Are you a Naked Image to the Airport TSA?

I have often wondered what a TSA can see when I get “scanned” at the airport.  I must admit I am not a terribly reactionary person.  Being a Master Life/Executive Coach for so many years makes me able to see and hear many things that others may raise an eyebrow or even shreik at.  But, as an individual, I am a private person.  I don’t want to “put it all out there” so to speak.  Well, I cam across this article:

Can the TSA See You Naked?
February 18, 2015 2:39 pm by 

And I was a bit shocked to find out what it said.  Read on:

I was in a security line at Boston Logan Airport, preparing myself for the old song-and-dance of removing shoes, cardigan, laptop, basically anything I was wearing or holding that wasn’t attached to my body at birth. In front of me, a pair of fabulous silver-haired ladies was discussing the various indignities of airport security. The first was of the opinion that no one should see her nude. The second cracked, “I don’t mind if they want to see me naked, but I hope they took a drink first.”

That amusing comment got me thinking about the backscatter debacle and where we stand now.

A bit of background: Between 2009 and 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) used scanning machines that produced very detailed images of passengers’ bodies. A company called Rapiscan manufactured the machines, commonly referred to as backscatter scanners. The machines used X-rays, a form of ionizing radiation that reflects off of organic material and forms an image, thereby producing an essentially nude photograph of the passenger standing in the scanner. See the image at right. It doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

After much media attention and public outcry, the TSA claimed that employees would not be able to identify passengers based on the near-naked photos. But privacy activists (and Congress) were nonplused. In 2013, bowing to legislative pressure to protect flyers’ rights, the agency pulled the Rapiscan backscatter machines. Since Rapiscan was unable to substitute the nude images with generic images, and because of questions regarding the safety of X-rays, the backscatter machines were replaced.

So what kind of X-ray are you walking through now? Most likely, not an X-ray at all. These days, U.S. airports screen passengers using a machine called a millimeter wave unit. These devices bounce electromagnetic waves off flyers standing inside the scanner with hands raised overhead. If threatening items (weapons, chemicals, liquids, and so on) are detected on an individual, the machine pinpoints them on a generic, cartoon-like outline of a human body that appears onscreen. If none are detected, the screen says simply “OK” and the flyer is waved through. In September 2014, the TSA reported that there are about 750 millimeter wave scanners in use at 160 U.S. airports. So chances are, that’s the kind of machine you will experience. They are purported to be safer than backscatter machines, and the images they produce are obviously not as violating.

(These machines, in use since 2013, generate a generic image. Photo: TSA)

That still doesn’t answer the questions of whether millimeter-wave machines are dangerous. Scientists are on the fence. Electromagnetic waves are low-frequency and non-ionizing, which means they can’t directly produce charged ions. But other studies claim that exposure can have negative effects on cellular survival and lifespan, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified all electromagnetic radiation as “possibly carcinogenic.” Consider the answer to this one “probably not harmful, but the jury is out.” does an admirable job of explaining the science and risks, if, like me, your eyes go a bit crossed when you see a term like “frequency in gigahertz.”

As for the question of privacy, that’s up to you, readers. Knowing that the images produced by millimeter wave scanners are generic outlines, do you think the security procedures are still a violation?

Of course, no matter which machine you waltz through, if something suspicious is found on your person, the TSA reserves the right to administer a pat-down or body search. The scanner at Logan determined that a wayward bobby pin of mine was very suspicious. Yay.

Well, I had to republish this for you.  Just one more eyebrow shaper for those of you who go in to get your eyebrws arched.  This was a natural eyebrow archer I guess! Let me know what you think!  Do you think that your naked image is stepping over the line or just another civil liberty taken away in the attempt at keeping America safe?

What Would The Nuns Say About Your Handwriting?

by Coach Lynn


When I was a kid in Catholic schools, the nuns made me think that if my handwriting did not line up perfectly, I wouldn’t get into heaven.  Well, nowadays, kids can’t even write (or read) in cursive!  They actually learn to type as early as they can say “no” or “mama” and “dadda.”

We have come a long way from those tormented days in Catholic schools.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am a great, responsible, spiritual and disciplined person thanks to those schools (Great.  Now I have absolved myself of guilt from criticizing the nuns). However, I wish that the current day schools would still put an emphasis on teaching our kids to write…. without a technological tool.  There is a lot to be said about handwriting- and what it says about you. I came across this great article in Living Social and wanted to share it with you:

Every person has a handwriting style that is specific to them. While handwriting has changed a significant amount over the last several decades, especially with more and more people working with computers and fewer people handwriting content, there is a definite change in the way people handwrite their letters.

Of course, while handwritten letters can show off over 5,000 different personality traits, most are grouped together in these 11 different handwriting styles.


Personality tends to match the size of your writing. If you write large letters, you tend to have a large personality and you are outgoing and like attention; most celebrities have large handwriting.


If your line quality is thin, it means you are very gentle and tend to avoid confrontation. A thick line means you are more aggressive and assertive, while an average line quality means you are comfortable and well suited with the way things are.


If your S is rounded, you like to please people and look for compromises. A pointy S means you like to study new things and if the S is open at the bottom it means you probably are doing something you do not want to be (such as working in an office instead of being a musician).


The direction that your handwriting slants can say something specific about you. If it slants to the right, you are generally open to the world and like to socialize, while slanting to the left means you like to work alone.


If your letters are spaced far apart it means you are very creative and probably have an artistic flair. Letters that are very close together indicate a pragmatic person who likes to plan ahead.  The typical spacing between letters is described as one half of a lower case “o” fitting between them.


The usual culprits of open or incompleted letters are

lower case vowels. If you write with a lot of open letters, you might mean that you focus on the big picture rather than small details.


Alignment is all about concentration. If your sentences start to curve up or down, regardless of if there are lines on the page or not, it means you are easily distracted and tend to lose focus on what you are doing. A straight alignment means you are focused and tend to be a responsible person.


If you do not have a loop on your L, it means you tend to feel restricted. A full loop on the L means you are more spontaneous and relaxed.


