Recently, I had the privilege to speak at a SUE stage and share what I learned at and beyond the sweatshop in Los Angeles garment district where I worked as new immigrant. Who knew that sweatshop would become a pivotal classroom in my life.

You may not have worked at a real sweatshop, but you know what it is like to feel trapped in a sweatshop of your own. I hope this short talk inspires you to think of of your story differently, especially how it can serve a greater purpose as you share it with others.


Since we moved to San Diego, over a decade ago, my husband has been a diehard Chargers fan. Every year I hear the same two sentences: “This is our year! The Chargers are going all the way.” Then a game like yesterday’s happens.


With less than seven minutes on the clock, the Chargers are looking victorious with a 13 point lead over the New Orleans Saints (34-21). By the time I return from a break, the game is over with a final score of 35-34. Saints win.

“What happened?!” I ask in disbelief.

I’m not a football expert, and I realize that a lot goes into losing a sizable lead in the fourth quarter. But since we are in fact entering the fourth quarter of 2016, I thought we could seize the opportunity to learn from the Chargers and put winning strategies in place to take on and win our fourth quarter.

Lesson 1: Fourth Quarter Wins Are a Team Effort

Fourth quarters aren’t won in a vacuum. In the words of Chargers’ nose tackle, Brandon Mebane, after their loss:

We want to win, we just have to figure out the fourth quarter as a team.  We are not going to point fingers at anybody.  We win as a team and we lose as a team.

Winning Strategy:


It’s Monday morning and you’re either excited to win the day, secretly dreading what’s ahead, or paralyzed because you’re unsure about what to do next.

If you fall under the last two, I want to encourage you today.

Thirtyfive years ago I was working at a sweatshop in Los Angeles. No air conditioning. Just an industrial fan sitting on a large window of a sweltering warehouse where dozens of Asian and Hispanic seamstresses constructed silk blouses.

That 105-degree, humid summer Monday morning I’d work another twelve hours armed with my tiny scissors in hand to start the day. One of my jobs was to collect the finished blouses from large bins. First, I’d cut off the leftover pieces of thread. Then I’d hang them on hangers, steam them, and cover them with garment plastic.

That last part I dreaded most. Plastic everywhere around me, sticking to my sweaty arms, legs, and cheeks.

At the end of that fateful Monday, after I counted my pieces and collected my $27 bucks for the day, I made a decision. No more!

That’s the day I remembered my late father’s words:

One move can change the momentum of the game.  

I never went back. I decided to ignore that my English was terrible and mustered the grit inside me to change the trajectory of my life… one move, one day at a time.

What I know is possible for YOU today is exactly that. This morning you are one move—one choice—away from changing the trajectory of your day, your week, and possibly your future.  You can choose to…

  • Say no to something that is dragging you down
  • Say yes to something that scares you but can yield tremendous dividends
  • Take massive action on something you’ve been putting off

All of the above are power moves that are yielding bigger businesses, better relationships, greater profits…

You have more power than you think. Take that power today and win the day!

P.S. If you are in San Diego this afternoon, join me at Business Breakthrough University to get inspired and get moving with other movers and shakers. RSVP here. 


Join us today for Women Lead Radio as Michelle Bergquist, your host of Women Who Lead, interviews Maria Keckler, President of Superb Communication and the author of – “Bridge Builders: How Superb Communicators Get What They Want in Business and in Life” and nominee for the Woman Breaking Barriers Award at the 2016 San Diego Women of Influence Awards.

NEW Bridge Builders SINGLE

Maria takes us on the path to learn about her Bridge Builder principles for intentional and authentic communication. A bridge is a connector, a path that is built with numerous supports that provide the strength to last. Learn how not to let them crumble and become a Bridge Builder communicator!

Effective communicators place themselves in their audiences’ mindset, what does your audience need – not what can I give them. Learn more about the Bridge Builders principles to becoming a better communicator. Maria firmly believes bridge builders are all superb communicators.

Maria Keckler believes that business, entrepreneurship, and courageous people tackling BHADs (Big Hairy Audacious Dreams) can change the world! Maria is a business and communications strategist, philanthropist, and bestselling author. She’s also the founder of Superb Communication, a San Diego based firm that offers strategic communication solutions for small businesses and large corporate clients.

For the last 20 years, Maria’s work has boiled down to facilitating breakthrough for hundreds of teams and professionals through strategic consulting, coaching, and training. The result of that work has lead to increased innovation, collaboration, revenues, and overall business results for hundreds of leaders within global companies, Fortune 500 companies, and small businesses.

About Your Host

michelleB_0086xWEB-199x300As the CEO and Co-Founder of Connected Women of Influence, Michelle Bergquist is a passionate advocate for women in business. At Connected Women of Influence, we believe that more women need to lead in business and everything we do is center-focused on designing platforms, programs, connections and collaborative opportunities for b2b women to prosper, succeed and lead the way in business today!

