How a small shift in perception can bring big changes!

how a small shift in perception can bring big changes

The other day, I went out to lunch with my mom and my niece. We went to a cozy little place that serves tea in china cups, and has comfy little pillows in the booths and on the chairs.  Over our meal, we shared different perspectives about age. After all, we had 3 generations sitting at this table.

I had recently passed a milestone birthday, and was feeling rather old. However, my mom—who is in her 80s—sees me as young.

She sees herself as old.

As we were in the middle of our discussion, an elderly woman walked into the restaurant, and sat at the table next to us. She leaned towards my mom, and asked:

“Young lady, could you pass me one of those pillows?”

Turns out, this lady is 101.

That changed all our perspectives. My mom was thrilled to be called “young” again, and I was thrilled to feel even younger!

It’s amazing what can happen the instant your perception is changed! And, you can do this for yourself—you don’t need to wait for someone to do it for you.

By seeing yourself from a different perspective, you can make yourself feel like a whole lot better….and, if you’re lucky, a whole lot younger. ;-)


Copyright 2015 Michelle Kerrigan


8 Tips for Purging in 2015 to Reach Corporate Goals

the corner of panic and calm

The topic of hoarding has gotten a lot of attention in the media over the past few years. Anxiety-driven by a fear of letting go of something that may be needed later, the hoarder is portrayed buried under mountains of items that are not only no longer needed, but often hidden from existence. The hoarder seeks shelter from change in a storm of stuff, and can barely function under the weight of it all.

In my years of working in corporations and with private clients, it has become apparent that hoarding is not just limited to the home. It spills into the workplace, not in the usual sense of “stuff”, but in the plethora of processes and procedures that may give some people comfort, and can bury an organization alive.

I have seen this all too often. I have heard it often too. Phrases such as “Well, we’ve always done it this way…” is usually a call to action to take a much closer look.

Too often, clients come to me complaining that their company has just gone through a massive downsizing, and as survivors, they are now weighted with the responsibilities of those cut as well as processes that may not make sense in the new order.

A perfect example would be when I replaced a director who left unexpectedly. I inherited a massive report he distributed every week for 20 years to 250 executives. This report was miles long in excruciating details and took up to a full day to prepare. Since the company was rapidly growing, I needed to jettison as much as possible to make room for new goals. So, one day, I just stopped sending the report. The upshot: Only one person called to inquire. Yes–one.

So—as we get down to business in 2015, I offer you 8 tips for purging the old to make room for the new:

  1. Review and renew your goals and keep and/or adapt only the procedures and processes that bring your organization closer to them. Let go of the rest.
  2. Look at meetings, reports and schedules that could be shortened or deleted. Keep a log of how long these things really take—you will be amazed. That’s time holding you back from more important endeavors.
  3. Remember that not all things are created equal: some processes or reports may need to stay, but may not need to be as complex or as detailed as they were before. Keep them short and simple.
  4. If you truly fear a procedure or process may be needed again, store it in the archives. Keep only active ones at point of use.
  5. Some processes and meetings and the like have intrinsic value to only you and no one else. So, you hold on to what you think is treasure but is trash to others. Get input from your team and the departments you touch.
  6. If you hear or say the magic words “Well, we’ve always done it this way”, it’s time to start sorting and purging. Keep only what’s essential to reaching the company’s goals.
  7. If you have trouble letting go, always prioritize (and purge) according to the revenue line. Ask yourself: is this making my company money? Is it bringing us new or repeat customers, improving products, or increasing market share? If not, it’s time for the heave-ho.
  8. Set up regular review periods to repeat this process.

Avoid being a hoarder—it will lighten the road ahead for you and your organization and keep you both from being buried alive.



Copyright 2014, 2015 Michelle Kerrigan

Think twice.

think twice before you speak

Last night, I saw a post on social media that really annoyed me. Just as all the quick commentators, I felt like responding right away.

Something stopped me.

I realized I was angry, and that now was not the time to add my two cents.

Like many people, I am told that I am at my best when I’m angry. I’m focused, in the moment, and therefore, have no hesitation.

But, it was in this moment that my response was meant more to soothe me and no one else.

That’s not confident. It’s irresponsible: When all you want to do is hurt someone.

I waited till this morning, and looked at the post again.

Then, I delivered a more positive reaction that soothed more than just me.

Now I’m confident I did the right thing.

With—and without—hesitation.


Copyright 2015 Michelle Kerrigan

30-Second Cure for Anxiety

30-second cure for anxiety

You’re in the middle of a crazy day, and your eyes are darting everywhere: emails, texts, Facebook…you name it. Your anxious, emotional self is amping up, and you need your practical self to dial things down.



Focus relieves the discomfort of distraction and helps you take control.

