Sometimes we don’t know where our strengths are until someone points it out to us. Many of us volunteer our time, but how many see the opportunity to become a high achiever from the foundation of volunteering?
Sandy Chernoff is a perfect example of combining her 40 plus years in education and the healthcare field and as a volunteer to become a well-respected Soft Skills leader.
When you love what you do, doors open that you may not know existed. My interview with Sandy exemplifies how knowledge, passion and core thinking leads to success. Her business is organically working because she puts herself out there with passion and attracts back to her what comes from her heart.
“I have no time for negativity. My credo is – when I quit having fun, I am done!”
EB: Your business is Soft Skills for Success. What are your philosophies that enable you to be a successful business?
SC: I customize every session I do to meet the specific needs of my clients and of their industry. I want the new concepts to resonate and have meaning in order to help them feel they got what they are looking for and will actually apply it.
In my workshops, I teach concepts, then offer exercises and debrief. My favorite exercise is teaching new strategies for current issues. It is important that I teach what is needed to be done daily to ensure change and progress.
I do a lot of research through buying and reading books, talking to other people, going online and collecting exercises to choose from in my teaching (I have over 30 in my toolbox).
EB: Your book: 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, is a handbook to demystify the complexities of communication so readers can reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, confusion & complaining so they can be more productive, effective, creative and happy. How have you seen people benefit from this information?
SC: The reason I wrote the book is because of the various topics I teach and to demystify the complexities of communication so people can understand each other better. The cornerstone to what I teach in sales strategies, management training, team building, and leadership development is communication. The key communication skill that people benefit from is active listening. The benefit from the information in my book is the ability for others to walk away from their interaction understanding that the message sent was the one received and both parties will be happy with the outcome.
EB: In today’s environment, it seems to be a benefit to have cutting edge thinking along with definable strategies for success. You have partnered with Paladin, an e-learning company. How do you offer cutting edge thinking to clients?
SC: Through videos, audio, power point, text and graphics we offer a platform for e-learning with an accountability piece. In order to progress to the next module, you must pass a quiz and score at least 18/20, to show you actually learned something. Tools, such as a workbook and a certificate upon completion are important and giving value keeps our company and our clients in line with success.
EB: You specialize in helping others deal with conflict in relationships. How have you managed conflict in your professional growth while becoming a leader in your field?
SC: I love brain chemistry and what I have learned from my own research is understanding the differences in male and female brains. We are not wired the same; therefore, we don’t view the world in the same way. I appreciate the differences, can leverage them to my advantage and do not let them confound me. This has kept me from being frustrated, instead, just understanding and appreciating that we don’t do things the same. I listen, to make sure I am clear on what others mean, then pay attention and get feedback. I have learned not to patronize, to be clear, honest and open in my communication and make sure I am on the same page as those with whom I interact.
EB: What have been some of your greatest struggles that have been instrumental in achieving your highest potential?
SC: Figuring out I need to do a lot of listening myself! As a clinical hygienist, the most important rule I learned is that you are first and foremost a dental health educator. The more a patient understood their dental health, how to maintain it, achieve it and how it relates to their overall health; the better chance I had of generating voluntary compliance.
It was a matter of how do you establish those relationships, gain the trust necessary for them to believe you and to actually listen well enough that they will do what you say because it is in their best interest. The knowledge I gained transferred into everything I do in my current business.
My concept and other’s concepts may be different. To have fewer issues, I like to educate people from the beginning to help them understand the pitfalls they may encounter, why certain decisions are made at certain times; because everything is sequential.
Being able to bridge education with the lack of knowledge has helped me to succeed.
EB: How did your volunteer work influence your path for success?
SC: The strengths I used in my volunteer work transferred over to working with the various industries I teach and coach. I started by doing lunch and learns, then I asked myself how can I get in front of potential clients. My strategy was to take out the yellow pages and look up every professional organization. I asked them three questions: Do you provide continuing education courses to your members? Do you have an annual seminar or conference? How do you find your speakers?
This began my speaking and teaching career which created spin-off business and I continue to work with those clients today.
EB: Is there someone you feel has had a positive impact on you being where you are today and what did they say or do that kept you focused on your vision and desire to be successful?
SC: Actually that would be my son and daughter, both have encouraged and supported me wholeheartedly in this business venture. My own drive keeps me focused as I believe if you are going to do something, you might as well do it well, besides, I really do like to learn!
EB: Do you have a favorite quote?
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.“—John Maxwell
“Plan your work and work your plan.”
“Man plans and God laughs”…..be prepared that some days you will not fulfill that to do list, so try not to make it too long!
EB: What empowers you to get up in the morning?
SC: I am an organized person who likes to have something to do and then to get it done. I truly enjoy challenges and figuring out how to deal with them. Every client presents me with a new challenge….to create a program for them that will provide their people with the skills to overcome their current issues.
EB: What words of wisdom would you like to pass along for those working towards reaching their highest potential and staying on task with their dreams and goals?
SC: I like to encourage people to follow their passion, however, in order to make it a reality they must be prepared to work hard, make a reasonable strategic plan and be prepared to fail along the way so they can learn something new! A positive attitude will take you a long way in any situation so it is always best to look on the bright side. Negativity never gets one very far, in fact it will prevent you from moving forward.
I also believe that life is too short not to have fun in our work….happiness is good for your brain and immune system! Happy people are more efficient, productive, creative and healthy!