Direct Interview Link: Women who Lead

Appearance: Women Who Lead: Michelle Berquist Interviews Maria Keckler
Outlet: Women Who Lead
Location: San Diego, CA
Format: Radio


Over 40 years ago I fell in love with inspiring words. The first I remember came from my dad. He began teaching me about pivot points and the art of chess when I was only six years old as he repeated a single phrase over and over again:

One single move can change the momentum of the game became my mantra and my directive to keep moving forward when everything seemed hopeless.

Dad only lived to be 39, but as it is the case with the distant mentors we love to quote, his legacy lives on for he truly taught me to dare greatly.

Today—as I celebrate my fiftieth birthday—I want to pay the lesson forward by gifting YOU with my 50 favorite quotes to inspire YOU to dare greatly too.

– 2 –

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. —Theodore Roosevelt

– 3 –

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. —Harriet Tubman


I’m blessed to have many top achievers as clients, who always want to know what can give them an edge when it comes to reaching their goals by the end of the month.

Believe it or not, it’s simpler than you think—because most people have already quit pursuing their goals (especially since a holiday weekend is upon us).

Let me explain.


The stories you believe (about you, others, and circumstances around you) always win—whether those stories are true or not.

If you believe someone can’t change, chances are you won’t see changes in them.

If you believe you are right, you’ll have a hard time seeing someone else’s perspective.

  • What “stories” about yourself are helping or hurting your influence?
  • What “stories” about someone else helping or hurting the relationship?
  • What “stories” about your circumstances are keeping you from seeing new possibilities and opportunities around you?
  • What “stories” are giving you an edge and which ones are keeping you stuck?

You can change the narratives that are guiding your business and your life.

Don’t let any story highjack your influence, your relationships, and the outcomes you want.  You can choose.


Lots of activity doesn’t equal accomplishment. Agree?

Today is day 8 of the 30 Day Business Breakthrough Challenge I’m running inside our private Facebook group, and we’re talking productivity and high performance. I thought I’d share today’s tip publicly because the top comment I hear from colleagues and coaching clients is, “I need to be more productive.”

BBUC - Day 8

If that’s you, give the 50/10 Productivity Strategy a go. It works because it removes distractions, forces you to single task, and then recharges your brain capacity.

Here’s how it works:

  1. 50 Minutes of Intense Focus: Set your timer for 50 minutes and give your full focus to your #1 task. Turn off ALL distractions: phone, Facebook, email… Tape a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your door. Give that task your undivided attention.
  2. 10 Minutes to Recharge: When the timer goes off, set timer for 10 minutes. Get out of your chair and give your mind and body a boost. Stretch and move. Breathe. Drink some water.
  3. Repeat.

Both focus and recharging are key.

I’ve been known to sit in front of the computer for 8 hours, no food… no water… no bio breaks. Productivity suffers. Health suffers. Our best work suffers. Give 50/10 a try and see what you think.

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By the way, you can still join the challenge if you want to take your business to the next level in the next 30 days.


I rolled my eyes the first time I heard my mom say, “One day you’ll understand.” It wasn’t the first time I heard her say those words, nor the only time I rolled my eyes when I heard them.

What did she know.  I knew everything, and she knew nothing. Well, as you can imagine, I’ve been eating crow for quite some time. As it turns out, Mom always does know best. I can now admit that some of the best leadership advice I’ve learned came first from my mom.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be great to give credit where credit is due and share seven leadership lessons I learned from my momma.


IMAGINE. A powerful word. It has launched movements. It launched a husband and wife house-cleaning business that got our family through the recession of 1992, shortly after the birth of our daughter and my husband, Sam, losing his 11th job in twelve months.

“Imagine if we could just start a business!”

A cleaning service was an obvious choice. Sam loves to clean, we had a garage full of Amway cleaning products, and I had a foolproof business plan in my head.

Our well-meaning friends (the critics), weren’t so sure. They reminded us that no one hires house cleaning services in the middle of a recession.

Motivated by an eviction notice on the table and a pile of overdue bills, we had no choice but to become game changers. We pawned the only items of value we owned (the hunting rifle Sam had inherited from his dad… and my wedding ring). $180 bucks later, we were in business.

$80 went to groceries, diapers, baby formula and a tank of gas. $30 went to Kinkos for designing a bright yellow flier and printing 1000 copies. The rest was just enough for mops, broom, buckets, matching shorts, T-shirts, and old towels at the local thrift store.

Daily we canvassed the nice neighborhoods, determined to pass out 100 flyers a day. Surely someone driving a Lexus could afford a first class cleaning team.

We never had to print flyers again. For two years, that business fed us, clothed us, kept a roof over our heads—and taught us that game changers act, not grumble.

barriers or possibilites

I’m reminded of that story for two reasons. First, in Sam and I are about to celebrate 28 years of marriage, a time always reserved for looking back and thanking God for how far we’ve come.

