3 Reasons Why Leading Yourself First Matters


Three little letters.

One powerful concept.

Once you understand this concept, you can start to experience the transformational benefits it can bring into your life and leading-yourselfbusiness.

What does VCP® mean?

  1. Visibility
  2. Credibility
  3. Profitability

Where you are at on the VCP curve impacts your effectiveness as a leader, your networking time, your results. (VCP applies in all facets of life. Not just business and networking.)

The VCP curve is the process of moving from invisibility, to becoming visible. Once you establish visibility then you need to reach a state of credibility, then finally achieving a level of trust that brings profitability from your time, efforts and energy.

Start seeing where you are visible

When you network as a way to grow your business or support personal causes, you are visible. When you take on a leadership position, you have immediately positioned yourself to be visible.

Whether you like it or not, visibility comes with the role and responsibility of leadership.

Being visible is easy. You can be physically present and visible by attending networking functions, meetings, showing up for work, taking care of clients, vendors and even doing things with colleagues.

Belong to any online networking groups? You have a digital life. You have a level of visibility even if you do not participate in the online activities of the groups.

Are you a member of any service club, trade organization, church, community groups? Do they have a roster of members? Do you attend their meetings? You have  a level of visibility here.

Ever stand in line at the grocery store, at the bank or even wait to get into a local sporting event? You are visible here too!

Why does awareness of your visibility matter?

Being visible is easy.  Just because you are visible does not mean you are credible.

Being credible when being being visible is a goal effective leaders strive for.

How does learning to lead yourself first, and have a goal to move up the VCP ladder matter?

People will follow those who they trust. It takes a long time to build trust, takes a few seconds to break it.

If you are visible, but not credible, people will not trust you.  Think you will get abundant, quality referrals without strong credibility?  Think again.

Think you will be a great leader when what you say and what you do are not in alignment? Think again.

What is needed to lead yourself and move from invisibility, to visibility onward to credibility?

Take action to lead yourself by:

  • being attentive to what you do
  • why you do it
  • how you do things
  • when you do things
  • where you do things and
  • with whom

The most effective leaders live and work with transparency and personal  integrity. They are highly aware that everything they do while at work or play, is a direct reflection of who they really are.

Ever seen a doctor who is clearly overweight and out of shape? They stand before you huffing and puffing. Sweat dripping down their neck, forehead and face because all they did is walk to see you?  Yet, this very doctor tells you that you need to ‘loose weight and start exercising’ to cure your ailment.

Ever call a business with a concern, or problem you need help with and the customer service person says in a rote way “I’m sorry for your problem”… but what you feel on the phone is that they really don’t care? You can tell it’s simply just a statement they are trained to say.  How does that moment make you feel? Does it add to the problem, or do their words (without feeling) provide comfort, peace and a lead to a resolve?

Those are two simple examples of people living, working, talking and yes, even ‘leading the moment’ without integrity. Both stories show a type of  visibility, but both lack credibility with their words and actions.

What you say, what you do, when you do it, how you do it and with whom…matters.

Great leaders need to be consistent in all they do.

It’s easy to fake words.  Faking behavior is not so easy – especially over the long term.

Some people will say anything to anyone to get what they want. This is not leadership.It’s manipulation. This type of person does not live with integrity. The words they say may sound sincere, but sincerity is no guarantee for truth.  It’s easy to sound sincere if the first person you lie to is yourself.

This is where the real opportunity to lead yourself really presents itself.

Are your words, thoughts, actions in alignment all the time? Everywhere and with everyone? Or, do you think,speak and act one way with some people, then change how you speak, act and think with others?

Do you put on your ‘best behavior’ hat when you network, or work with clients face to face- and turn around criticize, judge, demean or speak ill of them behind their back?

Have you boasted about how important people and relationships are only to blow off meetings, show up late all the time, come in half prepared?

What about those days where little challenges that frustrate us all have you reach a point where to complete strangers you are rude, obnoxious, belligerent simply because you feel entitled to do so since you are having a bad day?

What if this ‘bad day behavior’ happens often- and unbeknownst to you, one of your best clients, who you’ve told how much you value people – sees you from afar treating others this way? Do you think he will be your best client very long? Do you think he will refer his trusted friends to you?

Take the lead with yourself

You need to be able to lead yourself first with integrity, authenticity, transparency and willingness to ‘do what it takes’ to be your best.

Not there yet? That’s o.k. You have a place to start.

