Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

carpe_diemI’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.

My word for 2015 is Adventure. It came to me the other day very easily when I started thinking about the year ahead. My husband finishes his 3-year veterinary residency and we will do some traveling in the United States and Europe, enjoying some long-awaited quality time together. We will also be researching and considering our options for the future in terms of where we will live next. My one word theme of Adventure will be both a comforting and powerful reminder to stay intellectually curious, seek out new adventures, try new experiences, shake up the status quo, live each moment to the fullest, and savor each drop of my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you! The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

life_is_too_shortAnd by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2015? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

La Dolce Vita

LMGU2

La Dolce Vita

Sign Up Below to be Notified of the
“Do It Yourself” Version Launching in 2016

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Do you long to live a life of purpose and passion,
that reflects your values AND desires?

Do you need permission to make your
well being, happiness, and self care a priority?

Is fear still holding you back from going after what you want?

Are you tired of living your best life “in your head”
and want to finally make it a reality?

Then you are in luck! Come learn how to live “The Sweet Life!”

Introducing the La Dolce Vita

6-Week Life Coaching Program
from LMG University

This isn’t just any life coaching program. It’s based on content taken from my concept of La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), and will help you bring the passion and zest back to your life.IMG_0210-300x300

The content is based on my research (and background!) of Italian culture, positive psychology and happiness, years of coaching clients holistically to integrate life-work balance, and my own personal lifestyle. My life is a work in progress, and sharing my own personal experience, and that of the hundreds of clients I have been privileged to work with, is part of the La Dolce Vita process.

Stop settling for good enough because you are worried if you go for great that people will think you are too big for your britches. It is time to step into your power and claim the life you know you are truly meant to live!

How much longer are you willing to wait? How much time are you willing to sacrifice? When will you decide that you deserve to be really happy and live The Sweet Life?

If you are committed to making regular “deposits” in areas of your life that have been neglected and feed them what they need to grow and prosper, then join me for La Dolce Vita.

michaelsmithLisa lives up to and surpasses expectations by being a very good listener, organized, detailed and creative. Her law background is unusually unique and one of the reasons why Lisa works well in providing solutions when you it need it most.

Michael A. Smith, President, New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce, Inc., New Paltz, NY


What’s YOUR Version of The Sweet Life?

The La Dolce Vita lifestyle is about following your dream, deciding not to play small anymore, living your life to the fullest, and allowing the real you to shine through!

IMG_0206Maybe for you this means:

  • Saying no to a toxic relationship that doesn’t serve you.
  • Cultivating a hobby or passion that you have always wanted to try.
  • Adding a little romance (or a lot!) into your life.
  • Taking better care of your body or spirit.
  • Going to bed at night feeling peaceful and waking up looking forward to the day.
  • Changing careers.
  • Enjoying quality time with your family and friends.
  • Writing a book (it’s been on your bucket list for years).
  • Running a marathon or some other type of active pursuit.
  • Traveling – finally giving in to that wanderlust!
  • Saying ‘No’ more often.
  • Saying ‘Yes’ more fully.

Whatever that larger vision for your life is… that’s what La Dolce Vita is all about.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left,
and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

~ Erma Bombeck

Why Take a Life Coaching Program With Me as the Facilitator?

Many people believe that they have one true vocational calling. That may be true. But for some of us, we have multiple areas of expertise and talents and a thirst to share them all with the world. It is this sense of adventure and drive for reinvention that ultimately led me to become an entrepreneur, and that allows me to live a La Dolce Vita kind of life!

I grew up on stage as a “triple threat” — singer, actress and dancer

theaterlisaAs a young adult, I had to make the difficult decision whether I wanted to devote my career to performing (read: starving actress waiting tables in NYC…) or to make performing a hobby and pursue a different career. This was a significant choice and is the core of some of my coaching/teaching about being a “shadow artist,” choosing a path for a career, and incorporating your passions into your life. I never gave up performing but, rather, turned it into a wonderful hobby that continues to this day

I am a lawyer, who “defected” from the practice of law after becoming disillusioned with the negative side of how it is practiced and the constant fighting involved in the profession.

Upon graduation from law school, I practiced employment, labor, education and disability law for 9 ½ years. Although I had a profound respect for the law, I did not appreciate the way it was practiced in our society. It became too negative in the hands of those that wanted to use it to fight.

The more I practiced law, the more I realized that the nature of the practice did not suit my personality or my career goals. I started to become restless and knew that there were other ways I could share my talents and expertise with people and organizations to improve the world.

I did a lot of soul searching and arrived at the conclusion that I needed to leave the traditional practice of law and become an entrepreneur in order to truly make a difference.

