Category Archives: PERSONAL GROWTH

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Game Changer 03: The Think And Do Effect

Welcome to Episode 03 of Be A Game Changer: The Think And Do Effect Take action to win the game of business and life! A series that provides the light, the path, and your map to a better future!

Discussion guide from Episode 03: The Think And Do Effect

1. What does it even mean to be a game changer?

2. Game changers recognize that life is a game, and they play to win.

3. Bill provides a quick overview of the Think And Do Effect.

4. Most people overthink and never do. And some people Do without thinking it through. Too many people never think AND do.

5. The key is this: once you think about an important action to take, you do have to actually take immediate action to move the ball forward.

6. Winners often win because they take action first.

7. If you wait until the situation is perfect before proceeding, you will lose. It will NEVER be perfect…

8. “The shorter the distance between thought and action, the greater the likelihood of success.”

Think And Do Effect9. Game changers take immediate action after an intelligent thought.

10. By not taking action, you lose momentum and credibility.

11. How do you know when you have thought enough about a potential action?

12. Design and lead verses reacting and following. Reacting is playing someone else’s game, and that NOT what game changers do.

13. In football (and in the game of life), it’s better to hit than BE hit…

14. Failing forward: when you think and do, you will sometimes make mistakes. Don’t let fear of mistake prevent action. Rather, look at those types of mistakes as learning opportunities…

15. How important is instinct here? It is a driver of confidence in think and do.

16. With regards to instincts, can you improve your instincts? Or is the bigger issue actually listing (and trusting) your instincts?

17. “You have to think deliberately and act decisively.”

18. How do you think deliberately?

19. The importance of creating your own environment (and how this is part of defining the rules of the game YOU are playing)…

20. When you DO, how do you deal with the naysayers? Taking action will usually result in someone reacting negatively. (Honestly, you need naysayers — they give you guidance on where you are).

21. Game changers don’t let naysayers deflect them from their path…

22. You have to become your own force multiplier.

23. Make momentum your ally.

About the co-host, Bill Wooditch:

Game ChangerBill is a keynote speaker and peak-performance business training coach. He is a mentor and advocate for those who actively seek and are determined to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

He began his career with $200 to his name, a suitcase, one corduroy suit and two ties. Retreat wasn’t an option; there was only one way – Always Forward! His purpose, energy and conviction fueled his meteoric sales success. In two years, he “found a way and made a way” to become the top salesperson at Liberty Mutual – a company employing over 19,000 people at the time. Ready for the “next challenge”, he was recruited by and joined the 6th largest broker in the world, Corroon & Black (currently the Willis Group), where, for two consecutive years, he earned the distinction as the top producer in the company.

Today, he is the founder, CEO, and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. The Wooditch Group provides client-centric solutions and comprehensive risk management programs for domestic and international clients whose revenues range from $10 million to over $3 billion. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a company that trains and mentors tomorrow’s entrepreneur today.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Purdue University and his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State.

###

You can find Bill’s book here:

###

This series is made possible by:

stamped logo“Think Next, Act Now” is an entrepreneurial movement. It is a teaching platform, a coaching forum that emphasizes action, and the link between thought and action makes a difference in the outcome you determine or the result that is determined for you.

When you see, seize, and create opportunity for yourself, you take a BIG step toward becoming recession proof, and changing your life.

If you are determined to make a change in your life — “Think Next, Act Now” will provide the essential toolkit to move your life forward!

Only realized potential cashes the check of reality! Now is the time to realize your potential – Think Next, Act Now and go “Always Forward!”

To learn more, go to BillWooditch.com!

###

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Game Changer 02: How to define what it means to YOU to be a game changer

Welcome to Episode 02 of Be A Game Changer: How to define what it means to be a game changer: What is your path? What will bring achievement and happiness? Take action to win the game of business and life! A series that provides the light, the path, and your map to a better future!

Discussion guide from Episode 02: What does winning look like for YOU?

1. What does it even mean to be a game changer?

2. Game changers are remarkable. They are accountable.

3. Game changers recognize that life is a game, and they play to win.

4. And in playing the game, we discuss why “play” seems to have a negative connotation.

5. And in playing the game of business and life, yes, we play to win. But there do not have to be losers. We can all win this game! Move away from the “Zero Sum” thinking…

6. Having a definition of what winning the game of life means gives you freedom. You now have a concrete endeavor to seek. You know where you want to go. That alone is enlightening!