Are  you already there? Congratulations!

The best leaders will never ask anything of others that they themselves will not be willing to do. Ask yourself to be your very best self.   Be aware that your VCP is in play at all times.  You can move up the VCP curve. You can also move down it. You can move down it so far and fast that you might not be able to easily recover.  Be attentive at all times.

When you lead yourself first, you set the example. You learn through experience what it takes to have the commitment, discipline, dedication, and learning curve of how to humble your heart, set aside your ego.  Start to live with honesty to your own self, in all areas, at all times.

I am not talking about being a perfectionist – nor being perfect. No one is perfect.

I am talking about having an awareness of your strengths, your good qualities, your great qualities.  What are areas in your life and skill sets are at a place of excellence right now? What are areas in your life and skill sets that could use improvement? Where do you need support? Who can you reach out to mentor, train or support you?

Live each day, one day at a time.  Great leaders are life long learners. Learning to lead yourself takes time.

Just remember this: the concept of “Do as I say, not as I do”… doesn’t work for effective leadership.

Your actions DO speak louder than words.

People today have access to more info, more ways to spread info about you. When you lead yourself first, get your house in order.  Then you will have more insight, wisdom, an authentic voice when it’s time to network and  time to lead others.  Lead yourself with excellence so that when people talk about you, it builds your reputation.

This is vitally important when you are eventually in a place to lead the leaders.

Be the change you want to see.

You are reading this to increase your skill sets and understanding about how to be a leader when networking.

The people I work with most often want results.

To get results your networking time, you need to ‘walk the walk.

Effective Networking is about building deep, quality relationships.

Relationships take time to develop.

During that time, you are really building and increasing the trust factor between you and those you network with?

Depending upon your reason for networking, it may not be the relationship between you and your networking circle that matters.  It does, (very much)- but often, when business professionals are networking, their goal is to have access to the people your ‘people’ know.

When you lead yourself with excellence in all areas, the bond, trust between you and your first level contacts will be strong.That’s important when they go to vouch for you to their contacts. Those contacts might be their friends, family, peers, customers, vendors, acquaintances.

When you are networking, your reputation (built upon your words, actions, deeds, attitude, ethics and ability to deliver that which you say you will) has a direct impact on the reputation and quality of relationships the person who refers you has with their contact sphere.

The risk is high when we work by referrals.

If you are looking to network for many years to support your businesses, your personal life, your passions or even your social responsibility causes… your ability to lead yourself first…matters.

Your reputation matters.

Your time matters.

You matter.

Question:  What is one action you can take that will increase your credibility? Share your answer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Here’s to you taking action to lead yourself!

Debbra Sweet

VCP® was developed by Dr.Ivan Misner.
Dr. Ivan Misner lives a full life. An entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, and bestselling author, he has achieved enormous success in each field. He is the Founder of BNI, the world’s largest business networking and referral organization. In addition, he is the Senior Partner for The Referral Institute, the world’s leading training company on referral marketing.


Leadership Skills Training Expert Debbra Sweet Speaks on Growing Business by Referrals

This Thursday, February 5th, Debbra Sweet will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming BNI San Diego Event in recognition of International Networking Week 2015.

Yesterday kicked off the 2015 International Networking Week, filled with events taking place globally to recognize the impact that word of mouth networking (referrals) has had in the businessbusiness-card-exchange community.

Part of that global celebration includes a local event taking place Thursday, February 5th from 11:30 am until 5 pm at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley, hosted by BNI San Diego.

Debbra Sweet, a leadership expert, who specializes in change management in the areas of body, mind and business, was invited to speak on the topic of the ‘Growing Your Team” as part of the event.

Sweet has developed a reputation as a leader who not only teaches, trains, coaches and consults on the subjects of leadership, business, marketing, sales and wellness- but she is one whose peers confidently share “She lives it.”

Those who have been clients, students or attendees at any of Sweet’s events say: “There are people talk about doing things. Then are people who do. Debbra is a doer. What she says she’ll do, she delivers150%”.

Others declare: “She has the ability to engage you from the beginning with confidence and comfort. You know standing before you is someone who will lead and who truly cares about you, your success and your results”.

Sweet is has been a Director Consultant for the local BNI region for 10 years, and has been involved with this organization for close to 18. She is a Certified Trainer in Word of Mouth Marketing and will be delivering a workshop designed to teach attendees on how to effectively grow their networking team, contact sphere and client base through a strategic approach that leverages time and delivers results.

