Archive for November, 2016

High Performing Business – Discernment – Patience

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI – ACP, RYT

Patience is a virtue improved by practicing project management.

Patience is a virtue improved by practicing project management.

Practicing patience helps reign in often destructive impulsive desires. Taking time to work through the details in both project planning and negotiation preparation templates, Cheetah Certified Project Management students master the skills that improve their abilities to discover the approach that will bring out the best in everyone.  Slowing down and taking the time to discern which options can generate the best outcome, actually speeds up success.

Practicing project management, Cheetah Certified Project Managers improve their abilities to be patient in three specific ways:

1. Goal Realization

Cheetah Certified Project Managers master breaking down the pursuit of a goal into small incremental steps where success gradually builds over time. Success breeds success – and when you are buoyed by the previous accomplishment you are inspired, and energized to continue. Doing this for yourself is one thing, but learning how to mentor, coach, and lead others in doing this based on leveraging their innate strengths helps Cheetah Certified Project Managers develop exceptional teams.  Following proven project management practices develops the capability to patiently put in place all the building blocks required for achieving your goals.

2. Risk Management

Impulsive people often do not fully think through the risks that can derail the most energized initiatives.  Cheetah Certified Project Managers master how to assess, quantify and mitigate potential risks to achieving their goals.  And often in the process of methodically and patiently reviewing what could go wrong and how they could prevent or mitigate the challenge, they often create better approaches than if they had just rushed into the first approach that comes to mind.

3. Priority Setting

We’ve all been there – encouraged by the early success of an effort, we expand what we want to pursue.  In Project Management language, this is known as “scope creep.”  Lets say that you have started to remodel your bathroom because you needed to replace failing older plumbing.  But once you get into it, you think – “wow wouldn’t it be nice to move the washer and dryer from the basement to where we  generate the laundry.”  You now have a new project, with a substantially larger scope and budget, possibly exceeding the skills of the team you have in place to do the initial project.  This new project has new risks, and a great chance of failing if you do not revisit your initial priorities – which were to replace failing older plumbing.  Cheetah Certified Project Managers clearly define their priorities in the project planning activities.  When they get new “inspirations” – they have the patience to look at the new ideas from many angles to assess if it really makes sense to pursue this new path.

Patience is an often overlooked virtue that can improve the ability to discern a better, easier and quicker path to success.  People who become Cheetah Certified Project Managers master the techniques that bring out their best with the patience to guide others to leverage their innate strengths as well.  They create an up spiral of success for everyone in their life.  Register for the 60 hour online Cheetah Certified Project Manager program today and master the practices that bring out the power of patience.  Use the promotion code – “Discernment” for a $100 discount.  (This offer is limited to the first 100 applicants).


High Performing Business – Discernment – Inspiration

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.”  Thomas Edison

Developing discernment helps determine which butterflies to chase.

Developing discernment helps determine which butterflies to chase.

I love this quote by Edison as it shows how much work it takes to get an idea off the ground. Project Management is the bridge between inspiration and the targeted perspiration required to achieve results.  The better you are at project management, the faster you can go from inspiration to results.

Some inspirations are far more likely to pan out than others based on my innate strengths.  I had to learn to discern the good inspirations from the not so good inspirations, for me. I started my first company when I was 25 – and it was a big hit.  For about five years. Then I tried one “inspiration” after another – several failed businesses later, I found myself working a 9 – 5 job as a research scientist trying to figure out what went wrong.  My boss said I was a very good project manager, but would become even more successful if I mastered the fundamentals of project management. I did that and went on to create Cheetah Learning that has helped over 70,000 people also master the project management skills required to be successful in their careers.

Learning how to discern the right inspirations from just another crazy pie in the sky idea was critical for my success – and it’s precisely because of this 99% perspiration aspect.  It takes far more effort to implement an idea than to create the idea. There are only so many hours in the day.  Doing a quick pass through a short project plan template helps me decide what it would take for me to pull off that blinding flash of an idea. Taking this step helps me slow down and deliberate what even “pulling it off” would look like from that initial flash of insight.

Cheetah Certified Project Managers master the skills required to go from inspiration to results.  And they learn how to do this at Cheetah speed. Do you sometimes feel you get all jazzed up to go after the “next big thing” to only get discouraged when you realize it’s just not going to pan out for you (even if others had “amazing success” with it)?  You can learn how to quickly discern the right inspirations for you to pursue in the way that will work best for you. Register for the 60 hour online Cheetah Certified Project Manager course using the promotion code – “Discernment” to get $100 off the registration price.

