Nov 11

Music=Empathy

By Celeste DeCamps | General


My mother told me that I danced before I could walk. I didn’t think about anything when music was playing except to feel it move through my body. I believe we all have rhythm though I have met a few people who seem to have forgotten it. When I was twelve I told my parents that I wanted to play the drums. They did their best to convince me to play something smaller, like the flute. I told them that people won’t be able to hear me if I did that. It wasn’t until I had stuck with the lessons for a couple of years that my parents bought me a drum set. I think they were really hoping that I would’ve given up before having to get one. 


I played in my high school marching band and the orchestra. When I got to college, I used all my electives in music. My brother, Stan, played the sax and was a music major. He introduced me to an amazing drummer, Rob Cargell, to continue my drum lessons. It was the start of a whole new phase of understanding music and being part of a band. Plus, Rob was really cute.

I took rhythm classes in Jazz and Rock. The focus being how to connect and anticipate what the other guy is doing. It’s a completely different feeling from playing with a marching band. Instead of reading music and following a conductor, I’m working with a small group improvising a song. I was having a hard time relating and trusting my inner rhythm. Rob was trying to figure out why and at one point looked at me and said, “Stop counting.” 

I said, “What? Stop counting? I have to count or I’ll lose my place.”

“Don’t count while you’re playing. You’re not allowing yourself to feel the music that is being created around you. Get out of your head and just listen.”

It was the strangest feeling when I started to play and hone in on what the bass player was doing. Little by little I felt like he and I were one person. The more I practiced with the band the better understanding I had of the other players’ personalities. 

Empathy is feeling someone else’s ideas and thoughts. Everyone’s approach is different and you have to gain an understanding of how that person will interpret a song. To lock in with another person, to be in the pocket together is hard to describe. It’s like you’re reading the other person’s mind, especially when you have played with the same group of people over a long period of time. 

The rhythm section’s job is also to support the soloist. It’s an amazing sensation when you can understand when to lay back and when to punch with an accent. I have a whole new level of appreciation when I hear a group meld their ideas together. 

I’ve always thought that the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes was important to being more compassionate to those around you. I think playing in a band and relating to each other heightened my sense of awareness. I seem to pick up on other people’s emotions before they even say anything. I also know that annoys a few people but I can’t help it.

I continued playing drums even when I became a professional belly dancer.  Stan came out to see me perform in a Greek restaurant. Later he asked me how long I had to practice with the band before going on stage with them. I said the band and I never practice together. 

“Well, then how did you know what they were going to play? How did you dance to the music and the drum solo if you’ve never heard it before?”

“I learned how to listen and anticipate what the musicians are going to play and they watch me as well. This way it looks like we rehearsed it.”

“But the rhythms and time are constantly changing. How do you stay with them so well?”

“It’s easy. I don’t count.”

Oct 28

Find Your Inner Child Find Your Passion

By Celeste DeCamps | General

What do you want to be when you grow up? Every kid gets asked that and many adults are still trying to answer that question. Some people seem to know exactly what profession suits them while others seem to spend their whole lives searching. I know for myself the idea of doing just one thing for the rest of my life didn’t sit well. I just saw so many possibilities that I wanted to try them all. I was lucky that I was able to start and end many different types of careers. My newest venture may be the most rewarding one I’ve had so far. It’s also what I wanted to do when I was ten years old. 

I just read an interesting article by Bruce Grierson, “The Rule of Age 10.” He researched people who changed their job path to something that was more gratifying for them. Some people will chalk it up to a mid-life crisis but research says that may not be the case. Our passion may be traced back to our much younger selves. 

Mr. Grierson’s  research revealed that by “Age 10 is a developmental sweet spot. You’re old enough to know what lights you up, yet not so old that adults have extinguished that fire by dumping more practical and “realistic” options on it. In other words, age 10 contains, in a sense, our source code.” 

Parents and teachers mean well by steering young people towards a vocation that will help them be successful as adults. It’s not that they don’t want to support their dreams they just know how hard it is to find a profession that pays well. Unfortunately for many people they end up in a job that doesn’t fulfill them emotionally. They feel that they wasted a lot of time and energy on a career that is not satisfying. 