Leaving a small space in your lower case “e” loop means you are more skeptical. A full loop on the E means you are open minded and like to experience new things.

So, hopefully you have yourself or someone you know ALL figured out…. now that you have an interpretation of your or their handwriting to go on.

I don’t know whether the same nuns are alive to grade my many blog posts anymore.  Gee, I don’t even know if nuns are allowed to read blogs.  But I can certainly have humorous fantasies about them getting helplessly addicted to correcting the “everything goes” world of blogging!  This may be a long shot or hopefully not sacrilegious…. but, I don’t really think it is your handwriting that is key in interpreting your personality, I think that it is the way you use your hands that is key!  What?  You have a dirty mind.  I was talking about people who are ambidextrous and can write with both hands!

Video Ganers are Not Just Social Deviant Derelicts!

by Coach Lynn

Video Gaming is not just for kids. There is room for everyone. I openly admit that when I initially tried to become a “gamer” I absolutely sucked! I could not remember which button to push or lever to manipulate for the life of me! I literally spent weeks in one “war” simulation game trying to get my video character out of the corner and stop getting killed every two minutes. I loved the idea of playing with total strangers online —– until they started to let their thoughts about me be known. To put it lightly, other players got frustrated with me because even though they saved me and they got points, in many instances, I got them killed too! So, the truth is, I am not a great gamer. Actually, I am beyond awful when “playing” the video games. Yes, pretty much all of them.

I can’t manipulate my fingers fast enough to click the buttons on my controller. If playing the game with the controller was the only thing possible for gaming, I would forget about having any involvement in the gaming experience. Thankfully, my daughter often utilized my brain for strategy. I did really well at that! Maybe you don’t have to be on the front lines as a gamer and can find another place to enjoy video gaming. While no one should count on me to unlock the magical winning score, I finally found my fit in the gaming spectrum! To make matters better, and living precariously through my various Coaching clients, I enjoy gaming! And I still can’t work the controller! But, I Coach several “gamers” at various points in the gaming spectrum. Did you know that there are differing places on the spectrum? Well, there are. So don’t “hate or throw shade” if you aren’t a frontline gamer. There are other options and I find them just as exciting!

A few of the “gamers” that I coach are teens. I also coach ex-Vets who actually meet one another online and play as a team every Friday night. Another client is a video gaming developer, and another a blogger. They are comprised of boys and girls and even men and women. I happily take my place among those who are interested in the scholarly ideas of gaming. I bet you didn’t even realize that there are scholarly pursuits involving gaming. You thought that the only adults who played video games were unemployed losers, perverts, or people with no ambition. You couldn’t be more wrong. In a recent study, statistics stated that “gamers” make better lovers! When asked what that’s based on, it was based on many articles and polls. One such article is featured in It actually states:

– All of those hours spent smashing the buttons of controllers didn’t go to waste. While you’re pulling the right trigger to kill Covenant aliens and figuring out the correct button combination to defeat Bowser, you’re crafting your hands into fine-tuned love machines. Who wouldn’t appreciate their partner being equipped with strong fingers and dexterous hands they can use for hours on end?

– A gamers mind works in high scores and achievements, which transfers over into the bedroom. Their competitiveness will encourage them to get better and
better with each play through/session of love making. Combine that with their goals to unlock personal achievements, such as “Last Longer Than Her Ex” and “Do It On His Parents Bed”, and you’ve got yourself quite a determined lover.

– If someone spends their time completing seasons in NBA 2K11 or trying to solo Onyxia in World Of Warcraft, chances are they’re going to have a lot of free time on their hands. Therefore, they’re going to have a lot of free time to get down and dirty with you. That is, of course, if you can tear them away from whatever they’re playing.

No I am not kidding! In another poll:
A study by a money saving website has revealed that Xbox 360 owners are the best in the bedroom.
Xbox players came out on top of the gaming pile when it comes to sexual prowess, beating those who use Playstation and Wii consoles.
The study, by VoucherCodesPro, polled 1,747 partners of gamers in the UK, as part of research into the effect playing games has on relationships.
The purpose of this blog is not to start an argument between which gamer community has the best lovers (even though that would be a great post…. maybe later). But I guess that proves its point very well. There are clearly other things to consider when looking into the many facets of gaming. For the purpose of this piece, let’s examine the idea that one of the various things about gaming is that it is not just a great party conversation, there are many aspects of gaming. I like to join the “gaming intelligentsia crowd.” We talk about the storylines of some of the characters, and even the social implications of the ideas or characters represented in these “games.”

What are the scholarly pursuits of gaming? The gaming industry has social commentary, the characters of the games have backgrounds and histories just like characters in fiction and nonfiction, stories and novels. They have quirks just like the actors and actresses in the daytime soap operas or reality shows. I follow the blogs and speak with some of the participants who follow gaming through attending the conventions.

I love the background stories and commentary that happens surrounding the industry. There are scandals, stereotyping of certain characters, even real live death threats leveled towards outspoken and well known people who speak out about some sort of social justice issues revolving around gaming culture. In other words, video games can be for everyone – almost.

Since its inception, the gaming industry has undergone scrutiny much the way I remember rock and roll, then hip hop, then the way people wore their hair and whether it was symbolic of something negative to get tattoos. I guess the interpretation is really up to the interpreter.

The most important part of gaming is to match the game with the audience. Would you want your 7 year old to practice “shooting them up” and mass murder? Would you want your mannerable little 13 year olds to practice stealing things and learn the best techniques to elude the police? One of the main problems within the gaming industry is that parents or adults refuse to learn the game. They make gaming something to be shamed out of participating. They think that the “games” are inherently wrong. To some people, the gaming discussion is almost as controversial as the argument for and against gun control. Some argue that it isn’t a gun that is harmful it is that same gun placed in the hands of someone who is intent on doing harm, terrorizing or wreaking havoc on others with that gun. One heated discussion in the video gaming world is ow women seem to be portrayed in the games themselves. Some vehemently argue that women are portrayed either as sex objects or they serve no productive purpose. Either way, the idea that there are actual interpretations of the characters and doings in a video game suggests that they are not merely just games. These video games and gaming in general has taken a place in our culture and society the same way Wikipedia became an actual resource on the internet to define and explain words, phrases and even contexts.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not fighting for the existence of video gaming. I am merely pointing out that reality is not fiction. Even in video games. A game does not make a character depicted in the game real. Nonetheless, those characters still have an impact on the social mores of our time. If you try to completely dismiss the video gaming industry as a fad, it may surprise you much the same way that many tried to ignore rap music in the eighties. It was more than a trend and has actually become a part of pop culture. You don’t need to fully embrace gaming as the be all end all. However denial about their effect on our culture is just as bad. The real overall message here is that we should understand that videogames are a real part of the culture of the world.