High Performing Business – Discernment – Change

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Mastering the ability to discern the best ways to respond to changes is a skill required to have continual success in life under any circumstances.

Mastering the ability to discern the best ways to respond to changes is a skill required to have continual success in life under any circumstances.

It isn’t what happens in life that defines me, it is how I respond to it. Developing abilities to best respond to changing circumstances is crucial for any entrepreneur who wants to maintain a thriving business.

I’ve written about change before – the last time it was about adapting to technology upgrades required for running the business and moving through the world.  This time it’s about the changes that ensue when I’m the one who has set the wheels of change in motion.

For the past eight years, inspired by the chaos (i.e changes) in the financial markets, I set out on a path to become energy and food self sufficient – and to teach others how to do the same. At the very minimum, I’ve become more aware of the myriad complexities involved in our status quo to sustain myself.  But I have also developed extensively more capabilities to in fact be more energy and food self sufficient.  I am much closer to achieving this – even with the current demands as the CEO of a mature, thriving business.

I’ve learned how to discern the viability of various opportunities for increased self sufficiency – to wade through the hype and gauge the level of changes I would be required to make when evaluating one approach over another.

Let’s take electric cars – I have yet to get an electric car. While I do produce sufficient electrical power with solar panels for the majority of my household needs, and put the excess back into the grid, I do not live in an area with sufficient capability to repair an electric vehicle. Nor do I currently possess the skills to do so or the time to acquire those skills. So no electric car yet for me.

But let’s also look at living on food I can grow myself and that is caught or raised within 50 miles of where I live. I have made major strides with that – for probably precisely the same reasons owning an electric car does not make sense for me, right now. In rural Alaska, those with a certain survivalist bend are attracted to places like this. Food is life and I live in a community where developing increasing capabilities for food self sufficiency is the norm. The changes required to improve my food security are a lot less sexy than getting an electric car, but also much more attainable.

Discenment is critical when evaluating response choices to changing external conditions.  To improve my response – abilities I contemplate perceived changing conditions through these three questions:

  1. How immediate is this change? What is the probability this change will come to pass and what is the impact?
  2. What are my options with responding to this change?
  3. How well does each option enable me to enjoy life the way I would prefer (increasing autonomy away from elements of our infrastructure that wield too much power over me, strengthening family and community relationships, expanding capability for self sufficiency, to deeper engagement and fulfillment)

Taking time to deliberate on the best course of action for me when I encounter changes improves my abilities to discern which ways will bring out my best and help others do the same.

At Cheetah Learning, we also help others achieve improvement in their own abilities to discern the right responses for them to changes.  In Cheetah’s 40 hour online course, Project Breakthrough,  students quickly master the discernment required to respond in the best ways for them to changing situations.




High Performing Business – Discernment – Negotiating

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

In my book Cheetah Negotiations, I created a process for negotiating every element of life.  If you think about it, we are negotiating day in and day out – in every relationship and in every situation.  It takes laser focus discernment to know the best way to negotiate in every situation.  In the 20 hour online Cheetah Negotiations class, Cheetah students master this level of discernment to improve every relationship and create better outcomes in every situation.

Every relationship and every situation improves when you learn the Cheetah Negotiations process.

Every relationship and every situation improves when you learn the Cheetah Negotiations process.


High Performing Business – Discernment – Mama Bear

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Being a Mama Bear creates a more threatening world.

Being a Mama Bear creates a more threatening and dangerous world.

I’ve been contemplating lately how to develop empathy on the terror, hatred and disdain happening in our society right now stimulated from the very divisive election.  And it got me thinking about Mama Bears.  Many of us are much like Mama Bears – very attached to our “babies.”  Living in Alaska, it is a well known survival strategy to never get between a mama bear and her cubs.  It’s easy to have empathy for them and respect the capability of terror they could inflict if you accidentally come between a mama bear and her babies.

The “babies” in this case are our ideals and identities  – whatever those happen to be – political affiliation, religious preference, sexual orientation, some ideaology.  Yes some identities are irrefutable – such as the sex at your birth, the color of your skin, the genetic features of your race, where you currently reside in this moment.  How much is attached to these ideals and identities though, will impact the ability to discern the significance of perceived threats.  The Mama Bear cannot discern the level of threat if you are between her and her babies, and will at least maul you, if not kill you.  People with similar attachments as a mama bear will have in kind instinctual responses based on their capabilities. Just like the Mama Bear, it has far less to do with the actual threat than with how much damage they can inflict to protect that to which they are attached.

My first public relations advisor told me almost thirty years ago – do not call someone’s “baby” ugly.  This was a metaphor to not insult whatever someone held dear to them.  It was a good survival strategy then and it feels even more important now.