Hence, the myth of the midlife crisis emerges. People suddenly leaving their successful, well-paying job to do what they always wanted to do when they were a kid. They find their enthusiasm for life again by going back and finding that spark that they thought they lost. 

How do you figure out what you wanted to be when you were younger? What if you wanted to be a football player or a super model? Chances are that ship has sailed, but you may still find interests that you had that can be developed today. Do a little research. Dig out your yearbook or maybe a journal that you kept at a young age. Talk to family and friends. You never know what you may find but it would give you a glimpse into finding what lit you up. 

I know, for me, I found the joy of writing again. I also found my voice and confidence to share my message to audiences. It’s been a long journey but one that I had to take to bring me to where I am now. All experiences, good and bad, are not a waste of time. If you are still looking for your passion, take  a moment and think about what held your interest when you were ten years old. You may just find the missing piece of your puzzle. 

Sep 28

Three Goal-Setting Ideas That Won’t Make Your Head Spin

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Three Goal-Setting Ideas That Won’t Make Your Head Spin

Do you feel an internal groan when you hear the term goal-setting? I know I do. I immediately flash back to the days of having to do homework. I would tell myself the same thing every Friday. “I will get my homework done right away so that I can enjoy the weekend.” It never happened. When did homework get done? Of course, late Sunday night. I hated that I would worry about getting to my work all weekend and still not make myself do it until the last minute. 

It’s hard to stay disciplined when there are loads of distraction. If I don’t watch all those cat videos and share them, who will? 

Over the years, I’ve gotten much better about jumping on the work at hand and getting things done. I’ve also learned that some procrastination is not a terrible thing. Walking away from my desk and clearing my head, helped me find solutions to problems. 

The question is, how to balance all of the work that needs to get done and not feel so overwhelmed?

Goal setting is not a one size fits all. We all have different ideas of what will work for us. I can tell you to write a list of all that you need to get done in a day and then check it off one by one. For some people that works. For others they will tell you that their day can change on a dime. 

I understand that. I sold wine and spirits to restaurants, nightclubs and hotels all over Manhattan. I would plan my day the night before and by the morning it would all fall apart. Deliveries weren’t made, invoices were overdue, accounts had to cancel their appointments. I had quotas that needed to be reached and I would have to develop a new game plan at the last minute. My goal-setting ideas changed and developed over the years. 

What is the one thing you need to accomplish to be successful at your job? If it’s taking videos of cats, please let me know if you are hiring. Most likely, it’s staying on task and getting the day’s agenda done. 

I present to you three different ways to set your goals, and attain them. You can choose one or two or combine them into your own personal goal setting plans. 

The Pomodoro Technique - The Ivy Lee Method - Accountability Strategy 

What is the one thing you know you have to do for your business that you won’t do or try to avoid for as long as possible? If that’s your scenario then The Pomodoro Technique may be what you need.

Here’s the idea. You set a timer for 25 minutes. You do nothing but that job you’ve been avoiding. No one can talk to you, no looking at your phone.and no cat videos. You just immerse yourself into that one task. Once the timer rings, take a break. When you are ready, set the timer again and get to work on the next item. 

This helps you set boundaries, especially when others are constantly needing your attention. Everyone will have to wait at least 25 minutes before they can speak to you. Letting constant interruptions happen, keeps you from getting your own work done. 

If you find you have several tasks that need your attention all at once you may want to try The Ivy Lee Method. The idea is to establish the night before, the six most pressing things you need to do. Start with the most important task first and ending with the least important one. When you get to work you will know exactly what project you are tackling head on. When you have completed it to your satisfaction, you will start the second task. If you don’t get to all six by the end of the day, list the ones you didn’t get to. You will then only add more projects for a total of six to work on the next day. 

The wonderful way this works is it forces you to decide what is the real priority that you need to get done. You don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do first thing in the morning. When we eliminate the tasks that don’t really help in achieving our goals we start to realize how much more we can get accomplished. All of sudden, you will have more time watching those cute cat videos. 

If motivation is needed to get you to stay on track then The Accountability Strategy with another person may be the answer for you. You both help each other reach your goals. This is the method that worked for me when I decided to start my own business. It’s a fun way to work on your objectives because it does feel a bit like a game or competition.. Think about it, you want to keep your side of the bargain up. If only one of you is doing the work then you both lose. You feel bad that she can’t seem to get it together and she feels bad because she is letting you down by not sticking with the plan. If you have someone you can rely on to hear your ideas and be encouraging then taking the necessary steps becomes exciting. Of course, you need to do the same for her. 