You may still be vehemently against video games. You may want to throw your kid or partner’s gaming console out of the window and scream “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” But sadly, if you do, you will find that they will merely go underground and still be a part of it. Yes, there is an underground to gaming also. They will more than likely play video games anyway! Before you act or speak rashly about the negative impact of games, educate yourself about the depth and width of what the gaming culture represents. If you open your mind to the idea that gaming is here to stay, you might actually find your fit!

And before you hand down punishments, lash out a firebreathing dragon anger over it, and think that everyone who games has gone to hell or become social deviant derelicts, just check out where you might be able to fit in this non-real/real world. Check it out. Perhaps, once you find your fit, join a community that accepts you for however you are, and experiences the excitement of all the achievements you can unlock, you may want to do it over and over again, too!

Are Video Gamers Social Deviant Derelicts?

Should You Wait To Tell Your Children They’re Rich?

Every now and then, I come across a great article in its entirety.  This is one of them.  Our main goal for working “so hard” is so that we may give our kids a better life.  This is a generational and well understood parenting virtue.  However, should we tell them just how lucky they are?  Should we tell them that they are rich as a result of the hard work we have done?  What age should we tell them?  How will that information impact them?  Well, read on and see what the experts say:

Should You Wait To Tell Your Children They’re Rich?  by Catherine Alford

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in the 6th grade, and my teacher found a dollar bill on the ground. She asked the class if it belonged to any of us, and I jokingly raised my hand and said it was mine.

It seemed innocent enough to me, but in two seconds flat, the girl sitting in front of me whipped around so fast her ponytail hit her in the face. She spit venom saying, “You don’t need that dollar, Catherine. Your parents are rich.”

I was taken aback – floored actually. What in the world was she talking about? I went home and asked my mom how much money she made, and she said, “That’s a very personal question, and it’s not something you’re supposed to ask people.”

Fair enough, I thought, but that left me confused as ever. You see, my entire life, my dad drilled it into my head that my parents weren’t wealthy. He was especially keen to point out examples of wealthy families on TV. “That is wealth” he would tell me after watching a documentary about the Rockefellers. “Don’t ever think you have money. People exist that have money you can’t even dream about.”

So, we weren’t wealthy. The Rockefellers were. Well, then why did the girl with the ponytail seem to resent me so much?

Keeping Things Hush Hush

It’s taken me a long time to realize why my parents never discussed their income. Now that I’m a parent, I know they just wanted to protect us from people like my classmate who seemed jealous of something I didn’t even know existed at the time. My dad especially was very insistent that we never tell people where we went on vacation and never revealed personal details to our friends at school.

Just to give an example, I always remember an incident around the time my parents added on to our house. My dad didn’t want people to know they were paying for an addition, and he reminded me several times not to bring it up in conversation with my friends. However, in preparation for the addition, several trees needed to be cut down and so they were marked with a big “X”.

I had friends over one weekend and they wanted to know why we had Xs on our trees. It was a simple enough question, but my dad’s rules made me nervous. Ever the honest child, I told them the X’s on the trees were a family secret, and I wasn’t allowed to tell them. Looking back, I’m sure my friends thought we were in some bizarre tree-worshiping cult, but I understand now why we had these “family secrets.”

Simply put, people treat you differently when they think you have money. This can work both in our favor and against us, and it’s really in the moments it works against us that causes the most uncomfortable situations or “character building” as I like to call it.

So, is it our responsibility to tell our children about their family wealth, and if so, what are the pros and cons? Is there a right age to tell your children they’re rich, and if so, how will the discussion of wealth affect their potential in the future and our relationships with them?

Studies like the Economic Mobility Project show that a child’s future income will likely resemble that of their parents [see chart below]. Thus, this question of whether or not to discuss wealth will likely be something your own children will grapple with once they have children, provided they either inherit your wealth or go on to professional careers that will merit a similar lifestyle. Because of that it’s time for us to make these decisions now, since it will affect them long into the future.

Answering The Question: Are We Rich?

In his now infamous documentary entitled Born Rich, Jamie Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson fortune revealed that he didn’t know about his family’s wealth until he was 10 years old. It wasn’t even his parents who told him about it. Instead, during a free period in the library, one of his classmates was reading a “Richest People in America” article in Forbes magazine. The classmate found a picture of Jamie’s father in the article, and apparently the whole class – including Jamie – found out about his wealth together.

This is not unusual among high net worth individuals. In fact, a Wall Street Journal article about parents who make more than 20 million dollars a year indicated that “only a third of wealthy parents have discussed their wealth and its implications with their children before the age of 21.”

Parents who choose to shelter their children from their wealth, whether it’s in the 20 million dollar range or not, should reveal it sooner rather than later. I assume many of these families are waiting for the appropriate time when children can comprehend its ramifications, but in an increasingly social and connected world, one Google search by a child can reveal so much more than we can imagine. Plus, the earlier children understand how to manage money the better off they will be as adults.

Ultimately, I liked my parents’ approach of helping me understand that we were fortunate, but not wealthy. After all, having a six figure salary no longer means you’re rich, and I think it’s important for children to realize there are many different levels of wealth. This helps to prevent entitlement down the line. Also, if children believe and understand that there are others more fortunate than they are, they are less likely to brag and reveal private family details. At least, it worked on me.

