land and see that giants live there, don't give up hope. 

The key to your success is realizing that you have what it takes to defeat those giants and obtain the victory!

Today, assess your dream and what it takes to fulfill it. if you have faith that you have a winning idea, then go ahead and take the leap. The world is waiting for your dream!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Challenges for Women in the Workplace

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, 29, 2016

I have been working with MSBCoach this week as an Executive Coach for the Women's Leadership Program at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and it has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience (as it is each year).


Yesterday, we identified some unique challenges that female professionals face in the workplace. The following is a list of stereotypes and issues that we ladies have had to and must continue to overcome. Some of the challenges are internal and others are external, necessitating a professional and effective way to deal with the stereotypes, opinions and biases of others. Here are just a few of the issues and my thoughts on a good way to overcome these unique challenges.


1. For women who work in a predominantly male field/environment, it may be a struggle to speak up and be heard. This tendency to be too quiet can be balanced by an understanding that you are there to be a contributor to the team. You were hired for what you bring to the table, including your ideas, challenges and questions. By not speaking, you may actually be doing a disservice to your company or organization. If you are not encouraged to speak or are consistently criticized or belittled, then it may be time to seriously consider if you are working in the right place.


2. Frustration can evoke strong emotions. A stereotype is that women are always emotional and weepy not logical and calm when tensions, challenges or conflicts mount. First of all, emotions are not bad, but they have their purpose and place. Women and men should be aware of emotions, but not allow them to control you. It is best to know your emotional triggers and remain calm while discussing an issue. If it's not possible to "keep calm and carry on" at the moment, then it's just not the right time to discuss the issue at hand. Schedule the meeting after you have had a time to compose yourself and then review the issues with the team. Watch out for those who will try to bait you into an emotional state. Don't let 'em see you sweat! Remember to tell yourself, "It's not personal, it's just business."


3. Women may hesitate to ask for a promotion or to make supervisors aware of their successes. Some women may be tempted to think that it's not polite to toot your own horn, and for the most part that is wise. However, if you are a female professional and this is your way of thinking, you must realize that you are a value-added person to your organization. You owe it to yourself and your company or agency to let them know when you have had a professional success or academic achievement. If they don't know how good you are, then they cannot accurately assess your for promotions and special assignments. In addition, you know yourself better than anyone else. If you know that you have the skills, experience and drive to go to the next level at your job, step forward and let your supervisor(s) know that you're ready to take on the new responsibility. Be sure to back up your statement with a list of accomplishments that show your preparedness for the task ahead.


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

10 Signs At Home That You May Need to Improve At Work

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Okay, so I had a revelation the other day as I was (of all things) changing the toilet paper roll my guest bathroom and putting the extra rolls in the stand: A lot of people use the last roll of paper and don't replace it for the use and convenience of others. That's when it dawned on me! (I know you're surprised that this is how I get the inspiration for my blogs, but it's true!)... People who consistently exhibit certain habits at home likely carry that habit or mentality into their workplace as well. 

For example, failing to replace the toilet paper roll can be an indicator that the person lacks responsibility and accountability for their own assignments. Is it the next person's obligation to replace the toilet paper roll? No, of course not!


1. Dirty dishes piled in the sink for days. This shows a potential lack of follow-through in completing simple, daily tasks.


2. Dirty clothes on the floor. This could be an indication of chronic disorganization which we all know leads to frustration and lost time looking for things not in their proper place.

3. Clothes left in the washer or dryer for days. Can be a sign of procrastination in doing tasks that need to be done.


4. Lawn grass is way too high. This shows a potentially low level of pride in the appearance of the business or organization to others. An "I don't care" attitude is a turn-off for customers and clients.


5. Leaving the door unlocked. This inattention to security may reflect that same inattention about the security of your company's intellectual property or assets thereby making it easy for those who want to steal what is valuable.


6. Items remaining broken or missing. Leaving burned out light bulbs, broken cabinet doors, etc. for a long time may indicate apathy and a willingness to work at less than full capacity. (* Please note that this assumes you have the money to do the repairs/maintenance, you just don't attend to it.)


7. Clutter in the closet. A closet that is jam packed with old shirts from the 1990's and is completely unorganized probably has way too much stuff that you don't wear or need. This could be an alert for the need to assess if you have excess and unnecessary stuff around the office or even in your processes that are obsolete and taking up too much space!  

8. Leaky roof. If you have a leak in the roof, that can mean serious problems, damage and expense if not taken care of immediately. Allowing serious problems to persist without taking action to correct shows a potential lack of concern for the welfare of your team or the ongoing future and success of the business/organization.


9. Plants dying. You don't have to have a green thumb or be a botanist, but you should at least pay attention to the plants' need for water and sunlight around your home. If you have dying plants all around you, then be aware if you may need to also show more concern for the needs of those around you in the workplace and on your team.  

I am the first to admit that at some point or another I have been the guilty of every single one of these ten bad acts, but they were never bad habits that developed. The fact is that everyone may leave a dirty dish in the sink, a piece of clothes on the floor or have a project that is waiting longer than you hoped. The point here is not to allow such things to persist for a long period of time or become habitual neglect at home or on the job. I hope this has helped you to be a bit introspective so that you can make any changes toward improvement at work.


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!​

Continuous Improvement Keeps You Out Front

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The day that I decide that I've learned all I need to know is the day I lose the my edge. It's a ridiculous and erroneous assumption to think that we know it all and can't get any better than we already are! Everyone, even the most able, prominent and successful people in the world must continue to learn and grow. Not convinced? Here are three reasons why I believe that my theory is correct:


1) Continuing to learn in your chosen career keeps you relevant. This world is moving at break-neck speed with the proliferation of information, technology and advancements in every area. Success principles are constant, but methodologies are continuously evolving. If you want to stay at the top of your game and your field, you must continue to study and learn more. If you do not, others who understand the importance of staying current will out-perform you and cause others to look at your goods and services as "outdated", lacking cutting-edge efficiency.


2) There is always an area in which you can improve with big returns. You don't have to necessarily spend an exorbitant amount of focus and energy on your weaknesses. In fact, you should leverage your strengths, but working on areas that need improvement only serves to enhance your overall skills, abilities and performance. So, don't throw in the towel on your weak spots, but give a little extra effort to get better and you will surely boost your own confidence and show your clients and customers that you care about being and doing your best.


3) Continuing to improve underscores your commitment to excellence. As you continue to improve weaknesses, you, your clients and customers will all have increased confidence and renewed satisfaction knowing that you have a spirit of excellence with your products and services. You will increase repeat business because existing customers and clients know that you always strive to give the very best that you can. Loyalty will be your big reward for even the slightest efforts to do a better job!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

It's Okay to Ask for Help When You Need It

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, March 25, 2016

I hate spring colds (well, all colds actually), but with the change of seasons, my rigorous travel and work schedule, and a nasty virus going around town, I got sick with a full blown upper respiratory infection. Yuck! It hit me from one day to the next and "Whammo!" I was down for the count with a lot of work still to do. I needed help.


If you're busy like I am, then you know that we just don't have time to be sick. Business meetings, clients, work orders, exercise class, and other must-show-up events all clamor for our attention daily. No one is used to seeing Superman of Wonder Woman out of commission, but when it happens, you need to be willing to do what you dislike so much...ask people for help.


I am fully aware of just how independent you are and how much you accomplish on your own, but one adage is, and always will remain true: No man is an island. We need others to help us more than we allow ourselves to believe. In fact, it's quite healthy for the soul to realize that you're not God and even super heroes have super friends to help in a pinch!  

Listen, whether you're hit with sickness, overloaded with work or simply stuck in unforeseen circumstances that have gotten the best of you, don't feel badly about asking others to help you out. It's a reminder that we were actually meant to work with other people, relying on one another, and that we will sometimes be needed to help someone else out when they need a hand too. We should always be willing to help when we can, even when don't expect anything in return. The reward is the satisfaction of helping someone else out.


Trust me. In this condition, I've called on my work team, my pastor, my mom and my friends for everything from prayer for healing and picking up medicine or chicken soup to helping with logistics for a big upcoming event.

I won't lie. Even knowing this truth it is still hard for me to ask for help, but I've learned through the years that pride is the only reason not to ask people for help, especially from those who are more than willing to help you in the first place! Yes, I understand that you also don't want to be a burden on people. I feel that way too, but, did it ever occur to you that those closest to you actually are pleased to help you when you need it?


So, the next time you just can't do it all, be willing to humble yourself and ask for help. You and your trusted circle will be glad that you did!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Spring Forward to Your Success!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Monday 14, 2016

In the United States we just changed our clocks forward one hour for Daylight Savings Time. To remember which way the clock moves twice each year, we say "Fall back, spring forward." Spring is always the harder of these two changes because everyone seems to focus on losing one hour of sleep, but there is a "bright side". We gain extra hours of daylight to work and enjoy the season.


This year, the time change made me think about something in a different way. In your career, business and profession, it is normally wise to take small, but consistent steps forward. Just as with investing, this strategy brings most people out on top over the long run. But, there are certain times when you have to make a bold, big move. You must spring forward.

In other words, there are certain seasons in your professional development and journey when you have to take a quantum leap. You'll know when it's time. Everything around you will begin to beckon you to stretch yourself beyond the normal parameters in which you usually work.


For someone that may mean accepting a promotion or job offer far above what you think you're prepared for. It could mean expanding your business to another location or launching a brand new product or service. Perhaps you, with no political background or connections, are supposed to run for office! Someone in your district retires, resigns or moves on leaving an opening for you to fill. It's your time to leap ahead.

Every person's goal is different, but there is a leap inside of you. There is a set time for you to spring forward. You'll know when it is, just like in double \-dutch. Keep watching the rope long enough and you'll know just when to jump in. Maybe you never jumped rope as a child, but that's okay. Just know that there is a rhythm for you to be in tune with concerning your professional progress. Pay attention to the conditions around you and soon you will know it's time to spring forward!

I won't lie to you. After you take the leap, it's not always a bed of roses. You'll likely be tired at first because of the effort that you must expend on the front end. But, after you adjust, you'll be singing and in perfect step with the beat of your new professional rhythm. So, get ready and spring forward into your new great place!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.


subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

The Team that Dreams Together, Wins Together

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, February 26, 2016

I recently returned from an intense mission trip in Ecuador. We were a team of seven people, five men and two women from New York, Florida and the United Kingdom.


We went to do a job, to complete an important mission and by phenomenal team (Photo missing Solanda Gomez) work, we did just that!


Our team was very culturally diverse consisting of Americans, Puerto Ricans, Nigerians and Ecuadorians. I knew some of the people, but not all of them. I met three of the people the very same day that we would arrive in Quayaquil and begin our intense work.


When I say intense, I mean "intense!" My portion of the team flew in from the frigid air of JFK Airport to the extreme, humid heat of Ecuador. We became accustomed to the sweat, the heat and the near exhaustion each night as we piled into the van back to the hotel each night at 2:00 a.m. after a grueling day of ministry to individuals, entire churches and the public in the stadium where we spoke.


In reality, there was very little, if any, "getting-to-know" one another time before we dove into our international assignment. Missionary work is demanding and can be taxing on your body and emotions, but we clicked immediately and there was no gap in our bonding. In fact, this team was able to accomplish astounding things that made us ponder, celebrate and sometimes cry.


We all hugged at the airport in Ecuador saying goodbye as we returned to our cities of origin saying, "We did it! Mission accomplished!" I felt as though I had known these people since my youth and they said the same of me.