This is a day of interactive attendee participation workshops featuring the topics of:

• Embrace Quality
• Grow Your Team
• Seek Engagement

Dr. Ivan Misner, founder & BNI Chairman of Board will open the session via webcam. He will address “3+1 = Member Success”, and will be taking personal questions from the attendees.

A successful business owner of a few different companies, Debbra Sweet is located in San Diego County. She is also a best selling co-author of the New York Times Best Seller “Masters of Sales” and the lead author in the “Power of Leadership” book series

Sweet specializes in working with business owners and executives. At Sweet Marketing Solutions she helps them increase their profitability through planned, targeted, effective marketing. At Thrive Right Consulting, she works with individuals, companies and organizations to help them create a solid foundation to Thrive in body, mind and business.

If you have a simple or complex problem that requires high-level thinking, Debbra has the insights, skills, attention to details and resources to provide solid solutions.
She’s ready to dig deeply into a problem or situation, sorting through the variables and nuances. Then she takes the time needed to figure out a solution. When she presents solutions and options, it will be carefully considered and presented in a rich, dynamic way with substantial content.

For more information on Debbra Sweet go to: www.DebbraSweet.com

Be the Best Boss: New Leadership Skills for Supervisors that Drive Peak Performance

The Power of Leadership in Business Networking book sales and workshops I’ve been doing lately hasLeadership authenticity been creating more attention and interest from different organizations.

These have included requests to speak at national and international industry tradeshows on Leadership, Sales and Marketing. The leadership topic has also peaked the ears and interest of differnt HR Departments and HR Organizations.

With more people (customers, employess, bosses) demanding better leaders who understand accountability- and are not afraid to live that way, I have been asked to lead a national webinar for key personnel in HR. 

On Thursday, Dec 8th, 2011, I will be leading a webinar called:

Be the Best Boss: New Leadership Skills for Supervisors that Drive Peak Performance 

Being a highly successful supervisor requires a fundamentally different skill set than it did even five years ago. Your bosses are under new pressures to do more with less and drive more value from each employee. It can be hard for supervisors to think about being a progressive and inspirational leader when they are just trying to meet daily job demands.

Most productive employees leave an organization because of something their supervisor is doing — or not doing. Whether leaders find themselves too overwhelmed with responsibilities to take an active interest in employee development or haven’t received the proper leadership training to inspire creativity, take risks, and cultivate project ownership, the result is the same.

Don’t wait until your best employee walks out the door. Train your supervisors on how to better manage, motivate, and inspire in even the most challenging times. Have them participate in this 90 minute, risk-free, interactive Internet-delivered workshop, and they will learn:

  • How self-cultivate hidden leadership traits waiting to come out
  • Key principles of highly successful leadership, and how to apply them to your situation
  • The best ways to motivate others to follow, and accomplish goals and objectives
  • How to maintain a willing and winning team of followers
  • How to lead with confidence — every day
  • How to convey instructions and guidance while keeping team members accountable for their own work and success
  • How to build trust and confidence with employees

In just 90 minutes, your team will gain leadership skills to manage, motivate, and inspire employees. Register them now for this informative event risk-free.

If you know an HR Director or HR Manager that would like to learn more about this upcoming webinar for thier business or organization, drop me an email please. 🙂

Here’s to amazing leadership skills!

Debbra Sweet



Leadership Skills Development Training Expert Debbra Sweet Featured at Vista Chamber Book Club

Since Sept 2nd, 2011 as aLeadership Skills Development Training Expert I have been a featured speaker monthly at the Vista Chamber of Commerce Book Club.
Friday September 2nd was the first month of the Vista Chamber of Commerce’s Business Breakfast Club.  The Business Breakfast Club is  a Networking group that promotes, teaches, shares and practices “best practices” in Business.   As an  author of “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking”  I has been the guest facilitator/teacher.  
The Business Breakfast Club will meets every other Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at the Vista Entertainment Center.
As a leadership development expert Ispecialize in change management in the areas of marketing, business, leadership, and wellness.  I have been invited to be a regular speaker and trainer for the new Friday Morning Networking program being offered through the Vista Chamber of Commerce.

As a resident of the Vista community since 1993 I saw  this as a perfect way to give back to the local businesses in the area.  My expertise in leadership and  many years of experience as a certified trainer of Word of Mouth Referral Networking has positioned me as a leading expert in this topic.