7. A game changer has to know where they want to go, and what they want to change and influence, right?

8. What is happiness? And why is knowing what that means to you important?

9. Joy verses happiness. There IS a difference.

10. Destinations are markers that show us where we are, and what we still have to do. Understand that most people don’t know where they want to go, and that causes a lot of stress.

11. “The chase is the foreplay. That’s all the fun!”

12. You also have to recognize there is a cost to achieve your destination. And you have to know if you are willing to pay that cost. Game changers are willing to do so. (Hint: the cost is emotional) You have to bang through fear.

13. And there will be collateral damage along the way. Game changers know and expect this.

14. You have to keep raising the bar.

15. Game changers look at fear as a signal, an indicator, a marker that they are close. And the bigger the fear, the closer they are to achieving their destination.

16. “You don’t bargain with success.”

17. There are three phases: Achievement phase, maintenance phase, and the Phase of Next (the growth). Most try to maintain once they achieve their first success, but true growth comes when you push from there. Game changers do NOT maintain for long.

game changer18. Activity rules success. The more activity you have in life, the more exposure to opportunities for success.

19. Directed and measured activity verses mindless, justify-your-salary activity.

20. Game changers don’t watch the clock, they are purely focused on directed and measured activity.

21. A game changer knows when their activities and work are moving the ball forward towards the goal.

22. Take “the money” part of the table. Game changers aren’t focused on the money. They don’t play small…they think bigger than that.

23. We again discuss the importance of your message here. There has to be alignment between the message and the messenger. But you also have to be able to adapt and adopt and be sensitive to how others feel. People have to believe in you…

About the co-host, Bill Wooditch:

Game ChangerBill is a keynote speaker and peak-performance business training coach. He is a mentor and advocate for those who actively seek and are determined to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

He began his career with $200 to his name, a suitcase, one corduroy suit and two ties. Retreat wasn’t an option; there was only one way – Always Forward! His purpose, energy and conviction fueled his meteoric sales success. In two years, he “found a way and made a way” to become the top salesperson at Liberty Mutual – a company employing over 19,000 people at the time. Ready for the “next challenge”, he was recruited by and joined the 6th largest broker in the world, Corroon & Black (currently the Willis Group), where, for two consecutive years, he earned the distinction as the top producer in the company.

Today, he is the founder, CEO, and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. The Wooditch Group provides client-centric solutions and comprehensive risk management programs for domestic and international clients whose revenues range from $10 million to over $3 billion. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a company that trains and mentors tomorrow’s entrepreneur today.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Purdue University and his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State.

###

You can find Bill’s book here:

###

This series is made possible by:

stamped logo“Think Next, Act Now” is an entrepreneurial movement. It is a teaching platform, a coaching forum that emphasizes action, and the link between thought and action makes a difference in the outcome you determine or the result that is determined for you.

When you see, seize, and create opportunity for yourself, you take a BIG step toward becoming recession proof, and changing your life.

If you are determined to make a change in your life — “Think Next, Act Now” will provide the essential toolkit to move your life forward!

Only realized potential cashes the check of reality! Now is the time to realize your potential – Think Next, Act Now and go “Always Forward!”

To learn more, go to BillWooditch.com!

###

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Game Changer 01: The Always Forward Mindset and Philosophy

Welcome to Episode 01 of Be A Game Changer: The Always Forward Mindset and Philosophy! Take action to win the game of business and life! A series that provides the light, the path, and your map to a better future!

Discussion guide from Episode 01: Always Forward:

1. What does it even mean to be a game changer? “Nothing can happen without taking an action…”

2. A game changer influences an outcome.

3. Most people aren’t engaged enough in their own lives (or careers) to be game changers. “Most are observers, not participants in life…”

4. Game changers thrive on pressure.

5. Bill provides an overview of what is meant by ALWAYS FORWARD.

6. Most think they are moving forward, but most really are not. How do you know?

7. Taking action removes fear, which is what holds back most people.

8. You will have setbacks. Game changers accept that, but keep moving forward.

9. We discuss mentorship, which is critical to helping you become a game changer.

Always Forward10. Mentors hold you accountable, but they teach you how to move forward, and what roadblocks to pay attention to.

