Giving Back, a Down-dog & how your business can give back too.

I’ll begin teaching yoga philosophy and movement to teenage girls from Santa Ana after Thanksgiving and nothing could make me happier. I liken this to those dream business opportunities where you love the client and project as much as they need and love you!

I truly believe I need them (the learning they’ll impart) as much as they might “need” what I have to teach them. Knowing me it’ll be a lot of laughing and taking ourselves way less seriously than we normally allow ourselves during school and work hours. The love, learning and lessons will be cheekily woven throughout.

I understand and hear many of us WANTING so badly to give back yet not having time (or not feeling like we have the time) to research the who/where/how.  Here’s where to start. While sitting in front of your fire the next couple days or before bed during this next important holiday, think…

If you were to strip it all away, what are you about? What moves you?

What things do you love to do?

What could you easily teach?

What is your business about? How could you use these strengths to give of your time or resources, if even once a month?

1) Create a short list (3-5) charities that fit your company or your values. If you’re doing this for your business, think of the charity aligning with your business goals and company mission. It’s easier than you think. At its core, MGI is about empowering women and girls to do what they really want in life so it was a natural fit for me to want to work with teenage girls heading to college. It was also natural I teach them yoga as I’m certified and currently writing a book about yoga philosophy…

2) Ask the charity the following questions: how will donations be spent for the upcoming year? If you can give of your time ask about their schedules and just how you can give if even an hour or two each month. It’s seriously that easy. One hour. Once a month. Ask them what their mission is (if it isn’t already clear). Your values should and can compliment each other and have a shared purpose.

3) Ask your employees what they think. There’s nothing better than to get your employees in on the decision-making. A few heads on this stuff is always better than one. Plus, you’ll ensure success.

4) Make a decision, take a load off and give back. You won’t believe how empowered those you’ve helped will feel (they’ll tell you) but how empowered YOU will feel each and every time you leave. Again, we think people need us when in reality we need this kind of receiving as well. Talk about an even energy exchange…

Start today and continue giving through 2012. What if your life and the life of others depended on your heart opening in this way??

MGI is currently giving 10% to a women’s or children’s charity of your choice. If you’re in need of your true brand identity and a logo that cuts through the clutter, check out the details before November 25th:

Life is good.


Brand Essence (and what seven takes on a video has to do with it)

This weekend I did seven takes (maybe more) on my work video (to the right). The numerous takes weren’t because it was Sunday morning after a fun Saturday night. I had my game face on. And it wasn’t because there was perfectionism at-play and I know this for two reasons:

First off, one entire chapter of the book I’m writing (Walking Momtra) is all about debunking the perfection myth. And yes, you guessed it; I work hard at practicing what I preach. Secondly, if I thought perfection existed (or was “about” it), the FINAL video I chose would not have included the flubs and repetitions it does. In fact, the video I chose was, intellectually, the most imperfect.

I chose it for one main reason: it held more of the essence of my brand. It may not seem like a video that’s going to change the world (;-) but I know it had that je ne sais quoi clients have come to expect from Michelle Ghilotti Int’l.

And this is what branding is: a collection of thoughts and feelings your target has around their experiences with you/your brand. It’s these intangible elements that keep them coming back when they need someone in your field. When someone has this level of involvement with your company, this level of piqued interest, chances are you have a client for life (and an advocate!).

Take a second right now to think about what type of experience your clients or potential clients have when they come to your various outlets? How much of that feeling/tone/vibe would you keep the same and what areas would you change? How could your communication and identity better match the expertise and love you have for what you do?

And remember “branding” and putting our proverbial best foot forward with our identity is not about perfection. It’s about your honest and unique brand essence. Flubs, repetitions allowed. The next time you create a newsletter, revise your website content or create a video (and are three takes in;-) remember that.

Life is good.

Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter.

Can you get outside what you know?

Then I went outside everything I knew…

I have grown immensely in taking MGI “on the road” the last ten years.

If it’s true the first seven years are the formative years in a child’s life then MGI is an adolescent not afraid to take risks. Or better said, MGI is a business traveler seeing the power, growth and possibility in the un-expected. You grow and shed layers when you allow yourself to get lost. When you have to work to find your Dutch bike after registering your business yet again…

Living in three different countries and various US cities this decade has not only shown me how various collectives design their lives, businesses and joys (ask me about the balloon arch in Holland) but how we, yes you and me, can work to design our lives so they enable us to accomplish that which is burning inside us.

Life is good.

Expat Living & Creativity, The Economist