While I highly value my legal education and experience, the practice of law was simply not for me.

I made a conscious decision to use my experience as a trusted advisor and a counselor to help people in a productive and collaborative way. That’s how I found coaching, consulting, speaking, and writing, and it is exactly what I love to do and what I was meant to do. I use my legal analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving, and counseling skills in a positive manner now to help people on a daily basis.

SheilaDelsonLisa, working with you these past months has s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d me beyond what I knew into a realm of possibility because the journey allowed me to break out of my own self-imposed shackles. It was hard work; I did a lot of kicking and screaming! Yet you were always there to support my every challenge with the comfort of your knowledge and expertise. You helped me to do what I needed to so that ‘my work’ could continue and grow. There is a lot more to do, but I now have a road map so I know how to get there. Fabulous! Thank you!

Sheila Delson, CPO-CD, FREEDomain Concepts, LLC



I was an instructor and interpreter at the NY School for the Deaf and am proficient in American Sign Language.

My cousin and his wife are deaf and I grew up obsessed with Helen Keller and the Miracle Worker. In order to fulfill my dream of teaching the deaf, I worked as an instructor and interpreter at the NY School for the Deaf for 3 years while attending law school in the evening. It was one of the best experiences of my life and helped solidify that the teacher archetype is strong within me. To this day, I feel that no matter what I am doing, it involves, at its core, some aspect of teaching. Sign language and deaf culture remain a great passion of mine, and I am constantly figuring out ways to incorporate them into my business and life.

I studied abroad in The Netherlands focusing on government, culture and art, with an emphasis on international law.

This was a significant experience and started my life-long love affair with Europe. It is one of my dreams and intentions to live in Europe at some point in the future with my husband, specifically in Italy! For now, I enjoy traveling to Europe on vacation and am hoping to book a speaking engagement there soon, and hold my first Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders Retreat in Tuscany in the next few years. To prepare, I am taking Italian language classes. Fantastico!

I have been coupled with my husband, Sean, since I was a freshman in college!IMG_5546

We met when I was a swim team coach and instructor, and he was a lifeguard, at the town pool where Sean grew up. I still consider him my soul mate, best friend, and partner in life and love.

I am child free by choice.

I love children, am a former special education teacher, and have many nieces, nephews and God children, but chose to focus my maternal instincts on animals (I have two awesome dogs and am married to a veterinarian), other people’s children, my clients, my business, and the Earth. I think being a parent is a calling and have a profound respect for those that choose to have children. But I also truly feel it is a choice that not all of us make. (And yes, I had/have a wonderful relationship with my own parents!)

I am an avid active enthusiast.

I love to mix it up and move my body with dancing, kickboxing, running, walking, hiking, bike riding, rock climbing, and many other active pursuits.

I have completed a marathon, a half triathlon, hiked the Grand Canyon, and biked through Provence. Exercise and outdoor activities are so important to me that I make an appointment with myself on my calendar to get my exercise and outdoor activity on my schedule, and then treat those appointments with as much respect as the ones I make with others, meaning… I keep them!

SusanChitwood2Lisa is top notch! She is inspiring, encouraging and cuts to the heart of the issue to offer right on solutions. And she’s entertaining (and organized) to boot!

Susan Chitwood, Maypop Design



I lost my beloved Mom in 2010 to pancreatic cancer when she was only 63 years old.

Losing my Mom was the hardest thing I have ever had to bear. We were best friends in addition to being mother-daughter. This tragic loss has made me even more determined to live life to the fullest.

The view out of my office at my last law job was of the Twin Towers, and I lived in Manhattan at the time.

The terrorist attacks of 9-11 affected me personally and served as a catalyst for jumping ship from my law career and becoming an entrepreneur. They also serve as a reminder that we only get one dance so it is important to seize the day and live your best life on a daily basis!

MaryStephaniePasqualettoI have Lisa now as a mentor and coach for a women entrepreneur mastermind program that I am doing…And it is truly the best experience I have ever had.

Mary Stephanie Pasqualetto


I incorporate my passions into my business.

A defining moment in my journey as an entrepreneur came in 2008 when I was voted Number 1 Speaker of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Conference in Reno, NV, and won the talent show for doing the number “All That Jazz” from the Broadway show, Chicago.IMG_0208

Here I was in fishnet stockings singing and dancing on a Wednesday night at the casino, and then wearing business attire and presenting business and legal issues to entrepreneurs on Friday morning. Talk about your worlds colliding!

It made me realize that in order to love my business and life, I needed to stop compartmentalizing everything and just be my authentic self.

What a difference it has made in my business and life!