Wealth Does Not Prevent Problems in Children

As many of you reading this likely know, having more money does not necessarily translate to having an easier life. In fact, a study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science showed that “upper-class children can manifest elevated disturbance in several areas – such as substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.” What was most revealing about the study was “that youth at the socio economic extremes were more similar than different.” – the poor and the wealthy displayed emotional distress.

In other words, even if you don’t tell your children they’re rich, there are still “achievement pressures” that are common in upper class families. These pressures can lead to substance abuse and other psychological issues.

This idea is not new. A 1984 article in the New York Times quoted Chicago psychiatrist Roy Grinker saying, “the similarities are far greater than the differences” between poor and rich children in terms of emotional suffering.

The study reinforced Dr. Grinker’s opinion; many of these issues are linked to emotional attachment problems with parents (it seems it’s common for high net worth individuals focus more on their work than their family). Essentially, even if you spend an exorbitant amount of money on medical care to treat these disturbance issues, there is no substitute for parental involvement and emotional interest in the child.

So, what really matters in all of this is not what you tell your children about their wealth but how you interact with them and influence them in their day-to-day lives. Whether you make $100,000 a year or $10,000,000 a year, closeness and interest from you, the parents, will primarily determine how your children will handle their unique position in your family. It will also determine how much they will appreciate and benefit from the valuable resources that are available to them.

Telling your children about their wealth may breed trust. Telling them how to handle their wealth in the face of public scrutiny will teach them important social skills. Emphasizing that they are fortunate but should not be entitled will create another generation of those who understand and appreciate wealth instead of abuse it.

Thoughts for Moving Forward

Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D., author of the previously discussed study, wrote an updated article last year entitled The Problem With Rich Kids that emphasized “the privileged young are much more vulnerable today than in previous generations.” This means it’s time to pay more attention to how our children will fit into a changing world, one where the income gap between the 1% and the rest of the country is widening, which will lead to more resentment from those not in the same socio economic standing.

Ultimately, the choice to tell your children about their wealth is yours, but in a country where financial education is seriously lacking, it should be up to parents to teach their children about money, especially their own. This will create a more open dialogue, more trust between parents and children, and hopefully result in less emotional issues in the future.

How to SAVE Your Home!

The American dream begins with marriage, children and home ownership.  But in recent years, when the mortgage bubble burst, many homeowners found themselves in a heartbreaking situation.  Their home loan interest rate spiked and despite their original plan to refinance before their significantly higher adjustable rate kicked in, they found themselves in a sinking boat without a paddle or anything else to save them. Many out and out lost their homes, savings and even their dreams. But then, President Barack Obama threw a HARP instead of a violin.  No, not really a musical harp, but this new program named Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is music to the ears of many.

If you’re not behind on your mortgage payments but have been unable to get traditional refinancing because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP is designed to help you get a new, more affordable, more stable mortgage. HARP refinance loans require a loan application and underwriting process, and refinance fees will apply.

Here is how the process looks:

There are historically low interest rates and in order to apply, your credit score only need be 600. If you are a Veteran, not a Veteran, behind or not behind on your mortgage, and even if you are unemployed, you may still qualify to refinance your home. Smaller interest rates afford you smaller mortgage payments.  This just might be the solution to your financial homeownership woes!

According to, an official program or the Departments of the Treasury & Housing and Urban Development, Making Home Affordable Offers Solutions that can help millions of families:

More than a million homeowners have been helped by MHA programs. Homeowners

in MHA modifications (HAMP) are typically saving more than $500 each month. And

now, there are new opportunities for help. If you’re having a tough time making

your monthly mortgage payments, you may request a mortgage modification…

Here are the steps:

Step 1 – Complete the Request for Mortgage Assistance Form

The Request For Mortgage Assistance Form provides information to your mortgage servicer about your home and financial situation.  After you have completed the form, print two copies—one for your records and one to send to your mortgage servicer.  All of the borrowers on the mortgage must sign the Request For Mortgage Assistance Form. In accordance with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act, homeowners who apply for the Making Home Affordable Program are required to certify that they have not been convicted of any crimes associated with a mortgage or real estate transaction within the past ten years. The RMA Form includes this certification.

Step 2 – Complete the Tax Authorization (Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T)

Borrowers who have filed their annual taxes on a Form 1040, should complete Tax Form 4506T-EZ. Form 4506T-EZ gives permission to your mortgage servicer to request a copy of the most recent tax return transcript you have filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Click here for instructions on completing the Form 4506T-EZ.

All other borrowers, including those who have not been required to file taxes because their income may be below the threshold amount required to file taxes or their only source of income may be non-taxable income, should complete Tax Form 4506-T. If you did not file a tax return, Form 4506-T gives permission to your mortgage servicer to verify that you did not file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Click here for instructions on completing the Form 4506-T.

After you have completed the appropriate Tax Form for your case, print two copies—one for your records and one to send to your mortgage servicer. Only one taxpayer is required to sign the Tax Form.

Step 3 – Gather Proof of Income

Your mortgage servicer is required to verify your income to ensure that the modified mortgage payments will be affordable for you.  The type of documentation you need to provide depends on the source of your income.  The simple Proof of Income Checklist will tell you what documents you need to collect if you are a wage earner, self-employed, or receive retirement income.  Be sure to make copies of your income documentation and keep the originals for your records.

Step 4 –​​ Send the Documents to Your Mortgage Servicer

After you complete, print, and sign the Request For Mortgage Assistance Form and Tax Form, send these documents, along with your proof of income, to your mortgage servicer.  You will find the correct mailing address and fax number at Contact Your Mortgage Servicer. ​​

While I cannot walk you through the entire process on this blog, it is my hope that you will at least read about and research this option.  The HARP program has saved millions of homeowners.  I do not know your particular situation. I do know, however, that if you are in trouble with your mortgage and you do nothing, it will make matters worse.  Take the time to investigate your options.  This brief information that I have supplied just may save your home.

If it does, tell them that Coach Lynn Johnson sent you.  While you are enjoying your slice of the American pie, how about making a fresh apple pie, wrapping it up and sending it to me?

