The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek…

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      15 years ago while sitting at Soby’s, my husband and I made a brave and equally stupid decision.  We decided to start our own business. In 2003, the United States economy was slowly recovering from the latest 10 year recession. We launched ICAP with the backing of two close friends and we had about $80.00 in our savings account.  We had two small children at the time, no insurance and a mortgage.  To say I was fearful would be an understatement. Statistics say that most businesses die within 5 years of starting. 
blog 6      The graph above is from the US Department of Labor and it shows the birth and death rate of businesses. The blue line (BIRTH) should always be higher than the red line (DEATH).  You know your economy is in trouble when the blue line drops below the red line.  As you can see, that happened during the 2008-2010 recession and we lost about 75% of our business during that time.  I have never met a business owner who doesn’t know first hand about disappointment, failure and even heartbreak.  We have certainly felt all of those emotions and many others.

But at the same time, over the last 15 years, we have felt great joy.  Joy when we staffed someone out of a bad situation and doubled their income. Happiness when we found a Jr level position for a candidate when they needed to change fields. Gratitude when we hired people for our internal staff who were trustworthy. Fulfillment when we can help an employee become more self aware and a better spouse, co-worker and friend. Starting a business has been a horrifying and absolutely thrilling journey.  One that I would highly recommend but also caution against.

Sadly, we have never stopped in these 15 years to look back and to celebrate. To revel for a moment in what we have accomplished and how far we have come.  In 2018, we are stopping and celebrating and thinking and dreaming of what our future could look like.

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      Thank you so much for being a part of the last 15 years, for hiring us to be your culture consultant, for allowing us to partner with you as you develop your Human Potential. We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve you!

Traci Newkirk

Traci Newkirk 
Chief Team Developer




Will the real problem please stand up?

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     Brene Brown’s new book “Dare to Lead” just hit the shelves and I am currently on a plane to go hear her speak for the first time. As I was reading and trying to take all of the information in this morning, I ran across an interesting quote and wanted to share.

     Brown discusses a recent Harvard Business Review about an organization who researched companies who were reporting high levels of exhaustion.  A team visited companies collecting data to examine where this exhaustion was coming from. What they found is that employees were in fact exhausted but it wasn’t because of the tempo of their work. Brown says “They were actually exhausted because people were lonely. Their workforces were lonely, and that loneliness was manifesting itself in a feeling of exhaustion.” 
     I found this fact so interesting as I work with many of my clients to help drive performance. The truth is that the complaining or grumbling that you are experiencing from your staff rarely has to do with the first emotion they express. There is always a secondary emotion that needs time and space to develop and it takes an emotionally healthy leader giving the time and space to be able to find out the true underlying problem. Your staff seems angry, but is it instead shame over the way they were addressed? They are feeling exhausted from the pace of work, but is it really loneliness?  They are pissed about one of your decisions, but is it really that they didn’t feel heard?  They are giving you the silent treatment, but is it really that they don’t feel like they belong?
     Management is tough and trying to lead employees to be high performing is challenging.  Creating time and space in your schedule and challenging yourself to be courageous will be important to address the real problem.  And only when you address the real problem will you be able to once and for all “put the problem to bed.”

     Let us know if you need help address the real problems on your team. For more information, visit!

Traci Newkirk
Chief Team Developer


Do you know the formula for trust?

A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
      I recently worked with a couple who needed guidance navigating through an issue that had recently arisen in their marriage.  I took them through a CliftonStrengths session and identified their top 5 talents and used their talents to identify how their basement and balconies were impacting their marriage.

Everything was going well until we approached the topic of TRUST.  The husband, whose number one talent is Analytical, was having a hard time understanding why his wife did not trust him.  He explained how he never had an affair and did not lie to her.  To him, being honest and faithful were how he established trust in the relationship.  I decided to write out the trust equation so his analytical mind could see the situation from a different perspective.

     The Trust Equation:
Trust= R (Reliability) + C (Credibility) + I (Intimacy)
S (Self-Orientation)
R= Reliability:  Do you do what you say you are going to do?  Are you a person who keeps his word?
C= Credibility:  Do you have the means or education or time to show up as a credible source?
I= Intimacy:  Are you intimate in your communication, hand holding, etc?  Do you pursue your wife so that she feels valued and loved?
S=Self-Orientation: Do most of your actions reveal your service to others or to yourself?