My clients respect and admire that I am able to live a life of passion and creativity, while running a thriving professional and successful business. They tease me that I am like an explosion of right brain and left brain… and I take that as a compliment. So I call 2008 the year I fully embraced my Renaissance spirit and allowed it to infiltrate my business in surprising and refreshing ways!

Now my business is a wonderful combination of assisting clients with being more productive, successful, profitable and improving personal and professional development and effectiveness.

Lisa is the most inspirational, influential, and motivating coach to experience. I have had her coach me as a mastermind mentor for the WED/PEP Program, and now for her own La Dolce Vita Program from LMG University. She is the only one that I trust as a mentor, and have found that as an entrepreneur my ideas for all of my passionate pursuits became both clear and organized after attending her lectures. Lisa uses real hands on approach to work within so that you will empower yourself, and also will be able to dig deep within in order to pursue your true passion and turn it into a future filled with profitable benefits. Being that I am also now presently a law student trying to get through my law degree, and also being affiliated within entertainment and coaching women artist in this industry, I feel 100% confident with her coaching since she herself also has knowledge within these three areas. In conclusion, I would highly recommend Lisa, and give this testimonial as a true fact that upon completion in one of her sessions, you will then become aware that anything that you may have previously found to be out of your reach or you may have thought to be “impossible” will now and always become “possible.”

~M.S. Butler

I relocated 3,000 miles across country in 2012 and started a whole new life on the West Coast.

I am always one to live life to the fullest, so when given the opportunity to move clear across the country from New York to California in July 2012 for my husband to advance his career as a veterinarian by doing a 3 year residency in veterinary internal medicine, I said, “Let’s go for it!”

The move allowed me to expand personally and professionally on so many levels: geographically, yes, but much deeper than that. We sold our house, left behind family and friends (whom we, of course, miss!) downsized, and embraced a new life out here on the West Coast. It prompted me to rebrand and expand my business, make new friends, cultivate new hobbies (and reconnect with old ones too!), and prioritize and simplify in many ways while I support my husband through his demanding 3 year residency.

“He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of everyday…
needs to reorganize his life.”

~ George Matthew Adams

I Live a La Dolce Vita Lifestyle

IMG_1047I am Italian-American and grew up in NY in a large Italian-American area. My family is made up of opera singers, poets, chefs, tailors, artists, and more. I guess you can say that I come from a long line of passionate Italians!

In 2005, my husband and I visited Italy. Ah, Bella Italia! There is nothing like it in the world. The people, food, culture, art, architecture, language, and attitude of Italy is special. I felt like I had literally come home. We realized a life long dream of visiting Italy this past summer 2015 for an entire month and loved every minute of it! And I have been taking Italian language classes to finally learn how to speak the language of my ancestors.

But in the meantime, what I do on a daily basis is bring the best of Italy to me by living a La Dolce Vita kind of life. I make time to enjoy my passions and hobbies, cultivate my relationships, maintain a positive attitude, break through my fears, and practice self care in all of its forms. I try to bring the passion and spirit of Italy to me!

And that’s what I want to share with you… how to live a La Dolce Vita kind of life no matter where you live geographically. La Dolce Vita is more of a mindset, attitude and lifestyle than a place.

Christine-SinclairWhat a fantastic class last night! I always get so much from your classes, but this last class blew my socks off. Everyone was changed last night. We all stayed after you left and talked about what happened for quite a while afterwards. I’m so sorry to see the classes coming to a close. Thanks so much for everything.

Christine Sinclair,
participant in 6-month Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) Mastermind Group


Isn’t it time you fell in love with your life again???

CIMG0173You might think that it’s selfish to invest in yourself… (we will nip that in the bud with the No Negative Self Talk Rule!)

But your happiness depends on YOU…and you deserve it.

Join me for this amazing 6 session program that will help you:

    • Evaluate what’s working and not working in your life, and identify areas for transformation.
    • Develop realistic and fun techniques to help you grow.
    • Use productivity in a proactive and positive way to set boundaries and better master your use of time and resources.
    • Overcome Cinderella’s Ugly Step Sisters: The 3 Blocks to Success (The Perfection Trap, The Comparison Trap and the Impostor Syndrome)
    • Get real about things you’ve said you really wanted to do and have in your life but never give yourself permission to implement.
    • Adopt a positive mindset and learn about cutting edge research on the power of happiness.
    • Learn effective tools for dealing with difficult, toxic or negative people (including you!).
    • Stop giving away your power to the Negative Nellies and Neds.
    • Recognize and exploit your own greatest assets.
    • Get comfortable with who you are vs. keeping up with the Joneses.
    • Learn to live within your means while still maintaining an abundant mindset.
    • Balance preparing for the future with living well today in terms of financial wellness.
    • Get your house in order – literally and figuratively!
    • Learn the power of commitment and consistency.
    • Tap into your passions, figure out what they are, and how to enjoy and manage them.