Make a standing appointment at least every two weeks to meet and compare notes. Discuss various options to get over stumbling blocks and put a plan in place. Decide on what actions need to be taken to accomplish the next steps. Before long a road map will start to emerge and you’ll find a clear path to your success. 

A little planning goes a long way. You won’t feel as anxious or stressed as you go through your day. You will have a solid plan of action to follow. When the weekend comes you will not have to worry about any homework. You can sit back, relax and watch as many cat videos that you want. 

Sep 21

To Text or Not To Text

By Celeste DeCamps | General

To Text or Not To Text

Is texting and emailing going to replace face to face conversation? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no. Yet, many people who run their own business complain that it’s getting harder and harder to get clients on the phone or meet them in person.

My sister Lynette, a talented makeup artist, tells me her frustration with clients contacting her to inquire about her services. They want all the information either by text or email. She explains that by having a conversation she can better understand what the woman wants for her special day. For example an email is sent to her with the following request.

“I want to look completely natural with smokey eyes, deep red lips, sculpted cheek bones and lash extensions. I don’t want to look too glamorous but if you can replicate Cyndi Lauper’s look for me, I would appreciate it.”


There’s a lot to unpack here, I’m just glad I don’t have her job. 

My experience with customers, when I do get them on the phone, is how much quicker I can understand their wants and needs.You can’t judge emotion or understand what is most important by just reading text. In our quest to be more efficient we sometimes waste more time as we wait for responses or realize through more emails that the recipient misconstrued the information we sent. 

My young co-worker tells me she met a nice guy and they stayed up all night texting each other. I asked, ‘The whole night? You mean you both sat and typed and not once thought to actually call and talk to each other?”  She looked at me as if I was some kind of ancient relic.

Why is it so hard to get someone on the phone? I’m afraid our communication skills are getting rusty because we are not taking the time to have solid conversations. I think we are causing ourselves undue stress as we try to interpret a person’s tone, meaning and emotion through the hastily written text or email. 

Here’s a common scenario: a text comes through and I check to see whom it’s from. I now have to decipher the message full of misspelled words and abbreviations followed with emojis. I call the person back because I can’t figure out what they want. The phone goes right to voice mail. This person had time to text me but will not answer the phone. I leave a message and say, “I honestly tried to understand your message. I can’t tell if you had a stroke or in the middle of a seizure. I hope you are alright, but just in case, I called 911. Paramedics are on the way.”

We have spent thousands of years evolving our communication skills. We automatically read peoples’ body language and facial expressions. We can tell if someone is smiling even if we are speaking on the phone to them. We adjust our conversation to the person we are speaking with to make sure our ideas are understood. We look for nods of agreement or a shrug of the shoulders to let us know how we are coming across. We don’t have those nuances over emails. We are left to guess the tone of the person who is responding by text. I will stare at an emoji and try to determine if it’s a sad face, a confused face or a mad face. I will then have my own face looking annoyed. 

I like that technology has made getting in touch with people quick and easy. I do like texting and emailing. I just don’t see a replacement for actual discussions. When a friend has good news I want to hear all about it. I want to do more than leave a picture of a smiling face. I want to celebrate with her. Most likely wine will be involved. It’s the same when she has bad news. I want to be there to lend a shoulder to cry on and pour the wine. 

We are wired to be social and communication is at the heart of it. Cultivating relationships, whether business or personal, relies on speaking to each other. Our exchange of ideas is better facilitated when we know we are on the same page. It’s too easy to misconstrue a badly spelled text or not have a sense of urgency over email. Once again, Eric, I thought when you typed “8 dinner” meant you had already eaten, not have dinner ready by 8. This marriage thing is hard, but that’s a whole other article. 

My experience of creating and keeping strong relationships was taking the time to show up in person or talking on the phone. Our success, many times, happens because of the people we meet and stay in contact with. Networking and creating connections is how we learn, grow and develop our friendships and businesses.

We all need to take the time to socialize. My advice: pick up the phone, go on a real date,  call me and tell me all about it. I’ll bring wine.

Sep 03

4 Body Language Myths That We Need To Stop Believing​

By Celeste DeCamps | General

  4 Body Language Myths That We Need To Stop Believing

Many of us don’t realize just how much we communicate nonverbally. I can usually tell when someone isn’t feeling well even when they say everything is fine. The other day I met up with a friend and before she even spoke I said, “What’s wrong?” She looked at me in surprise and said, “How can you tell? I purposely put on a smile and yet you can still tell I’m upset?” 

We all have “tells”: a poker term that is used to describe what our bodies do unconsciously. Professional gamblers are looking to see certain body movements that the other players do. For example, they will pick up on subtle signals that a person does when they are holding a winning or losing hand. They notice if a person holds their breath when they like their cards or a subtle frown when they know the outcome doesn’t look good. That’s why so many gamblers sitting at a gaming table will cover up with a hoodie and sunglasses. They know how hard it is to keep their nonverbal cues in check. Trying to have a poker face is very hard to do with your body. 

A one size fits all understanding of body language doesn’t work. We have to consider other elements that come into play when we are meeting people. There can be cultural differences that explains why one person moves into your personal space and another that seems to stand a little farther back. When people are trying to decode what a person is thinking simply by watching how they sit or stand may be interpreting it all wrong. 

Here are four body language myths according to Joe Navarro a former FBI Counterintelligence Agent and expert on nonverbal communication and body language:

1. Crossing our arms doesn’t always mean we are on the defensive or needing to block out someone’s ideas. For most people it feels comfortable to cross our arms like a self hug.  A person may feel cold, tired or the chair doesn’t have arm rests which causes them to hold their arms. Many women automatically sit with their legs crossed in the name of comfort. 

2. Touching our face or covering our mouth is not an indication that we’re trying to cover up a lie. Sometimes it’s just a nervous tick that we are doing unconsciously. We all have ways of of reassuring ourselves when we feel a little anxious. 

3. Lack of eye contact is not an indication that someone is not being truthful. Many times a liar may use excessive eye contact just to help make the lie more believable. Sometimes our eyes will move past the person we are talking to when we are trying to recall a memory. We tend to move our eyes from left to right as a way of processing information. Many people who are shy have trouble looking people in the eyes. They are not trying to be deceitful, they are lacking confidence in themselves. 


4. Putting our hands in our pockets or behind our backs doesn’t mean we are trying to hide something. It’s again, a way to self soothe. It’s what makes us feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. 

Mr. Joe Navarro explains that we are constantly giving each other nonverbal cues. The most important thing we can do is be aware of how we are coming across. How we are dressed, what our posture is and if we are smiling. Are we taking the time to really listen and care about what the other person is saying to us? All of this helps us to be more empathetic to each other and our own nonverbal cues will be communicated in a positive way. 

I know how my friend walks, and talks when she’s in a good mood. It was easy for me to pick up that she wasn’t doing well. She told me what was bothering her and was glad that she didn’t have to hide her true feelings. I’m happy that she felt safe to let me know what was going on in her life. 

We all need people to care about us and take the time to recognize our body language as well as listening to what we are saying. We also need to be the person who takes the time to observe and pay attention to the people around us. This is what connects us to each other and helps us build solid relationships. 

For more information please read “The Dictionary of Body Language” by Joe Navarro



Aug 25

The Power of Self-Talk

By Celeste DeCamps | General

My mind is going a million miles a second to every worst case scenario that I can dream up. I need to actually be asleep and dreaming but my head has other ideas. I’m in a battle against myself and I’m losing. Staring at the clock and willing myself to sleep is an exercise in futility. The onslaught seems relentless. I’m either replaying past events of my biggest regrets or I’m envisioning a future that is so dismal that my life seems hopeless.

I am sure I’m the only one in the world that does this. Just in case I’m not, I did find ways to battle the beast inside me and win a good night’s sleep. It’s not perfect and negative thoughts still rear their ugly head, but I have a better handle on it.

I read a great book called “What To Say When You Talk To Your Self” by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. I highly recommend it if you want to change the bad opinion you have of yourself to a more positive one.

“Self-Talk is a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions. Self-Talk is a practical way to live our lives by active intent rather than by passive acceptance.” Shed Helmstetter, Ph.D.

We do have more control over our thoughts when we force ourselves to speak them out loud. It’s like holding a mirror up to our face and realizing our impending doom is not even close to being realistic. We need to get out of our heads and look at what’s really bothering us. I found writing down my concerns and worries helps me to see them in a better light. Am I trying to control things that are out of my control like an earthquake, a hurricane or tight fitting jeans? Ok, maybe the last one can be controlled by eating less cookies, but I’m sure the science is still out on that one. 

Many of the things we worry about never come to fruition. I find confiding in a friend about my fears does help in alleviating them. I get a sense of reassurance that comes when someone who cares about me lets me know that everything will work out. We all need that lifeline that connects us to each other. It’s a nice reminder to reach out to our family and friends when we are dealing with insecurities and self-doubt. 

One of the ways I’ve found to help me stop the negative voice in my head is to flip the script I’m telling myself. I go back through my day and find something to make me smile. Sometimes it’s just remembering a funny moment. My favorite memory is a recent conversation I had with my six year old nephew, Kent. He said, “Aunt Celeste how old are you?”

I said “I’m 56.”

 “56! Wow! You look like you can be in your 40’s”

“Thank you, I’ll take it”

“Yeah, I knew you’d like to hear that”

Yes, every time I think of this, it cracks me up. I love his sense of humor and it makes me happy. It also helps me relax and think of more fun times in my life. I feel a sense of gratitude and hope. I think about how soft and nice my pillow is and I fall asleep. That’s when I realize, all we really need is a fluffy pillow to help us sleep. 



Oct 13

How To Practice Mindfulness Without Losing Your Mind

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Mind Full or Mindful
Mind Full or Mindful

I’m either stuck in the past or fixated on the future. The idea of living in the moment seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. I’m trying to be in the “Now” but my mind has other plans. Even when I’m meditating my thoughts swim over waves of nostalgia or conjure up fears of an unknown future. 

The only time I find myself living in the present is when I’m dancing. My mind somehow is impervious to thinking about anything else except the music I’m listening to. It’s very freeing not thinking about anything in particular. I’m not even thinking of what dance move is next. I just let my body move to the rhythm and feel relaxed and energized at the same time. 

Things that I think I should be worried about melt away. I sing along with the band and for that moment I am completely present. Inhibitions, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy simply do not exist. How can I dance through life? As much as I want to dance to the 80’s music playing in the supermarket, I do not. 

What I have done is read a wonderful book by Eckhart Tolle, titled “The Power of Now.

“If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth. Not the ultimate truth of who you are, but the relative truth of your state of mind at that time.” Tolle, Eckhart

Here are three ideas to help you stay in the present.

1. Instead of fighting with my thoughts, I let them happen. I am able to stop being bombarded with crazy, nonsensical ideas and look to see the cause of them. I realize more and more, the importance of being aware, and taking a moment to understand what is bothering me. Why am I ruminating over things that have already happened and a future that hasn’t happened at all? What am I so afraid of? When we stop to take a deep breath and answer these questions, we understand ourselves a little better. 

2. I know I have a choice. I can either let the fear take over or embrace this negative emotion and turn it into motivation. This is what will anchor me to the present. I stop worrying and instead look to what I need to be doing for myself. I write out a list of what I want to get done. This way it’s out of my head and onto paper that I can look at. It gives me a feeling of control when I’m feeling overwhelmed and powerless. 

"I want to learn to live in the moment... just not this moment. some other moment. Like a moment on the beach."

  3. I make sure I schedule in a workout. Keeping my mind and body connected alleviates the undue anxiety. I step away from the computer to take in a few deep breaths. I will relax my neck and shoulders. If the sun is out, I’ll take a walk. To be honest, I’ll take a walk in the rain too. Sitting in the park, the woods or at the beach is a great way to live in the present. It’s a way to focus on what is really important in life right here, right now. 

I’ve learned that everything has a way of working out even when we can’t see how. Understanding all the opportunities life has to offer gives us a sense of hope instead of dread. It’s not easy to stay present all the time, it takes practice. Being aware is the first step to getting yourself to the here and now. To help get you there, appreciate your past and trust your future. Release all the thoughts of what you need to get done by putting pen to paper. Get outside, breathe some fresh air and take a walk. 

Dancing will always be my go to move when I want to feel good, even if it means waiting till after I leave the supermarket. 

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