After he gave himself a number in each area of the equation, we turned and had his wife give him a score as well.  He was shocked at how both scores were so similar and realized there was a whole depth to trust that he had never considered.

The trust equation can be extremely helpful for you and your partner to consider. Everyone has a different definition of trust, so establishing what trust means to you will help you get unSTUCK in your thinking and in your relationships.

Traci Newkirk
Chief Team Developer

Are you telling yourself facts or stories?

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Some people’s brains function like a sandstorm.  Let me explain. Often when I am coaching someone through an issue, the first thing I try to do is ask them to separate the fact from the story. Let’s discuss the difference between the two.

What is a fact? A fact is an actual occurrence – something that can be proven through observation or measurement.

How are facts different from stories? Stories are judgements, conclusions, and attributions that we make from the facts.

When separating facts from stories, remember these three things:
1. Judgements determine whether facts are good or bad.
2. Conclusions help us fit elements together.
3. Attribution tells us why people do what they do.

The truth is that we all get STUCK in our thinking about people and situations because of the story we tell ourselves.  Once you separate the facts from stories, you realize the same facts could be used to tell an infinite number of stories.

When using this exercise with my clients – I ask them to create two columns.  In these two columns I have the client separate what was a fact and what was the story in their situation.  This leads them to have several “ahhh haaa” moments about the situation.

I typically see the following things happen:
1. They uncover that they have very few facts.
2. They uncover that they have filled in the “gap” of facts with stories.
3. They become curious about the facts.
4. They realize that they need to ask more questions.
5. They uncover that most of the stories came from previous experiences                               unrelated to this incident.

From here, a person can retrace their path back to the facts and uncover the rest of the information.  A coach can help someone retrace their path, correct their sandstorm and try to help piece together the rest of the story.  Let us know if you need help getting out of this downward spiral.  You can reach us at!

           Traci Newkirk
Chief Team Developer

Please join me in welcoming…

loganevans_6536Please join me in welcoming Logan Evans to team unSTUCK. Logan recently moved back home to South Carolina from Chicago where she worked for a healthcare staffing company and previously worked for former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Logan is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she majored in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She is currently getting her Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development from Penn State and has a passion for people and creating a more engaged workforce.

She is married and in her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors and hanging out with her two black labs, Lilly and Banks. Logan’s official title is Client Success Manager and she is responsible for all of the behind the scenes details needed to support our clients. Look for her in the future whenever our team is onsite at your organization. Welcome Logan!

Traci Newkirk
Chief Team Developer

Is your learning greater than your experience?

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      I used to be a collector of experiences.  We would plan a trip and as soon as I came home, I would begin to plan the vacation for the next year.  I still love the “high” that comes from planning an event.  One day, my husband planned our anniversary trip and would not tell me what we were doing in advance.  I never knew the next “thing” until it happened and the whole weekend was filled with new and exciting adventures.  On the ride home, he asked me what I learned.  I thought this was a weird question because “learning” had not been a part of our weekend.  I sat and thought for a minute. I told him that I had learned that I never really enjoy our vacations once they start…I am always concerned with keeping us on schedule, moving our group to the next experience, worrying about directions and timing the experience just right.  But on this trip, I was relaxed and just very much present. I learned that I really enjoyed the spontaneity.

      This question “what did you learn?” has become part of my daily and weekly life.  Every time we train a new client, I challenge Logan to list all the things she learned.  When our internal team has a challenging week, I have them share what they individually learned from the experience.  When a deal goes south, we have an autopsy of the deal.  Each time, we try and make our learning greater than our experience.  Continual learning is essential to lifetime growth.  Dan Sullivan in the Laws of Lifetime Growth says, “You don’t get to choose all the experiences you have, but you do get to choose what to do with them.  You can use them as excuses, wear them as badges of honor, or make them emotional triggers for when you want to go on a good rant or have a good cry, or bury them like skeletons, which always seem to resurface later. These choices do not help you grow.  Or you can use them as raw material for learning, harnessing the emotional energy behind them to drive you to make good use of their lessons.”

      While making your new years resolutions for this year, I hope you will consider making this quote one of your resolutions for 2019. Transform your experiences into lessons and you will never feel disadvantaged by your past.

Traci Newkirk 
Chief Team Developer