11. “Walking through the grass barefoot…”

12. Understanding your message to drive forward, taking intelligent risk.

13. Knowing what will happen when you cross your Rubicon, and when you do, your life will never be the same. And the only way to be a game changer.

14. You have to know what price you are willing to pay to achieve what you want to achieve.

15. Be careful about what you want, because you just might get it.

16. If you aren’t moving forward, you will atrophy.

17. How do you find out what your Rubicon will be? Too many people don’t know.

18. You do have to find YOUR voice.

19. You will feel insecurity, but therein lies your opportunity to go always forward. It can be a learning moment, a part of growth.

20. The importance of continuous learning. Game changers are always learning, always expanding their thinking. And sometimes you have to learn how to learn…

21. But don’t fall on always learning and NEVER taking action or a step forward.

22. How do you know what your next step is? Forward motion is critical, but many don’t know where to go…

23. “You have to think next…”

About the co-host, Bill Wooditch:

Always ForwardBill is a keynote speaker and peak-performance business training coach. He is a mentor and advocate for those who actively seek and are determined to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

He began his career with $200 to his name, a suitcase, one corduroy suit and two ties. Retreat wasn’t an option; there was only one way – Always Forward! His purpose, energy and conviction fueled his meteoric sales success. In two years, he “found a way and made a way” to become the top salesperson at Liberty Mutual – a company employing over 19,000 people at the time. Ready for the “next challenge”, he was recruited by and joined the 6th largest broker in the world, Corroon & Black (currently the Willis Group), where, for two consecutive years, he earned the distinction as the top producer in the company.

Today, he is the founder, CEO, and president of The Wooditch Group, a privately held risk management and insurance services firm. The Wooditch Group provides client-centric solutions and comprehensive risk management programs for domestic and international clients whose revenues range from $10 million to over $3 billion. He is also the founder of Think Next, Act Now!, a company that trains and mentors tomorrow’s entrepreneur today.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Purdue University and his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State.

###

You can find Bill’s book here:

###

This series is made possible by:

stamped logo“Think Next, Act Now” is an entrepreneurial movement. It is a teaching platform, a coaching forum that emphasizes action, and the link between thought and action makes a difference in the outcome you determine or the result that is determined for you.

When you see, seize, and create opportunity for yourself, you take a BIG step toward becoming recession proof, and changing your life.

If you are determined to make a change in your life — “Think Next, Act Now” will provide the essential toolkit to move your life forward!

Only realized potential cashes the check of reality! Now is the time to realize your potential – Think Next, Act Now and go “Always Forward!”

To learn more, go to BillWooditch.com!

###

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intrepid media on iTunes 300

LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Roy Craft: An integrated life, embracing change, and train for spontaneity

Joined on the show by Roy Craft, President of GroupSpace LLC.

Roy has had a long and varied career from technical and retail fields to international corporate business to non-profit and higher education. He has simultaneously had strong avocational interests in positive peace, sustainability, education and making.

Four key takaways from our conversation with Roy Craft:

1. The importance of developing an integrated life as opposed to a balanced life, and how the Millennial generation is showing us the way to do this;

2. The extent to which we have divisions and segmentation in our society which we accept as normal today, but which in an historical context have not been so….such as the idea that we need to educate differently for the sciences and the arts;

3. We need to embrace change and dynamism. Diversity is not enough, but it is a start; disruption is not the goal but it’s a beginning.

4. We can train ourselves in spontaneity and bring this into our lives to create something new, something happy, something wonderful and fulfilling of our lives.

This interview was originally published on A New Business Mindset.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

Dennis C. Miller: How business leaders can overcome depression and anxiety

Joined on the show today by Dennis C. Miller, motivational speaker, leadership coach, CEO, and author of the book Moppin’ Floors to CEO: From Hopelessness And Failure to Happiness and Success. Learn more about him here.

Discussion guide from my conversation with Dennis C. Miller:

1. How big of a problem is depression, anxiety, and mental illness in business today? Dennis believes at least 50% of executives are suffering.