You May Be A Supporter of Modern Slavery Without Knowing It

  • At first blush, almost anyone would say that they are adamantly against slavery.  But, what if I told you that you may need to investigate further to find out if one of the corporations you give business in fact engages in unethical business practices?  Polly Foley wrote an interesting article about how modern slavery and the role of business are more rampant than you think:

By Polly Foley on Oct 8, 2014

Companies can exercise measures to detect and address slavery in their supply chain.  Anti-Slavery Day is celebrated on October 18th. Yet, over 200 years since William Wilberforce was responsible for its abolition, 29.8 million people are still estimated to be enslaved world-wide. Slavery in corporate supply chains conflicts with running a responsible business, one that is based on ethical values such as dignity, justice, fairness, equality, integrity, respect, and responsibility.

Those in modern slavery are ‘owned’ by their employers. They may also be controlled through a variety of means including large recruitment debts that they are unable to pay back, or threats of harm if they try to leave. Victims are frequently moved from one country to another, in a practice known as ‘human trafficking’, an equivalent of the slave trade of the past. This sometimes involved being deceived into believing that they are heading towards a better life, whereas the reality is cruelly different. The business role in slavery

There are many NGOs which work to combat the slavery and human trafficking, especially of children. But business has a role to play. While slavery is illegal globally, evidence suggests that it still occurs in every country, with certain sectors of even developed economies remaining particularly vulnerable. The risks affect most industries, however electronics and high-tech, steel and automobiles, agriculture and seafood, mining and minerals, garments and textiles, and shipping and transportation are all especially vulnerable.

Underpaying workers can encourage slavery

The ILO estimates forced labour leads to $150 billion in profits every year – more than the annual profits of the entire US banking industry or Google. And while certain countries are more at risk to slavery than others no country is immune to the problem, with the Global Slavery Index 2013 suggesting that “between 4,200 – 4,600 people in modern slavery in the United Kingdom alone”.

Business has a role to play in negating the tolerance of slavery. Complex labour supply chains can allow forced labour to thrive. Whether knowingly or not, some companies with significant presence in the UK, rely on people working in slavery to produce the goods they sell, or have supply chains that can encourage traffickers. Complex sub-contracting and supply chains managed by agents often obscure this involvement.

Of course, no company condones slavery. Many have a human rights policy or a code of ethics (or equivalent) specifically for their suppliers which gives guidance on the expected behaviours based on ethical values. This often formalises the requirement that they do not support slavery or forced labour.

However, a written commitment is not enough. When companies with long supply chains do not make sufficient checks or ask enough questions far enough down the system, it is more likely slavery will go undetected. Supply chain audits are one possible solution for increasing supply chain transparency. But even when auditing does occur, it can be insufficient. One problem is that audit pathways follow products, not people, so they tend to miss the areas of the labour supply chain that pose the most risk.

Business is culpable

The way in which companies operate can affect the likelihood of slavery. For example, a large order combined with a short turnaround time, beyond the supplier’s capacity, could increase the risk of slavery as they may feel forced to subcontract work to factories or workers not regulated by the same standards as themselves. Such time-sensitive situations are most evident with agricultural harvest or imminent construction deadlines.

Underpaying workers in the supply chain can also encourage slavery practices. In 2014 the Guardian released a documentary revealing the working conditions on tea plantations in India that supply Tata Global Beverages, producer of Tetley in the UK. The report claimed workers who were paid significantly below the local minimum wage were consequently vulnerable to being targeted by traffickers who would lure them with promises of a better life whereas the intention was to sell them into slavery.

Slavery by its very nature is a covert practice, and so may be difficult to uncover in formal audits. But there are circumstances where it may be wise to dig deeper. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply states that modern slavery is more likely to flourish in the following instances:

  • Workers have fewer protections through inadequate laws and regulations, weak or non-existent enforcement, and poor business and government accountability
  • There are high levels of poverty among workers
  • There is widespread discrimination against certain types of workers (e.g. women and ethnic groups)
  • There is widespread use of migrant/ casual workers
  • Conflict zones
  • In some specific high risk industries (typically industries involving raw materials).

The risk to business

The reputational damage which organisations face if exposed as having slavery within their supply chain has been well documented. Companies risk losing consumer confidence and market share if they are found to be sourcing from suppliers which use exploitative labour. It has been suggested that such consumer action against companies linked to slavery costs those implicated £2.6bn a year.

Forced labour is more common in conflict zones

Companies and individual employees may also face legal repercussions if their suppliers are involved in illegal conduct, even if it happens abroad. With the Modern Slavery Bill, the UK government is creating new responsibilities for businesses to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labour. This means that businesses could be required to disclose steps they have taken to eradicate modern slavery from their supply chains.

A track record which indicates that procurement is based on ethical as well as commercial considerations can encourage investment in a company. It can also improve employee morale as well as exceed legal requirements. Beyond the reputational and legal risks, companies need to address this problem for ethical reasons: it is the right thing to do. No brand wishes to include bonded labour as its USP.

An ethical approach

NGO Anti-Slavery International suggest that rather than focusing solely on auditing and compliance, companies should work with their suppliers and take a genuine approach to partnership. An ethical approach would be to make it clear to suppliers that if forced labour is identified at their sites the contract will not necessarily be terminated immediately. Instead companies could offer to work with their suppliers to build their skills in identifying and addressing forced labour issues. This would help combat the problem rather than just pushing it deeper underground.

Customers – whether large businesses or consumers – have a responsibility to those enslaved. Our desire for more, cheaper, quicker and ‘no questions asked’ products may mean someone, somewhere, loses their right to freedom

How to Survive the Break up You Never Thought You Could Survive

Is there a break up pending that you feel you can not survive?  Are you putting off the inevitable so that you don’t have to face the pain of having to move on without  the person that you love so much it hurts?  What are you dealing with today that stops you from being able to be hopeful about your heart and your future?  Perhaps you just broke up with “the love of your life” and the problem is that even though that person is the love of YOUR life, you are not the love of their life.  I am sorry.  This genuinely hurts and you have a right to feel hurt, angry, rejected, frustrated, or numb.  Some break ups just about take everything out of you and you feel that there is nothing of you left, anywhere.