Lisa is an amazing Renaissance Woman of many talents. She is passionate about her work. She makes her work FUN. Lisa is the ultimate problem solver. I love listening to Lisa during our group coaching sessions where she skillfully listens and then offers her suggestions, ALWAYS with respect, kindness and CLARITY.

The first time I spoke with her on a one-to-one basis, I already started to feel more organized. Being a part of her online group has helped me in so many ways to make even the smallest changes to make my life more efficient.

In Lisa’s online group coaching program, she acknowledges each person’s concerns. She points out the positive things that they do and helps problem solve how they can do something different. There is no criticism. Lisa is warm, caring and passionate about helping others do and be the best that they can. It is helpful to hear others tell their stories of paperwork pile ups, stresses with family and business/work, etc. as it makes you feel that you are not alone. Also, to receive encouragement from others is helpful — we are all in this together.

I am so pleased to have been a part of her group coaching program and look forward to joining one of her programs again in the future.

Mena Messina Genetti, Warwick, NY

Schedule & Description of Sessions

Session 1

Crazy Busy Is Not a Badge of Honor: Positive and Proactive Productivity

  • Productivity Tips and Strategies
  • Prioritizing Self Care: Let Go, Say No, and Make You a Priority

IMG_6055Session 2

Become a Passionista!

  • How to Tap Into Your Passions & Manage Them
  • Hobbies & Interests
  • Volunteerism/Philanthropic Endeavors/Legacy
  • Don’t Be a See-Saw Anymore: Go Beyond Balance and Engage in Life-Work Integration

Session 3

Mind, Body & Soul

  • Health & Fitness
  • Personal Spirituality
  • C’Mon Get Happy: The Power of Positivity

Session 4

Get Your “House” in Order – Literally & Figuratively

  • Home Projects
  • Financial Wellness
    Preparing for the Future, While Still Living Well Today
    Living Within Your Means but With an Abundant Mindset
  • Rethink Your Definition of Retirement
  • Your Exit Strategy: It’s Not Morbid to Prepare for — It’s Smart!

Session 5

Connection & Relationships

  • Family & Friends
  • Passion & Romance
  • Dealing with Difficult People
  • Say No to Toxic Relationships and Negative Nellies & Neds

Session 6

Putting it all Together: Living Your La Dolce Vita Life!

  • Tools for Ongoing Support
  • Consistency & Commitment
  • “Believing Eyes”


“There are two things to aim at in life:
first, to get what you want,
and after that, to enjoy it.”

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

 

kathythrasherI first met Lisa at the Interior Redesign Industry Specialists (IRIS) annual conference in Denver, CO where she presented a seminar on how to add Organizing to your Redesign Business offerings. I was truly impressed with Lisa’s knowledge, professionalism and energy. I then participated in Lisa’s six-week DECIDE to be Organized on-line group coaching program.

My goal was two-fold in that I was looking for tips for my own personal organizing challenges as well as looking to gain more expertise to pass on to my clients. I found the six-week program to be very beneficial on both fronts. Sharing stories and challenges with others on the call helped to inspire me to tackle the things I had been putting off. In turn, being able to offer encouragement and understanding to others on the call was rewarding as well.

As I go through my old boxes of ‘stuff’ or work with others going through the same process, I continually ask myself Lisa’s three key questions – “Do I Love it? Do I Use it? Do I need it?” If not – then out it goes! Thank you Lisa for your inspiration and for offering this on-line coaching program. It has been an eye-opening and rewarding journey!

Kathy Thrasher, Alameda, CA R3Redesign.com


MelanieSerraI just want you to know how happy I am to be working with you on business and life coaching. I feel like I have a new lease on life! I wish I had worked with you years ago. You are awesome, and the perfect fit for me. We accomplish so much in our coaching sessions. Thanks again.

Melanie Serra, www.interior-revivals.com


This program will force you to take a cold hard look at your life, dissect it, and put it back together in La Dolce Vita style so that you can fall back in love with your life (or maybe fall in love with it for the first time ever!)!

If you want results and are ready to live The Sweet Life, then join us!

Lisa is wonderful! Her tutelage, calming influence, and goal-directed persona have allowed me to achieve optimal performance. I highly recommend her to anyone, especially those interested in taking their organizational work and home space, as well as pursuits of goals, to the next level. Great person, easy-going personality, and inspirational support.

S.L., Major, United States Military Academy,
West Point, NY



MichelleOSullivanTaking the “DECIDE to be Organized” 6-week coaching program with Lisa Montanaro was a business and personal decision that has been so motivating and empowering! It has changed me in so many positive ways.