You only have so many hours in a day, so learn to take control over your time. There are many ways to do this. Here are 3:

1. Learn how to prioritize: You must be able to choose the most important tasks. I like this rule of thumb: Prioritize according to the revenue line. Meaning, what’s most important to your company and its goals, which usually entails making money, saving money, growing market share, and making your customers happy.

2. Avoid multitasking: It’s a myth. It actually hurts productivity and costs time. According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, it takes your brain four times longer to recognize and process each thing you’re working on when you switch back and forth between tasks.

3. Silence the Pavlov’s Dog response: Turn the sound cues off on your devices. That way, you don’t hear a “ping” every time a message comes in, interrupting what you’re doing. Trust me, just as nicotine was put into cigarettes to affect addiction, those annoying technical cues are there for a reason too.

Focus relieves anxiety because you are not wasting time guessing, or feeling guilty, or worrying. Focus brings you into the present moment, where you need to be.

So, calm the emotional with the practical: Focus.



Copyright 2015 Michelle Kerrigan


Courageous Conversations

Recently, on my TV show, Workplace Confidence, we discussed courageous conversations we all need to have in our personal lives.

I call them “courageous” because these can be difficult discussions, requiring a lot of confidence and care.

In business, we call it “contingency planning” for when things go wrong. The same applies to our personal lives.

These are conversations you need to have at home and in the workplace–and most importantly—with yourself.

They concern present and future wants and needs—contingency planning for your life, and the lives of loved ones. This planning includes what I call the “big 4”: will, health care proxy, power of attorney, and living will.

It also includes courageous conversations that we need to have to gain support in the workplace while caring for sick and/or elderly relatives, and still getting work done.

My guest, Marilyn Sauline, RN, MPA, helped me navigate these topics.

Take a look…


Copyright 2014, 2015 Michelle Kerrigan

Quick tips & tweets for more confidence at work.

This week’s tips & tweets are all about making positive changes in 2015.

Actor Jim Carrey once said “Intention is everything.” I think that’s very true. You need focus to succeed.

You also need process to get from here to there, as well as structure, motivation, collaboration, and confidence.

But, intention is a good place to start. So—here goes:

This year: Know that no one succeeds alone. No one. And no one is confident in all things. We all need support!

This year: Get the support you need from people who lift you up, not push you down.

This year: Accept who you are and where you are–right here and right now–and move forward from there.

This year: Don’t guilt so much about the past or worry too much about the future.

This year: Don’t get overwhelmed by large goals—break them down into smaller steps.

This year: When you get anxious, just focus on the next positive step you need to take to move towards your goal. Then do it!

This year: Think less. Do more.

Wishing you all great confidence and success this year and all years!,



Copyright 2015 Michelle Kerrigan

Living Lessons from Super-Storm Sandy

Last night, at a dinner party, we were all remembering Super-Storm Sandy. We were comparing notes on the damage to our neighborhoods, and how long we were without power. (For my husband and me, it was 2 weeks.)

However, even with all the bad, I was remembering a few good things. For one: Being grateful. Even without electricity for 2 weeks, I realized how blessed we are in our day-to-day lives to have such comforts as light and heat.

I also loved being disconnected from the internet. To be shut down, quiet, and focused on life—the way it was years ago, before the world wide web became known to us.

For many reading this, it may seem strange that there was a time before email, text and facebook. A time when we looked up more than down. When we were more engaged in what we were doing, never losing the thread of a conversation or a wonderful moment with friends and family.

We were too busy experiencing life—not taking selfies and uploading them to social media. All our time was focused on living and doing, not recording and waiting for thumbs-up approval!

I wouldn’t welcome another super storm, but I now welcome shutting down all devices for 10-12 hours a day.

I welcome having fun with my friends and family, and being present and grateful in my life.

So, try disconnecting from the virtual world for a while, and reconnecting with the physical one.

See–and feel–what you’re missing.



Copyright 2015 Michelle Kerrigan

Decide to.

“In the old days we did the news well. You know how? We just decided to.”—Charlie Skinner, The Newsroom

This quote grabbed my attention as I watched the final episode of the HBO series The Newsroom 2 weeks ago.

It has nagged at me since then.

Today, I watched CBS Sunday Morning and their segment on “excuses”: what they are and why and when we use them….and, how often we use them.

The 2 seemed to fit together, and inspired this post.

As you look towards 2015:

Decide to do your best.

Decide to help others.

Decide to forgive people.

Decide to forgive yourself.

Decide to think more positive thoughts and less negative ones.

Decide to take risks.

Decide to be resilient—to get back up no matter what.

Decide to have more faith–especially in yourself.

Decide to invite beauty into your life.

Decide to have less guilt about the past and worry about the future.

Decide to enjoy the here and now.

Decide to invest in yourself.

Decide to stop blaming everyone else.

Decide to stop making excuses and start taking responsibility with 1 simple and powerful first step:

Deciding to.


Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Quote from The Newsroom, copyright HBO