At the end of the week I had time to finally consider carefully what was it that made a team of relative strangers work so well together, under such demanding circumstances and achieve the victory. I concluded the following factors that will work for any team in any situation:


1) Unity of Purpose. Each member of our team had a common goal to be of maximum benefit to the people that we came so far around the world to serve. When individual team members share a common purpose and desire to succeed, their efforts will be exponentially intensified. You could say, "Go big or go home!"


2) Understanding the Goal. Our team leader had communicated his goal of teaching and equipping the local people so that we were all on the same page as to what exactly we would be doing. Clear communication cannot be underestimated in achieving team success. If communication is lacking, at the very least the goal will be delayed or underachieved due to inefficiency despite the willingness and good intentions of the team.

3) Diversity of Skill. Our team was not only ethnically diverse, but also diverse in skill sets as well. While many of us shared similar skills, we each functioned in a unique way that helped to balance out the team and complement our efforts as a whole.


4) Mutual Respect. Our team members shared a mutual respect for one another. We appreciated the different gifts of each team member. We also showed genuine concern for one another's well-being, whether it was an illness or some other negative issue that we confronted.

5) No Room for Egos. Though each one of us teammates is extremely capable and accomplished, not one person had an attitude that they were better than the other person, should receive more recognition or teaching time than the rest. In fact, we all recognized other team members' areas of strength or expertise and quickly deferred to him or her so that s/he could maximize the benefit to the group or individual with whom we were working. It was common for us to call one another to assist or take over. We didn't care about who got credit or recognition. We just wanted the job done.


6) Appreciation for a Job Well Done. Though we were not seeking appreciation and it was not the motivating factor for what we did, it sure was nice to receive it from one another on that mission field. There is a tremendous satisfaction in giving and receiving praise and recognition of a job well done from one's colleagues and teammates. We could often be heard telling each other, "That was absolutely awesome! I took notes on what you said. That was powerful, excellent!"

As I stated earlier, these are strategies to contemplate and tips to utilize with your own team whether you're on the mission field or the board room. If you can assemble a team that works according to these basic principles of team work, you can expect to succeed just about every time!© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

The Sacrifices and Struggles of Great Leaders

Cynthia Murray: Posted Monday, February 15, 2016

When most people think of successful leaders, I would be willing to bet that images of wealthy, intelligent, beautiful people living the life of luxury without a care in the world are conjured. While that may be the case for some leaders, it's not true for all. We ought not stop at such a shallow view of these strong ones at the top of the pyramid.


They are, after all, people, just like you and me with many of the same struggles common to mankind.


The thing is that we rarely know about the challenges in their health, marriages and other relationships. In fact, they may even bear the load of financial struggles, but theirs are in the million-dollar range. Nevertheless, the struggle (as the saying goes) is real.


Leaders of every level face challenges which cause them to sacrifice their own personal desires, comfort and ambitions for the benefit of the team or the end goal, even if only temporarily. Below are just a few things that great leaders have had to sacrifice for the greater cause:


1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had to sacrifice his very life for the cause of civil rights. He knew the danger and accepted the call. We live with equal rights today because of his sacrifice.

2. Abraham Lincoln sacrificed his popularity among the social and political elite of his time in order to abolish slavery. It cost him dearly. Like Dr. King, he too was assassinated for the greater good.

3. Benjamin Netanyahu and world leaders like him must spend an exorbitant amount of time away from their spouses and families tending to the national security interests of his country. This makes for an often lonely existence on the road and in the air or even just a few miles away in an executive office.


These kind of leaders make sacrifices to keep the world a safer place.

4. Cancer did not care that Steve Jobs was one of the world's most prominent, successful and likable CEO's of the Twenty-first Century when it knocked on his door.

Through it all, he continued to live and to lead as long as he could.

5. Diana, Princess of Wales, endured enormous struggles in her personal life and marriage to Prince Charles, though her humanitarian work and iconic, demure smile would not have told a story of such deep pain and loneliness.


Let us be careful not to judge leaders too harshly simply because they seem by outward appearances to "have it all together". Instead, let's be mindful to be compassionate towards everyone, no matter their station in life, and hope that others show us the same kind-hearted compassion when we rise to the top.


Then, we will be able to make the necessary sacrifices and handle the struggles that life throws our way during leadership to make a positive and lasting impression on the world. 

© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Prepare for Unexpected Delays

Cynthia Murray: Posted Monday, January 25, 2016

Many of you readers are on the East Coast of the United States, as I am, and are also digging our from the Blizzard of 2016 that newscasters are calling "Snowmageddon"! We were hit with a huge snow storm that covered the earth with at least twenty-four inches of snow and up to three feet in some places.


Needless to say, almost all travel and work came to a screeching halt to the dismay of many people who hate to slow their schedules down. In addition, those who did not adequately prepare were frantically buying food and other provisions like sharks feeding in a sea of fish. Lots of people who waited to the last minute to try to finish deadlines, send proposals and fulfill important tasks had a rude awakening as flights were delayed and offices were closed.


This experience caused me to pause and think about unavoidable delays that can come up in our professional lives. In the contract world we call such events "Force Majeure", simply meaning an unforeseeable event outside of one's control that prevents performance of contractual obligations. In other words, sometimes things happen outside of our control that force us to stop.


When unavoidable delays or unforeseen occurrences happen, all is not lost...or it doesn't have to be. The key is to be prepared just in case things don't go the way you hoped. Let's take a look at a few scenarios:


1. We all know that the stock market goes up over time and over the decades it has been profitable to invest in the market. However, dips happen in the market and really big ones are called "corrections". 

When your stocks dip really low due to oil prices or the economy in China, you can be prepared with other kinds of investments. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, the saying goes. Diversify and try to cover for such eventualities. You may even consider buying the stocks in such times when great value stocks are selling for bottom barrel prices. Be sure to talk with an investment adviser, as history has shown us...they will go back up.


2. When creating a schedule to accomplish a project, factor into your timeline the possibility of some unforeseen obstacle. Don't push yourself to the very limits of what is humanly possible in the schedule because if any delay arises, you won't be able to complete on time.


3. Diversify your client base. Be wary of having one client be the primary source of your income and basing your budget on them. If they cancel their services or cannot pay on time, you run the risk of your business toppling because they were not able or willing to continue paying you.

4. When the obstacle is something personal to you such as a sickness, legal matter or emergency that removes you as a player in your own business, be sure to prepare by having additional resources (human or otherwise) to step in while you are absent so that things can continue to run smoothly though you are not physically present to run the business or project.

These are some practical examples for you professionals and entrepreneurs on how to prepare for unexpected challenges and delays in your business or job. I hope it's helpful and that everyone stays safe and warm!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Let the "Week" Say I Am Strong

Cynthia Murray: Posted January 14, 2016

There is a Hebrew scripture that says, "Let the weak say, I am strong." (Joel 3:10). I chose to title this article "Let the Week Say, I Am Strong" using the obvious play on the word "week" to challenge you to look at the way in which you will use your time to accomplish your big goals in 2016.


The ancient Hebrew command in the book of Joel was given to encourage a person to look beyond his or her natural weaknesses and to make a declaration that despite the odds, despite the challenges and notwithstanding the circumstances or disadvantages, I am strong! It's a powerful motivational strategy to see yourself as a winner and to say it out loud, reminding yourself of the fact that while you might be down, your'e definitely not out and you will prevail.


So, when it comes to achieving your big goals this year, don't be overwhelmed by how large or challenging they may seem. Don't become afraid or discouraged by how long it may take. I challenge you today to set mini goals of just one week which will help you to achieve your long-term goal(s) this year. Just as you would train for a marathon, you need to pace yourself.

Hey, one week is all I'm asking. Seven days is considered the number of a complete cycle. It has a very positive connotation. That's why a lot of people say that seven is a "lucky" number, but luck has nothing to do with your success! Your success will come from focus, discipline and determination. Heck, I'm not even suggesting that you have to do something every single day during that seven-day cycle, just that you complete your mini goal during that time frame to have a successful, strong week.


When you decide to make a positive change or goal, set out to discipline yourself to do it for just one week. Then one week will turn into two and so on. Before you realize it, you have actually established a positive pattern or habit. You will actually feel more comfortable doing that positive thing than skipping it. Don't forget to also reward yourself weekly with something fun like going to the movies or out to dinner to encourage yourself to keep up the good work!

What long-term goal have you set for yourself this year? Commit to a mini-goal for just one week. You CAN do it! Sit down, look at your schedule if you need to and simply verify that the mini goal is one that you have the available time and resources to do. It's your goal, so you don't have to set yourself up for failure! Do what you can.


If you need to set your alarm clock one half hour earlier, make sure that you've discussed it with your spouse so that they can nudge you to actually get out of bed. If you've dedicated to go to the gym, make an appointment with your friend or trainer so that you have extra accountability. It's a lot easier to let yourself off the hook that to let another person down once you've made a commitment.

Want to have a weekly stand-up meeting with your staff? Let them know ahead of time and send out a recurring meeting notice to everyone. You'll have to actually delete that reminder to schedule something else in its place and that will be harder to do since it would be a conscious decision to not follow through.


I want you to begin to enjoy weekly victories and to give you strategies to help you achieve just that! So, make a declaration that you will have a strong week and you'll finish the year as a champion!


© 2013-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Challenging Your Leadership Team

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Every organization has leaders and they are vital to the long-term success of that organization. That's why it is important for the CEO, owner or director to assess their leadership team to make sure that they have the right team assembled and that the team has what it takes to move the vision of the organization forward.


Here are ten key challenge questions for making this necessary leadership assessment:


THE LEADER:


1. Do you, at the top of the pyramid, have a clear and concise vision for the organization that is relevant and consistent with your goals and values?


2. Have you communicated your vision and expectations (including what and why) to your team?

3. Are you willing to commit to creating a new leadership team if those in the current role are unable or unwilling to lead according to the vision and goals?


4. Have you been honest with yourself about areas in which YOU need to improve as a leader of leaders? Have you been accountable and transparent by acknowledging those areas with your team?


5. Are you willing to lead by example and be the change that your are expecting of your leadership team?


THE LEADERSHIP TEAM:


6. Have you stopped to analyze if have the right people on your leadership team? 

7. Is the team diverse and comprised of people with varying strengths and expertise?


8. Do the members of the leadership team exhibit knowledge and enthusiasm about the organization, its vision and goals?


9. Does your leadership team have the resources that it needs to successfully carry out the vision?


10. Does your leadership team feel that they have liberty to make suggestions for positive changes that you, as the leader, have not made?


If you answered "No" to any of these ten questions, all is not lost. The first step to improving and solving any problem is realizing that there is a need to change and improve.


So, congratulations on taking the assessment and taking an honest look under the hood of your organization. If you're willing to commit to correct any shortfall identified above (as often as may be necessary), your leadership team and your organization will thrive and endure for the long term!

© 2015-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

New Year, New Mindset

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, January 1, 2016

At the start of a new year many people go about the task of cleaning out their garages and closets, wearing or using new things that the received for Christmas and even launching an exercise program to get a new body.


You will see lots of ads encouraging people to get "a new you!" When I think about that, I am reminded that the most important new thing you can acquire is not necessarily the latest tech upgrade or accessory. The most valuable thing that you can do this year is to reNEW your mind.


Every new, successful venture begins with a positive, new mind. You need a fresh perspective. Perhaps that means simply opening your mind to trying new things or daring to go somewhere you've never gone or do something that you've never done before. Maybe you would like to attend a new conference and meet others in your industry or take a course at your local college on a subject that you've always wanted to learn about. 

Allow yourself the freedom to experiment this year. I know the old adage says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.". But, by trying new things you just may discover that there is something better in store for you, or at the very least, you can add some variety into your normal routine so that you don't get stuck in a rut! 

You can always go back to the original way if the new way isn't a good fit. That's the experiment! So, don't be afraid of change. Embrace it!


