Seeing With New Eyes

This painting has been in our home for years…


Today, for the first time, I noticed his smile.

I’m drawn to smiles. So how have I never seen this smile before, when it’s right in front of me. In our home. Every day.

Did I STOP and actually SEE this painting on this relaxing Sunday morning…

…as tho seeing it for the first time?

What if we STOP and SEE… as tho for the first time.

STOP and LISTEN… as tho for the first time.

STOP and SPEAK… as tho for the first time.

STOP and SMILE… as tho for the first time.

STOP and HUG… as tho for the first time.

STOP and ACCEPT… as tho for the first time.

Maybe it’s more about STOPPING.

Than it is about SEEING.

Try it this week:


As tho for the first time.


©1993-2013 Ann Ulrich, THE BOLD! FACTOR®

Photo:   In our dining room, a favorite shabby old 1955 painting I found in a French-themed flea market in Mpls by artist Naring. It reminds me of a favorite experience I had in Taiwan in the year of the Horse, 1990.

Contagious Excellence


Spreading it breeds a positive impact like no other!

When excellence becomes contagious, we can disrupt mediocrity…

obliterate status quo…

become the spark that changes everything!

What does Contagious Excellence mean for YOU?


©1993-2013 Ann Ulrich, THE BOLDFACTOR®

Photo:  My favorite shots to capture are simple parts of something bigger. These 3 are in a larger painting of 5… these 3 just looked *contagious* to me.

Everyday Extraordinary

photoSTOP.  Just long enough to take in these 10 phrases extraordinary people say every day… as shared in this article written by Inc. contributing author Jeff Haden.



PS: Thank you for being here. WordPress sent a virtual trophy this week to celebrate my One Year Anniversary blogging with them (in my 20th year owning my business). <SMILE> Time flies… so don’t sleepwalk one minute through your precious life! (Naps are NOT sleepwalking) I appreciate you and love championing you to Lead YOUR Bigger, Bolder Life!  Ann

______Here’s Jeff’s article: _________

Want to make a huge difference in someone’s life? Here are things you should say every day to your employees, colleagues, family members, friends, and everyone you care about:

“Here’s what I’m thinking.”

You’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements and decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic, not with position or authority.

Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement.

Authority can make you “right,” but collaboration makes everyone right–and makes everyone pull together.

“I was wrong.”

I once came up with what I thought was an awesome plan to improve overall productivity by moving a crew to a different shift on an open production line. The inconvenience to the crew was considerable, but the payoff seemed worth it. On paper, it was perfect.

In practice, it wasn’t.

So, a few weeks later, I met with the crew and said, “I know you didn’t think this would work, and you were right. I was wrong. Let’s move you back to your original shift.”

I felt terrible. I felt stupid. I was sure I’d lost any respect they had for me.

It turns out I was wrong about that, too. Later one employee said, “I didn’t really know you, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”

When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect–you’ll gain it.

“That was awesome.”

No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone–pick anyone–who does or did something well and say, “Wow, that was great how you…”

And feel free to go back in time. Saying “Earlier, I was thinking about how you handled that employee issue last month…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (It could even make a bigger impact, because it shows you still remember what happened last month, and you still think about it.)

Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it–and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.

“You’re welcome.”

Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?

The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person. The spotlight may make you feel uneasy or insecure, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”

Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too.

“Can you help me?”

When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need or the person you need it from, just say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you help me?”

I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen–which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader.

And are all qualities of a great friend.

“I’m sorry.”

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support…

Say you’re sorry.

But never follow an apology with a disclaimer like “But I was really mad, because…” or “But I did think you were…” or any statement that in any way places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.

Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. No less. No more.

Then you both get to make the freshest of fresh starts.

“Can you show me?”

Advice is temporary; knowledge is forever. Knowing what to do helps, but knowing how or why to do it means everything.

When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen: You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice; you show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight; and you get to better assess the value of the advice.

Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught or trained or shown.

Then you both win.

“Let me give you a hand.”

Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. So, many people hesitate to ask for help.

But everyone needs help.

Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will give you a version of the reflexive “No, I’m just looking” reply to sales clerks and say, “No, I’m all right.”

Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say “I’ve got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.

“I love you.”

No, not at work, but everywhere you mean it–and every time you feel it.


Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may think venting will make you feel better, but it never does.