I am also a Professional Organizer and help others all the time with their organizing dilemmas. I took the DECIDE program to help myself, and learn from Lisa both personally and professionally.

Over the six weeks, I had a sense of direction and was able to focus more on the areas that needed help, as I felt accountable. The weekly calls were a time to share and get feedback from the other participants, and for Lisa to share her knowledge and expertise. Lisa was so understanding and encouraging, and had a way of inspiring each of us to be better.

I learned so much from this program and would recommend it to anyone who knows they want to make changes, and just needs some help to get there!

Michelle O’Sullivan, Saving Spaces, Burlington, Ontario, Canada


La Dolce Vita

Sign Up Below to be Notified of the
“Do It Yourself” Version Launching in 2016

If you have any questions, email .

BrittNewmanHere’s the difference between you and others:

You give CONTENT. I could end the call and be sooooo much better off than when I started and have true ideas and pieces that I can use.
Many others are teases – it’s all about marketing for the next venture, and nothing to walk away with.

I have always known that there is more to you than just finding the next client. Thank you for really sharing things that can be implemented.
I really believe your passion is about helping people and businesses to become their best, not just about promoting your own business and finding new clients.
Thank you for truly sharing from your wealth of knowledge.

You are a whirlwind of energy, innovation, and authenticity. Thank you for sharing and thank you for caring.

Cheers!

Britt Newman, Britt Newman Design Concepts

Meet Lisa

For Formal Bio, click here. For My Journey, keep reading… 🙂

My Journey

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’
~ Erma Bombeck

Many people believe that they have one true vocational calling. That may be true. But for some of us, we have multiple areas of expertise and talents and a thirst to share them all with the world. It is this sense of adventure and drive for reinvention that ultimately led me to become an entrepreneur.

I Grew Up on Stage…

My first “calling” was as a performer. I spent my childhood singing, acting and dancing on stage, and wanted to go professional. But as I matured, I started to fall in love with the law, and switched gears as a young adult, pursuing a pre-law course of study.

I never gave up performing but, rather, turned it into a wonderful hobby that continues to this day.

Falling in Love with the Beauty of Sign Language

Another great passion of mine was to work with the deaf. My cousins are deaf — a lovely married couple that are a generation older than me. As a child, when I visited and saw them signing with each other, and with their two hearing children, I was enthralled and vowed to learn this beautiful, expressive language.

When I graduated from college and was admitted to law school, I deferred admission for one year to teach at the New York School for the Deaf in White Plains, NY. I was hooked! I loved teaching deaf students, and developed proficiency for American Sign Language.

A year later, I decided to continue teaching and attend law school in the evening. Sign language and deaf culture remain a great passion of mine, and I am constantly figuring out ways to incorporate them into my business and life.

A Profound Respect for the Law… but Disillusioned with the Reality of Law Practice

Upon graduation from law school, I practiced employment, labor, education and disability law for 9 ½ years. Although I had a profound respect for the law, I did not appreciate the way it was practiced in our society. It became too negative in the hands of those that wanted to use it to fight.

The more I practiced law, the more I realized that the nature of the practice did not suit my personality or my career goals. I started to become restless and knew that there were other ways I could share my talents and expertise with people and organizations to improve the world.

I did a lot of soul searching and arrived at the conclusion that I needed to leave the traditional practice of law and become an entrepreneur in order to truly make a difference.

During that time of career transition, I realized I had been organizing people’s lives on an “amateur” level my whole life, and that my organizing and coaching skills transcended my work as a lawyer, teacher, mediator, writer, speaker, and performer.

While I highly value my legal education and experience, the practice of law was simply not for me.

I made a conscious decision to use my experience as a trusted advisor and a counselor to help people in a productive and collaborative way. That’s how I found coaching, consulting, speaking, and writing, and it is exactly what I love to do and what I was meant to do.

An Entrepreneur is Born

In 2002, I launched LM Organizing Solutions, LLC, which focused primarily on organizing and productivity. I loved helping people get organized and improve their lives. I started off with residential organizing and then added on business and corporate organizing, because the core principles are the same, and let’s face it… people run businesses and corporations. Plus, I came from corporate America, and now successfully run my own business, so corporate and business organizing were a natural addition for me.

Over the years, I developed a level of mastery in organization and became an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer® in 2007, an accomplishment I am proud of as there are only a few hundred of us in the world.

I started training and coaching professional organizers across the U.S., served as the moderator of the popular Ask the Organizer Panel at the annual National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Conference, presented regionally and nationally to my peers, and became known as a leader in my industry.