1 Let’s face it: Breakups and Rejection from a crush are about as much fun as food poisoning. But there’s one thing that never changes about life. It happens to everyone. You are certainly not alone. Even as sad as you are, you will move on and be a stronger person.

2  First things first; don’t try and let go right away. You’ve been hurt and it’s time to heal. Take a couple days to remember, think, wonder, and cry. Crying does help the pain! Confide in a friend and let yourself enjoy indulgences, even if you find you cannot really. Good food, movies, music, friends and art/hobbies are excellent ways to outlet your pain. This step is very important, and if you need to re-read it, re-read it. It is your mandatory direction. Because before you start moving on, it’s important for the person to reflect on the situation and heal.

3  The first couple days are over so what do you do now? Delete, delete, delete… all traces of your ex/ex-crush. It’s only your first week, so you’ll find yourself all mixed in with emotions, which isn’t a bad thing. While you’re deleting you could be wondering if it’s good if you two broke up, you might be very mad, or full of depression, but whatever you feel, you must delete. Time to throw away the photos, put the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend’s gifts in a box, and delete him/her off your social networking sites. There’s absolutely no need anymore to hold on to something that wasn’t meant to work out, so delete everything! That means text messages too!

4  Think through everything thoroughly, but not obsessively. Go ahead and mull it over, as many times as necessary, within reason. Consider all the reasons you two broke up, consider why the crush would never work. Even if it seems there wasn’t a good reason, there certainly was one – and probably more than one. Understand that you enjoyed one another for a while, or at least enjoyed the thought of the person for a while, but even though everything seemed okay to you, if the relationship was not what your partner wanted for life, it would have ended eventually, no matter what. In this case, better sooner than later.

5 Write all your feelings down. Write in a journal or write poems. Most of all, be absolutely honest and don’t edit yourself as you go. One of the best results of writing it all down is that sometimes you will be amazed by a sudden insight that comes to you as you are pouring out your thoughts onto paper. Patterns may become clearer, and as your grieving begins to lessen, you will find it so much easier to “get” valuable life lessons from the whole experience if you’ve been writing your way through it. No relationship/thinking crush is ever a failure if you manage to learn something about yourself from having gone through it all with your heart open to both joy and pain. Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean it wasn’t a necessary part of your journey to becoming who you’re meant to be. Allow at least the learning part to enrich your life.

6 Become involved. Start focusing your life on other things. Start exercising, start painting, make a club. Just because something didn’t happen or a relationship is lost, doesn’t have to mean you are over or lost.

7 Feel good about yourself. Figure out all the things that are good about you and your life. Count them as blessings. Sometimes you just need to love yourself to make yourself feel better. Don’t pick yourself apart because you weren’t his/her type, or you think the person broke up with you because you think you’re not as attractive as the other person they are dating now. Time to exercise, weight train, go to the spa, beautify yourself, because the loser was the one who lost YOU, not the other way around. YOU’RE the prize.

8 Find an outlet. Maybe an outlet for you is music, or writing, or your friends. Whatever it may be, focus your life on this for a while. You just may discover a little bit more about yourself than you did before.

9 Try something new. Try a new style, sport or free time activity.

10 Keep your dignity. Many times, it’s our own ego that causes the pain; we feel rejected and deceived, embarrassed. We doubt our self worth and adequacy. A breakup, especially one in which your partner has cheated on you, can really undermine your self-confidence and shake your self-esteem to the core. Help rebuild your inner stability by impressing yourself with accomplishment – volunteer, take a class, do things that remind you of your value as a person.

11 Meet someone new. And who knows? They might be the one you’ve been needing all along.

12 Avoid feeling sorry for yourself too long. Otherwise your friends will start avoiding you and you’ll feel even worse about yourself. You’ll notice that your key mood will be depressed and it will be hard to get out of. You can’t let this little mishap get you down that badly, because it’s bound to happen again in your life, and you have to make sure you will accept it better next time. Instead of saying “My life sucks because….”, try saying “My life is great because…” and it will make you realize all the blessings in your life verses the horrible things that have taken place in your life.

13 Music. Music will help you relate to your problems and will help you get over them. Listening to your iPod/MP3 player for the first few months for a lot of the time is key. Even if it’s just calm music. Music soothes the mind, it has been proven.

How do yo u survive a break up that you never thought you could survive?  By being gentle with yourself.  By letting yourself mourn, but accepting that it is over.  By focusing more on the future than the past.  By not harming yourself physically, psychologically or emotionally.  By recognizing that even in these dark days, in the morning will come daylight and another chance to love yourself and be loved the way you want to be loved.  In short, how do you survive a breakup you thought you could never survive?  By surviving it.

Are You Addicted to Pain? Before You Say No, Read This!

Are You Addicted to Pain?  You say out loud that all you want is peace.  You are passionate about being a good person.  You try.  You don’t give up on people right away.  You want to be perfect.  You would give the shirt off of your back.  Put your shirt back on and take stock of what addiction really is.

No matter whether the addiction is to drugs, work or a work out “high,”  the telltale signs of addiction, any addiction, are:

You can’t stop doing something even though you know that you should stop.

You no longer have a choice about whether you want a particular substance or activity.

Your desire for something becomes a compulsion. You describe yourself as “needing” something, as opposed to wanting or liking it.

You actually need something to rely on to overcome depression, anxiety or stress.

You use whatever it is to relax or deal with your problems.

You keep secrets from your family, friends or others.

You lose interest in many of the activities you once enjoyed.

You try to manage the mood swings that you have when you are not able to get to or get the source of your addiction.

Your sleeping habits and even work habits are interrupted.

Your world starts to revolve around whatever your addiction is.

People tell you that they see a change in your overall attitude and demeanor.

Many people automatically say I am not an addict because I don’t drink a lot, son’t shop too much, don’t sleep around a lot…. but what if what you are truly addicted to is —- pain?  I know you may be thinking “who on earth would be addicted to that?’  Well, maybe, YOU!