2. Dennis explains his experience with depression and anxiety in a high-powered position.

3. Why do you believe mental illness should not be viewed as a character flaw?

4. Why is it a sign of strength to seek professional help, and not a weakness?

5. How does investing in your emotional health contribute to personal growth, happiness, and success?

6. How can CEOs recover from mental health issues without sacrificing their place professionally?

Find Dennis C. Miller’s book here:

About Dennis C. Miller:

Dennis C. MillerDennis is the author of “Moppin’ Floors to CEO: From Hopelessness and Failure to Happiness and Success,” and a nationally recognized strategic leadership coach and motivational speaker with over 30 years of experience. The former CEO of Somerset Medical Center and Healthcare Foundation, Dennis now works with leaders of nonprofit organizations and is an expert in board governance, leadership development and succession planning. As the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Leadership, Governance and Philanthropy at Farleigh Dickinson University, Miller also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Saint Joseph’s Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey.

Miller is a regular columnist for The Nonprofit Times, a leading business publication for the nonprofit industry. He has written three previous books about nonprofit organization success: A Guide to Achieving New Heights: The Four Pillars of Successful Nonprofit Leadership; The Nonprofit Board Therapist: The Guide to Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential; and The Power of Strategic Alignment: A Guide to Energizing Leadership and Maximizing Potential in Today’s Nonprofit Organizations.

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HR, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

“It’s” a Shame, Not Me.

I wrote and I published.

I recently published a post about an incident in Dallas while I was traveling for work. I was drugged at a trusted restaurant by a bartender / night manager, who followed me into the bathroom and subsequently tried to pull me in the men’s room. This happened in the middle of April, and it has traumatized me far more than I like to admit. I have kept up a good front and tried to smile through it all.

I originally wrote the referenced post a few days after the drugging occurred, but I was unable to actually hit the publish button until 4+ weeks later. I still suffer from nausea, dizziness, insomnia, digestive issues, and headaches. What I don’t know is if these are the ill-effects of the drug or is it how I have reacted mentally to what happened. I will survive, trust me and I will scream what happened to me from the rooftops. I will post, comment, tweet, snap, pin, insta, and link it to as many different sites, to as many different people, as possible.

Why the Follow-Up?

I write this follow-up because I have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of people who have messaged me in public and private about their own terror and their own brush with this type of drugging. Innocent women AND men who felt the shame I felt, who still carry those scars with them, who were violated in one way or another, who were raped or robbed, abused and broken.

In conversations, written and spoken with friends and others in my own town of Laguna Beach, I have heard from or about dozens of individuals who experienced this here, in their own town – they weren’t traveling and they were at popular, local restaurants or bars. Most had been raped.

I know I was lucky

I know this – I know that my situation could have been far worse. There have been times when I wish it had been, so medical professionals and law enforcement officers, and even some friends and family, had taken me more seriously. That is sad – that is horrifying. I KNOW it could have been worse, but saying to me, “At least you weren’t raped” doesn’t ease my suffering or take away my nightmares. It makes me shake with anger for the many who were, scream for the men who were robbed or beaten, and cry for the young girl whose boyfriend betrayed her, beat her, and dumped her outside of her apartment. And continue to weep for those who hide their shame, who still haven’t told anyone of their terror – because they fear, because they want to forget.
But they won’t ever. I won’t ever.

I know why.

I have also heard why they keep it a secret. Why they cloak their faces. Why they avert their eyes.
Why they feel shame.

“Well, you shouldn’t have been drinking.”
“See what happens when you drink?”
“You shouldn’t travel alone.”
“You need to be more careful.”
“Stop talking to people you don’t know.”
“Maybe you need to slow down.”
“This only happens at frat parties or on college campuses.”
“Such a new and horrible thing that is happening.”
“What were you wearing?”
“Did you show cleavage?”
“Did you flirt with him?”
“Why did you give him your name?”

“You shouldn’t have been drinking…”

  • I wasn’t drunk – I didn’t drink too much.
  • This happened to individuals drinking water, Diet Coke, Red Bull, Lemonade, and so on.
  • I have to travel alone AND I like traveling alone.
  • Yes, I will be more careful and will never again take a drink from someone I don’t know or don’t see them pour. Nor will I leave my drink alone or turn my back on it. This one I accept.
  • I will always talk to people I don’t know – it’s who I am, it’s what I do.
  • I’ll slow down when I’m dead.
  • No, it doesn’t only happen to young women in college. I’m 52.
  • NOT new. One friend told me about how it happened to her 40+ years ago. Oh, and Bill Cosby. Not new.
  • I was wearing a tank top with a sweater and baggy pants from Talbots (better known as the old lady store – because guess what? I’m an old lady)
  • Yes, cleavage was showing. Guess what? I have cleavage.
  • I wasn’t flirting, but if I had been – would that have made it ok? I was smiling. I was happy. Was.
  • He had my name because I paid the bill with my credit card
    (Which, interestingly enough was refunded a few days after the incident.)
  • And this happened because it just did and it does to too many people all the time, every day. And it happened because it is a crime that bad people get away with. No one presses charges because it is nearly impossible to get a conviction or even charges. And because someone close to them says or asks the things above. Because we, the victims, are shamed.

