personal development, self help

What mentally strong people tend not to do!

mental toughness

Great Life Lesson About Mental Strength by Amy Morin

Mentally strong people tend not to do the following thirteen things! For those of us who own our own businesses or who are working their way up the corporate ladder, there are some lessons to be learned here!

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.    Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

It takes much practice to hone mental strength!

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

H/T Lifehack

For questions about title insurance or to compare the title bill for your New York residential or commercial real estate purchase or refinance please visit Hallmark Abstract Service at or send us an email at

Business, strategic planning, Title Insurance New York

New Year’s resolutions are out and New Year’s plans are in!

Hallmark Abstract Service New York Title Insurance

We all make New Year’s resolutions although unfortunately many of us subsequently fail to follow through on them!

While that may or may not be fine in our personal lives, this dropping of any one of the strategic balls when it comes to our business could definitely be detrimental to the 2013 results!

You know the ones that we made at the end of 2012! Resolutions to lose weight, start a company blog, begin an exercise regimen or maybe refocus our marketing plan to make it more relevant in a 2013 world.

The bottom-line is that whether we make these resolutions for our personal lives or for business, a basic probability is that the ball will be dropped soon after the Times Square ball is dropped on New Years Eve!

The following article from Weakonomics caught my eye and I wanted to share it here.

“Make Plans, Not Resolutions”

Now it’s 2013. If you’re like most people you sat at home last night and watched terrible TV then went to bed at 12:05. The 5% of people that posted something on Facebook to the contrary are trying to look sociable so people that are not will feel or think something. I don’t understand.

Anyway, most people don’t make resolutions but just about everyone talks about them. And no one is ever able to fulfil resolutions because they are basically empty promises. So if you’re going to try and make 2013 a better year, make plans, not resolutions.

The way most people make resolutions, it’s a weak promise to themselves. It’s really only followed by some type of hope that they will come true.

Plans on the other hand should be much more robust. Let’s use the classic example of losing weight. A resolution is just to lose it. A plan includes specific actions that will be taken, milestones, and even contingencies for unforeseen roadblocks.

For losing weight that would certainly include periodic weigh-ins and expectations for what the scale would say. It would also entail how the person will actually lose the weight. If it’s through exercise, then how and when the exercise will occur is important. Dieting is effective as well, but how it happens and when you’re allowed to cheat should be in the plan too.

If you really want to make a plan effective, share it with others. Publicly announce your plan to lose weight and empower those around you to check in and ask how things are going. This of course assumes you actually want to accomplish your plan. If you’re just wishing for a better year, then resolutions are certainly the way to go. Sometimes you might get lucky, and maybe your resolutions will come true. But it’s a lot more likely with a plan.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a new year better than the last. But it’s only going to happen if you make it happen. (Source)


At Hallmark Abstract Service our pledge to our clients is to deliver on 100% of what they expect from a title firm each and every time that they trust us with one of their valuable transactions.

Service, attention to detail, fast turnaround times, going the extra mile in every aspect of the transaction and reasonable pricing on non-policy related fees. These are just some of the things we focus on and that our clients have come to expect from us!

And that’s why we continue to earn their business, time and time again!

Call or email us today to set-up an appointment and we will come to your office, learn about the nuances of your practice and explain to you the way that we approach ours!

Mike Haltman, President

516.741.4723 (O)

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC

Business management, marketing

9 Tips for Better Business Communication!

When networking for our business there’s nothing more important than communicating our message well!

Of course what we have to say is also critical, but if the listner isn’t listening then the content really doesn’t matter.

9 Tips for Achieving Better Business Communication!

1. Show appreciation for your counterparts time

Prior to getting into the meat of your conversation, be sure to express your thanks for the other individual’s time. Time is an extremely precious resource, and it important to be respectful and considerate of that. Also, complement or recognize any positive contribution they are making. Appreciation and praise can go a long way towards building good rapport.

2. Connect

Connect on a personal level if possible. Look for places where interests overlap if any exist. Even in a professional situation, there may be some personal interests in common, hobbies, sports, children, etc. Take care to avoid such controversial topics as political leanings or religious beliefs. A real sense of connection makes a difference in the tone and outcome of the current conversation and most likely future communications as well.