Several years ago I stumbled upon a work relating to attachment – Miquel Ruiz’s book on the Five Level’s of Attachments.   When considering  the root cause of the disgust and disdain I’ve been seeing from this election cycle, it is related to the  level of attachment to identities and ideals.  The more attached to any one identity or ideal, the stronger the perceived threat when another is challenging the attachment. Anger, disdain and hatred is a secondary emotion to fear. This is happening for many of us right now.  The more judgmental, controlling, rigid and predictable, the more like the Mama Bear.

Living in the upper right corner improves discernment with less ties to pre conceived ideas of how things need to be.

Living in the upper right corner improves discernment with less ties to pre conceived ideas of how things need to be.

But being a Mama Bear is damn dangerous – for everyone.  Including the Mama Bear.  A bear that mauls humans often gets shot. Their behavior is dangerous to others, and especially dangerous to themselves. Attachment to our ideals and identities drives our instinctual responses to perceived threats, impeding our abilities to find more peaceful resolutions to the challenges of our times. Gaining perspective on our attachments is a journey of survival – for ourselves first and foremost.

For this reason, I reflect on these four dimensions of my behavior related to attachment levels – because I not only want to survive, I want to live in a world where peace and prosperity is our norm rather than hatred, conflict, and maliase.  The ability to discern threat levels is related to attachment  levels. To move from the bottom right to the upper left of the above diagram, I contemplate where my attachments are creating:

1. Judging Behavior  – what can I be less attached to so I can be more accepting?

2. Controlling Strategies – how can I be more go with the flow, understanding and compassionate to what another is expeirencing?

3. Rigid Responses – instead of creating polarity, it has to be this way or that way, where can I be more flexible in how I’m responding to situations?

4. Predictable Reactions – rather than reacting with hatred and disdain when someone makes a remark I find offensive, how can I be more spontaneous in my reactions?

This is not rolling over and allowing others to abuse and mistreat me – far from it.  It is about addressing what creates the protective behavior in the first place – which is strong attachment to identities and ideals.  Recognizing this root cause can help develop more balanced attachments with better discernment regarding perceived threats. This is a start to becoming part of the solution.


High Performing Business – Discernment – Signs

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

What are the signs someone is going to be a good employee, a good leader, or a good project team member?

What are the signs someone is going to be a good employee, a good leader, or a good project team member?

I’ve had interesting discussions with other business owners over the past several days about the results of increased bigotry in their companies.  Some have even gone as far to say as they won’t hire someone who voted for Donald Trump because it shows they are at worst a bigot and at best make poor decisions.  This seems a pretty bold statement to express, is not required, and even can amplify what is most feared. People show up as who they are, especially when given adequate chance to display this.  This is the reason for trial periods, several stages of interviewing, a process of seeing who someone really is and what they can do, BEFORE giving them more responsibilities in the business, or on a project.  It’s easy to put on a good show for an interview, the first several weeks on the job, that initial project – much more difficult to consistently show up as a stand up person other people want to be around if you harbor disdain towards others (whatever the disdain is – Trump, a Trump supporter, the “establishment,” some race, orientation, gender, political preference, etc).

Here are the signs a person will make a solid project team member or employee who will bring out the best of others rather than the worst (no need to find out their political leanings):

  1. Inclusiveness – how well does this person include others in their day to day world?
  2. Resiliency – how well does someone bounce back when things have not gone their way?  It’s easy to be nice when things are going your way, quite another when things don’t work out how you’d like.
  3. Equanimity – how well does someone roll with the punches and accept the good with the bad?
  4. Listening – what type of questions do they ask?  How well can the get the gist of another’s concerns?
  5. Deliberation – how quickly do they make important decisions?  Do they take time to find out all sides of an issue before taking any action?
  6. Alignment – how do they walk their talk with the values they express?  If they claim to value family – how do they spend time with their family?  If they claim to value freedom of expression, how well do they value ideas counter to their own that others express?
  7. Kindness – how do they treat people who they don’t need to be nice to for any reason?
  8. Empathy – do they understand how their words and actions impact other people and take actions appropriate to consider other people’s feelings? (this is not the same as sympathy).
  9. Encouraging – do they find the good in others and in situations even when the prevailing sentiment is “this is difficult?”
  10. Respectful – how do they acknowledge others, especially those who have different opinions?

In the online Cheetah Certified Project Manager Program – students learn how to use the strengths of their innate personalities to bring out the best in themselves and others through the projects they lead.  To become the type of person, people want to work for, and look up to – become a Cheetah Certified Project Manager.