Also, because it is a constant reminder that we, entrepreneurs, have the power to imagine an outcome and work diligently to see it come to fruition.

  • by taking action every day
  • by making bold moves
  • by ignoring the critics or the economic conditions
  • by focusing on the why, before the how

Make no mistake. There isn’t a shortage of money in the world. In less than a week, Star Wars made one billion dollars. A lot of people busying a $20 dollar ticket.

Don’t lose focus. Stay the course. Your mindset is your number one tool that gives you the unfair advantage.

Imagine the possibilities. Be a game changer. Be a bridge builder to your dreams.

How are you changing the game of your business and your future today?

If this post is helpful, help spread the word and let’s continue the conversation on the social web.


Yesterday I had a big breakthrough. I stepped in front of the camera for my first-ever LIVE Facebook video broadcast. No editing. No second takes to make me sound smarter and more likeable. No changing the angle to make me look thinner or more professional. A terrifying moment for a chronic perfectionist.

Why put myself through the agony? Because I wanted to connect with the amazing entrepreneurs I have the privilege to lead through a 30 Day Business Breakthrough Challenge.

I’m in San Diego. They are tuning in from around the world. I wanted them to see what was happening at the live mastermind event.

My insecurities were put to bed at the foot of service… because it wasn’t about me. It was about them. I wanted to cheer them up. I wanted them to feel the energy from San Diego, so it could fire them up.

In the next 18 months amazing things are going to happen for those who have the guts to get rid of the insecurities that have kept them smaller than they want and need to be.

I want to be one of them. I want to inspire others to do the same. So, I’m I’m stepping in front of the live camera more often.

I breathe. I tell myself: “It’s not about me.”

How about you. Why do you need to put your perfectionism to bed? If the reason is big enough. If it’s in support of serving others, you will do it.

Let’s go!


I used to believe that having a willingness to be little meant little dreams, little aspirations, little goals, little faith, little risk, little voice. Not be seen. Not be heard.

I know better now. All of the above is just the opposite of being little because I, not others, become the center of my universe: Unwillingness to live to our God-given potential… unwillingness to pursue the passion burning in our hearts… unwillingness to serve others with our best gifts and talents—amped up to their full potential through hard work and discipline—makes us the center of the world because our focus turns inward.

My fears. My insecurities. My inadequacies.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was willing to be little. Mother Teresa was willing to be little. Men and women who’ve died for our freedom have been willing to be little. Jesus was willing to be little.

Being willing to be little is service. Love. Compassion. Empathy. Doing what scares us. Being willing to be little is being willing to be uncomfortable, do what’s unpopular, learn and work when it’s inconvenient—all of it so that we can serve others at a higher level.

Being little is not silence. It’s owning the voice we’ve been given.

Being little is not taking a back seat. It’s accepting the platform we’ve been given.

Being little is not false humility. It’s humbly leading within the circle of influence we’ve been given—despite my fears and insecurities; despite the critics and the cynics.

Now, let’s go out and be willing to be that kind of little today.


Erin Acton, a certified life and business coach in the field of burnout and life purpose, knows what burnout can do to you. While leading the communications department for a $50M company and juggling her role as a mother, she found herself at the end of her rope, battling burnout like thousands of people today. Today, as the foremost authority on moving from burnout to balance, Erin is helping successful women do life and career on their terms.

How do you know if you are experiencing burnout?

You run and run but it only makes the wheel spin faster. You have a career that leaves you no time for friends and very little time for your family. You’re disappointed in yourself because when you’re with your family, you’re on edge and you snap at them. Sometimes, you’ll look up and realize that you just had a conversation with someone but you have no idea what they said and worse, no idea what you said. Some days, it’s like a zombie has taken over your body. Your confidence has tanked. You have no energy. You know you can’t keep doing this but you don’t know where to start.  —Erin

In this episode, Erin shares how you can stop feeling overwhelmed now. She walks you through a simple but powerful strategy you can implement right away. If you are going to have a fulfilling career, relationships, or business—this is a conversation you cannot afford to miss.

Before this conversation is over, you’ll experience results!

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What Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi can teach us about marketing

What comes to mind when you hear the names of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi in the same sentence with the word Marketing? That’s the topic of my recent conversation with Joseph Ranseth, best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, and thought leader who has been helping individuals and organizations start movements for over 15 years.

In this episode of Business Breakthrough University, Joseph shares inspiring and thought-provoking principles behind movement-worthy ideas. He also shares the blueprint that world class leaders have used (without even realizing it) to create movements that have spread like wildfire.

Beware: Joseph is not your typical marketer who’s putting a new spin on common business ideas. Joseph’s authentic passion for launching transformational messages and brands will challenge the way you look at your message, your business, your audience, and your influence.

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