The lead author of “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking” book series, the voice of “The Power of Leadership Radio” as well as a much requested speaker and trainer on the topic of leadership and networking, I actually have  developed a special series of interactive learning workshops for the attendees of the First Friday Book Club.

The attendees at these Friday morning sessions have been returning each month to be with me to learn about marketing through networking while developing leadership skills.  One member who came specifically to see me speak each month recently raved:

“Thanks so much!  It was a fabulous meeting this morning.  There also seems to be a good energy and momentum to the group! I think the fantastic leadership of Ashley and the “learning environment” created by speakers such as Debbra really make it special!”

Maureen Barrack, Clinic Director

My years of teaching and building businesses by way of integrating word of mouth marketing and networking along with other methods of effective marketing has gives me a unique perspective as a leader in this area. My track record is strong as she has helped many businesses develop ROI in the millions with her knowledge, teaching and training on this subject.

When I am asked about the concept of “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking” book, I share: “This book is not about teaching how to be a leader. This is not about how to network. The concept is how to Be a leader When networking.”   

 “The world is a different place today. It’s not enough to just talk about leadership. You have to live it.  In business, a core commonality of people is to network, to build community.”

“Unfortunately, there are many people who come to networking situations with lack of knowledge that every thing they do has a direct result on whether they will, or will not, achieve the goals they set forth with their networking.  

This book, along with the leadership training program my company has, opens up eyes and awareness that one must be a leader when networking.  This subject is hot on the ears of those who want better business, better results, better relationships- whether it is in the corporate world, mom and pop businesses, amongst college  peers or even at social events.”

My professional and personal experiences validate my reputation with other business owners. People are looking for someone they can look up to, aspire to, someone who is easy to talk to on a personal basis. That is exactly what I do.  I am relatable.  I do my best to be  a people’s person and  a great mentor of success.

For more information about the Power of Leadership Book series or to book  me for an event, go to http://www.PowerOfLeadershipTraining.com

Here’s to your success!


Business Marketing Speaker Debbra Sweet brings Effective Online Contractor Marketing to CALPASC SD

I love to help people help themselves. Over the years it’s become very clear to me that most of us have great ideas and a desire to make those ideas come to pass.

Where people get stuck is with the ‘How’- and then the need for believing in themselves that they can do it.

That’s where I come in. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with companies, individuals and organizations to help others reach their goals.

Lately I’ve been working with contractors and specialty tradesmen. If you know a family member or neighbor who is frustrated with their business and wants to make it work- this might be a resource for them.

Check out: http://www.ContractorMME.com

If they are on a super tight budget, have them email me. I might have a super low cost option to offer them.

Also, you can learn a bit more about me through this press release: http://prlog.org/10774976

Have an amazing and safe 4th of July weekend!


Survival Tips Part 2 for Your Business Marketing When Disaster Strikes

When Disaster Strikes

Now that you have a look at some marketing basics, its one thing to be proactive in normal business circumstances, but what do you to when disaster strikes?

If you’ve made the choice to be proactive and protect your business when difficult times arise, here’s insight into how you’ll be helping others while taking care of yourself.

When a disaster hits a community, such as the yearly fires, floods, earthquakes and snowstorms that occur, there will be hardship and there will be people in need of your products and services.  Effective and timely marketing of your business to those people will help alleviate their stress and ease their recovery. There is marketing opportunity to position yourself and your company as a resource to those in need.  The most important elements are:  the way you present your marketing message that will help solve their problems or fulfill needs, and the timeliness. You can use a variety of advertising outlets to get your message to them quickly.

By extending your services to people in your community with a caused based marketing approach, combined with a special promotion in a time of need, you will gain clients who will be grateful for your efforts. With continual marketing to them, over time, you will find that you gained a loyal client because you cared enough to offer help in their time of need.  The promotion element makes it easier for them to buy from you.

Regarding promotions, you’ve seen examples of successful approaches for years. There’s the ‘holiday sale’, the ‘year end blow out’, the annual ‘January White Sale” – and so much more.  You’ve seen purchase incentives such as: buy one, get one free; 10% off and even a purchase incentive of ‘proceeds go to a favorite charity”.  These elements of promotions address one area:  motivation and incentive to use your service now.