3. Stay positive

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to productive communications. Be constructive rather than negative or complaining. People shut down, effectively ending any real communication when they feel attacked or criticized. Be encouraging and kind even when expressing concerns or displeasure.

4. Watch tone

While it’s sometimes necessary to be assertive in order to make your point, don’t be aggressive. There is a fine line between the two. Try not to cross it. An adversarial tone is not in any way productive. Be confident and direct, while still adopting a calm, cooperative tone.

5. Focus on the result

It’s important to figure out what result you are after before you start the conversation. Knowing your objective helps you to direct the conversation and to remain on point. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you trying to give help, resolve a conflict, or collaborate on a project or issue? Are you seeking advice or trying to influence behavior? Your desired outcome helps to determine the flow of communication.

6. Listen

Eye contact is crucial. Be polite and don’t interrupt. No one likes being interrupted and though it’s natural to want to rush in to make your point, it’s very disrespectful of the other person’s thoughts. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Maintain an open mind. Learning how to value different viewpoints can be an important communication tool.

7. Notice non-verbal cues

Watch body language. Lack of eye contact, distraction, or fidgeting are often signs of restlessness or impatience. Yawning or sighing are usually signs of mental or physical fatigue. When you notice these types of non-verbal signals, it’s a sign that this conversation is not going to be a productive one. Quickly wrap up the conversation, postpone the conversation, or inquire about the discomfort if your relationship allows.

8. Request feedback

Confirm that you have a mutual understanding of what’s being communicated. We often think that we’ve reached a resolution and come to an understanding, only to find out that we have completely misunderstood the other person’s thoughts. Ask for input and feedback. This not only confirms that you have successfully communicated; it also makes the other person feel that they have been heard and understood.

9. Follow-up

Be clear about what actions will be taken and establish accountability. Confirm deadlines, responsibility, and expectations. If relevant, document any agreements in writing. A clear understanding of what is supposed to happen next can help avoid a conflict later on.

Source: Royale Scuderi


At Hallmark Abstract Service our pledge to our clients is to deliver on 100% of what they should expect from a title firm each and every time that they trust us with one of their valuable transactions.

Service, attention to detail, fast turnaround times, going the extra mile in every aspect of the transaction and reasonable pricing on non-policy related fees. These are just some of the things we focus on and that our clients have come to expect from us!

And that’s why we continue to earn our clients business, time and time again!

Call or email us today to set-up an appointment and we will come to your office, learn about the nuances of your practice and explain to you the way that we approach ours! 

business continuity, business interruption, disaster preparedness

Business continuity and disaster preparedness! (Reprint)

Hallmark Abstract Service New York Title Insurance

For those of us in the northeast who have been battered by Hurricane Sandy the topic of disaster preparedness and business continuity strikes very close to home!

First I’d like to send my sincerest hope that all who have endured this disaster are as unscathed as possible and that family and friends are safe and well.

While for some, myself included the power and heat have been slow to return, in the scheme of the unimaginable suffering being faced by some in the northeast this is certainly a small inconvenience to bear.

Back in August, 2012 I had attended a presentation on the topic of how businesses should prepare for a crisis that is outside of its control and one that could potentially shut their business down.

It could be a building that is inaccessible due to flooding or data that is unretrievable due to a power outage or, as with Hurricane Sandy, potentially both

In light of this most recent natural disaster I wanted to reprint the article and offer the power point presentation to anyone who would like to receive it. If you are interested you can simply email me at

“How prepared is your business for an event that has the potential to shut you down, force a dislocation of key employees and/or potentially compromise your stored data?”

Recently I had the good fortune to attend a presentation given by a gentleman whose expertise fell in this area that most of us are aware needs to be addressed but that typically isn’t. It’s kind of the business equivalent of estate planning for individuals.

He spoke about crisis management, business continuity planning and information protection that is in essence contingency planning for some exogenous event that is beyond the control of a business, unforeseeable and that could be devastating to the ability to conduct operations.

It would be a plan that once implemented “will mitigate those risks and protect critical business functions, assets and information with fast, comprehensive emergency response a key component to recovery.”

This type of plan will of course vary from business to business and from industry to industry but the basic premise is the same. Maintaining some semblance of business as usual that will keep a going concern going!

An example that he used was a steam-pipe rupturing in the heart of mid-town Manhattan that caused the evacuation of office buildings in the general vicinity. It was an evacuation that would last for an undetermined amount of time.

