Collector - February 2018 - 33
public speaker and workshop teacher, where
she shared her passion for personal growth.
Last year, her first book, "Conscious
Communications: Your Step-by-Step Guide
to Harnessing the Power of Your Words to
Change Your Mind, Your Choices, and Your
Life," hit #1 on the Amazon Self-Help BestSellers list. While it's not a business book,
its lessons can help change the way you talk
to consumers-and yourself.
How did "Conscious
Communications" come to be?
Did you always know you wanted to
write a book?
I'm really into the power of words.
It's something I've studied and
used in my professional life and it's
been paramount to my success as a debt
For about 10 years I really felt like
I wanted to write a book, but I kept
thinking, 'I'm not a writer.' I had picked
up a belief system that I thought I couldn't
write a book. And when you need to
change something in your belief system,
it's important to take a step in that
My first step was to attend a writer's
workshop taught by the author Cheryl
Strayed. By the end of the week, I had
written a short story about my daughter
who had passed away in 1993 and my son
who is on the autism spectrum, and how
lonely it can be as a single parent and also
about my life as an entrepreneur.
A lot of people in the class approached
me after that, wanting to publish what
I'd written. And here I had walked into
the class with this belief that I was not a
writer, I was a CEO of a business. That
was the start.
The following year I attended a Hay
House Writer's Workshop in Chicago,
where I got to turn in a book proposal.
I was initially going to write a book
about business communications because
that's my expertise and where I feel I can
make a huge difference in the world. But I
had this 'ah-ha' moment that the publisher
I was going through might not publish the
book if it was a business book.
Hay House is known for publishing
writers who go on Oprah, not writers
who go on CNN. So I turned it around
from professional development to
personal development. It was like my life
came full circle.
is either creating a deeper connection or
driving a disconnection.
So my approach initially was, "I wonder
what would happen if my goal was to make
someone feel good about paying their debt
and my goal was not to collect the money?"
"When you learn how
with people in a way
that creates a deep
connection, your life
really starts to pivot."
You've been training people how
to harness the power of words for
years now. What does the book tackle?
It's a teaching memoir. It uses my
personal experience to tell a story and
make a point. I talk a lot about my transition
as a debt collector, when I was learning in
those early years. Initially I was like Julia
Sugarbaker-the terminator. It was all about
being right. Gradually that changed, and the
book talks about how I grew my business.
Readers are telling me they find it
applicable to both business and their
personal life. I hear the same from people
who take my training-they say it changes
their life, not just their business.
When you learn how to communicate
with people in a way that creates a deep
connection, your life really starts to pivot.
You look at things differently and the way
you treat people changes.
In the debt collection industry as a
whole, I think we don't really understand
how much having a debt is a total
psychological burden on someone's life-a
burden that builds a brick wall between
someone and their dreams.
There is a lot of overlap between my
approach to personal development and
professional development. To me they are
intertwined. I created the concepts in the
book based on the concepts I learned in the
collection industry, but Words That Work is
not specific to collections.
Communication is important in all areas
of life. Everything you say and do in a
relationship is either cleansing or clogging
that relationship. Every word that comes
out of your mouth, in any relationship,
I really wanted people to feel good that
they were doing something about their
situation. When you have a debt, it keeps
you swirling in emotions of shame and
unworthiness. This is not something I think
the industry as a whole has been ready to
embrace, this question of: What is the overall
impact the debt is having on debtors?
There was a study done by researcher
Wendy Levinson, who observed doctors
interacting with patients and then measured
which patients went on to file lawsuits
against their doctor. She became able to
predict who was going to file a lawsuit by
the way the doctor interacted with the
patient. It wasn't about the quality of care
or how long the patient waited in the
waiting room, it was all about the way the
doctor spoke to the patient.
What's been the reaction to your
book as you have been out there
My staff [at Midstate Collections]
is overwhelmingly proud that I've
written the book, they are proud to be