I'm excited for what the new year holds for you and I look forward to hearing back from you about the wonderful things taking place in your lives, families and careers.


So from my heart to yours, Happy New Year!


© 2015-2016 CYNTHIA MURRAY ENTERPRISES. All rights reserved.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Even When There Are No Customers, Produce!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, December 18, 2015

You all know that I am a big proponent of work-life balance. Your health and overall well-being are very important to me, but there is even balance to be brought to the message of "don't overwork yourselves." That balance is "Let's not let too much time be idle." Even when customers and clients aren't calling, still find yourself being productive. That productivity keeps you engaged and excited about your work.


In any business there will be lulls and slow times. Different industries have their own cycles and as entrepreneurs, you will have your own too. It just comes with the business territory. However, slow times are not an excuse to be lazy or unproductive.

Yes, my blogs have tended to focus on the "living" part of work-life balance, but there is much to be said for the "work" part as well. If you're bored at work because there is "nothing to do" then find something to do or better yet, be creative and come up with a helpful project even if it's as simple as cleaning your office space or organizing a better filing system! That kind of initiative has "leader" and "promotion" spelled all over it!


Assuming that you are already getting enough of the rest and rejuvenation that you need, be sure to take advantage of extra slow time to be productive. There will always be time to work, work, work down the road. So, if you are in a lull, think about things that you can do by yourself or with your team that will add value to your work. For example, perhaps you can write a much-needed document or work on that book idea that you've never had time to focus on.

Do market research or make appointments to do networking so that you can make new friends and meet new potential clients and customers. You may want to consider volunteering in your community while things are a bit slower for you.

There are so many ideas that you can come up with when focus on being productive - things that you would never think of when you're in a whirlwind of work. The key is to be productive even when your business isn't "hopping" because with the right attitude you may soon have more work than you can even handle! Until then...get ready for the coming tsunami of customers, clients and contracts.


I've heard it said that success happens when preparation meets opportunity. So, let's get ready to succeed by being productive!


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Wise Counsel Is Invaluable

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, December 11, 2015

You're a seasoned professional and a highly intelligent and capable person. How do I know that? Because you're taking the time right now to read this blog and continue to learn and improve!


Oh, yes! I know who you are. You have many accomplishments under your belt and your future is incredibly bright. There isn't much that you can't do. So, even when you face a situation that is out of you area of expertise, your natural inclination is to handle it yourself.


But, there's an ancient Biblical proverb that says, "In the multitude of counselors, there is safety." This article is written to get you to pause on your decision to go-it-alone and consider that as capable as you are, you can't necessarily do it all. At the very least, you shouldn't attempt to "fix" something complicated without getting some expert advice.


Failing to consult with an expert in your situation could cause serious and unnecessary problems. Let's look at three realistic examples of situations, among many, that call for wise counsel before you proceed:


1. Tax Issues. We are coming up on tax season rather quickly and that's not an easy system to navigate! At least in the US, our tax system is too long, complex and ever-changing. The more simple your tax situation is, the easier it is to manage your filing yourself, but add rental properties, multiple employers, your own business and family dynamics and you could find yourself in dangerous territory. Not to mention the fact that, as a non-tax professional, you might miss some very important tax benefits, deductions, etc. that a tax expert would easily identify and save you a lot of money. So, think twice before choosing to do your own taxes.

2. Medical Matters.

Okay, so you've watched Dr. Oz, heard from your mother about your great aunt's fail-proof remedy and you've done a bit of research on Google about your symptoms. That's not necessarily enough.  

Please don't play with your health. By God's grace your ailment will be something minor that great Aunt Mabel's remedy can cure after a few treatments, but if it's not going away, do not delay in going to see the doctor. Time is a great friend when dealing with sickness. The sooner you catch matters and receive proper treatment, the more likely you are to top a sickness from becoming serious or even deadly. Here's to your health!


3. Legal Cases. Got a traffic ticket? Sure. Go to court by yourself and simply tell your side of the story to the judge. There is a good chance that you can beat it! BUT...if you have a more serious issue where large sums of money are involved, there is an ongoing and contentious dispute or even the possibility of losing your personal liberty over an alleged crime or child support matters, take the time to consult with an attorney.  

Many attorneys (such as I) will offer a free initial consultation. You will usually pay an advance fee if you choose to hire their services and you may get some money returned to you if the lawyer is able to resolve the matter in less time than initially anticipated.


Attorneys know the law and the court system, so they will be able to give you wise counsel about your case and help you to make sound decisions concerning your legal situation. It costs to hire an attorney, but he or she will likely be able to save you much more money and frustration down the road if things are not resolved or if they drag on. So, don't be afraid to make an appointment on a "high stakes" case.


It could be a life-saver!


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Resolving Conflict and Maintaining Professionalism

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, December 4, 2015

I really dislike conflict. REALLY. With such an aversion to it, I often wondered why I became a trial attorney, of all things, in the first place! The answer to my initial career choice came down to a strong desire to help people and to right undeserved wrongs. So, despite my aversion to conflict, I quickly learned that conflict isn't necessarily bad. In fact, in many cases it's downright necessary, if not inevitable, in certain instances.


What I discovered was that it's not the conflict itself that is always the problem, but rather the way that conflict is handled that can be particularly unpleasant. My first professional job as a state prosecutor taught me volumes about dealing with conflict and maintaining professionalism, peace of mind and a good testimony to others watching...and someone is always watching.


So, today I want to share a few of the tips on conflict resolution with you that I've picked up along the way that will help any professional or business person no matter what field you're in.


1. Relationship is paramount. Always keep in mind that a conflict may at some point enter into an otherwise good business or professional relationship over time. Remember that how you handle the conflict will probably determine whether you keep that relationship or if it will be severed. Conflict doesn't have to mean the end of a beneficial relationship and if you want to repair any rift, do all that you can to resolve the issue while keeping the relationship intact. Think damage control.


2. Be respectful. I heard a saying once that has stuck with me through the years: "When you wrestle with pigs in the mud, they like it, but you just get dirty!" You might have a disagreement or issue arise with some people who are rude, foul-mouthed and disrespectful. That is not a license to act and speak the way that they do! One must maintain professionalism and courtesy at all times. You could say something that you'll regret later, set a poor example for other staff or colleagues with whom you work and lose their respect. That's collateral damage! My mom always said, "Two wrongs don't make a right." Those are sage words to live by! Take the high road.

3. Communicate well. It can be a real challenge to communicate with people who are antagonistic or who do not want to respond to you on an issue. However, it's always a good idea to speak or write to someone directly, including anyone else who may need to be involved on the email or phone call. Then, don't play games by unnecessarily waiting to reply to them when they contact you. We all know that problems don't get better over time, so the sooner you can resolve a problem, the better.


4. Stay firm, but calm. You can maintain your position on a matter without losing your cool when an issue doesn't go your way. Take your time to analyze all of the facts and all of your options before acting. It's hard to think straight when you're angry, so only make decisions and take action when you're in a calm frame of mind. 

5. Be open-minded. Many times conflict is resolved by negotiation. The resolution is not always "winner takes all." Sometimes the best solution is a compromise. Be willing to look at the situation from the other side's vantage point and if there is a good middle ground, you may want to take it. Conflict that must be resolved in court can be costly, time-consuming and frustrating. You don't want to win the battle and lose the war.

By considering these five points during a conflict, you may be able to save yourself money, relationships and peace of mind! I know these tips have served me very well and I hope they help you too.


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia Murray, simply click here to buy now so you can succeed and win even more!

Thankful in the Midst of the Struggle

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2015

You've probably heard this phrase at some point recently, "The struggle is real!" It's true. We all go through challenging circumstances, some of which are so painful and hard that we just want it to be over no matter the cost...but then it doesn't end right away.


The reality is there are some situations that we simply have to go through no matter how unpleasant and uncomfortable because the temporary situation matures us, strengthens us and deepens our faith.


These types of hard tests show you and the world what you're made of, but here's the amazing part. If you keep a positive attitude and a heart full of gratitude toward God, you just drastically increased your odds of passing that test and coming out of the situation victoriously. The struggle might be real, but it doesn't have to be forever!

Not only will you pass the test, but you will be equipped to teach and encourage others to pass their tests too! I'm reminded of a Biblical story in the Old Testament of a Jewish man named Daniel who was a government employee in the administration of Darius. A law was passed that no one could worship any other god, but had to pray to King Darius for thirty days. When Daniel continued to pray to the God of Israel, he was accused, arrested and sentenced to be thrown into the lions' den to be killed.


The officers threw Daniel into the den of lions, but in the morning he was found alive. The lions did not so much as bite his little finger! Daniel demonstrated the power of faith and resolve in doing what is right. Thereby, he helped many people, including King Darius, to increase their faith.

Maybe you want a more recent example. Countless women, including my mother, are breast cancer survivors. Many went through hellish times of fear, frustration, anger, pain and sickness, but they kept a positive attitude and were grateful for what they had and for the lives they had lived to that point. Today, they are cancer free and now they are telling and teaching others how to stay strong and positive during their struggle.


Did everyone who appeared to have an attitude of gratitude conquer their personal mountain? No. I don't know all of the reasons why or other factors that played a part, but I'm convinced that with a heart full of thanks and a positive mindset, a person greatly increases the likelihood of overcoming "the struggle".


Research by preeminent neuro scientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Switch On Your Brain, shows that there is a direct correlation between our way of thinking (i.e. positive attitude and thoughts) and our health. 

The good news is that you can adjust your way of thinking fand be thankful even in challenging times for powerful positive results in your health, finances, relationships and many other areas of your life!


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Patti LaBelle Pie Review Not So Sweet

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, November 20, 2015

 Just when you thought things couldn't get...more unbelievable, it appears that Patti LaBelle's new sweet potato pies are flying off of the shelves at Wal-Mart due in large part to a viral YouTube review by a fan, James Wright, according to the Associated Press.


What's NOT so sweet about the review is that in between eating the pie and belting out parts of one of Patti LaBelle's songs, the overnight YouTube sensation repeatedly uses the "B-word" (affectionately??) to address Patti LaBelle! I won't even post the ink to show you such ridiculous and offensive language.


What is so surprising is that people, including Patti according to a statement from James Wright who purportedly received a praising call from the famous singer, absolutely love this video which has now blown past the million view mark and sales have sky-rocketed because of it! Why does society get so offended when rappers (or basically anyone else) uses such terms to address women, yet celebrates it in a commercial? Where are all of the watch groups who lobby for women's rights and equality now? I haven't heard anything from them! Oh, maybe it's okay when the profits are high enough.


Will corporations now resort to the use of curse words and, God forbid, the "B----" word to boost sales? Will folks now use the "B" word to thank Mom for the lovely Thanksgiving meal that she helped prepare? Will we show videos like these to our daughters and expect them to abstain from using these words or accepting being called these names?


 Unbelievable.


This is absurd! Enough said. SMH

Prepare Now to Succeed in the New Year

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, November 20, 2015

If you're like me, you are looking at the calendar and wondering, "Where did they year go? How are we already preparing for the holidays?" But, preparing for the holidays is not all that should be on your mind. You should be preparing now for positive changes in order to succeed in the new year.


May I suggest that waiting until January 1 to make New Year resolutions is a bit late. You need to get a going on those things right now and I want to help you get started. It's time for a shift...literally.


I want to encourage you to examine five areas of your life by looking over the past year and start making positive changes that I call a S.H.I.F.T. "SHIFT" stands for your:


Spiritual well-being

Health

Intellectual/Education growth

Financial fitness and

Treasured relationships


Take the time to do a "Year End Review" of yourself and your life. The following are things to consider as you plan to improve your life and business in 2016.


SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING

Have you nurtured your spirit and grown as a person? Did you take time to pray, read inspiring books, meditate and congregate with people who share you faith and values? Do you feel connected with your fellow man? Have you taken time to realize how valuable and special you are?

HEALTH


People can easily neglect their physical health in an effort to succeed in other areas of their lives. That's a big mistake! Health is fundamental to your overall success in life. So, are you feeling less than 100%? Don't ignore that. Make an appointment to see the doctor and let him/her adjust you and advise you as to healthy changes that you can make such as (1) Drinking more water (2) Getting more rest and sleep and (3) Adding just 15-20 minutes of exercise to your daily routine.

INTELLECTUAL GROWTH


We should never stop learning - ever! Find out if there are some classes, workshops or webinars that you can take to increase your knowledge and skills in your field and to stay informed about the latest information. Research what's out there and buy that book or sign up for an amazing course in January. Don't wait! The class may fill up if you don't register quickly.

FINANCIAL FITNESS


Now is an awesome time to check to see in what areas you can cut spending and increase savings. Are there unused magazine subscriptions that you have? Can you cut cable costs or renegotiate your cell phone carrier rate?


Perhaps it's time to look for additional seasonal work or to add a part-time job to your week to earn extra money while you're building your dream business.


Also, don't be shy to make an appointment with a financial adviser. Even if you don't have an investment portfolio, they can give you great advice on growing the money that you do have.

TREASURED RELATIONSHIPS


Take time to reflect on the relationships in your life from family and friends to business colleagues and be honest about whether you can take some steps to improve those relationships.


The holidays are a perfect time to pick up the phone, send a card or spend some extra quality time with the people who make your life better because they are in it.

Please know that my team at CME and I are wishing you the best holiday season and the most prosperous new year you've ever had!


To contract CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Paying It Forward is Right and Good

Cynthia Murray: Posted on Friday, September 11, 2015

One of the principles of success just happens to be the famous "Golden Rule" that we all learned as children: "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." If you had put your very life on the line to protect and save someone, you would expect appreciation and help in your own time of need.


So, when we receive a benefit, we can pay that goodness forward to someone else, even to a perfect stranger. The whole concept is such a divine setup because whatever you send out always comes back to you multiplied. When you sow goodness and kindness to others, you will receive it back in greater measure.


In business and in life we ought always to consider ways to do good things for others. That's part of the definition of goodwill. I was thinking about it in the context of our military men and women who give so much to serve our nation and protect our rights and families. It is sad to see soldiers come home to less than a hero's welcome or to be homeless and forgotten on the streets.  

They have done so much for us, but many times we don't recognize the suffering that they endure when they come home, which can be as hard or harder than the suffering on the battlefield. When you see a soldier from your country fighting for your freedoms, safety and liberty, you should remember their amazing sacrifice.


Here are a few ways that we can honor those who have stood in the gap and fought for us:


1. Say, "Thank you!"


2. Support charities that help to provide services and funds for them


3. Donate to causes that help support their families


4. Give to an individual veteran in need


5. Pray for their safety and the well-being of their loved ones


These are ways to pay it forward to a service man or woman...but is it really paying it forward?


They have already paid a high price and made great sacrifices for the nation and they don't know us personally. 

So, now it's our turn to give back to them honor and respect for what they have done. Thank you veterans! We salute you!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Conflict Resolution: Taking the Bull by the Horns

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, October 29, 2015

I like the etymology of words an phrases. I'll often use a phrase and find myself asking, "Where did that come from?" It is interesting to note that the the phrase "Take the bull by the horns" probably originated in the American west when hands would take a bull by the horns in order to gain control of that wild, thrashing animal by taking it to the ground. I think we all can attest to the fact that sometimes we face problems which, like those dangerous, powerful bulls, if not confronted head on and taken to the ground, will cause damage and destruction in great proportions.


So, when serious problems and challenges arise, it is never a good idea to do nothing and just let things be to see how they will turn out. It's naive to think that that problem will go away on its own. While this may be true with minor challenges, it's not the case with serious problems.


Just like an angry bull, big problems can fester and become so volatile that serious harm is likely to be the result of letting it run wild, so to speak. When confronted with these issues I recommend doing these three fundamental things:


1. Stop to assess the issue, getting as much relevant and accurate information as possible from reliable sources. How can you resolve a problem that you don't fully understand? Your attempt at resolution will be weak if you don't have all the facts.

2. Take time to consider various different ways of handling the situation, never failing to foresee the negative consequences of not acting at all. Taking no action creates an environment for the situation to become worse and sends a tacit message to others involved that you either don't know what's going on or that it just does not matter to you. Neither assumption is a good one.


3. Contact the parties involved directly. If possible, voice-to-voice or face-to-face is preferable so that communication is clear and unambiguous. Tone, level of importance and the exact message intended can be lost in the translation of an email or other writing, for example. If this is not possible, then at least a direct written communication is required. Try to avoid sending messages through a third party for the reasons stated above.

Be sure to confront people without being confrontational. There is a difference. Always remain calm, professional and courteous, while being open, honest and direct.


By implementing these basic principles of conflict resolution, you'll be able to take the bull by the horns and resolve issues like a pro!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

The Case for Consistency

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, October 23, 2015

One of my favorite mentors, Gloria Copeland, always says, "In consistency lies the victory." The longer I live and the more I lead teams, the more I realize the depth of this truth.


People, including you and I, crave consistency. Here a the reasons why I believe that is logically true:


1. Consistency creates predictability and predictability takes away fear of the unknown. Most people don 't like major change because they don't know how it will affect them. Unpredictability breads fear. By nature, people are uncomfortable, if not afraid, of uncertainty - not knowing whether they are safe in their home, at their job and in their cities and towns. Like children crave routines, so do we adults, but in a different way. The bottom line is: People who feel insecure will usually leave the team.

As a leader on your job, in your family and in your community, the people whom you lead take comfort in knowing that you will be there for them and knowing what to expect both from you and from themselves. You may not have control over everything, but with proper and consistent communication with your team you will create an atmosphere of relative comfort, safety and security.


2. When expectations are consistent and known, people can adapt their behavior and work productivity to achieve positive outcomes. If expectations are inconsistent from week to week or from person to person, this will create an environment of frustration, confusion, disappointment and even mistrust among the team. Team members may begin to think "Why do others have a different standard than I seem to have?" "I'm spinning my wheels on something that doesn't even matter when I could be spending my time on something else." "I can't even meet my supervisor's expectations because they keep shifting!"


Most people want to succeed and do well, but it's near impossible to perform well and win if the rules are constantly changing. However, when expectations are known productivity and motivation are infinitely better.


For example, if your team knows that you will have a quarterly meeting to discuss a certain topic, they can a) arrange schedules to be present, b) prepare information that will be required at the meeting and c) have ample time to make any necessary changes. It's easier to hit the bulls eye when the target isn't moving!

3. Consistency enhances efficiency and leads to long-term success. When you do something over and over again, the task becomes easier each time you do it until you can almost perform it in your sleep. People simply can do the same thing more efficiently over time. You know the saying, "Practice makes perfect."


Time is such a great tool because it can be used to bring about a desired result with less effort. You definitely can achieve things with arduous effort in less time, but you can also achieve a significant goal with moderate effort over a sustained period of time, like weight loss, for example. 

Most long-lasting achievements in any area are due to continuous and consistent effort. Success is more often a marathon, not a sprint. So, if you're not looking for a quick fix or easy-come, easy-go solutions, then it's time to value consistency in the efforts and goals that you and your team undertake so that you all can win!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Multitasking: Blessing or Curse?

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, October 17, 2015

We are busier now than ever before- no doubt. There are multiple things asking for, if not demanding our attention at the same time. Many people have been forced to become multitaskers, for better of for worse.


We women tend to pride ourselves on being able to juggle a variety of tasks at once: Negotiating a deal on the cell phone, in the supermarket, with a baby in the basket! It's enough to make anyone say, "That's amazing! I truly don't know how you do it all!" Then we smile as though wearing a superhero outfit until the reality of stress overlaod kicks in.


I see the value of being able to do many things at once, but I sometimes wonder if it is really the best way to function in life. I mean, sure you may do a lot of things at once, but what are the potential problems with always having your thoughts running in multiple different directions?


Here are a few things that mind:


1) Diluted attention is ripe ground for making a mistake. When a person is unable to give proper attention to a given task, the probability of error increases dramatically. This is precisely the reason why we shouldn't text while driving. It is the ultimate in distraction damage waiting to happen. You might not be texting while driving, but are you working on too many projects which threaten to jeopardize an important report, proposal or contract?

2) When you are not focused on a single task you may subconsciously minimize the importance of a significant relationship. i.e. You may be doing three menial tasks when your spouse or child wants to speak with you and spend time with you.


3) We likley all can attest to the fact that at times multitasking can increase pressure and, therefore, stress and even anxiety. It may at first seem as though you're being more productive by working on so many things at once, but in the end you feel pressured and the burden of feeling overwhelmed outweighs the benefit of the work itself.


If you can do two or three things safely at one time without losing focus, under appreciating more important things or feeling overwhelmed, then by all means go for it. For example, I travel a lot and I like to take work with me so that I can read and make business calls while waiting in the airport.  

The best multitasking gets done when one of the things you're doing requires you to just be present, in other words, waiting. Think ahead about possible wait times and try to incorporate other things that you can do with this valuable down time.


Other than that, think long and hard about adding too many things to your To Do List that you tackle all at once. You may not feel like you're saving time, but you may just be saving your sanity!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Big Dreams Begin With Small Steps

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I walked into a community office with one of my clients yesterday to help him register for services. When I looked up I saw this handwritten anonymous quote on the chalkboard which read, "Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip to if you must, but take the step!" Wow! That really grabbed my attention.


It reminds me of the other famous quote, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." I liked the emphasis of this quote on the chalkboard about taking a step in the right direction. Success is not just about going and moving, it's about going in the right direction. Who wants to journey a thousand miles only to find that you've ended up in the wrong place?

No, we must all strive to go in the right direction and believe that we will arrive at the proper destination, but the key is to take one small step toward success on the right path. It doesn't matter as much what failures you've made in the past as what triumphs you'll have in the future.


Perhaps you've had a failed business, got laid off from a job or filed for bankruptcy. While it's not a happy chapter in your story, you can still use those experiences to learn, grow and turn things around for a bright and prosperous future.


Allow yourself to have a new beginning. Don't be too proud to admit to yourself and others that you made a mistake. The courageous one is the person who acknowledges going in the wrong direction and the turns around...


That big dream or goal that you have is not necessarily unattainable. Huge oak trees start out as tiny acorns, but planted in fertile soil that seed becomes a a giant. You can too. An ancient biblical verse says, "Do not despise the day of small beginnings." Dream big and take just one small step on your journey to attain it!

To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!electing the options from the toolbar.

Invest in Yourself

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, November 17, 2015

There's a lot of buzz in the business world right now about the Feds potentially raising rates, national unemployment and the stock market. Everyone wants to protect their financial investment, and it's right to do so, but have you ever stopped to think that the most important investment you will ever have is not in a portfolio of mutual funds, stocks and bonds? Do you realize that the most important investment in your life is YOU?


Think about it for a minute. Your life, health and well-being are all required in order to live at your best and be as productive as you possibly can be. If you are sick or underdeveloped in your emotions, mental health or intellect, you can only do so much.


Yet so many times we take more care of our car and houses than we do ourselves. The reality is that you owe it to yourself to invest in you. You're worth it. Here are some ways to take care of your highest yielding investment:


1. HEALTH. Invest in your own health by exercising in your home or neighborhood or going to the gym making good food choices and avoiding excessive alcohol. Pay attention to aches and pains or signs that your body is not working the way that it should by going to see your doctor.