No, your Diet Coke won’t protect you.

Blame it on alcohol or the fact that I had a couple drinks?
Blame it on me for traveling alone?
Blame it on what I was wearing?
Blame it on me for being gregarious?

Blame it on everyone or every thing but the man who did this to me and the restaurant who covered it up?

This is real – this is a real danger we all face in our world.  This could have been your daughter, mother, sister. It could have been YOU.

No one “deserves” this.

I didn’t get what was coming to me and I refuse to be a woman who plays the victim, who locks her door every second of every day, one who carries a stick with her everywhere.
Because I fear. Because it could happen again. Because there are bad people.
There are also good people. There are more good people.
And there are MORE people than you know who have been drugged by someone who wanted to take advantage of them in one way or another. 

We need to make it NOT alright for someone to get away with this.

MANY people have messaged me privately and publicly to say this has happened to them, too. Thank you to those who were brave enough to do so, and I’m so sorry. To those who couldn’t or didn’t message me, I get it, I understand. You are not alone. And I am so sorry you went through this and felt you had no recourse, no one to share it with, no one to report this crime to.

It’s not just women who are raped.
It’s not just women.
It’s not just someone drinking alcohol.
It’s not just someone dressed sexily or one who flirts.
It’s not someone was out or traveled alone.

Not my first rodeo

This happened to me before at an industry event in Las Vegas, at a Human Resources and Recruiting Conference. Someone I knew drugged me. I kept quiet because I was embarrassed. Because I didn’t know what I could do. Because I felt shame. Because I wasn’t sure who did it and I was worried about them and not me.

I will not ever be quiet about this. I won’t be quiet again.

LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

My Story, My Warning: I was Drugged.

I Was Drugged

Probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to write.

Mostly because of the shame attached to that phrase and the unpleasant explanation that follows.

I didn’t want to write this. I didn’t want to file a police report. I didn’t want to pee in a cup. I didn’t want to tell my children or my mother. I didn’t want to tell my friends.

But what I don’t want more than any of that is: I don’t want that creep to do it to anyone else ever again. Because, I know – I KNOW – he has done this before. He’s done it before and he hasn’t gotten caught. He’s done it before and no one has reported it, no one has filed charges.

The Story

I arrived in Dallas from LAX the evening before an HR technology conference, in time to have a friend pick me up at the airport and go to dinner. My friend Jackie selected one of her favorite Mexican cuisine restaurants near the Turtle Creek area of Dallas. I love Mexican food — being a California native and resident, it is often the meal of choice in my home and among my friends. The small beach town where I live has several Mexican restaurants to choose from, so I was excited to try a new place.

We arrived and were seated quickly – we ordered a couple skinny margaritas and cruised over the menu several times – plus talked incessantly about life, love, and work. We were having a great time. By the time we ordered our food, our 2nd margarita arrived. Between chips and the chimichanga, plus being a “lite margarita” – Jackie and I felt no effects of the alcohol.  A third round was ordered, but Jackie, being a wise and thoughtful friend, but also the driver for the evening, abstained.

It wasn’t long until a tray with two vanilla shots arrived, compliments of the Night Manager – “You ladies seem to be having a good time.” We were informed to sip it, not shoot it. Jackie took only a very small sip – but I drank it slowly down, still having felt no effects from the margaritas. Another tray of shots arrived, tequila this time. Jackie, again refused, the night manager insisted she, “Just take an Uber.” She stuck to her guns. I did the shot – within 10 minutes, the night manager was at my side, whispering and giving me a ‘scram’ head nod to, “Go the the bathroom, Rayanne.” I, innocently thinking, he wanted me to leave so he could flirt with my friend, did as he suggested.