I developed and trademarked a unique organizing methodology called DECIDE to be Organized®, which examines and attempts to overcomes the connection between indecisiveness and disorganization. I also wrote a book, The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, which was published by Peter Pauper Press in 2011. You could say I “made it” as a professional organizer.

Expanding my Brand

But here’s the thing… people started asking me for even more. They started referring to me as “not just an organizer” or “more than an organizer.” Helping people be more organized didn’t seem to speak to the specific results that my clients wanted to achieve.

What my clients wanted to achieve was success.

Organizing and productivity were a part of reaching that success, and often described the process that led to it, but was not the result itself. I decided to start giving my clients the result they wanted.

I suppose you could say that my clients added services to my business that they needed and craved in order to truly change behavior, and in turn, they expanded my business offerings, brand, and niche.

Over the years, I realized that it is never about “the stuff.”

In order to become organized, productive, happy, successful and fulfilled, you must be willing to change in multiple ways — your behavior, habits, goals, thinking and mindset.

I enjoyed and was exceptionally skilled at teaching and transferring productivity skills to my clients, and I liked empowering people to do the actual hands-on work themselves. So I slowly moved away from hands-on organizing and now have organizing associates that work with clients that need side-by-side hands-on organizing.

In the second half of my decade as an entrepreneur, I added on coaching, consulting, speaking, and writing, drawing upon my formal education and training, work experience, innate talents and skills, and life experience.

I became eligible for membership in the National Speakers Association (NSA) and had the privilege of presenting before audiences near and far on topics such as organizing and productivity, life-work balance, and business and entrepreneurship. My coaching and consulting practice grew to include individuals and entrepreneurs, as well as corporations and organizations.

I now have the opportunity to use my gift for organizing, productivity and systems in new and refreshing ways because I’m touching so many more peoples’ businesses and lives, as a result of so many more people wanting the real result I offer, which is success.

Defining Moment in Business: An Explosion of Left and Right Brain

A defining moment in my journey as an entrepreneur came in 2008 when I was voted Number 1 Speaker of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Conference in Reno, NV, and won the talent show for doing the number “All That Jazz” from the Broadway show, Chicago.

Here I was in fishnet stockings singing and dancing on a Wednesday night at the casino, and then wearing business attire and presenting business and legal issues to entrepreneurs on Friday morning. Talk about your worlds colliding!

It made me realize that in order to love my business and life, I needed to stop compartmentalizing everything and just be my authentic self.

What a difference it has made in my business and life.

My clients respect and admire that I am able to live a life of passion and creativity, while running a thriving professional and successful business. They tease me that I am like an explosion of right brain and left brain… and I take that as a compliment. So I call 2008 the year I fully embraced my Renaissance spirit and allowed it to infiltrate my business in surprising and refreshing ways!

6Pillars-circleonlyMy Signature System:
The 6 Pillars of Powerhouse Success

Now my business is a wonderful combination of assisting clients with being more productive, successful, profitable and improving personal and professional development and effectiveness.

I take a holistic approach through my business, life and career coaching and serve as, what I call, a coach-consultant, as I believe my clients have some of the answers, but that they also sometimes look to me as the “expert” and want me to provide the answers to them so they don’t drown in frustration.

I tailor my coaching and consulting to each client’s unique situation, but have discovered themes among my clients, which led me to create my Signature System – The 6 Pillars of Powerhouse Success. The system is powerful, easy-to-follow, and captures the most common stages that a client needs to go through in order to achieve success.

My Expanded Business:
A Holistic and Multi-Faceted Approach

I am always one to live life to the fullest, so when given the opportunity to move clear across the country from New York to California in July 2012 for my husband to advance his career as a veterinarian, I said, “Let’s go for it!”

The move allowed me to relocate personally, but also to expand professionally on so many levels: geographically, yes, but much deeper than that.

It prompted me to finally “catch up” to the expanded business that I had been successfully running, even though I had not rebranded it publicly. So I formally expanded the brand to Lisa Montanaro Global Enterprises, LLC (LMGE) in the summer of 2012, and launched a whole new website, blog, and ezine in fall 2012.

This allows me to fully capture the holistic approach my work takes in improving personal and professional development. To my clients, this formal expansion did not come as any big surprise as they already worked with me on so many levels, experiencing the depth and breadth of my areas of expertise and delivery methods.

But to someone that may have only known me as a “professional organizer,” the new brand may be a shock. Hopefully, a pleasant surprise and one that warrants further inspection and reflection.

I finally feel like my business mirrors my true personality and allows me to be a multi-talented and multi-passionate entrepreneur. My business is both a profession and a passion.