2. EDUCATION. Make it a point to always continue learning. Anyone who thinks s/he knows it all knows very little in actuality. You can sign up for a course at your local college, register for an interesting seminar or simply read some books on a topic that you like. The point is to keep your mind engaged.

3. RELATIONSHIPS. Take time to build and keep good relationships with the people who love, encourage, help and uplift your. Move away from relationships that are constantly stressful and take your energy. Be cautious of relationships that are not genuine (from either side) and do you both the favor of moving on so each person can move on and be happy. This is just as true for business relationships as it is romantic ones.


4. SPIRITUALITY. Reflect on the moral and ethical principles that are important to you and make sure that you are staying true to yourself. Take alone time every day to nourish your spirit by connecting with God and listening to his voice for guidance.

5. REST. Proper rest is refreshing to your spirit, mind and body. In today's fast-paced world, rest is grossly underrated, but you need it. We all need time to refresh, renew and rejuvenate to be our best. Taking time off to do...well...nothing but rest is wise and will generate big dividends in the quality of life that you lead.


You may be saying, "But, you have know idea how busy I am and how many people are depending on me. I can't afford to do these things that you are suggesting." I would say that by investing in yourself you are actually also investing in the other people around you. If you are not at your best, how can you give those close to you the optimal help that they need? In fact, my advice is that you can't afford NOT to invest in yourself! So, take time this week to do something just for you...and it will benefit those around you too.


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Check Under The Hood To Take Off

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall is the time of year when many people look forward to the upcoming year and finding ways to change or improve areas in their lives and businesses to do and be better. Businesses call it continuous improvement and it's certainly a practice that I recommend.


If something is bad, it doesn't have to stay that way. If something is good, it could probably become even better. When a car has mechanical problems, you look under the hood to see what's going on. When it's running like a charm, you still lift the hood to replace necessary fluids and parts to keep it running well. We all need to do the same type of inspection to keep our lives and businesses running well.


You can take some steps today to help improve just about anything in your life. To get started, it requires you to "look under the hood". I like that phrase. It gives you a great picture of someone who doesn't keep driving a car without ever seeing what's going on in the inner workings of the car.


THE SIGNS: A car can be running fine one minute and then experience problems the next. It will let you know that something is wrong - a noise, a putter, a leak on the driveway. It's the same with your business, career and life. Watch for signs that something may be amiss. Take note and be careful to analyze the "symptoms" in order to identify the exact problem and correct it. 

THE TIMING: Once the signs of trouble start to appear, you definitely shouldn't keep driving the car for a long period of time. You could find yourself broken down on the side of the road. Not good. When you see signs of a problem in an area of your life, it's wise to slow down and dig a little deeper into the problem. Investigate what the root cause is. It's usually less expensive and disruptive and more effective than waiting until things get worse.

THE HELP: When the engine light on your car comes on, the solution may be as simple as tightening the gas cap and resetting the code, but sometimes the issue is far more serious and beyond your ability to fix. If problems continue, you must go to see an expert mechanic. Too often when people suspect a problem, they neglect to address the issue themselves or go to an expert for help. A spouse, colleague or friend may see that they need to address a problem and suggest that they go to an expert for help, yet something holds the person back from even looking under the hood. 

These are usually the three reasons:


1) Pride in admitting that a problem may exist


2) Fear of finding out that a serious problem may exist


3) Overconfidence in thinking that they can handle the problem themselves


Is your health less than you would like and signs are showing up? Excessive drinking causing problems? Profits falling or having financial difficulties? Are you having consistent conflicts or communication issues? Don't wait to look under the hood or even to consult an expert. It could mean the difference between success and failure and in some cases...life or death. If things are going well, that's great! Even so, let me encourage you today to take time to assess how things are running in your life, career, business or ministry. Look under the hood, make needed changes, then take off and go farther than you ever have before!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

A Little Faith In Yourself and Others Goes A Long Way

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, September 4, 2015

Some stories are so awesome because they are universal in their inspiration. They are epic. They're the stuff that movies like Rudy and Seabiscuit are made of. They are the true stories that cause us to believe in the goodness of people and the power of passion and perseverance.


One such story is that of a teenage boy named Jason McElwain of "J Mac" as he has come to be known affectionately by all who meet him. His story begins long before we see the national news on CBS or ABC. His story begins at birth when Jason is born with autism and an amazing gift to inspire and encourage millions of people around the world.


You see, Jason, despite having autism, was passionate for basketball and leadership. He was team manager at Greece Athena High School in Rochester, New York where he caught rebounds, gave out water and picked up the sweaty towels of the basketball team members. He practiced shooting in the empty gym all the time. Jason loved the game and he believed in himself.


These video news clips show us the power of faith, of believing in others and the treasure that is on the inside of every person, if only just given the chance to shine.


A biblical verse says, "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men." Proverbs 18:16. That has certainly been the case for gifted Jason who has met with Magic Johnson, Oprah, President George Bush and many other stars, sports legends and professional teams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bboDoh1J1RA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMjmzhF5320

J Mac has inspired us. He has lifted our spirits and caused us to believe in ourselves. He reminded us that we are more than our weaknesses and disabilities...that in us all lie great treasures to be unearthed, and when they are, we can lead others to find their own treasure within.

To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.

Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.

To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.

To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Giving Your Goods and Services Pays Off

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, August 27, 2015

It is better to give than to receive. Why is that the case? Some call it karma, but it's the law of sowing and reaping. Whatever you give comes back to you multiplied. Not only that, giving feels so darn good!


We have become accustomed as individuals to giving at church and to good causes like the breast cancer fund and community food drives, but it's not so common for businesses and entrepreneurs to give away their goods and services. If you're already doing that, then hats of to you. It really is the right thing to do when an opportunity comes along to do some good.


I'm not suggesting that you become a not-for profit entity. You are in business to make a profit and capitalism is a good thing, but there are some key points to keep in mind that should inspire us to be benevolent with our business goods, services, money and even time.


1. Goodwill. Every business should aspire to be a good community partner.Wherever you may have an office or business connections, you have the chance to help to uplift your community. From scholarships to sending staff out as a team to work with Habitat for Humanity, your company has a golden opportunity to spread cheer and provide continuous improvement. 

At Cynthia Murray Enterprises, my team and I try to motivate people and cultivate success by offering periodic free motivational speeches to non-profit organizations or institutions that may not have the budget for our fees. I was very pleased to speak for the Charlottesville Community Investment Collaborative and the American National University, both organizations that are producing high quality professionals and entrepreneurs right here in our own backyard. Clearly, a business cannot always give free services and goods, but be willing to look for opportunities to give back because it has great rewards.


2. Networking. By donating goods, services and time you will get the chance to meet other wonderful people in your local and global community who share your company's values and may even be part of your industry thereby creating great networking opportunities.

3. Market Research. By being out in the community meeting, working with and networking with people you can obtain really helpful information about your customer/client base that you may not have had from the comfort of your office. For example, if you provide a free seminar or workshop you may learn of a need or a gap in the industry that your company can fill.

To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Is Your Work-Life Balance A Tight Rope Act?

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, August 13, 2015

Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel as though your schedule is a veritable tight-rope walking act at the circus? I have! I didn't like it and through the years I learned to make some positive changes in my schedule to maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Feeling overwhelmed by your schedule or having the sense that you can't keep up with all the obligations is a function of taking on way too much at one time. All high achievers have to be wary of that famous trap.


In fact, there types of person that usually falls victim to an overly burdensome schedule. Do you see yourself in one or more of these typesets?


1) Superman: Oh yes! You are the person who can do just about anything...and do it well. Everybody looks to you to perform tasks and take on responsibilities even if you have little or no experience doing them. They do this because you are reliable. You care and want to help, not to mention you're just that darn good!  

Here is the problem with being Superman of Wonder Woman - You find yourself saying, "Yes" to every request and piling on obligations out of the goodness of your heart and desire to help. WARNING! You run the risk of taking on too much for your physical and mental health. It can even have a negative effect on your relationships. That one extra assignment is your Kryptonite and could send you over the edge of your limits!


2) The two-year old: This person has an over-inflated self perception of just how much they can actually do. The two-year old thinks that he can do everything by himself. These personality types take on tasks far our of their range of ability and if they can even do the task at all, it takes them far too long to accomplish it. It's better to pass on some solo opportunities and allow a team to help you get the job done right.

3) The Energizer Bunny: This person is just moving in fifth gear all of the time and never slows down even though they should. They are constantly going and almost pass out at night instead of falling peacefully to sleep.

They constantly push themselves to their intellectual and physical limits because they enjoy the thrill of simply doing things or they erroneously think that they must be doing something at all times. This perspective is out of balance.


This person needs to realize that God created us to rest and failing to do so will have dire consequences on their bodies, minds and emotions.


So, I encourage you, if you can identify with one ore more of these types to give yourself permission to slow down a bit and leave some days on your calendar open for, well...whatever relaxes, refreshes and rejuvenates you. Go ahead, you deserve a break today!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, August 6, 2015

We've all heard the old adage, "Honesty is the best policy." It's really true. Not only is being truthful in business negotiations simply the right thing to do, but being dishonest is actually the surefire way to guarantee that your business will eventually come crashing down.


Unfortunately, some individual entrepreneurs, and even some corporate executives at high levels, don't value honesty as they should. Their motto is "the end justifies the means" and if lying or deceiving customers and clients is a method to line their pockets with more money, then lie they shall! What a sad commentary!


It can be tempting to be dishonest especially when the bottom line is at stake, but lying will only build a bad reputation and cause the business to crumble. Let's take a look at three scenarios and examine the effects of honesty versus dishonesty.


Scenario A: Joe the car dealer sells a car to Miss Smith, a single mom of two, who knows very little about cars. She is forced to get another vehicle because her old mini van just died. Joe sells her a car in her price range which he says is a gem, but it has transmission problems and he does not disclose that to her. Miss Smith drives happily off the lot and the car stalls at a busy traffic light the very next week with her two kids in the car.  

Analysis: Well, Joe sold the car and made a profit alright, but he'll lose in the end. The fine print on the contract does not allow Miss Smith to return it. Now she will have to sink $3000 into a new transmission - money that she does not have. She has sought legal counsel and may be able to recover under her state's Lemon Law. Not only that, she has called the Better Business Bureau to report the incident regarding Joe's Pre-Owned Car Dealership and is telling everyone she knows to avoid his dealership like the plague. Joe loses big time by being dishonest. He may have big legal bills to pay and has already lost goodwill in the community because he has done this before.


Scenario B: Jennifer is a criminal attorney and her client, Bjorn, has been charged with a misdemeanor crime. If found guilty and incarcerated for any amount of time, there is a high probability that he will be detained by Immigration and deportation proceedings against him commenced because of his status.  

Bjorn asks Jennifer what his chances are of being found not guilty and her level of expertise. Jennifer discusses the merits of his case, but has not yet told him of the potential immigration consequences. He will pay her a large fee if he hires her because he thinks she will get him to be acquitted. Jennifer tells him the truth - that she is a very experienced lawyer and will do everything that she can to help him, but she cannot guarantee that he will be found not guilty. In addition the facts of the case don't bode well for him. She reveals the details of the possible deportation proceedings if he is convicted and goes to jail. He suggests that he could just lie on the witness stand. Jennifer says that she cannot allow him to do that. It's best if he doesn't testify. Bjorn says thanks, but no thanks, and doesn't hire her.


Analysis: Jennifer lost a potential client, but kept her integrity. She didn't lie to her client and make false claims or promises as to what she could do for him. She was also very clear that she would not put on false testimony. In essence, she told him the truth on all count and it cost her a client, but her excellent reputation will precede her. Jennifer's honesty, integrity and skill will keep her rising to the top and working with clients who value not just her expertise, but her character as well.


Scenario C: Alejandro is a mid-level manager at a large corporation. He is highly respected by his colleagues, subordinates and supervisors for consistent quality work product. However, in this last proposal, he made a crucial oversight in omitting an area of technical risk in an upcoming multi-million dollar proposal.  

The company is proceeding and has already invested tens of thousands of dollars in the proposal effort. Alejandro can either allow his company to continue on without exposing his mistake or he can reveal his error and the additional risk that he did not initially see to his supervisor and the team lead. Alejandro decides to reveal the risk to his team and VP. Another teammate has an idea of how to significantly minimize the risk and allow them to move forward.


Analysis: Alejandro's character was worth more than even his job. Everyone now realizes the quality in his work ethic and that he will not compromise his integrity even if it means a demotion or losing his job. His supervisors dealt kindly with him and he actually received a promotion the following year. His superiors understood that no one is perfect and mistakes happen. They knew that the mistake was not common for such a good employee and they valued his honesty and ethics as a leader.


Each of the three scenarios could be very real. The point is that honesty is paramount even in situations when speaking the truth could cause unwanted consequences. However, in the long run, the truth always wins and benefits you and everyone else around you. In fact, things often turn out better than you could have ever imagined.


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!


Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

What to do When You Can't Keep a Commitment

Cynthia Murray: Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If it hasn't happened to you yet...it will. There will come a time when, despite your promise to do something, for one reason or another, you will be unable to fulfill your commitment.


I know because it's happened to me and to so many others. I have had other people contact me and let me know that they could not do what they had committed to do. In the past, I have also had to regretfully let people know that I could not do what I committed to do. It's an awful feeling, regardless of whether the reason is within or without your control.


Fortunately, I can think of very few times that I have not been able to fulfill a commitment. Much of my (and anyone's) ability to follow through is due to organization, good scheduling and a realistic perspective of how much one can commit to at any given time. Misjudge any one of those things and you could overbook or even forget a commitment.


Of course, there's also the emergency situation which is out of a person's control. In the contracting world, we call this "force majeure" which means that some greater, unforeseen matter or event intervened that prevents the fulfillment of a promised obligation.

So, what do you do when you cannot keep a commitment? How do you do damage control? Here are some effective pointers to help you get through this challenging situation.


1) Communicate. Contact the person to whom you are committed as soon as you realize that you cannot perform. Don't go missing in action! Problems such as these only get worse the longer they are not addressed. Communicating immediately gives the person the ability to make alternate arrangements as quickly as possible and minimize any negative impact.

2) Be honest. You already know my creed - honesty is always the best policy. Respect the individual enough to be honest about the situation and why you cannot do what you said that you would do, even when you dropped the ball. Though they will certainly not be pleased about the circumstance, if nothing else, they will always remember that you are honest and accountable.


3) Offer to find a solution. If it is in your ability to find an alternate solution or in some way make it up, offer to do so. This willingness to take responsibility will be much appreciated by your counterpart, even if they ultimately don't take your suggestion.

4) Apologize. Too often nowadays people do not apologize for mistakes. I don't know what has happened to such common courtesy, but acknowledging the fact that one's inability to follow through with a commitment impacts someone else helps the situation and is just the right thing to do.


The underlying takeaway here is that you want to maintain good relationships with your colleagues, business associates, friends and family. Your accountability in times when you cannot fulfill a commitment will go a long way towards keeping a good relationship just that...good and healthy.


Not following the tips above could mean losing an otherwise good relationship. So, next time, remember to follow these principles and keep your relationship equity high!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author,

consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning!Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Handling Criticism Like A Pro

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Receiving criticism about one's self is difficult for all of us, but it's a part of life. The more successful you become, the more critics you will have. Don't hold back from doing bold things because of potential criticism.


Successful people learn how to handle criticism and use it, like most things in their lives, to their advantage. Think about the following famous people, (some of whom you may know and some you may not): Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Joel Osteen, Dr. Ben Carson, George W. Bush, Tim Tebow and Katie Couric.

All of these people have differing backgrounds, careers and spheres of influence, but they have something in common: they all (though dearly respected by so many) come under an excruciating amount of criticism from the public on a daily basis.


However, despite the verbal attacks hurled at them, they manage to handle the criticism and continue to successfully advance.


Now, I am not necessarily endorsing or condemning any particular person or people from this group of famous men and women. Like you, some of these people I agree with and some I don't. I am only giving you an example of their shared undeniable ability to hear criticism that is often mean-spirited, rude, hurtful, embarrassing and even untruthful, and yet still remain strong and relatively cool under all of that pressure. Like it or not, they overcome the obstacle of criticism.

That kind of pressure has the potential to crush anyone who doesn't know how to handle it. So what is their secret? How do they appear to let the criticism roll off their backs like water?


Let me give you some helpful tips on the fundamentals of handling criticism so that you too can move forward in strength and grace as though it never affected you in the least.


1. The first tip to handling criticism is to refrain from a knee-jerk reaction that could cause you to say or write things that you will regret later. In other words, Keep Calm and Carry On! It's hard. It's downright painful at times, but it's the best course of action! You must take time to get your emotions under control and then, if appropriate, make a response. Sometimes the best defense is to simply stay quiet and not dignify the insult with a response. Remember, you never want to let them see you sweat!

2. Analyze the criticism under the lens of sheer facts with the advice of folks on your team who will give you honest opinions. Is what the people are saying true in any way? Okay, deal with it. If there is some truth to the criticism (no matter how unkind the commentary may be in its delivery) take it and evaluate how you can improve in that area. In some cases, you may want to acknowledge the weakness openly. This shows both character and courage. Then explain that you are working on a plan to enhance that weakness, but immediately focus on your strengths. Show them empirically that your weakness is far outweighed by your strengths and you will win!

3. Build yourself up on the inside. The person that you really have to convince that you have the right stuff is YOU. When you believe in yourself, no one can persuade you that you are incompetent, incapable of winning or that you are a losing pick. You can come out on top despite the criticism if you don't allow the negative words to cause you to lose hope and faith. It's wonderful to have people in your inner circle who love and support you, but you know best what you're made of and when no one else thinks you can do it...prove 'em wrong! Quiet your spirit. Ask God for guidance. Look deep within. See yourself winning and then go do it.

To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author,

consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Don't Worry, Be Healthy!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Monday, June 22, 2015

Worry can wreak havoc on your health. Sleepless nights, headaches, even weight gain or loss can all be a result of the inability to stop worrying. Of course, everyone experiences things in life that can cause us to contemplate on the potential negative outcome of a situation. In fact, it's okay to be alert and aware of future potential problems, but it's not okay to dwell on them to the point where we become physically ill. That's what chronic worrying can do.


According to an article in the UK's online daily journal Mail Online by Rosalind Ryan entitled, "What Worrying Does to Your Health", Ryan states, "Worrying can have a negative effect on your health, making you tired, stressed, speed up the ageing process and sometimes more prone to depression." Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-97853/What-worrying-does-health.html#ixzz3BhJMHvki


So now that we know what worrying can do to us, let's look at some things we can do to avoid or lessen the temptation to worry:


1) Recognize that worry is a time waster an an energy thief.

To quote Corrie ten Boom, "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."


2) Understand that worrying does not help to solve the issue at hand, strategic action will. I'm not suggesting that you ignore potential problems, but your intellectual playing out of the worst case scenarios doesn't fix anything. Instead, channel that energy into thinking of things that you or others can do to help avoid future problems.


3) Take your mind and your eyes off of the object of your worry for a while. If it's a file, a case, a person or even a social media conversation or person, shut it down for a day or more, if needed, to give your mind a break! Even better, go enjoy a funny movie with a friend or an edge-of-your-seat drama to take your mind off of your own drama!


4) Prayer and meditation are scientifically proven to help alleviate stress and worry. Find a quiet place and nourish your spirit.

5) Look at the glass half full. Force yourself to see the potential positive outcomes of the situation. The law of attraction will make it more likely that the outcome which you hope for is what you will get. Instead, make positive declarations about the situation instead of repeating the negative over and over to yourself and others. Avoid negative thoughts and words by not saying things like, "This is the end of my business!" "I know we'll lose this contract."

By following these simple tips you will feel better, literally as if a load of bricks have been lifted off of your shoulders. Not only that, you will have made an investment in your own health by adding a positive outlook to you "Me" portfolio.


Print this blog post and keep it close by your office or desk. Pull it out the next time that you feel pulled into Worryland! Here's to a worry-free, healthier you!


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, coach, author and attorney. To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2014 CME, LLC 

What NOT to Do When Making a Decision

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, June 18, 2015

Decisions, decisions! Statisticians estimate that the average American adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions daily. These include basic things such as whether to go to work or school, what to wear, where to go eat for lunch and whether to get gas now or later.


These decisions are made with relative ease and some are almost automatic. However, there are other decisions during the course of a lifetime that are far more important, in fact, potentially life-changing. Such major decisions include:


*Whether or where to attend college?


*Whether or whom to marry? Will you have kids? Will you adopt?


*What profession will you choose?


*Will you retire at your job or launch out into a new career?

Many financial decisions are also important such as whether to buy or sell a house, to use your savings/401(K) to start a business, where to invest your money and more. All of the decisions above require you to utilize certain principles of good decision-making to come up with a quality decision that you likely won't regret down the road. Let's take a look at a few things NOT to do when making an important decision:


1) Do not make an important decision based on fear. Fear causes you to think and act in irrational ways, always forcing you to see the worst possible outcome as the likely outcome. Think about all of the options and, remove fear from your decision-making. Fear is a bully. Push back! You may even want to speak with your spiritual adviser for help and guidance.

2) Do not try to make a decision on a complex issue without first consulting at least one expert in the field. If it's a medical decision, you may want to seek multiple opinions. If it's a major financial decision, consider assembling a team of experts to address tax consequences, etc. In a legal situation? Invest in a good lawyer to help guide you through the process.

3) Do not make an major decision without speaking with other people in your life who will be directly impacted by your decision. Not doing so, can lead to awful consequences such as separation and divorce, financial loss and damaged personal or professional relationships. 

To find out more about making quality decisions and forming a great plan for your future, check out my book "The Power of A Plan" which you can purchase right here on our CME website. It will give you the direction you need to map an awesome course for your future.


Here's to your future great decisions and success!


To book CYNTHIA MURRAY for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author,

consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Should you Take Every Customer's Business?

Cynthia Murray: Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In today's economy, this blog title may seem like a very odd, almost ridiculous question. Many would argue that because businesses have been struggling, every business owner and professional ought to run after each business opportunity with every customer or client. I beg to differ.


As a lawyer and business consultant, I have the ability to choose whom I will accept as a client. After all, every situation is not a perfect fit, but you can still come out in a win-win situation even when you respectfully decline to take on a new customer.


What are some of the reasons why you might turn a customer or client away and what are the potential consequences to avoid?


1. You might consider turning down an opportunity to submit a proposal or take a new client when you've quickly realized that a customer or client will need far more individualized attention (or what I refer to as "hand-holding)" than you can devote at a given time. Declining such a client does not speak badly of you or indicate that you are not capable of handling the situation, but it does reveal that you are keenly aware of the hefty demands that certain customers/clients put on you that are above average. In such a case, you could fail to meet their expectations and that is definitely not good.

The needs of the client may require you to work considerable overtime, night and weekends on a regular basis. This is okay if it's what you bargained for. If not, then you're in for long, potentially stressful days and even angry family and friends or business associates for your inability to have time for other equally important matters. Resist pressure from anyone to take such a case. Remember, it's your life, your business and family that is at stake.


