Good Morning All!
My name is Mary Gardner and I’m so excited to be starting a blog. I’ve been keeping a journal for about 30 years.. since I was a little kid, and I’ve always loved to write.

I’m going to keep a blog for a few reasons. First, since I coach on a regular basis I have so many stories that come up during the sessions that will be helpful to my other clients. I have to write them down ANYWAY.. so why not share them with a larger audience? Besides, then you’ll be able to write me and tell me about YOUR experiences.. and hopefully your stories are so awesome that they’ll end up in my book on CHARISMA !!!

For instance, yesterday one of my clients called me. He’s a techie who works in the health care environment. He has a habit of always wanting to follow “standard operating procedures”. I carefully explained to him that YES.. you have procedures but FIRST you are dealing with a PERSON. We talked about the fact that his “team mate” who was causing him FRUSTRATION was actually his INTERNAL CUSTOMER. That gave it a different slant. I helped him rewrite his somewhat stern and formal email into a friendly email that got the point across to email him instead of calling him. We rephrased it so it didnt’ make him sound harsh and like a dictator. It merely came off sounding like a BETTER IDEA for everyone. I’m proud of him that he is COACHABLE and willing to learn.

So, let me just tell you a little about me so you get an idea of where I’m coming from. I grew up in Winter Park FL, one of 4 kids.. the middle! I have been an athlete all of my life. I went to Auburn University in AL, and then worked on Capital Hill for Senator Paul Laxalt. I worked on the Subcommittee of Criminal Law. Then I became a lecture agent at Keppler Associates in DC where I sold and booked professional speakers and celebrities. I loved that job but knew I wanted to push myself further. I conquered sales and felt I wanted to TEACH what I knew. THAT has taken a long time to get right but I still love learning about it. I LOVE coaching and am thrilled to see the profession growing and growing.

Over the next few years, I had a PR firm, and coached people in their speaking, marketing, ideas for books, lectures, or political campaigns. I also started the firstEast Coast based in person coach training company called the Coaches Certification Institute. We were in NYC, Princeton, and the Philly area. We were very successful but after 9/11 we folded. I was the founder and I partnered with Deb Giffen and Michael Stratford, both excellent master coaches.

During that time, I did a lot of speaking, to the college market, I did GUERILLA DATING. I loved talking with the students and having fun with them. My male beauty contest was always a hit with the students and we even danced on stage. The gimmicks were a blast, but it was all a motivational talk about getting to know yourself, and grow yourself so you’ll make an excellent partner in dating and in life.

I also did a lot of workshops in the area of communication and public speaking or professional speaking. I did them at The Learning Annex, The Seminar Center in NYC, and at The Learning Studio in PA. I also coached at Computer Associates, Goldman Sachs, The MONY Group and worked with a lot of other individuals in NYC, CT and PA and NJ. I did training for these companies too.

On Sept. 10, 2001, my husband and I almost bought a place in NYC. Then Sept. 11 happened. The world came to a halt. Our lives changed on that day. I thank God that we didn’t lose any friends, but NY changed in a way that will never recover. The innocence was shaken to the core and many lives were completely altered. THe woman I was selling CCI to lost everything in the WTC and moved to FL immediately. Ultimately, we decided to fold CCI, and I moved to NC with my family. Michael moved to CA with his new wife, and Deb continued to work harder and harder at Wharton.

My husband and I decided to relocate.. to raise our son in a more affordable, less stressful environment so we selected Charlotte, NC. Talk about CULTURE SHOCK!! Even though I had lived in Charlotte before, and in the south before, I wasn’t prepared for the different change of pace, the GOOD ol’ boy mentality and the different ways of doing business. I’ll be writing on these as we go along.

Finally, three years later, I have a handle on it. I seek out people who are like ME.. and I remain close to the vest on those who I probably am a bit much for. I’m opinionated, I’m strong, and I’m confident. That sometimes doesn’t fare well with some people when they are used to their comfort zone. By my very nature, I’m a goal oriented person. I like to achieve things, and I like to push myself.. and challenge others.