I took a leap of faith and created a business that allows me to meld together many different, but related, “callings” at the same time, while helping people live better lives and enjoy more a satisfying business or career. The result has been both successful and rewarding. I have successfully created my Purpose, and very much live my Passion, and now I am making it my mission to help others do the same.

The Inside Scoop:
Ten Little Known Facts About Me

 

You can read the Formal Bio. You can even read My Journey here. But if you want the inside scoop, read these ten little known facts to get to know me better …

I grew up on stage as a “triple threat” — singer, actress and dancer.

As a young adult, I had to make the difficult decision whether I wanted to devote my career to performing (read: starving actress waiting tables in NYC…) or to make performing a hobby and pursue a different career. This was a significant choice and is the core of some of my coaching/teaching about being a “shadow artist,” choosing a path for a career, and incorporating your passions into your life.

I am a lawyer, who “defected” from the practice of law after becoming disillusioned with the negative side of how it is practiced and the constant fighting involved in the profession.

I use my legal analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving, and counseling skills in a positive manner now to help people on a daily basis.

I am proficient in American Sign Language.

My cousin and his wife are deaf and I grew up obsessed with Helen Keller and the Miracle Worker. In order to fulfill my dream of teaching the deaf, I worked as an instructor and interpreter at the NY School for the Deaf for 3 years while attending law school in the evening. It was one of the best experiences of my life and helped solidify that the teacher archetype is strong within me. To this day, I feel that no matter what I am doing, it involves, at its core, some aspect of teaching.

I studied abroad in The Netherlands focusing on government, culture and art, with an emphasis on international law.

This was a significant experience and started my life-long love affair with Europe. It is one of my dreams and intentions to live in Europe at some point in the future with my husband. For now, I enjoy traveling to Europe on vacation and am hoping to book a speaking engagement there soon, and hold my first Entrepreneurs Retreat in Tuscany. To prepare, I am taking Italian language classes weekly. Fantastico!

I have been coupled with my husband, Sean, since I was a freshman in college!

We met when I was a swim team coach and instructor, and he was a lifeguard, at the town pool where Sean grew up. I still consider him my soul mate, best friend, and partner in life and love.

I am child free by choice.

I love children, am a former special education teacher, and have many nieces, nephews and God children, but chose to focus my maternal instincts on animals (I have two awesome dogs and am married to a veterinarian), other people’s children, my clients, my business, and the Earth.

I love chocolate, especially high-quality dark chocolate.

On my honeymoon in France, despite dating my husband for years, he was still surprised to learn that I needed to have a small amount of chocolate every day!

I am an avid active enthusiast, who loves to mix it up and move my body with dancing, kickboxing, running, walking, hiking, bike riding, rock climbing, and many other active pursuits.

I have completed a marathon, a half triathlon, hiked the Grand Canyon, and biked through Provence. Exercise and outdoor activities are so important to me that I make an appointment with myself on my calendar to get my exercise and outdoor activity on my schedule, and then treat those appointments with as much respect as the ones I make with others, meaning… I keep them!

I lost my beloved Mom in 2010 at the young age of 63 to pancreatic cancer.

It was the hardest thing I have ever had to bear. We were best friends in addition to being mother-daughter. This tragic loss has made me even more determined to live life to the fullest.

The view out of my office at my last law job was of the Twin Towers, and I lived in Manhattan at the time.

The terrorist attacks of 9-11 affected me personally and served as a catalyst for jumping ship from my law career and becoming an entrepreneur.

What is it about a place that tugs at our heartstrings and pulls us towards it? For those of you that love to travel, as I do, the pull of place can be very strong. For some people, a vacation is a time to relax, take a break from the daily grind of life, and “veg” out. For others, however, it is an opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, taste unfamiliar (and delicious!) food, marvel at beautiful art and architecture, and appreciate and better understand history. For me, travel has always been about the latter. Yes, there are times when I go on vacation just to be on vacation. But to be honest, they are rare. Usually, I can take any place I visit and find the adventure in it and treat it as an enriching travel experience. I see travel as a learning experience and the world as my laboratory.

While I have many favorite locations that I have visited, I must admit that I am a bit obsessed with Europe. The beauty, culture, languages, food, people, art, architecture, and history combine in a way that is just breathtaking and irresistible to me. Indeed, it is one of my lifetime goals to live there at some point, even for a short period. Until then, I need to satisfy my Europe lust with visits to soak up the place, breathe it in, study it, love it, and try to bring as much of its spirit back home with me to the states.

