Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Next week I’ll be sharing share some tips and advice with a group of savvy solopreneurs about creating great client relationships. Here’s a biggie:

When meeting with a client – maybe it’s your introductory meeting or perhaps you’re 3 months into a project together – and she says something in a joking manner or with a shrug, it might feel easier and natural to laugh along with her and then continue on with your meeting agenda.
However, sometimes they are laughing when they say it, or speaking quietly, or under their breath, because there might be some element of shame or guilt, worry or embarrassment.

****DISCLAIMER: I am not a therapist. Just a business professional and observer of client behavior for nearly 20 years****

Especially if they are being self-deprecating in their comment.
Rather than “laugh with them” or brush off their concerns, dive into that.
I recall meeting with a couple who, during the course of our conversation, shared with me, “We’re high-maintenance.”
I could have easily laughed or said something to brush it off or make them feel better such as, “I’m sure you’re not.”
Instead I asked them why they describe themselves like this.
“Our friends give us a hard time because we get massages, buy special alkaline drinking water, try to eat only organic” etc. They were worried this impression of being “high-maintenance” might spill over into their ceremony.

This is an opportunity to provide a REFRAME for your client.

I responded, “That doesn’t sound high maintenance. It sounds like you care about your health and take good care of yourself; your energy and longevity is important to you.”
Weeks later at their wedding rehearsal, as they introduced me to friends and family they also said – more than once – “She says we’re honoring our temples and take good care of ourselves.”
I was thrilled they had embraced this new view of themselves, and could see the ease this created for them.

Over the years, so many clients have dropped these little phrases or comments – under their breath, in passing, in a joking manner:

I don’t want to be a bridezilla” or “I don’t want to be a pain in the ass.”

That is not a good feeling.
I like to find out why they have taken on this negative-feeling label for themselves.

Listen to them with Courage and ask WHY they feel that way. Have the courage to engage your client and really find out about their biggest worry or concern, which often shows up very quietly.
Then look for ways to reframe this perception as it applies to the service you are providing. (I’m not implying you solve their life problems, rather as it specifically relates to your business-client relationship.)

You might not have all the answers, but you can help them navigate the situation and find solutions together, and best of all, they will feel heard.

Gayle Feallock, owner of Just Imagine Love, is a ceremony officiant, speaker, and Reiki Master. Developing positive, successful relationships with hundreds of clients has been at the core of her professional life.


In light of events of the past year around issues and in situations of social and racial justice:
This approach can apply to every aspect of your life, with friends and family as well. For example, if a friend makes a joking comment that has somewhat racist overtones, why are they saying it with a joke or in passing? Again, I think because there might be some shame or embarrassment around it and they “float” these ideas to see how we respond.
Instead of just cringing inside or ignoring the comment, have the courage to ask an open-ended question: “Where did you hear that?” “What makes you say that?” “What does it mean when you say something like that?”
You’ll be amazed at where the answer might lead, and together you might be able to reframe that thought and offer an anti-racist one.

For more resources and information around social & racial justice:
SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice
Black Lives Matter
Anti-Racism Daily
Equality Institute
Bryana Clover, Educator & Activist

My final wedding ceremony of the year took place at one of my favorite venues under the trees.
Gratitude to Asha Bailey Photography for beautifully capturing the day.

Like many couples trying to get married in 2020, these two had their share of struggles, including trimming their guest count considerably, eliminating reception, even challenges acquiring their marriage license due to restrictions at the county clerk.
Still they maintained a great attitude and made their special day extra special for their guests – gift bags greeted everyone.

This intimate social distance wedding ceremony at Milagro Winery was a beautiful wrap to a challenging year. Milagro staff did a fantastic job of setting up the ceremony chairs with social distance seating and guests did their part wearing masks during the ceremony.

And I stood back 6 feet away from the couples and wedding party.

Here we are awaiting the arrival of the bride.
Love this custom color Groom’s suit!

We had Gayle officiate our wedding … and she was sooooo amazing! The whole process was just a great experience overall! Gayle, really took the time to get to know us as a couple and it showed at the ceremony. It was really special.”

~Lisa & Brandon, Dec. 2020
A small but important act – I always step away for First Kiss so their photographer can capture that perfect moment.
Congratulations Mr. & Mrs.!

Since a formal reception was not allowable, Best Man and Maid of Honor gave their toasts at the arch!
Earl Henry of @mydjsevents made it possible as the professional emcee with mic and sound system on tap:

Into the sunset . . .

The gorgeous setting of Paradise Point lent itself perfectly for an outdoor, intimate, social-distance wedding ceremony.
This couple, like many others, had the disappointing experience of having to reschedule their wedding multiple times due to pandemic challenges. When it finally all came together, with a much smaller guest count, their very apparent love for each other was even stronger.

You did a fabulous job with our ceremony! Thank you so much for working with us and making it very much our own story. We received many compliments about how lovely the readings were, how well you presented the ceremony, and your comic relief during the sand ceremony! We loved it all! You are wonderful!”

Photographer Avalon Richards caught the gorgeous light and this happy couple’s lively style. All photos by @truephotography

Great to work with these incredible professionals!

  • Holly Kalkin @hkweddings
  • Maribel Beltran @paradisepointsd
  • Elegant Touch Floral Designs / sdweddingflowers.com
  • DJ David Cutler @DjDavidCutler
  • Concepts Team @ConceptsEventDesign

Holly Kalkin and the Paradise Point staff did a great job of setting up the ceremony chairs with social distance sections.

Social-distance ceremony seating

Jewel-tone shoes for the bride!
“First look” before the ceremony is a great option to have that exciting moment,
while reducing the stress of walking down the aisle.
(This is a nice time to share personal vows as well, for the particularly shy!)
Want to honor someone special? Pinning keepsake mementos to your bouquet keeps them close.
A proud moment walking with his groomsmen.
I printed their vows for them on beautiful gold-trimmed, heavy stock paper (doesn’t flap about in the breeze!). And, sometimes I bring my Italian glass paperweight to keep the vows secure.
With this ring
A great way to include someone in your big day – ask them to read a special poem. And, have your DJ provide an additional mic and stand to the side so your reader is all set to go!
Blending of the Sands is a meaningful ritual symbolizing two individual lives, joining together. Perfect for waterfront weddings, too!
Always great to work with a professional DJ, and David Cutler is one of the best! Makes me sound great, too. 🙂
How much do you love the pineapple aisle decor?

Nine years ago, I had the good fortune and privilege to get a hug from Amma.

At a big event in a Los Angeles hotel, people came from across the county – and the world – just to be near her. If you’ve never heard of the Hugging Saint, or never had a chance to be near her, find out more about Amma, here.

If you HAVE received a hug from Amma, well . . . you know.

On this occasion, her helpers and staff “prepped” those of us in line, waiting to go up to receive a hug. I was asked if there was something in particular I wanted Amma to address. I told the attendant I was experiencing a crisis of Faith, and the attendant jotted something down to show Amma.
Then, when it was my turn, I went up on the dais to receive my hug. As she held me close, Amma chanted in my ear a Sanskrit mantra (even as I type this I’m feeling goosebumps, remembering). And what she chanted, her attendant wrote down and translated for me.

I won’t reveal it exactly (it’s just between Amma and me) but essentially, it means, “I trust in and honor my Higher Self.”

Every morning during my 15 minutes of meditation, I focus on that mantra.
For anyone who meditates or has tried, you know the first several minutes are simply about squirming and getting settled!
Once I’m in the groove, any time I catch my monkey brain in action, I return to my mantra. It brings me calm, my breathing evens.
Then, finally, about 30 seconds before the 15-minute alarm goes off, I feel a brief sense of pure peace, during which, just maybe, my Higher Self can get a word in edgewise.
(This tells me that I need to extend my meditation to 20 minutes!)

I trust in my Higher Self – It knows better than I. It is the quiet voice. It is the alignment with resources and perfect timing. It’s like the wise elder who’s been through it all.

For those of us who are spiritual (but not religious) it can be challenging to sort out how Faith actually comes into practice in daily life.
Get in touch for more tools to connect to your Higher Self.

For people who are spiritual (but not religious) it can be challenging to sort out how spiritual belief actually comes into practice in daily life. Since we’re not necessarily members of a church or temple, nor are we strictly following scripture, there are no specific guidelines on what belief looks or feels like. So how does it show up for us each day? As a motivator, as solace, or as comfort.

One way I like to think of God is “Grace On Demand.” And, BOY do we all need grace these days. Grace to move through stress, anger, sadness, or despair. And not only grace toward others, but toward ourselves.

Only through grace and peace and calm can we be divinely guided with the next best step, or ideal response; to hear that quiet voice.

How do we access grace?
Through meditation, through prayer, or simply through breathing. And you have access to all of these practices. You can do any of these things in the moment, wherever you are:

  • Taking deep breaths, in and out, rather than speaking, is an act of grace.
  • Build your “stillness” muscle by starting your morning with 15 minutes of meditation, an act of grace.
  • A moment of prayer for a resolution, is an act of grace.
  • A small gesture of kindness, is an act of grace.
  • Having a go-to mantra to distract your mind when it is racing, is an act of grace. (A personal favorite is “All Is Well” (*Abraham-Hicks).

These are each simple and extremely effective tools to navigate your day, and the way you practice them can be completely of your own device.
But more importantly, when successfully executed, you can actually FEEL that divine connection to your higher self. You can FEEL the essence of grace. To me, this is how I experience God.

And, ultimately, that’s the whole point – is changing how you feel, or improving how you feel. Recognizing that grace and ease are always available, on demand.