Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by Jen Mueller

Sports and politics collided over the weekend. It’s another reminder that sports talk doesn’t have to be just about wins, losses and stats.

Now, here’s my reminder to you – do not use sports talk to divide your workplace, alienate co-workers, start fights, or as an excuse to be a jerk. That is not making sports talk useful in business. Those types of conversations are not useful in building relationships.

I do believe sports can be used to address larger issues. I don’t believe you should be trying to do that while making small talk at work.

The weekly sports conversation starters are selected intentionally. They keep you in the loop and give you a soft spot to land in small talk.

Here are a few to use this week:

Quick progress report for you – thanks to your support I’m over 65% of the way to reaching my Thunderclap goal. YAY!!

In case you missed it last week, I set up a Thunderclap on social media to announce the launch of my new book The Influential Conversationalist. There’s still time to join if you haven’t already. All you do is click this link and then click “Support on Twitter” or “Support on Facebook.” That gives the okay to post one message on Oct 4th announcing the launch of the book. It takes 10 seconds and it’s just that easy.

If you’ve already joined the Thunderclap and want a sneak peak of the book, you can download a free chapter here or pre-order a personalized copy.

Thanks for your support!

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by Jen Mueller

You control so much more than you think.

When you don’t control what you can control, you have no one to blame but yourself. Some of the most successful people I know, ones I work with daily, subscribe to this mantra.

Throughout the course of my career as a sideline reporter, I’ve conducted thousands of postgame interviews. After tough games or particularly hard losses, I’ll often try to offer an athlete an excuse or way to explain the outcome:

“Did the field conditions play a factor?”

“Did the opposing team run something different than you saw on film study?”

“Did the hit you took earlier in the game affect your ability to run the route?”

They’re legitimate questions. They’re also softball questions that offer a potentially easy way out. After all, a lack of success could be the result of any number of outside factors.

Except that’s not how athletes view it. Elite players don’t buy into that line of thinking. Their response usually sounds something like, “That’s no excuse. That’s not why we lost.”

They’ll go on to explain the number of things they could have done better to produce a different or more favorable result.

It’s one of the things I love about the mindset of an athlete. Of course there are outside factors. Officials miss calls, people get hurt, and playing in subzero temperatures can cause problems…but you know what? The top athletes don’t care. In the end, athletes believe if they control what they can control success will follow.

Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner explains it like this:

“There’s no room for excuses or anything of that nature. I think the best leaders are the ones who not only hold others accountable, but hold themselves accountable. There’s no room for excuses because excuses stop things from getting done.”


Excuses stop things from getting done.


That statement is true in football and life in general.

You might not even realize you’re doing it, because some excuses start off as facts. For example:

Fact: I don’t like talking to groups of people.

Excuse: I can’t lead a team of people because I’m not good at presenting information to a group.


Fact: I don’t have as much time in the organization as two other people on my team.

Excuse: I don’t have enough experience to apply for a new job opening because there are people in the organization more qualified than I am to do the job.


Fact: I don’t have a business degree.

Excuse: I can’t start a business or be on a management team because I haven’t taken business classes.


The excuses, not the actual facts, are getting in the way. Just look at those same facts presented differently:

Fact: I don’t like talking to groups of people.

What It Actually Means: I would prefer to lead small teams or find a role that allows me to work one-on-one with someone, because I’m not comfortable talking to large groups of people.


Fact: I don’t have as much time in the organization as two other people on my team.

What It Actually Means: I don’t have much time in this organization, but I do have ample work experience on my resume from my previous jobs, which means I’m qualified to apply for this opportunity.


Fact: I don’t have a business degree.

What It Actually Means: I’ll bring a different perspective to the business after honing my skills for 20 years in a specific industry.

From here on out, enough of the excuses. Stop waiting for someone else to win the game for you. Take the actions needed to get the win yourself.

It's easier to blame someone else than admit you failed to get the job done. Control what you… Click To Tweet

Controlling what you can control, starting with your communication skills. Did you know your ability to communicate is a top predictor of success in your career?

Jen can help you improve your overall communication skills and put yourself in a position to showcase your expertise, raise your profile and increase your influence in her new book The Influential Conversationalist. She’ll literally break down one conversation strategy each chapter, provide action items for developing that skill and ways to reinforce that concept by watching and talking sports. Download a free chapter and order the book here.

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Jen Mueller

Technically I didn’t just write a book. I completed my third book. Typing that sentence is weird. I’ve written and published three books, and yet this is the first time I’m actually telling people about my books.

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself: I enjoy the writing process, but hate telling people that I’ve written a book (or three.) After writing the first couple books, I hoped that people would ask me about them or stumble upon it all by themselves. (In case you’re wondering, people don’t.)

Here’s what I’ve realized. It’s too dang hard (and a waste of time) to write a book and then keep it secret, especially when I’ve got people in my corner who are willing to help.

Friends like comedian Craig Gass, who you might recognize from Sex and the City, King of Queens, or perhaps you’ve heard his voice on Family Guy and American Dad. Either way, he’s willing to help me get over my issues. While I might not follow his approach/advice – he certainly gave me a few things to think about.

And if you’re ready to check out the book. Here’s where to go to pre-order your copy, download a sample chapter and learn more about what it means to be The Influential Conversationalist.


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