I’m not overly competitve either. Mostly with myself. Like this past weekend! I was in my first competitive swim meet in over 20 years! I was a pretty decent swimmer in high school and have been on the Mecklenberg Acquatic Club Masters Team for the past few months. I did happen to win all of my events… 50 Breaststroke, 100 Breaststoke, and 200 Breaststroke . I actually got first AND last place in my age group. WHY? Because I was the only swimmer IN my age group swimming those events! ha ha.. But.. I also beat out several 19 and 20 year old women in all of these events. Overall, against the whole group, meaning every age woman from 19-up, I won the 100 Breaststroke in a 1:23. ( My high school time was a 1:11). I got 4th in the 50 Br. 38. ( My high school time was a 33.) and in the 200 I got 3rd with a 3:04. (High school time was a 2:40)

YES.. I’m slower.. but I’ve had a baby, knee surgery and I haven’t been pounding the weights and running. I’m adding those to my workout now. I’m dropping the extra 10lbs I’ve added since high school and I’m going to to get my workouts up to where I’m really competitive. I want to get the STATE RECORD for my age group in the state of NC. I think it’s a reachable goal. The record time is a 1:17.

I am really excited to be a part of a team again, and to have a goal worth pursuing. We swim 4 mornings a week in Huntersville at 5:30-7am. Its not easy getting up that early, but you feel GREAT once you are done. I’ve really begun loving my schedule and feel so much more mentally and physically healthy since I’ve began swimming with the Masters Team.

Personally, I”m married to a great husband, Sway and have a little boy Jeremy, almost 5. I was married before to a very nice guy, but we had nothing in common. I did learn a lot from him though. Sway and I are very compatible and very happy together. He pushes himself a lot and is a big support to me. I think sometimes he lets me be lazy. So, I feel it is important to have a coach and other friends who push me to excell.

Jeremy, my little boy, was a preemie. My water broke at 24 weeks and thanks to all of the many prayers from people around the world.. literally, he was born by natural birth, (NO DRUGS!!! ) at 28 weeks. Lets just say.. I now know why women talk about their childbirth experience for the REST of their life! I used to be one of those who would smirk under my breath and say: “Get over it.. it’s been 15 years since you had the kid!” NOW? I’m right there in the middle of ANY group of women who are sharing their dramatic stories. Guys.. you just CAN”T imagine what it is like to have your body taken over by some foreign object like that. And the TORTURE of childbirth!!! Okay, sorry for getting overly dramatic but seriously, it’s a miracle and it also hurts!

I did have a difficult time.. was laid up for 6 weeks in bed. I spent a month in the hospital laying in a bed that was inverted.. my feet up/head down. That keeps the fluid in. Anyway.. my son is now almost 5 and is ALL boy! He’s quite the athlete himself. He loves to swim, and is starting Tak Won Do this week. He loves the super heros and has quite the outgoing personality. I’d say he’s a bit like his mom and dad. He isnt’ the easiest child in the world. He’s VERY stubburn, slow to listen and wants to do things HIS way.

Now I see what a difficult personality that I”VE been. But.. I now know my strengths, my weaknesses (focus on your strenghts and get help with your weaknesses is my motto!) I also know that he needs structure in his life, and he needs goals and he needs strong coaches. Just like me. My husband is a bit more self motivated.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I”m LOVING this writing as you can see. It’s definitely who I am and I would welcome your thoughts, comments and your emails. I want to learn and grow and meet other people who really want to to BIG Things in the world. I sure do. I want my life to COUNT.. and count BIG. I do believe that God has a plan for all of us, and that we have to get ourselves READY to work with our purpose. I believe that we are here to share with people, to help people and to use our talents to help others.

I will write about my clients, and about my life.. here and there. OH.. I forgot to say that I also do quite a bit of TV and radio. I’ll be updating you about my upcoming TV tour soon.

Thanks for stopping by.. and lets do it again soon!!! All the best, Mary

Mary Gardner
The Charisma Coach