High Performing Business – Discernment – From Hatred to Peace

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Conversational Akido can help counter hatred and aggression to create more kind and loving connections.

Conversational Akido can help counter hatred and aggression to create more kind and loving connections.

It is darn near impossible to make good decisions when hatred is triggered and your limbic ( “fight or flight”) brain is engaged.  The ancillary feelings of disdain, disgust, and disappointment also activate the limbiic brain. In the Happiness Project class, Cheetah students learn how to temper what triggers them so they can take more time to deliberate on decisions with their executive functioning brain rather than reacting from their more impulsive limbic brain. This helps improve the way we can process information coming in and discern the appropriate level of attention required.

When you get triggered into a sense of hatred, your body responds with a flood of stress hormones that over time increases anxiety and can activate a chemical depression. Hatred hurts the one doing the hating most. Learning how to shift into a more empowered state is critical for overall well being – and to improve the ability to discern the impact of our choices.

Stimulated by my own increasing complaints a month or so ago regarding the election, I made a commitment to limit complaints to less than 12 per day – 3 for the election, 3 relating to my relationships; 3 regarding my business, and 3 relating to a house project.  For any complaint I required myself to develop three possible solutions. My complaints went way down and I found myself being less and less triggered by information relating to the election.

What though to do about someone else’s hatred – especially when something you have done or shared, or even who you are, triggers another’s ire?  Other people’s triggers have nothing to do with you.  Some people call this “pushing their buttons.”  But the reality is you were most probably not around when those buttons got installed. For example, I grew up with three older brothers so I have some strong triggers around any behavior I perceive as bullying. The person who is exhibiting behaviors I perceive as bullying has absolutely nothing to do with my triggers. The key to handling another’s anger is to keep yourself calm, and centered – not owning or excusing their behavior  and avoiding responding in kind.  By all means get yourself to a safe place if you feel their hatred may turn violent.  But do yourself a favor and with hold any need for an immediate response.  Think about it – why would you want to disable your brain by going to where they are?

In the Cheetah Mastermind class, Cheetah students learn a technique we call “conversational aikido.”  Cheetah students learn how to counter other people’s toxic triggered responses.  They learn how to connect with kindness and compassion rather than correcting with their own triggered hateful response. Learning how to disarm hostility – especially when it is directed at you, can make your life significantly more peaceful.  Practicing this technique in day to day exchanges can improve your brain, reduce being triggered, and improve discernment to make consistently better choices – especially regarding with whom you choose to associate.

High Performing Business – Discernment – Hope

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Even in the toughest life challenges, hope lives in those who are capable, self-sufficient, resilient and resource.

Even in the toughest life challenges, hope lives in those who are capable, self-sufficient, resilient and resourceful.

In reflecting on the divisiveness of this current election cycle,  I realized the projects I work on give me hope.  Hope helps discern where the opportunities are in the challenging times. For the past eight years I’ve been on a path to develop the capabilities to  become energy and food self – sufficient. Doing so, brings me hope that I can create a secure future for my family and my community regardless of the chaotic changes in our economic, climatic, and geo political landscape.

While I was disappointed we have the same old standard white guy who won the election over the more progressive female candidate – the work I’ve done over the past several years to maintain an even keel of equanimity prevailed (we teach how to get to this level of peace in the course we call “the Happiness Project“).  I also realized no matter who is in office, or what type of economic upheavel is happening, or the games the oil producers are playing with our oil supplies,  I now have the capabilities to produce my own food and power.  Plus I also teach others how to develop the same capabilities – from the online course Project Energy Indepdence to our newest course that teaches people how to grow their own food year round – Project Micro Green.

I have never allowed the status quo to define the altitude to which I am capable of rising – it seems so self – defeating to give some one or some event that level of power over me. Pursuing those projects that bring me hope helps me quickly discern what is truly mine to handle vs. what is the present mass consciousness over an unfolding event.  You too can get to a level of  life enhancing discernment from a base of ineffable peace.  You can do this by expanding your capabilities through these three online courses – The Happiness Project, Project Energy Independence, and Project Micro Green.


High Performing Business – Discernment – Balance

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

It takes a solid core to maintain balance - in every situation.

It takes a solid core to maintain balance – in every situation.

When things feel out of balance, life seems to send you what you need to bring it back into balance. I learned this lesson in my early 20’s when I burned the candle at both ends working hard and playing hard. To make the time to rest, I’d be forced into it with a nasty sore throat. Once I realized the message in this sore throat – I found ways to get more rest so I would not have to suffer from the sore throat mandatory rest requirement.  My sore throats became a thing of the past as I brought my life into balance.