DO you find yourself making the same choices over and over again even if they cause and bring you pain and hurt feelings?

Do you find yourself caring so much about what people think of you that you literally can’t say no or accept behavior from others that is really not good for you?

Do you try to overcompensate for your weaknesses by trying to appear arrogant and even sometimes obnoxious?

Do you keep picking the same person with a different face and body every time you fall in love with someone?  The person always starts out good to gradually become abusive, controlling or unfaithful?

Do you find that the main people in your life do not support you, your dreams, desires or wishes?

Do you feel commonly disrespected by those around you?

Pain can be addiction also.  If you answered yes to at least two of the preceding questions, you may be addicted to pain.  You don’t want pain in your life, but you don’t make any real solid attempts to learn different ways of making better choices, honoring yourself and choosing sustainable happiness over constant uncertainty, insecurity or a need to swallow disrespect, or behavior from others that you frankly, don’t deserve.

Pain is just pain.  Is the pain in your life due to accepting pain for a worthy cause?  Or, is it just pain —— suffering?  Choosing pain for a worthy cause, something bigger than you, a huge ideal, is not the same as every other day or everyday pain from your choices.

Pain is not a worthy cause to suffer through “being in love.”  Love is not supposed to make you suffer.  Love is supposed to lift you, make you feel good inside and good about yourself.

Pain is not justifiable when it causes you to suffer due to your hopes that someone else will recognize what you are worthy to do for them and “save you.”  Placing someone else in control of your life cannot give you the ultimate satisfaction that you will receive from being the pilot of your own destiny.

Pain is not forgivable when you have drawn boundaries but then allowed others to ignore the boundaries that you have drawn fro yourself.

Pain is not a symbol of love.  Pain is just pain.

In some instances, physical pain is worthy;

The pain from birthing a child and bringing a new living soul into our world.

The pain that you feel when you begin a new regimen of physical training or exercise to make your health better overall.

The pain of learning something new that will expand your horizons and opportunities.

The pain of learning to move past your past painful experiences.

The pain of challenging yourself to work harder, be better to achieve what you need to achieve.

The pain that you are willing to endure to help change the world for the better.

The pain that it costs to take a stand.

So, if you find that you are addicted to pain, use this simple strategy:

When you find yourself in a situation or even a conversation that coughs up a lot of pain for you, ask yourself if this is the pain needed to change and take you towards a better life or is it just pain for the sake of pain.  If so, choose differently.  Walk away immediately.

Stop putting off the most important things in your life and stop busying yourself so that you are too distracted to make a change for the better.

Write a list of the things that you do that are truly not good for you.  Turn the paper over and write another list on the other side of the paper about what you are willing to do that are good for you and lead you towards the life you want.

Don’t stop doing the things that make you happy.  Make time for them, and make yourself do them regularly… just as long as they are legal, moral and not negatively addictive.

Honor your inner voice.  Trust your conscious or learn how to trust yourself.   Many times, people who have gone on to suffer from extremely painful situations went against their gut feelings.

Be willing to advocate and fight for your rights to be accepted and appreciated just for who you are.

Instead of being in pain, go for joy.  What is joyful for you?  Find out what that is…. remember that it should not be based on material things because they can come and go.  Being joyful is a very special feeling that allows you to connect with your true inner soul.  Get to know your core.   Discover and appreciate what need to make yourself come alive.  The world needs people who have come alive from the inside out.  What are you willing to do to come alive?






Write it down, look at it every single day.  Do something on that list every single day.  A day that you don’ is one fully wasted day in your life.  Human beings only live a very small millisecond next to the eternity of time.  Do not waste another minute.  Begin now!

Are You Hurting Your Ability to Do Good Business?

You are proud!  You are in business for yourself.  But why can’t you close the deal when people ask you to do work for them?  Are you out pricing yourself?  Are you underpricing yourself so that you lose credibility in their eyes?  Before you sign the next contract to do busines with someone, take heed.  In actuallity, you may be hurting your ability to do good business fromt he moment that you speak with a prospective client.

Many entrepreneurs and consultants find that time and time again, they take projects and they don’t make enough money based on the huge efforts they make and the overwork that they do.  At the end of the day, they are exhausted, their resources have been emptied and the client doesn’t even want to pay on time or maybe not at all what your work is really worth.  Why?  Perhaps you are started the job without a solid understanding of what the entire job would consist of, in the first place.   Well if so, and before you set the ring on fire and start to jump through it just because a potential client has expressed an interest in working with you, put the matches away, stop rubbing your sticks together earnestly, and ask yourself these key questions to help you to determine whether you even want the job. That’s right, you can choose to say no.

Check out your answers to a few key questions.  If you do not stop to do a thorough consultation with your prospective client to find out the scope of your work, not only will it be impossible for you to know what this client really needs, but you may also find yourself jumping through hoops for nothing.

I have consulted many soured to develop a “cheat sheet” comprised of 7 questions to ask before you do anything.

1.    “What triggered this project or initiative?” or “Why, at this particular point in time, did you decide that this change or effort was essential?” Listen closely to what they say, and trust your gut. Does their explanation make sense?

2.    “What’s the business case for the change or project? And what’s driving the deadline?” This question is designed to “dig deeper.” If your services cost a lot of money, or what you offer is time-intensive on the part of the client, then there must be a pressing business driver that compels them to move forward. Without that, it’s likely this effort will go nowhere.

3.    “What are the goals of the program, project or initiative?” or “How will you determine if this program is a success?” Sometimes what a client thinks they need versus what they really need are two different things entirely. Although this isn’t meant to be a true needs assessment, it will give you tremendous insight and begin to establish you as a trusted partner.

4.    “How have you been addressing this up until now? Have you been managing it internally? Or have you been working with another service provider?” This seemingly innocent question will, among other things, tell you how serious they are — or are not — about working with you.

5.    “What’s making you consider a switch from your current vendor?” I know asking this might sound abrupt – but in my experience no company actually wants to switch outside service providers because, quite frankly, it’s a pain. Unless they have a motivated reason you may be wasting your time.