Know that seasonal ‘disasters occur could actually be the reason for you to reach out to the community. This is the time where creative marketing strategy, combined with a timely event related offer of your service or product can be tied into a recent current event or disaster.  Be creative here- the more original you are, the easier it is for people to remember you. One of the big keys here is preparation.  The second is sensitivity.  If you use a traditional promotional approach for an offer- be attentive to how y0u present it.

No one wants fires, earthquakes, floods, snowstorms.  The reality is, they happen. Your goal here is to be able to offer value based products or services when disaster strikes.  If you have been marketing this way prior to a disaster occurring, your company should already have some visibility and credibility. People will be more apt to purchase from you when disaster strikes if you are able to act quick on your feet and respond to the opportunity to help others quickly.

Provide solutions in time of need

You might have a specialty product or service that will benefit many.  If you have the solution that others need, it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to actually promote your service.  If you were a victim of the disaster, this is even more important if your business is your only livelihood.   During difficult times, people have many more choices to make.  You can support them by making their choices easier.  Help them to find you and let your services and products solve their problems-and the return for you will give you the means to help solve your needs. 

Visit again to read part three:  where to start for this type of marketing.

Have a great day,

Debbra Sweet


Let’s Get Physical

Creating abundance  on a physical level requires us to take a look at what we already have and understanding what to do in order to create the opportunity for prosperity to enter your life.

After a farmer tills the soil, he will go through and purge any remaining weeds so they do not infest the new crop. If your intention is to have more materialistic things, – physical- things, but you have in your surroundings already either: too many things that you never use, or you have items that when you look at them or think about them- you find that sad, negative, hostile or non-positive feelings surface, you have a blockage (weeds) that will prevent you from attracting positive things.

Too many things are just that: too many things. Sometimes we call people who hold onto too much ‘packrats’. Often there’s a scarcity mindset behind this. One may feel that they have to hold onto everything because they may not be able to get ‘it’ again. This mindset is small; it does not create a vessel that allows for abundance to manifest.

If there’s an ocean full of abundant and prosperous opportunities for you, but you have in your surroundings things that only allow for you to receive a drop- you’ll only receive a drop.

Historically (and a practice still evidenced today) there is a process in harvesting that is called separating the chaff.

Wheat closeup

Wheat closeup

Biblically and historically referenced, separating the chaff is a process by which, the useless parts of a grain are removed from the nutritionally valuable part of the grain.

It’s common to hear about this in the traditional harvesting of wheat. Today this action applies to many other food products. This practice of separating and then purging the old, useless parts of a harvest is the same as what we’ve been talking about above.

The chaff in your life is those things, people and emotions that are not valuable and cannot contribute to a positive harvest of abundance in your life. Another reason to let go of some physical things is the emotional attachments to them. It’s natural to create an emotional attachment by association to our physical things. As stated earlier, if you have physical, material things that when you see them or think about them- negative emotions(mental weeds) surface- the best thing you can do to create abundance is to let it go, get rid of it- literally.

It’s the concept of out of sight, out of mind. These negative emotions are chaff in your life. You may still have those memories dormant, but the trigger- the visual stimulant from that item that allows the negative emotion to surface. When you remove the physical item the emotional trigger that is attached to it will also be removed. This is a big step in letting go and creating abundance in your life.

For some people, this literal ‘purge'( or chaffing) of your things (or friends) will be emotionally freeing. You allow yourself to let go- and this release will give you room to receive new things (or people) in your life. You may want to do this alone- or you may want to have a really good friend by your side for emotional support as you go through this process.

Some people find that as they literally remove the physical things that make them think negatively, the negative emotion will temporarily surface. (It’s called a healing crisis- it’s temporarily resurfacing to allow for a positive memory replacement). On a cellular level, you can create new cellular memory.

The act of ‘purging’ the old – allows you to release the negative emotion. (Negative emotion that remains held onto- attracts new negative things in your life.) After time, this practice of separating the chaff becomes easy and you will find that you can do it more often. The removal of old, stagnant, emotionally binding items or people creates space in your life to receive the new positive things you desire. On an emotional level, as you ‘release’ the negative item, you ‘free’ your emotions as well. This positive result – imprints a positive emotion on into cellular memory- starting the process of positive attraction into your life.

You are on your way to learning time tested, proven insights to creating a prosperous life filled with abundance and blessings. Take the time to purge the chaff in your life. See how great this action makes you feel when it’s all said and done.

Looking forward to sharing next on how to create abundance and prosperity with your health!

Have an awesome day,

Debbra Sweet