I see the same things playing out in numerous other ways running this business.  When things get out of balance, just as I’m starting to discern things need to shift to bring things back into balance, some external event happens that forces the business back into balance. Balance means many things in this business:

  1. Staff is contributing in ways that are bringing value balanced with the rewards they are receiving.
  2. New efforts are generating sufficient rewards to continue their pursuit.
  3. The energy to sustain a process is commensuarte with the value received from the process (like the accounting processes).
  4. Strategic associations bring value aligned with the level of effort to sustain them.

Developing deeper discernment happens over time with running the business – it happens in part with the measurements put in place to judge the performance of our efforts, but it also comes from the experiences developed with running the business.   Experience can be another word for “mistakes.” Learning from the mistakes is crucial to improve discernment of what is required to keep the business in balance.

The biggest challenges I see organizations face with staying in balance is when they replace senior staff with lower cost junior staff not realizing the level of discernment and balance the senior staffer’s perspective brings to their operation.  They essentially weaken their core.  While I’d like to promote some level of a Cheetah Learning course that can improve the discernment of lower cost junior staff member, it’s really about learning the ins and outs of running a business – which well, comes from running a business. Yes it is important to earn the requisite credentials of your craft – the the CCPM and PMP certifications for project managers.  AND put in the  actual time to develop the experience on the ground that makes the difference in developing the discernment required to keep an operation balanced and performing.  One of the ways to tell this with respect to project managers is to see for how long they have maintained their credential – a project manager who as maintained their PMP credential for several decades has far more discernment in running effective projects than someone early in their career who just earns their PMP credential.

One of the reasons Cheetah Learning continues to be the rock solid business that it is  – we run the company in a way that we have very little turn over (with both employees and clients).  We help our Cheetah students who have earned their PMP’s maintain their credential by offering valuable follow on training that can help them master additional skills, at cheetah speed.  We test out new people in the periphery of the business on a new initiative to see how they perform in a myriad of situations before  bringing them into the main team.  We make sure our core with which we maintain balance is strong and wide so not much tilts us one way or the other. The leadership group that runs the business works on the business as well as works in the business so they have the discernment required to know when things need a slight modification here or there to keep things running at peak performance.  This has helped us weather a wide variety of external threats and enables us to stay the market leader in the Project Management training space world wide.

High Performing Business – Discernment – Quality

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

The quality of achieving excellence permeates every part of a person's life. When choosing an education provider, find out how well their course developers did in school.

The quality of achieving excellence permeates every part of a person’s life. When choosing an education provider, find out how well their course developers did in school.

While I’m a big believer in turning your ship around, second chances, and infinite redemption, I’ve found time and time again, most people show up consistently as who they truly are. The people who were A students, are generally A employees, and so on.  Another attribute, is  the best are usually fairly humble about it – often self deprecating to put others at ease. Yet they have a track record of achieving exceptional results and leave a trail of very satisfied customers and clients. Whereas the charlatans, those that attempted to get by on their “good looks and personality, without doing the work, may be able to  spin a good yarn, but more often than not deliver little more than disappointment.

When discerning a quality education provider, from one that has great marketing material, but little else, look at their track record.  What are the qualifications of their course developers, their instructors?  It literally pays to hire the right people and can cost you dearly when you hire the wrong people – especially with something as important as your education and the development of your capabilities. Think brain surgery here – would you prefer to have the neurosurgeon who aced school and their boards or the one who barely squeaked by but can share great stories in the office?

To find the best, ask about the qualifications of the people who developed the curriculum – ask how well they did in school. Ask about their credentials and their commitment to their own continued learning.  Do they have one year of experience repeated thirty times, or do they have increasing levels of curriculum development experience and a strong track record of success?

The reason Cheetah Learning is the continuing gold standard in Project Management education is because the Chief Cheetah, who leads the course development team, was top of the class in a challenging major at a competitive university. Cheetah’s continue to take continuing education, and keep their saw sharp by learning new ways of teaching and connecting with their students. And not because anyone makes them do so. They pursue learning and excellence for its own reward. Every trainer who teaches for Cheetah Learning passes a rigorous certification process to make sure they deliver the programs in the way that Cheetah students can achieve fantastic results at Cheetah speed.

It’s a commitment to excellence at every level of the business that insures when you register to take a Cheetah Learning course, you will achieve amazing results, at Cheetah speed.  It’s why we confidently offer a 100% learning guarantee on every single one of our courses – it’s pretty simple really.  If after completing the course, you did not achieve what you set out to achieve, we refund your money.  This is what quality means to us – that you achieve quality results.