Hope Wissel

Don’t Go It Alone


The countdown till Christmas is on…. okay, so it has been going on for awhile BUT as the kids countdown to their holiday break, it gets REAL!  The holidays for some bring a bag of mixed emotions – happy, sad, and fearful are just a few.  Some will spend the holidays alone while others although surrounded by friends and family will feel alone.  I am hear to let you know – you are not alone.

My emotions are on a roller coaster this holiday season.  Christmas will be spent with some family but mostly my extended family.  The New Year brings lots of changes in my business life.  Those old people-pleasing fears start to rear their nasty head causing me (and others) to seek solitude. The comparison game has gift giving becoming a “can you top this” instead of being “from the heart”.

I read an article recently which talked about being alone and how it is connected to our core fear of rejection.  We insist we are independent instead of letting others know we are just plain scared.  We claim we are focused rather than collaborating for fear of rejection. I have been sharing with all who will listen “I’m scared” about the shift from a regular paycheck to relying on my direct sales business for income.

As a CEO of my own business and even when I was working in the non-profit world, I never realized how solitary my work is. I write alone. I work in my office alone.  I make phone calls along.  I plan alone.  My home office is tucked downstairs and my team is scattered about in their home offices in this and other states.  Being an empty nester often brings more time alone.

The truth is we can make the most of being “alone” or we can wallow in sadness….


“Alone” is where moments of inspiration unfold. “Alone” is also where moments of isolation steal your joy.   Each of us needs to find a balance between the two.  I know it isn’t easy this time of year.

As I embark on working my business FT, I am finding myself more passionate, purposeful and intentional about my work.  The thing which always seems to be missing and I am working hard to change this time around is Connection.  For it is when I connect with others, my life is transformed.  I am focusing on building relationships with my team, my hostesses and my customers.  My goal is to inspire while making a difference in the lives of others but to also connect with them. Stomping out the fear of rejection and refusing to play the comparison game.

These words are from Valerie Burton:

Everything in life is more meaningful when you make connection the goal. Connection isn’t “networking.” It is isn’t simply collaboration. It isn’t just communication. Connection is love. It is the moment, however brief, when your soul aligns with another and you serve one another’s needs in some way. It could be a smile, a touch, an idea, a word of encouragement, or act of support. But connection makes life and work juicy.

No one should be alone EVER but especially during the holidays.  Holidays are time for family and friends.  Family does not have to be defined by blood relation but can be those individuals who embrace you for the good, the bad and the ugly.

Today feels like mindless rambling but God put this on my heart.  Maybe for me to acknowledge my fears or maybe it was something someone else needed to hear.

How are you trying to go it alone this holiday season? What would making a connection give you in your personal or business life?

 Reach out. Connect. Don’t go it alone.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Hope Wissel

Great Questions Help Build Relationships

When you are out and about, do you struggle with starting conversations with people you don’t know?  Are you able to make great comebacks or think of “cute” “funny” things to say to engage others in conversation?  If so you are blessed.

If these fears haunt you then networking is probably one of the things that you HATE to do, right?  Meeting new people is key to our business especially in direct sales.  Now, I am not talking about at a home party or a vendor event where you can engage people in conversation when your products are right in front of them.  I am talking about those “other” meetings – chance meetings, networking events and countless other sales opportunities that are out there.

If you can’t think fast on my feet when you are out and about OR if you miss cues that would help lead into conversations where you can share about you products and the business opportunity – YOU are missing out on business.

So, how do you change that.  Savvy business people know that the key to effective conversations is to ask questions. Asking questions lets you accomplish three things at the same time.

  1. It gives you control the conversation so you can direct the conversation and keep it moving.
  2. It provides you with valuable information so that you can figure out the best way help to this person.
  3. Believe it or not, questions communicate your interest in the other person, helping them feel appreciated and understood.

Here are some questions that you can ask in almost any situation, without feeling like a stalker:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How did you get into that field?
  3. What do you love most about what you do?
  4. What’s your biggest challenge?
  5. What’s your latest success?
  6. Who’s your target market?
  7. Have you been here before?
  8.  Who else do you know here?
  9. Are you a member of this organization?
  10. Who else do you know here?
  11. Where are you from?
  12. What do you do for fun?
  13. Are you a sports fan?
  14. Did you see the game last night?
  15. Do you have any kids?

And perhaps my absolute favorite networking question:

Where else do you go to network?

Okay, so you don’t need to use them all but they are some good ice breakers.  Some would say that you should memorize these questions, develop a few of your own and use them the next time you meet someone you don’t know to engage them in conversation. See how easily the conversation flows.  By asking others questions about themselves, they will also respond with questions for you.  Remember the 10-second rule by Deb Bixler to ensure that you don’t monopolize the conversation.

Do you have a suggestion to add to this list? What are your favorite networking questions?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!