That’s especially true where your employees are concerned. Results come and go, but feelings are forever. Criticize an employee in a group setting and it will seem like he eventually got over it, but inside, he never will.

Before you speak, spend more time considering how employees will think and feel than you do evaluating whether the decision makes objective sense. You can easily recover from a mistake made because of faulty data or inaccurate projections.

You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on an employee’s self-esteem.

Be quiet until you know exactly what to say–and exactly what affect your words will have.

– Article written by Jeff Haden, posted on 1/9/13. I pizzazz’d it up a bit with my BOLD red and italics – then visited Jeff’s and smiled to see same colors!


©1993-2013 Ann Ulrich, THE BOLD! FACTOR®

Photo:  LOVE my bracelet purchase at Zonta Int’l event. Handmade by women of Breaking Free, a global org investing profits from jewelry sales to fund women’s business dreams.

Leading At Work. At Home. In Your Community.

Feeling pulled in a million (or at least a few too many) directions?!


Sheeshta… No Wonder!

Work. Home. Community.

Family. Friends. Colleagues.

Companies. Organizations. Associations.

Calendars. Schedules. Commitments.

Responsibilities. Challenges. Opportunities………

Now more than ever, you need to take charge if you want to lead YOUR version of YOUR Best BOLD Life.

(The life you crave. Yes, that one. Yes, it’s within reach!) 

Define it. Design it. Deny Substitutions.

To live Bigger… you may need to live Smaller.

Where to start? Here:



It’s Up To YOU!


©1993-2013 Ann Ulrich, THE BOLD! FACTOR®

Photo: These colorful sticks make me smile. They were fun outside in a vase with our tangerine deck furniture, till I brought them inside for the winter with our red leather furniture and propped in my favorite white vase – staying put right here.

Self-Confidence, Self-Criticism & Self-Sabotage

Based on workplace stats, the conversations regarding women being/feeling held back by men, and women opting out of next level and top-tier leadership roles, are apparently alive and well.

It’s true: Women DO self-select out of promotion opportunities. And, as we all know, this can be a smart decision based on her priorities.

Some women realize what’s involved in next-step roles, and in roles leading from the C-Suite, and decide it’s simply not worth it. Or doesn’t fit her bigger-picture vision of the work and life she craves. In fact, maybe this was someone else’s idea of a right next move, and never was her goal.


What bothers me is this:

With strong, smart women now in and entering the workforce, we STILL see lack of Self-Confidence… and STILL see Self-Criticism and Self-Sabotage holding us back.

Big time.

I’ve been there, too. And it’s not a fun place to be.

I want to be part of the story that STOPS blaming men, women, gender, life and organizational realities and SHIFTS the investment to champion, develop and support individual Self-Leadership and Ownership. 

Let the change begin with *me* vs *them*.

(By the way, you won’t hear a peep of male-bashing from me. I’m simply not about that and don’t promote it and don’t support it. I see blaming others as simply an excuse. We’ve all had colleagues and bosses who were some fabulous, others jerks, regardless of gender. Most of my key Mentors over the years were great men who not only brought out the best in me, a few were also Sponsors who removed a few barriers so I could succeed, opened doors to bigger challenges I was at first scared to step into, and yet deep down I knew… with support like that… how could I fail?!

(I still did fail at times… but not a single fail turned into a *failure*. And that’s another story for another day!)

What if we no longer blame women or men for today’s realities?

Let’s focus instead on taking Ownership. Owning it. As individuals. From a blame-free place of inspired action we’re most likely to create and bring our own new solutions.

Try this: If a he/she issue comes up, re-address it as gender-neutral and see how quickly perceptions and attitudes might change. (Aha!)

Sometimes it seems my own baby boomer generation fans these flames of male/female hierarchies. Let’s instead be ready and willing to succeed … in this fascinating game of work and life… together!

Self-Confidence soars 

as Self-Criticism and Self-Sabotage evaporate 

when you OWN IT. 

It’s Up To YOU!


©1993-2013 Ann Ulrich, THE BOLD! FACTOR®

Photo:  There was never a doubt in my mind as to what my logo would be when I launched my own business. Having been forever marked-down by my teachers – in probably every grade – for overly-enthusiastic overuse of the !!! in my writing, reports, art… I colored one BOLD RED in 1993… and ever since use it to my heart’s content! (!!)