2. Perhaps you should consider passing a friend as a client when


(1) You don't have particular expertise in a certain area. You want your friend to have the best professional in the field. That may not be you. You can always give a great referral to a colleague with an explanation that you have too much on your plate at the moment to take the assignment; (2) When you cannot stay emotionally detached from a case, assignment, etc. or (3) when you are concerned that there is no margin for error and you could jeopardize the important relationship that you have with the customer/client.


3. You may consider passing on a customer or client when you have knowledge that he or she is not very responsive and communicative. If they cannot help you to help them by communicating properly with you, then this will be a problem down the road.


4. Consider not taking on a customer or client who has onerous terms and conditions that they insist upon you accepting as part of the contract. Watch for exorbitant penalties, refusal to add a force majeure clause and other bad T's and C's.


5. If the goods or services requested violate your ethics, morals or religious convictions, then you should seriously consider turning the business down. To produce and provide the best, you have to be the authentic YOU! In doing so, be sure to check with state law where you live before turning business down so as to determine if saying "No" violates the law in your state.

Deciding whether to take a customer's contract or a client's service contract is often up to you as an entrepreneur, but note that years may pass without you ever taking a stand and being selective about your customer/clientele.


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Take Your Time and Get it Right

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One of the biggest causes of error in business and in life is going too fast. We've all been guilty of it at some point or another and for many people and companies rushing has become a habit and a culture. In fact, the whole world seems to be moving at lightening pace in general, especially with the increased technology and the ability to communicate almost instantly from various methods.


Throughout the course of my career I have worked in places where the employees tended to work with their "hair on fire". Everything had to be done quickly, from reports to proposals or other hurried deadlines. This is an inevitable set up for error that can cost more than what has been calculated in many ways.


I'm certainly not going to point fingers at my past places of employment without recognizing that to some extent my own behaviors contributed to this environment, culture and habit of rushing my work. It's not healthy to the individual, the company or the customer/client to whom we commit.


In reflection, this phenomenon is due to many different behaviors and expectations. Here are a three primary causes of the big rush and ways to avoid them in the future:


1. Loading too much on your plate. - At some point you just can't do it all. We feel like we can. Others tell us we can and we want to help, but in reality each person has a limit of appropriate assignments that they can adequately handle at a given time.


After all, there are only so many hours in a day. I'm learning (notice I use the present tense because I'm still trying to get this right) not to try to take on too much in a short period of time. It is inevitable that in failing to have a proper balance with workload and obligations that something will be missed and a ball will be dropped.


We should try to recognize when things are getting out of balance and say "no" or "not now" to certain responsibilities.

2. Inadequate Staffing. - This root cause is related to point number 1, but is slightly different. This problem is often seen in companies with too few employees to handle the work load. The business sets a certain standard of responsiveness and production to the outside world while failing to maintain adequate human resources to accomplish the goal. This puts stress on individual employees and may result in additional loss of staff as employees seek other jobs or become sick. It can also result in a hit to the company pocket book if contractual deadlines are missed.


Companies should be sure to adjust expectations or negotiate more time to submit proposals and/or deliver goods and services based on realistic time frames to avoid penalties and damaged customer relations.

3. Procrastination. - This is a biggie. Many people end up having to rush to complete work assignments not because they don't have the time or staff, but because they wait to engage in the project or assignment.


It's wise to set a pace for the work ahead with a realistic plan for accomplishing mini-tasks over the course of time. Individual team members should also work in accordance with a schedule for their piece of the work to keep the ball rolling. It's the last runner in a relay race who must ultimately make up the time where those before her/him lagged in passing the baton.

Be sure to allow cushion time for unexpected issues that may need to be addressed or problems to be resolved along the way. This helps to relieve the stress of feeling rushed at the last minute and having to scramble to produce and perform at the last minute.


This can also result in additional costs as you try to move mountains to get things done at the last minutes. As with most companies, "rush fees" will likely be charged to get the help that you need...and it's not cheap!


So, here's to completing your assignments and commitments at a reasonable pace with fewer errors and cost. Believe me when I tell you I speak from my own experiences and mistakes in this area. There's always room for improvement and on we go to destination success!


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Great Leaders Do the Right Thing

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, April 23, 2015

During my travels to Honduras last week I had the distinct privilege and honor to spend time meeting with a Honduran national hero, General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez.


Gen. Vasquez details in his new book Dangerous Ambitions: The Temptations of Power (number three on their national best seller list and quickly surpassing other books to the top) how in the political crisis of 2009 he found himself in an unimaginable position. He had title, power and position. He was close friends with Honduran President "Mel" Zelaya.

He was living his dream when it suddenly became a living nightmare.


Gen. Vasquez recounts how his beloved President had, over time, become enamored with power. He was consistently betraying their Constitution and law, quickly converting Honduras into a dangerous, near dictatorial regime following in the footsteps and advice of Venezuelan leaders. The President threatened to dissolve Congress and the Supreme Court.

In 2009 General Vasquez had an important decision to make...follow his friend, President Zelaya, down a destructive path in which his country would suffer, but he would prosper as privileged elite...or do the right thing and defend democracy and the freedom of his countrymen. For this leader, the choice was clear, but dangerous.


General Vasquez chose the better path - to denounce the President and his political authority that was threatening to destroy Honduras and the free democratic society that they had pledged to support and defend. With the support of other countrymen, control of the country was placed in the hands of leaders who were determined to keep Honduras free, safe and a country that upheld the law and Constitution upon which it stands.

Now, Honduras enjoys democratic political freedom and, while not without social problems and issues, is still strong in its leadership and resolve to uphold the Constitution and the law, thereby giving all Honduran citizens hope for a bright and prosperous future.


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Your Career As a Quilt: You Can Do it All!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, April 10, 2015

Have you ever been discouraged thinking about your career and the different opportunities to work in other fields that you have passed by because you already have a certain job, degree or title?


If you said, "Yes", you're in the same boat with a lot of people, but you don't have to give up on those opportunities and dreams so quickly. I believe that you have the chance to make a beautiful quilt out of your career made up of several different pieces of art...which are the various positions, jobs and businesses that you can mend together in a lifetime.


I hope this article will encourage you not to give up on your dream career just yet. You see, many times people start out their professional lives with various aspirations and goals throughout their careers.


At the outset, you may not have been wed to just one particular job or career trajectory. However, somewhere along life's journey you may have given up on other dreams and goals that you had under pressure to "brand yourself". It's okay to brand yourself, but it's better to be yourself and enjoy life. After all, being the authentic you is real branding.

It's wonderful if a person wants to choose one profession and stick to that and only that career for the entirety of their professional life. Experts are made of such devoted professionals, but there are other people who just don't fit in that box and they are awesome at what they do.


Someone may enter the workforce full of hopes that they can be a doctor, record as a professional guitar soloist and own an art gallery. At first blush, that may seem absurd, but is it really? I think not. After all, those hands may be gifted for more than just perfect stitches! That doctor may have a family practice in which he sees patients during the weekdays and then practices his music by night to record folk albums. Don't forget about the art gallery! In his clinic hang vibrant watercolor paintings by local artists whose works of art are for sale to his patients. Voila! This person succeeded at doing it all and being happy in the process.

Pay no attention to naysayers who quip that you're a jack of all trades and master of none or that you don't know who you are.


Who are they to say that you should give up on your dream jobs that you've hoped for since your youth? Besides, you my choose to do everything all at once or change careers later in life. It's up to you.

YOU are the only person who defines yourself and your career, my friend. I should know. My own career is a beautiful patchwork quilt itself. Many of my readers know that I wear several hats and I'm so glad about it!


Today I am living my childhood dream of being a motivational speaker and leadership consultant through Cynthia Murray Enterprises and via my international ministry, Divine Women of Destiny. However, I'm also an author, practicing attorney and was just recently appointed as a substitute judge in the 16th Judicial District of the Commonwealth of Virginia, something I have looked forward to for a long time. Everything fits together perfectly. It's the authentic me. I am doing it all and so can you!


I encourage you today to pick up that unfinished quilt of your career with its patch squares that alone may not seem to match, but in reality, they form an amazing piece of art that is uniquely yours.

This quilt will cover you with the warmth of happiness. So, go ahead and start sewing your future together today. A life is a terrible thing to waste.


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Are You Maximizing Your Team's Talents?

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, April 1, 2015

As a leader, it's always good to be keenly aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. I know I am. One of my greatest strengths in the organizations that I lead is my team. My greatest weakness...not using them!


I learned this lesson the hard (and embarrassing way). Once at a meeting of the advisory board of my international ministry, we were planning a large and important event. We embarked on the task of identifying the various things that needed to be done and who would be in charge of each one. As the meeting progressed, I noticed an uncomfortable silence and a shift in the original happy atmosphere. Something was wrong.


"Okay, you guys are way too quiet for this group. Something is bothering you and no one is talking! So go ahead and spew it out. What's wrong?" I said.


The silence was deafening. My team looked at each other for a moment and then one brave, soft voice broke the silence, "Well Cynthia, look at all of the assignments that you have given to yourself versus what you have delegated to us...You've taken almost everything! We feel like you don't trust us..."


Wow! Talk about a bucket of ice water dumped on your head! She (they) were exactly right. I had to be honest with myself and realize that I was trying to do it all to the exclusion of a very talented, effective and dynamic team that I had assembled to help me. I wasn't even allowing them to do what I invited them on the board to do. The result was a breach of trust, team discouragement and confusion. 

What was happening? Well, it turns out that I did have some anxiety about the tasks being done the way that I wanted it done and with excellence. That is fairly easy to fix. All I needed to do was communicate clearly and have appropriate follow-up to make sure that we were on track. The other issue was a bit of pride. Looking back I think that I wanted to get credit for the awesome event or somehow appear like Wonder Woman having accomplished the event virtually single-handed! What a big stupid mistake for me to make!

I am so glad that my group spoke up and helped to open my eyes. Help, help, help. That's what I needed as a leader and that is what they gave to me. Now things are different. I fully recognize the amazing abilities in my team and I give them every opportunity to use their talents and shine!


The end result? Our organization has gone to another level of effectiveness, accomplishment and excellence. Another benefit is that I get to take a heavy load off of my own shoulders and watch my team flourish!


So, here are some tips for you to use when leading your team:


1) Recognize the talents among your team members and look for ways to allow them to assist you and the team as a whole;


2) Don't be worried about mistakes. They will make them (we all do). Be there to encourage, support and communicate so that they have the best chance to succeed.


3) Ask your team for input and feedback about their role in the organization to make sure that they are satisfied and in the right position so that their skills are maximized.


Just by implementing these three tips you can take your organization to the next level too. So, lead on! Go Team!

To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CM

Stay True to Your Values and Win like a Champion!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Every leader should have core values and in order to win, we must never abandon them, in good times or bad. The result? You and your team will win and be a champions, not just in your field, industry or sport, but in life where it really counts.


I was reminded of this truth when a friend sent me an excellent article written by Isabelle Khurshudyan in the Washington Post published on March 15, 2015 entitled "Bennett Builds Virginia Basketball on Pillars of Faith". (Click here to read the full article). In it she quotes University of Virginia Men's Basketball head coach Tony Bennett, a Christian and a strong, respected leader, revealing his philosophy on success:


“There’s a reference in the Bible that if you’re faithful to the little things, then there’ll be more, and you’ll be faithful with more,” Bennett said, alluding to Luke 16:10. “I think it’s really that mind-set of when it wasn’t going so well, were the young men in our program and were we as a coaching staff staying faithful and staying true to what we thought would give us success, even when you didn’t see it?


“It was just being faithful to the things that matter to our program. . . .When you’re fortunate enough — and some of it’s validated when you have some success — and things start happening, it’s still the same mind-set. Will you still be faithful to the things that have gotten you there? It doesn’t change.”


