Skip to main content

Something Personal – Witches?

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mr. Pinsky, embarrassed me in front of the whole class. We were studying the Salem Witch Trials when I asked, “How can we be sure there’s no such thing as witches?” He scoffed and told me, “I’ll bet you still believe in the tooth fairy too!” 

I ran home crying. My mother consoled me with gingerbread cookies and a plan for revenge. Two weeks later she was to attend the parent-teacher conference. Mom dressed in pure black and powdered her face white.

Halfway through the review with Mr. Pinsky, she asked how he thought I’d fare the rest of the year. “I have no way of predicting the future, he said, but…“ Before he could formulate a complete answer, my mother reached in her bag and pulled out a large round lamp in the shape of a crystal ball. She twitched her nose and began to chant. 

“Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Cool it down and let it fade

For Shari I see an excellent grade!”

Mr. Pinsky became visibly uncomfortable and then began to laugh. “Joke! Joke!” he cried.

If there’s one thing I learned from my mother, it’s that everyone deserves to be heard. 

Today, more than ever, we need to listen across the digital divide. Be curious and open to each other’s fears and opposing points of view. Find out what’s brewing and listen without judgment. After all, we can’t move someone to our point of view until we’re willing to move to theirs.

A couple of weeks ago my mother and I celebrated our 58th Mother’s Day together social distancing in our garden. I love you, mom!

Something Professional – Switches

As companies need more “heart” when they sell and market during the pandemic, I’m participating in an empathetic sales and marketing panel where I’ll share how you show authentic compassion without getting fatigued.

I am joining a team of 50+ sales and marketing experts who are dedicated to providing interactive and informational sessions that will be relevant and useful in today’s changing sales market. These presentations are 95% PowerPoint Free and more than 80% of the sessions will be panel discussions, conversations with the experts, and innovation labs.

More importantly, there will be post-event networking and support that will help you execute on the ideas that the other 50+ experts and I will share. You will get strategy sessions, a roadmap to follow, and peer groups so you will have a community to support you sell and market with more heart – a way to implement the switches.

Click here to register!

Something Profound – Niches

As humans, we are creatures of habit. Charles Duhigg writes about this in The Power of Habit.  Ninety percent of everything we do in a day is subconscious: from how we brush our teeth, to how we brew our morning coffee, to our social hubs. In most areas of our lives, we’re on “autopilot”, simply following old habits.

The problem is that following our old habits reinforces the same thoughts and responses. Neuroscientists call it “social narrowing.” It’s natural to seek out people who are similar to us. But it can be a problem when we need new ideas, new jobs, or new resources. Repeating the same behaviors with the same people almost ensures that we will have the same exact future. 

To broaden your network and hence your opportunities try this:

  1. Take a virtual class on a subject that’s totally new to you. You’ll not only gain inspiration but make new connections, too. I’m taking a class right now by Joanne Black on how to get referrals and in addition to the great content, I’m meeting all kinds of interesting new people. (You can learn more here.
  2. Fight Your Filters: We get stuck in ruts by filtering. The minute we meet someone, we often look at them and decide “you’re interesting,” or “you’re not interesting,” or “you’re relevant,” or “you’re not relevant.” You’ve had it happen to you, and it’s annoying. Instead, fight your filters. Think carefully about your day-to-day life, and try to identify the person whom you find the most annoying. Yup, you heard that right. And then, connect with them, set up an online coffee, or a socially distant walk.
  3. Get out on the Skinny Branches- You may have heard me use this term before concerning cold calling. I once had a sales manager named David, who likened calling the big scary accounts and referrals with getting out on the skinny branches of a tree. I know many of you are out of work or looking for new ideas and opportunities. When your psychological world has broken down, I can tell you the hardest thing to do is to reach out and build your social and professional worlds. 

You have enormous potential to recreate yourself. When you listen to those with opposing views, cultivate the courage to examine your own, and dare to extend yourself, you’ll create the right kind of magic.

Be More. Sell More.


  • Kathleen Kelly says:

    Thank you. This was a great post. Your mom sounds like a rock star!

  • Edward Dobreski says:

    Thanks Shari!
    Keep posting have a great weekend!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thanks, Ed. Stay safe out there…

  • McCOY JEGEDE says:


  • Loved your post! Lots of eye opening thoughts and suggestions. Tell your mom I think she’s cool.

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thank you, Kathleen. I certainly think she is!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    You’re so welcome!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thank you, Marsha – I’m very glad to hear you got some value from this post. I will certainly pass along your message!

  • Díana Gabriela Kelly García says:

    Loved your post!!!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thank you, Diana!

  • Christina Byrd says:

    Thank you Shari! The story about your mother going to the school with her “get up” to meet the teacher at his level was very impressive and shows creative, critical thinking on a high level. Your stories are relevant hand helpful in times with so much uncertainty. Making connections and remaining authentic can be an interesting line to tow in our current environment.

    The tips and suggestions that you share are valuable Stepping out onto the “skinny branch” was a good visual on doing work that challenges outside the norms.

    Thank you for sharing your experience Shari,

  • Shari Levitin says:

    I’m so glad you’re finding value in these stories. It’s funny, I often didn’t value these lessons until much later in life.

Leave a Reply