I entered the bathroom and proceeded to use the toilet. While I was peeing, the Night Manager entered the bathroom – I froze – an intense feeling of personal danger suddenly came over me. I could see him through the crack in the bathroom door, he stood there, listening to me pee. I stared at his shoes. Then he left.

What do I do???

Thoughts began racing through my head and I felt like I was losing control. I know now, that the drug was in almost full effect at this point. I still did not comprehend the absolute fullness of what was happening to me. I washed my hands and left the bathroom quickly, but he was waiting for me outside the ladies’ room. He called my name and tried to pull me into the men’s bathroom. I pulled away and put my hand up in front of his face – my fingers extended – and screamed, “No!”

I walked/ran away as quickly as I could and grabbed Jackie, telling her, “We need to go – we need to leave – he just tried to pull me into the men’s room.” We gathered our things and went to the car — that is the last thing I remember – but not the last thing I did.

I sat down in the car, we drove to my hotel about 20 minutes away. I got out of the car, got my luggage and went to the counter. I checked into my room, giving the desk clerk my ID and credit card. I signed the receipt and put my license and my credit card back in the right place. I took the elevator to my room, used my key to enter my room, locked my door from the inside, set out my luggage, set up my computer and climbed into bed.
I don’t remember any of this.
NONE of it, I have a 4-hour block of amnesia. Complete amnesia – the next thing I do remember, slightly, is throwing up violently and showering and bathing, showering and bathing (yes, twice each) to try and rid my system of whatever I had ingested.

I was not drunk, I was not hungover – I was drugged.

How do I know? Because it has happened to me before and I was too ashamed to say anything to anyone until many years later.

When I woke the next morning, I was in bed – completely naked, my hair was sopping wet with only a vague memory of showering and bathing and throwing up during the night. I couldn’t even tell you what floor my room was on. My only clue was the key card and its cover sitting neatly next to my computer on the desk with the room number scrawled on it in Sharpie.

As I walked around my room trying to piece together what had happened, I felt a sharp pain in my foot. I looked down and saw my pinky toe sticking straight out from the side of my foot, swollen and red, bruising already started. I can only ascertain that I kicked the door jam in my hotel room in the middle of the night – I have no memory of that. But I sure felt the pain then.

I Had to Work

I was in Dallas for work — I had to pull myself together for work. I was responsible for getting things set up: for putting together equipment, for making sure everything was in place and ready for the event. I had to smile all day. And I could barely make it to the bathroom. I laid in bed wondering what to do – I shared my story, as a caution, with a FB group to which I belonged. Their support was incredible but a nagging theme emerged – while Thank God I was ok, I needed to report this.

I didn’t want to – I knew what a pain in the ass it was going to be. I pushed it to the back burner because, well – I needed to work. So, I girded my loins and I headed out the door to begin my day in an Expo Hall. A sickening nausea – the kind which accompanies a concussion – was my constant companion, along with a sore foot, dizziness, and general malaise.  I got through the day, doing all I needed to do, but I was a Zombie. Some of my light had left me. 

That evening I shared my story with my grown children via group text messaging. They were angry, of course, but also scared for what might have happened. They were disappointed I had not reported the crime – I countered that I didn’t have time – that I was there for work and there was still work for me to do. But I researched and researched some more. A blood test is no longer needed to see these drugs in your system – a simple urine sample will suffice, for up to 72 hours, after an encounter with Rohypnol – if it were GHB, it would already be out of my system within 12 -24 hours.  So, I started planning – how can I report this, get a lab test done, and still put in 4 more hours in an Expo Hall the next day, plus pack up everything?

The Uber Driver

The next morning, I pinged for an Uber. One arrived shortly: a compact white Mazda. Harold got out of his little white car and helped me with my luggage. I relaxed instantly. Until that moment, I had been afraid – I worried I would not be able to get in the car, that my fear would overcome me, that my trust was completely lost, and that I would hold the actions of one against the many I needed to trust in my life of travel.

But, the right driver was sent to me. I asked Harold to drive me to the police station – he turned, concerned and I told him my story – he stayed with me for the next 45 minutes. He waited outside the closest police station for me – but get this, it wasn’t open — just a remote station. He waited for me outside the Starbucks where I bought breakfast for us both, while I regrouped and re-planned how I was going to do this. I had asked Harold if he had an important lady in his life – he hung his head shyly and said, “Yes, I have a special lady.” I told him to care for her and share my story – this can happen to anyone, at any time.