- Coach Tony Bennett

The benefits of staying true to who you are as a leader and communicating and sticking to your core values are multiple. Let's take a look at a few of them:


1) You will assemble a team that shares, believes in or wants to aspire to the values that you esteem;


2) Maintaining good values and mores will build and edify you and your team not only to DO better, but to BE better all around;


3) You don't just help to create better engineers, doctors, teachers, sports players, etc. You help to create better people;


4) Others around you will respect you and your organization, even if they don't necessarily espouse your values, especially faith-based ones. They will recognize and appreciate that you stand up for what you believe in and you don't compromise your values when the chips are down and the pressure is on.


As leaders we must strive to hold firmly to the same values that help us to achieve great success in the beginning when no one knows your name...

...and in high times when everyone is shouting your name.

For that, my friends, is the stuff real champions are made of!

To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Help Your Colleagues, Help Yourself

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, March 5, 2015

No man is an island. No man stands alone. That's a fact. No matter how skilled, experienced and connected a person is, we all need help and in order to get it, it's a good idea to be disposed to help others too.


We've all heard the "Golden Rule": Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. In other words, treat people the way that you would want to be treated. That's pretty sage advice, wouldn't you say? Who wouldn't want others to help them when it's in their ability to do so? The wonderful thing about helping others is not just the fact that others are more willing to help you, but there is also great satisfaction that comes along with giving a helping hand.


Before you think this article isn't for you because you helped dig your neighbors car out of the snow or you're already doing volunteer work or community service (which is awesome), let me challenge you to look at helping not just as something that you can do as a person in a better position than someone economically or phyically. You can help and support your colleagues by providing unique things like beneficial advice, references and connections that open doors for them and help them to succeed even more.


I have a saying that what you make happen for others, God makes happen for you. Can you help someone in your field, industry, company or business community by sharing your knowledge about a great new opportunity, supplier, IT software or outstanding accounting firm?


Perhaps you've not thought of a "helping hand" in this context, but those kinds of tips can be very valuable to other people and will tremendously increase your goodwill with them and others as you willingly help others to succeed. You'll gain a reputation for being generous with your wisdom.

Stop saying things like "No good deed goes unpunished." Don't think that you will be giving an unfair advantage to your colleagues by helping them. You will succeed when helping others and rise to the top because what goes around comes around! There are more than enough great opportunities in this world and you will surely reap the good that you sow in this life.


This week, think of some way or someone that you can help and by doing so you will definitely help yourself. It's a universal rule of life!


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop on this topic and other professional and personal success strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Balance and "The Struggle"

Cynthia Murray: Posted Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recently after a national webinar on wellness at which I was the invited guest speaker, a young woman wrote to me with two powerful questions about maintaining work-life balance and succeeding as a black professional female. It occurred to me that the answers to her questions were more universal than one might think at first glance.


Certainly, everyone struggles with the juggle of work, personal life and domestic matters; and while obviously not everyone is facing the unique challenges of being a black professional female, my advice on confidence and success applies to everyone across the board...or the board room, as the case may be!


Here are her questions and my reply. I hope that it speaks to you as it did to her.


---Hello, I had the opportunity to listen to your Webinar about Balance and Well being. Thank you for giving this very interesting and informative presentation!


After the event, I did think of a couple of questions I would like to ask you. As a future nurse aspiring to be a Nurse Administrator, my first question is what are some strategies I could practice to ensure my professional career does not greatly interfere with my personal life balances overall?


My second question is what techniques have you implemented for yourself in order to ensure your career thrives, especially as a minority woman, in today’s workforce? Thank you for any information you can provide! ~W.G. Missouri

Hi W.G!


Thanks for your questions following our recent webinar on wellness during the college years of your life. Much of what we discussed applies even to seasoned professionals!


As a future nurse administrator, you have chosen an admirable field that I know is both challenging and rewarding. Your question about maintaining work-life balance is such an important one, as many high achieving professionals like you often struggle in this area because work is very demanding.


What is going to be crucial to your success is knowing and keeping the priorities in your life in proper place. You will have many things to balance and the key is keeping with the priorities that you set.


Think about your faith and spiritual life, your family and close relationships (perhaps husband, children, parents, dear friends, etc.), your career happiness and financial stability. You are the only one who can determine where these things fall in order of priority to you. If your career ever encroaches into your personal life such that the people and other things that are more important to you are dangerously jeopardized, then you will need to make some serious adjustments to protect and preserve that which is most dear to you.


Now, for the second question. As a minority professional one of the primary keys to my success has been maintaining confidence in my abilities and knowing the value that I bring to the table wherever I am working. You and I cannot control how other people look at you or think of you, but we can control how we react to racial or gender prejudice. Stay steady. Remain resolute. The best creme will always rise to the top no matter what!


In some situations, you may choose to remove yourself from a hostile work environment. In other cases, you won't necessarily have that luxury, but keep going on with professionalism and excellence. Work where you are celebrated and not hated. There will always be haters. Don't let it stop you from achieving and being the best you can be.  

So often, fighting the prejudice is a red herring. It is a distraction keeping you from success. Know when to choose your battles. Remember, I always say, "The best revenge is your success! I hope this helps!


Blessings!


Cynthia Murray


Dear Cynthia,


I thoroughly enjoyed reading your great advice, and I look forward to implementing your strategies now and in the near future. Thank you so much again, and please know I will cherish the practical advice you so graciously took out the time to write for me! ~W.G.


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, trainer and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Worrying Will Get You Nowhere

Cynthia Murray: Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Worrying is something that we all battle (some certainly more than others), but it's not a habit that will help you to succeed. It's just the opposite. Worrying can hinder your success and even cause you to have setbacks.


Worrying, by definition, is an obsessive mental exercise thinking about unwanted future consequences. Worrying is not healthy, is not helpful and will get you nowhere. You will more likely spend time spinning in mental circles than finding a solution to the problem or issue confronting you.


In fact, worrying only serves as a distraction from more productive things that you can be tending to. This mental anxiety may actually be inhibiting you from finding the solution to the very thing that you're worried about!

When you can't focus, you can't think at your best ability and the brain fog blocks the ideas that otherwise would come.

 Further, you can't focus on the more important things that need your time and attention.

If that doesn't steer you away from worrying, then consider the fact that worrying can also affect your health. Stress from worry can cause you to lose sleep, gain weight (from the cortisol released by stressing) and heighten the risk for more harmful conditions like heart attack or stroke. I don't want that to happen to any of you!


Now, I can already hear you high achievers saying, "Cynthia, you don't understand. I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and I have to make sure everything comes out alright. I can't drop the ball!" Well, we have to change the face of Mr. Atlas to yours then because you are trying to carry the weight of the world!  

Seriously, don't think that everything is your responsibility. You may be responsible to do all that you can to help in a situation, but you can't accept the pressure to make all things have a particular outcome. Some things are just out of your control, so please give yourself a break. You are not being lazy by not worrying, you're being prudent and wise.


Remember that every dark cloud has a silver lining and the things that had you worried so much about last year you may not even remember today. So take a break. Stop worrying and let the sun shine again!

To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, trainer and attorney.


To subscribe to her blog Weekly Winning Strategies! sign up on our Home Page and start receiving them now in your in box FREE! Click here.


To purchase a copy of The Power of A Plan and other books by Cynthia simply click here to buy now so you can start winning! Copyright 2012 - 2015 CME, LLC

Get Organized and Stay Sane!

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, January 30, 2015

Along my professional journey I have discovered that one primary key to success...and sanity is organization! I wasn't terribly organized in high school, but I managed, My real desire, if not need, to be and stay organized kicked in when I entered college at the University of Virginia.


There was just so much to do and seemingly so little time within which to do it all, with classes, papers, assignments, clubs, choir and of course, social time. I determined that the only way to keep it all running smoothly was to keep lists and an agenda of everything that I had to do. My system worked well. My roommate even joked about how I was able to do so much and stay organized.


As I matured the obligations increased. More work, more leadership obligations and yes, more social obligations too. Add to that bills, clients and community service, which is often no less demanding and time-consuming as a regular job.

At times I would find myself overwhelmed with the responsibility to the point that I even stopped making the very list that helped to keep me organized. Ouch! That's when things can easily fall through the cracks. If you don't have a full staff, as many "solopreneurs" do not, then the agenda and lists become that much more important in helping to maintain organization and a bit of sanity.


So, if your calendar, obligations and office are anything like mine, then you also need to make organization a primary goal this year and beyond. (God knows, I'm preaching to the choir!) In order to get started on a good foot with organization here are some simple things that you can implement to help keep you from being frazzled and missing deadlines or simply forgetting to do some task:


1) Get an agenda and keep it with you. This is even easier today with the use of smart phones, but whether you use a smart phone or and old-school calendar, write down your appointments and keep the agenda handy so that you can quickly reference it. This will avoid overbooking and missing key events or deadlines.

2) Dump the clutter. I really don't like a messy work space, but sometimes I receive so much mail, books, letters and papers that unless filed away or thrown away as needed they begin to take over the office! It becomes difficult to put your hands on important documents. This leads to added frustration and can even cost you money if it's a bill that gets lost in the black hole! Mom was right when she said, "Everything has place, so put everything in it's place." I would add...or throw it out.

3) Make a daily "To Do" list. Write down things in order of priority for the day. You may not be able to get to all of the items, but you'll be a lot better off if you at least accomplish the big stuff. What you don't finish rolls over onto tomorrow's list and on it goes. It feels good to be able to scratch things off of the list as you go and it helps to keep things that are on the back burner in front of your eyes so that you don't forget about it completely (since it's something far off in the future). I've added my daily To do List template here for you to use.


Hopefully, by implementing these three tips you can stay organized and sane! Of course, you will!


To book Cynthia Murray for your next special event, conference or training workshop for your team on this topic and other successful strategies, contact us at [email protected] or go to our Contact Us Page.


Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, trainer and attorney.


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Communication Can Open or Close Doors

Cynthia Murray: Posted Friday, January 30, 2015

One of the best wisdom keys for peak performance and success in your business or career is good communication. It is like a stable bridge that keeps you connected with your clients and customers. In fact, communication, depending upon how you handle it, can make or break a good business relationship.


Communication is a powerful business factor to consider. When used properly, it can build the bridge to long, mutually-beneficial relationships that you and your business will enjoy for years to come. When misused or abused, it can spell disaster for your business. So since communication is so vital, let's take a look at the four facets of good communication:


1) Direct - In order for your communication to be as effective as possible, make every effort to speak directly with the person or people to whom the message is intended. The higher up the ranks those people are, the more challenging it may be to get through to them directly, but you must try to do so.


Remember that secretaries and administrative assistants are very important, valuable and helpful. These same principles apply to them when communicating.  

2) Clear - Being clear is equally important and related to the point about being direct. To avoid confusion, it is crucial to provide accurate information, that is concise and relevant. People's time is very valuable. You will be well-received when you are able to get straight to the point and not beat around the bush with the purpose of your communication. Provide information that is relevant. Folks always appreciate straight talk, so it is obvious that you should be clear, accurate and truthful in all communications. It certain circumstances, it may even be helpful to recapitulate the content of the message you are attempting to convey. 


3) Timely - People also appreciate timely communication from you, especially when they have reached out to you. Of course, what is timely depends entirely on the situation. Urgent issues or ones involving deadlines require you to reply, well...urgently. Other issues don't require a firehouse response, but you should always attempt to respond as quickly as your schedule will allow. You can even reply using your smartphone for fastest reply.

Sometimes, good communication means letting the person know that you have received their message and you will get back to them by a certain date. This lets the other side know that you are interested in communicating