To date, I have been privileged to study abroad in The Netherlands, as well as visit on vacation the following countries: England, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, France and Italy. Most recently, my husband and I took our second trip to France. We spent our honeymoon there 13 years ago in 1997 and wanted to revisit that great experience. On our honeymoon, we stayed in the region of Brittany for a week, and then Paris for a week. This time, we spent a week in the region of Provence, and a week in Paris. While our honeymoon was a wonderful experience, we have evolved in our travel style, and now visit like “temporary locals,” so this trip was downright amazing.

What does it mean to travel like a temporary local? It means traveling to a foreign location with an open mind and willingness to have new experiences. It means trying to speak the language of the country you are visiting and have conversations with the locals. It means trying the food that the region is known for, and preferably, at non-touristy spots. It means trying to blend in as much as possible by respecting the traditions, habits, and values of the culture you are visiting. In other words, not traveling as the quintessential “ugly American,” a term that may sound harsh but is often well-deserved. (Trust me, I’ve experienced Americans traveling in Europe and often times, the whole vibe is not, well, pretty! Loud, demanding, close minded, and dressed a little too shabbily.). One of the benefits of world travel is the eye-opening realization that there are different, and often times, better alternatives to the way we do things here in the states. Appreciating and respecting those differences can add a whole new layer to travel — and to our lives back home.

On our recent trip to France, we did a self-guided bike tour in Provence, which allowed us to visit many beautiful towns and villages, such as Villeneuve-les-Avignon, Uzes, Arles, Les Baux de Provence, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, and Avignon. What a great way to slow down and really experience a region! We stopped and spoke to the locals, ate at little off-the-beaten-path cafes and restaurants, practiced our French, shopped at the many Provencal markets, had impromptu picnics, and even made some new friends along the way. Plus, biking 156 miles through the Alpilles Mountains in 5 days afforded us the added bonus of being able to eat whatever we wanted and not worry about calories (a mindset that we also carried over into our week in Paris!).

Traveling like a temporary local doesn’t mean you will never experience frustrations. We definitely had our share! Before we even took off on this adventure, our smaller dog got sick in the car on the way to the airport, and vomited on our passports (no, I am not joking!). Traveling to Europe from the East Coast often means an overnight flight, which leaves you exhausted when you arrive. The French have a high tolerance for waiting on long lines, which they deem just a normal part of their culture. One of our French friends said that because they have such generous standardized benefits, they respect that each person waits his or her turn to get his or her due. Due to long lines, however, we missed the first train down to Provence, and had to wait hours in the train station for the next, which is not an easy task to do on no sleep!

On the way back to Paris after our week in Provence, we experienced a national strike, which caused our train to be delayed by 6 hours. Thankfully, we had an entire week of practicing the slow, relaxed Provencal way, so we just stored our luggage and spent a wonderful day in Avignon. We watched the “manifestations,” a term that French use to describe the parades and rallies that accompany their strikes (strikes are very common in France). On the train, which was packed to the hilt due to the strike, we weren’t able to sit next to each other. But, this resulted in my husband meeting a wonderful gentleman from Paris, who took us under his wing, giving us tons of insider suggestions that helped enhance our “temporary local” experience in Paris. He even took us to lunch near Notre Dame a few days later at a little spot we would never have found. What a treat!

But the few lows were more than overshadowed by the amazing highs. We rented an apartment in Paris in a very non-touristy area. If you’ve never rented an apartment while  on vacation, I highly recommend it! What a wonderful way to experience living like a local. We had so much more room than we would have had in a hotel, and at a lower price. Our landlord was a gracious host, offering suggestions and making us feel at home. The apartment was classic Parisian in style. We could fool ourselves into thinking, for just one week, that it was our little Parisian pied-a-terre. We chose a neighborhood that the Parisians live and work in, Rue Montorgueil, which happens to be a pedestrian-only cobblestoned market street centrally located in the heart of the city. From our apartment, we could easily walk or take the Metro to see many of the major sights. Nearby, there were bakeries, cafes, fruit markets, and other great local shops all within a few blocks. And when we walked in our neighborhood or had dinner locally, the only language spoken was blessedly, French, which was music to our ears as it meant we were among the locals.

There are already things about our trip that I miss: the wonderful light and vistas of Provence (you can see why so many artists moved there to paint!), the food (baguettes, croissant, chocolate, wine, cheese… yum!), the Parisian style (I think they are born knowing how to wear a scarf), the emphasis on manners (it is so nice to be greeted with ‘Bonjour, Madam’ every time you walk into a store or restaurant). Thankfully, we have our memories and will cherish them. All I have to do is close my eyes and I am back there. And of course, I have 500+ digital photos memorializing the trip too!

So, until I have the opportunity to live in Europe longer than a “temporary local,” I will continue to allow Europe to pull me towards it, and to teach me valuable lessons about different ways of experiencing life.