My trip to the police station would have to wait until later that day — I had four+ hours of work to fulfill now.

He took me to the conference center and got out of the car – he gently shook my hand and looked me in the eye saying, “Take care, Miss Rayanne. I’m sorry this happened to you.”  Then he placed my luggage on the curb, looked me in the eye one more time and smiled with a nod. And with that, Harold restored my faith in mankind. He eased me back into my world. He, this man – a stranger – relit that light.

The Police Report

The day dragged with conference attendance lighter than expected. Once my colleague and I repacked all our gear and I was able to get the shipping of all our equipment secured, my friend Jackie picked me up out front. I had been given the run around over the phone from two different police departments, no one wanted to handle this. I was finally told that I should go to a local Starbucks and call 911 from there and an officer would meet me to take my report. We selected a shop right by the scene of the crime and waited for over an hour – with my flight time closing in, this inaction didn’t seem like the right course, so we bee-lined for police headquarters in downtown Dallas.

Jackie and I stormed the building ready to take on whoever got in our way. Stopped by what seemed a makeshift TSA checkpoint, two female officers were reticent to even let us in, let alone file a report. I think it became very clear that I wasn’t going anywhere until I filed a report. I said, once again – “What if this had been you or your daughter?” They let us through and I was getting ready to tell my story when I heard the sergeant say, looking down at us from behind the counter, “Unless you’ve had a lab test, there is nothing we can do.” I countered that I would be getting a lab test when I left the station – then came these words,

“Well, you weren’t raped, were you?”

I was stunned and nearly speechless. Nearly. Then I said, “So because I wasn’t raped, no crime was committed? The victim has no voice? What am I supposed to do? What do I tell my daughters?” Jackie started talking too and I think, at this point, the sergeant relented to shut us up.

What if this had been your wife, your mother, your daughter, your sister?

I wanted to scream. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. My hands were shaking as I shared my story with a female officer who took notes and promised a detective would follow up with me. We left the station with little time to spare and a need to find a healthcare facility where I could give a urine sample.

The battle to get the right test ensued. We found a local urgent care center which couldn’t help us, not having access to a lab or the right kind of test. A nurse who heard my story and was compelled to help, made some calls and found a lab that could do the necessary test.

We called ahead, the lab assistant was ready to close for the evening. I told my story again and she stated she would stay until we arrived and take a urine sample to be submitted for a couple different tests – checking for Rohypnol and GHB. I was able to leave the sample and also had an immediate result test done that was inconclusive. The other two samples were sent off with results to be returned 3-5 days later. And I paid the $150 for the tests.

But the results were negative…

I was told that I should have had the lab tests done within the first 6 hours for the most accurate results. The disorientation and sickness caused by the drug kept me from thinking clearly in those first 12 hours. The shame and continuing sickness, as well as the need to work, kept me from going to the hospital or calling the police once I ascertained what had happened to me.

I wish I HAD called the police immediately. I just don’t how I could have done anything differently than I did. I met with my physician as soon as I returned home and asked how I might be able to follow-up with a hair follicle test 3 weeks following the incident. I had been told that the drug(s) might show up then. With four follow-up calls asking for a lab referral, I gave up.

I haven’t heard from the detective who was supposed to have called me back, though I have left two messages. Without a positive lab result, however, there is not much the police can do. It is my word against a restaurant employee of eight years.

Does it end here?

It could. It could end here with me just forgetting about it. But I cannot. I will not.

I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t have a hangover. I still suffer from the lingering effects of a drug that someone decided to give me. I was drugged by a restaurant employee I trusted who tried to drag me into the bathroom. His timing was off by about 30 seconds. I was lucky. I was lucky that I was still coherent; that I listened to my internal danger signal and my impulse to leave immediately.

But there are those who have not been lucky. And there are those who might not be lucky this weekend or next. So I bring this warning.

DO NOT ACCEPT A SHOT from a STRANGER. Any time. Any where. Ever.
DO NOT leave your drink or turn your back on it. Ever. And if you do, throw it out or get a new one. 

I never will again. I want the shame on the victim of this crime to be gone. There should be NO SHAME on the victim. We live in a world where we have to trust strangers. Uber drivers. Grocery store clerks. Restaurant servers. Baristas. Mailmen. Police Officers.