For companies that were unprepared for this type of event the result would have been devastating with critical information unaccessible, employees and management dislocated and business basically coming to a standstill.

Contrast that to a company that had a plan in place, systems and information duplicated and stored offsite, key personnel knowing exactly where to go and the ability to at least maintain a necessary level of operations until either the crisis passed or further plans were developed and implemented.

Once again, if you are interested in receiving the power point presentation you can simply email me at


At Hallmark Abstract Service our value proposition is to deliver on what it is that our clients expect from us each and every time that they trust us with one of their valuable real estate transactions.

Service, attention to detail, fast turnaround times, willingness to go the extra mile and reasonable pricing on non-policy related fees are just some of the things we are focused on and that our clients have come to expect from us!

And that’s why we continue to earn their business, time and time again!

Call or email us today to set-up an appointment where we will come to your office, learn about the nuances of your practice and explain to you the way that we approach ours!

Mike Haltman, Owner

516.741.4723 (O)

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC

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business advice

Guest post: Stop Criticizing Others

Hallmark Abstract Service, title insurance New YorkAn alternative way of dealing with others!

I happened upon this article that describes the critical way in which many, myself included, sometimes deal with friends, family, employees or business associates.

And about how when we do approach people in this way, the walls of defensiveness immediately go up that limit the potential for any real dialogue to take place.

Although changing from this methodology is easier said than done, if this critical way of approaching people can be altered somewhat the results might be very surprising. And very welcome!

Stop Criticizing Others”  written by Meredith Bell at Business

Summary: You may think you’re being helpful when you point out someone’s flaws or what the person did wrong. But in most cases, your words have the opposite impact of what you intended.

Steven Pressfield’s brilliant book about overcoming resistance, The War of Art, contains this profound piece of wisdom about criticism:

“Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others.
If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement.”

This quote explains why some people find it easy to speak uplifting words to the people in their lives, while others do not.

If you tend to speak critically to your employees, customers, friends or family members, there’s something going on within you that needs to be examined. There is some aspect of your own self that you find unacceptable, but you may not want to look in the mirror. It’s much easier to turn your attention outward and find fault with those around you.

Very likely, your own inner critic is hard at work pointing out your short-comings and emphasizing your mistakes. It’s painful to listen to this kind of chatter. So when that happens, you may be quick to judge the actions of others.

But criticism tears down the other person.

It’s one thing to give others constructive feedback about a specific action. It’s quite another to continually point out perceived flaws. Often, the criticism centers around them doing something differently from the way you would have done it. You feel the need to explain what’s wrong with their approach and rationalize that you’re trying to be helpful.

The problem is, expressing disapproval this way rarely works.

I know, because I’ve done this myself more times than I can count. And it turns out badly every time. The other person resents being evaluated and judged, because that’s how it feels no matter what spin you try to put on it. Trust gets threatened because they aren’t sure you’re really in their corner.

Asking questions instead of making overtly disparaging statements does not guarantee you’ve got it right either. For example, starting a question with “Why” is often disguised criticism.

Why are you doing it that way?

Why didn’t you show a little consideration for me?

Why don’t you just quit [smoking, drinking, etc.]?

The unspoken message is, “You’re wrong and I’m right.”

So when you ask “Why” questions, expect a defensive reaction. If you don’t believe me, start monitoring your own reaction when you get asked this kind of question.

When people feel defensive, the walls go up. You’re unlikely to connect at a level of honesty and openness. Over time, if you continue finding fault – or even worse, belittling them in front of others – they will withdraw emotionally and your relationship will be superficial at best.

The Take-away

When you feel comfortable in your own skin, you’re not threatened or offended by the imperfections you see in others. You know how difficult it is to deal with life’s daily challenges because you’ve had to weather them yourself.

If you have a deep conviction that you matter, you will find it easier to activate compassion and patience instead of criticism for the people you work with and care about.

In The New Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz summarizes a key benefit of finding ways to affirming others instead of finding fault with them: “Practice treating other people as if they had value, and surprisingly, your own self-esteem will go up.”

An entrepreneur since 1982, Meredith Bell is a skilled coach and expert on behavior change. Her software company publishes assessment and development tools for the people side of your business. For more information and the free guide for entrepreneurs, “Ignite Your Business,” visit: