Wolfe offers keys to success

Published 9:19 am Saturday, April 25, 2009

AHOSKIE – Speaking to about 100 Hertford County administrative professionals at Catherine’s Restaurant Wednesday, L. Diane Wolfe, author and motivational speaker, said that while there are many self-help books and programs aimed at helping the reader or user achieve, “The success principle that will work for you is the one that you adopt.”

Wolfe, who is characterized as “Spunk on a stick,” told the group her nickname “has always been ‘Spunky.’” Her husband, she said, told her that “chicken is good but when you go to the fair, chicken on a stick is better.” Therefore, she said, he calls her “Spunk on a stick.”

Wolfe told the group there are five keys to success: A positive mental attitude, good people skills, high self esteem, overcoming fear, and setting goals.

“You can’t control but one thing in the world,” she said. “That’s you, your attitude.”

The components of a positive mental attitude, she continued, are enthusiasm, high expectations, and optimism – which she described as “belief and hope rolled together.

Good people skills, she said, begin with some basic principles: “Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves; People react to us the way we act toward them; People will do all they can to meet your expectations; and the more you give, the more you get back in return.”

Building self esteem, Wolfe told the group, begins with the realization that “Nobody can make me feel inferior but myself.”

To improve self esteem, she said, we must realize that “we are all our own worst critic, and however you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you.”

To improve self esteem, she said, we should not “hang out with negative people. Whatever is a negative influence on you, learn to cut that out. You have to learn to love yourself.”

She proposed an exercise to help build self esteem: “Take two pieces of paper,” she said. “On one, write everything you like about yourself. On the other, write all the bad stuff. Then wad up the one with the bad stuff and flush it down the toilet!”

Everyone experiences fear, she said, “but only four percent of what we worry about actually comes to pass,” so time spent worrying is time wasted.

“Fear paralyzes you,” she said. “The only way to cure fear is to fact it – take action.”

She drew a laugh when she told the crowd that studies have shown that the “number one fear” is public speaking, and “number three is death… In other words, most people would rather die than get up in front of other people!”

“Fear,” she said, “is the opposite of faith. Fear focuses on the problem and faith focuses on the goal.”

It is important to set goals, she said, because “Where there is not a vision, people perish. Without goals, you drift like a leaf on the river.”

She advised however, that the group set “little goals.” Goals, she said, should be achievable because “success is built on success.”

She said it is important “not to get hung up on ‘the how.’ Set the goal first, then organize and start planning. You cannot steer a parked car. If you sit still, what happens? Nothing! So get going!”

She said goals should be written down and placed “so you will see it every day – keep your goal in front of you.”

The meeting was opened by Jerry Castello, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Ahoskie, who made reference to its almost having fallen victim to expense control efforts by Roanoke Chowan Community College, its traditional and initial sponsor. It was saved, he said, when “A couple of business leaders – Jamie Johnson of Ace Hardware of Ahoskie and Joe Murray of Joe Murray Real Estate – stepped up to the plate.”

Castello said Administrative Professionals Day “started in 1952 as National Secretaries Day.”

He told those taking part in the event that it was “in celebration of all that you do.”

Taking the podium to introduce Wolfe, Jim Bales, director of the Small Business Development Center at RCCC, asked the group to “join me in thanking Jerry Castello, Jamie Johnson and Joe Murray. This group stepped up after sever budget restrictions threatened this event. That took a lot of spunk.”