This was not my fault. I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t deserve it.

No one does. Ever. 

I’m not done telling this story.

I will not be quiet.

LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

Sara Robinson Chambless: How to live mindfully, and why!

Sara Robinson Chambless is an inspired self-realization teacher whose writing, speaking, and wellness practice empower individuals to lead rich and satisfying lives free from worry, stress, and fear.

1. Learning from Thoreau that we do not need to lead “lives of quiet desperation”, feeling stuck on a treadmill, but rather can find what we are “supposed” to be doing and move to an authentic life;

2. Happiness is not something to be pursued in its own right, but is something that emerges when we make life choices that put us on the right path;

3. The key to all of this is living mindfully. And Sara not only gives us some general tips on mindfulness, but spends time making it practical and real in a business context.

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This episode was originally published on A New Business Mindset!

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BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Get used to being uncomfortable

I have a good friend going through a tough time right now. He’s just recently suffered a big loss, and despite putting out a strong front to the world, I know he is struggling mightily.

“I suck at this,” he says. Followed by “I feel so broken.”

I get it. We’ve all been there.

And then today, as I write this, I had a big business setback myself. A project I was counting on fell through at the very last minute.

“How could this have happened to me,” I yelled out loud earlier today, within earshot of my poor wife who had no choice but to listen to my frustrated rant.

I’m feeling pretty blue as a result. This despite the fact that at this very moment in my life, I’ve never been happier, I’ve never felt more optimistic, and the growth track with my business remains overwhelmingly positive.

But setbacks and losses still suck. They still hurt. A lot. And it’s easy to fall into a tailspin as a result.

Here is what I am learning: Setbacks are a regular part of life. As much as you don’t want them to happen, they do. YOU HAVE NO CHOICE IN THIS MATTER.

And instead of curling up in the fetal position, or venting through loud vocal obscenities and rage like I do, foolishly, you have to suck it up and move on.

As a new friend of mine says, you have go forward, “Always Forward.”

Business and life is uncomfortable. It just is. If you expect it to be smooth and easy, you’ll be disappointed.

But it is moving forward, picking yourself back up, taking one step forward at a time = THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP GOING.

You know this, even if you are unwilling to admit it.

All the great ones do this. You can too. I can too. And I have to, for people are counting on me.

Life is uncomfortable. And it always will be. You have no choice but to accept that, and take that on as a personal challenge, and embrace it.

The Sun will come up tomorrow, the clock will keep ticking, dust will keep going through the hourglass, and you’ll still be there…

The question is will you be wallowing in it and sucking on your thumb? Or will you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward…Always Forward?

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AUTHORS, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

Dave Griffin: How running leads to both personal AND professional growth

Joined on the show today by Dave Griffin, founder of Flying Feet Running Programs, and author of a new book called In the Distance: Why We Struggle Through the Demands of Running, and How It Leads Us to Peace.

Discussion guide from my conversation with Dave Griffin:

1. How the focus and drive needed to become a runner can aid and enhance professional motivation. This is more than just about running, it’s about professional development too!

2. How he used the benefits of training and running with others in his leadership of his corporate risk management team – his 4 unique takeaway tips.

3. The statistics that indicate successful leaders are also regular exercise enthusiasts – the psychological truths behind this.

4. How running takes us back to our early childhood years and why it is important to be in touch with that part of ourselves as we mature in business.

5. Of course, we discuss the health (and mental) benefits of running.

6. And for those who are NOT runners, Dave shares some insights on HOW TO START!

Find Dave Griffin’s latest book here:

About Dave Griffin:

Dave Griffin began running in 1976 as a high school freshman. He ran competitively through 1989 with PRs that include a 25:43 5M, a 32:11 10K and a 1:12:24 half marathon. After a 12-year period of casual running when his children were young, he returned to competitive running as a master.

Griffin started the Flying Feet Running Programs in 2004 while his daughter, Katie, was running in high school. The program has since grown to provide year-round coaching and support to runners of all experience and talent levels in the Carroll County, MD area.

Griffin began writing about running and life in 2006, when his bi-weekly column, Dave Griffin on Running, was introduced. In 2010, Dave published his first book, After the Last PR – The Virtues of Living a Runner’s Life.

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