6.    “Is there anything that would stop you from moving forward with this project?” Although no one in corporate can predict what will happen tomorrow, this question will bring to light any red flags.

7.    “Is there anything else you can share with me about the initiative or project?” Don’t be surprised if the prospect says, “No, not really…” and then proceeds to tell you something VERY important! (Hint: The key here is not filling any silent pauses.)

I know that you want business.  You want to have clients and be exhausted making all of the money that you can make from having too much business.  I wish you well in that endeavor.  However, remember that the quality of the services that you can provide to any prospective client is directly related to how well you complete the job and whether your client is happy or not with the work you have done.  Put those few things in place also:

  1. After you start a job for a client, check in shortly after you begin to let them determine whether you are going in the right direction.. There is nothing worse than a provider giving you an entire project that you really don’t like.  It waste time and effort and you might not get paid for it.
  2. Gain confirmation about exactly what your client expects and make sure to give an estimate of the cost.  Take a deposit before commencing work.  It is commonly accepted that your client pay a third when you begin, anther third halfway through the project and the balance once the project is completed.
  3. Take your time, but be cognizant of the deadline and timeline that you and your client have agreed upon.  Try your best to finish the job on time.  If circumstances arise that make it nearly impossible of you to finish on time, consult your client right away.  Let your client know that you are positive, professional and committed to give them what they want as reasonably closet o the deadliness possible.
  4. When  your job is completed, make sure to do an exit interview or survey with your client.  Please allow them to tell you how you can better service your future clients.  Take heed.  You can get repeat business and referrals from a happy client.
  5. Ask for referrals.  Business that is based on referrals is the best marketing that you can do.  Make sue to ask your client to “touch bases” with their referrals to let them know that they were referred to you and should expect a telephone call or be contacted by you.  It always lessens the chance for rejection if someone has given permission to their friend that you may contact them.
  6. Always always always look back over your job after you have completed a job.  What were your weak  areas?  How can you improve them?  What an you do smarter the next time?

Don’t be afraid to stop and improve your presentation, billing process, ability to finish jobs according to the timeline stipulations of your client, whether the pricing was adequate, and your overall review of yourself.  It is important to establish for yourself how you can work smarter not harder, melt your money represent your work, and if your follow up was timely and professional.  Remember that without clients, you ave no business.  However, if you don’t as yourself what job you are really doing for your client and examine the true scope of the work to be done, it will likely follow that the job may not be well done in the end or produce the money you need to stay in business and have a profitable, productive and professional  system.  Review this post.  Copy it and place it in a small notebook so that you can refer to it before you begin any project and again at the end of the work you do.  Remember:  You are only as good as your clients say you are good.  They are the source of present and future growth.  Be thorough from the very beginning and you will be almost assured that you can finish the job according to their expectations.  Good Luck!

How to Slay the Dragon of “I Can’t Stay Motivated!”

You could achieve a lot if your intentions only matched your action! You could fill an entire two sides front and back of a sheet of paper with all of the ideas you have:

Writing a novel
Learning to play a guitar
Losing weight
Being more peaceful
Remodeling your house
Eating less
Getting more focused,
Oh so many things….

But, you just can’t get started. What’s more, even if you actually get started, you hardly ever finish because you can’t keep yourself motivated to keep it going. You don’t truly believe you are a “slacker,” you just can’t keep it going.

If you can relate to any of the preceding examples, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t think of yourself as a miserable failure. Don’t resort to negative behaviors or adopt destructive habits. Don’t think that you can never change and that everything you’ve ever wanted will forever be out of your grasp. None of those things can help you. You are probably just lacking enough motivation to get started, get through the grueling work of personal change, or keep it up long enough to see change in your life.  Defeat the dragon of doom and check this out!  Here are some tips on how to stay motivated:

1) Find the deeper meaning for what you want to do. Connect to that!
2) Ask yourself whether you are doing something for your overall good? Or are you just doing it to stomach others sickening demands of you?
3) Will you benefit overall?
4) Break the steps into incremental steps so you don’t become overwhelmed. More often than not, if you become overwhelmed, you’ll quit.
5) Be aware that some tasks have no real apparent reason for doing them. You just have to do it.  However, if you analyze it for a while and try to find something positive about them, and you just keep doing it, it may at some point become habitual.
6) Make it fun!  Natural motivation kicks in easier if it involves fun. So who says that whatever you are trying to do has to coexist with boredom? For example, exercise is so much more fun when you pump up your energy by pumping up the volume. Prepare a fun playlist of songs that make you feel excited!!!
7) Reward yourself. I don’t believe that you can’t and shouldn’t look forward to some reward for doing something. Actually, sometimes your motivation for the reward that will come after completing your dreaded task, pushes you to finish!
8)  Use an approach that works for you. Not all suits fit one size. In other words, You don’t have to be stuck in “one way” of doing something that gives you little or no motivation. Check out different approaches to working on achieving your  goal. It keeps it interesting. When you find something that works for you, go forward in celebration. Use it over and over again!  If it becomes dry and ineffective, try something else!
9) Hire a Life Coach. We are not trained just to analyze your problem. We don’t stay focused on why you are the way you are. We skip all the years we could sit and listen to your life stories. We fast forward through the heartaches and look past your best excuses. We focus on your goal, a sound strategy, your level of commitment, your ability to hold yourself accountable, a realistic timeline, and get you started and keep you going. Why suffer through having to do it alone when you don’t have to? When you need a root canal you probably don’t try to do that alone. Getting going on your life goals are certainly just as urgent and vital to your well being.  Hire a Life Coach! Invest in yourself and your future. The price of not finding inner peace and self actualization is too high not to.

The bottom line to staying motivated is staying positive, productive and persistent.  Remember that you have the choice and the power to do and be whatever you want. That means that you have the ultimate final decision about how, when, why or what you want to do, change yourself, or your life for the better. Any and everything or everyone else is merely a measure of support. You have all the power inside to make it happen! Something about that concept can be motivating in and of itself! Get going. Don’t wait! Start right now. Take that big powerful dragon of procrastination and put him in the palm of your hand and tame him!