Life Lessons with Thomas Dowd and Janet Pfeiffer

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Today’s guests are Thomas Dowd, Speaker/Coach at Thomas Dowd Professional Development and Coaching and Janet Pfeiffer, President/CEO at Pfeiffer Power Seminars, LLC. To hear the entire show, click here.

On the show today, two coaches give important life lessons and several other helpful tips.

Thomas Dowd Tom Dowd

Thomas Dowd has been in the financial and customer service industry for over 25 years as a speaker, author, trainer and coach. He has authored five books so far. On the coaching side, resume writing, interview prepping and public speaking are the most popular topics he teaches.


Personal development and networking are some of the key areas of Dowd’s coaching. Dowd says that 80% of the hires that happen are through networking. “People levitate people they know. And your successes are dependent on this. So you have to spread out and let your network do the work for you,” explains Dowd. Often people are in awe of or in fear of their senior leaders. These senior executives make most decisions and are responsible for your future. Thus, Dowd encourages everyone to reach out and make a personal connection with their seniors. He says it is important to get yourself in that uncomfortable situation because it helps you build confidence. He recommends people to go to HR, people responsible for talent planning and people who are aware of the company’s broad vision without having blinders on. Dowd’s advice to his clients is to make networking a habit. It’s all about creating a genuine relationship. If you approach people saying you’re looking for a job, you’re showcasing yourself as a desperate person in need. Dowd says that even if you are looking for a job, make the conversation about them and not about you. Take an interest in them and get to know them first because that’s how relationships are built. This relationship can be then leveraged to find a job.


There is a difference between talking and being heard, according to Dowd. Often we come across people who just love taking charge of meetings and other group settings. They are the only ones talking. Dowd warns that just because they’re talking doesn’t mean they are being heard. Such people often simply end up annoying others. Thus, Dowd coaches his students to be selective communicators so that when they talk people listen. You can be a selective communicator only when you are 100% engaged. “Be a good listener, be selfless, be the one that says what’s in it for you because these are the people in business who are finding solutions. They are working to build people and instead of seeking credit they are seeking solutions. Credit ends up coming their way because they bring results,” explains Dowd. After all, communication is not about talking but it is about being a good listener and facilitating a productive conversation.

Time Management

Dowd has written a book on time management and he also helps his clients manage their time better. He suggests everyone to start thinking strategically instead of trying to manage every second of the day. You should look at the tasks for the day and find out what are the least number of tasks that you can do and still walk out of the door feeling you’ve succeeded – that’s the starting point, according to Dowd. If you have a short list instead of a longer one, you’ll be able to concentrate on the right priorities. He has a 5-minute exercise that he believes works very well. Every day at 5 in the evening, he suggests taking sometime to figure out what’s coming the next day. Similarly, on Friday’s, figure out what’s coming the next week and on the 26th of every month, figure out what’s coming the following month. He says that this little exercise works really well as it helps you layout the next day, week or month strategically.

Also, when you’re working off a smaller list, you’ll feel really great about over accomplishing when you finish the activities on the list and also manage to finish a few extra tasks. However, when you’re working off a really long list, you’ll feel bad about not even getting through a quarter of the tasks on the list. One should also build in time for the unexpected things. You can’t possibly plan every second of the day and expect things to go exactly that way. Blocking an hour or two every day for unexpected things such as emails, phone calls, etc. will help you get things done. Taking off half an hour to an hour for lunch also helps refresh the brain. Also, doing things in short spurts of time helps because anything over 90 minutes is not going to hold your attention. A little water break or reading an interesting article in between different tasks can also help.

What Are You Reading?

Dowd is currently reading “Speaker, Leader, Champion: Succeed at Work Through the Power of Public Speaking, Featuring the Prize-winning Speeches of Toastmasters World Champions” by Ryan Avery, a former world champion of public speaking. The book shows how using fewer words can help make a greater impact. It also prepares you for all kinds of conversations.

How Can People Connect With You?

Connect with Thomas via email at or by visiting his website He is also reachable on LinkedIn and Twitter (@TomDowd4).

Janet Pfeiffer Janet Pfeiffer

Janet Pfeiffer has been providing lectures, workshops and training sessions for over 20 years to companies of all sizes. Recently she expanded her business to spiritual life coaching and she also hosts two radio shows.

Anger Management

Anger management is one of Pfeiffer’s core areas of expertise. She helps people understand anger, learn how to express it effectively and how to heal from it. “I don’t teach people how to control their anger. I believe it is something you can heal from which is a much healthier way of dealing with it,” she explains. She believes anger is something everybody can relate to – whether it’s their own anger or somebody else’s. Most people don’t understand what lies beneath the anger. She helps people find that inner peace and serenity which is the key to health and happiness, according to her. In fact, one of the radio shows that she hosts is called Anger 911 that helps people deal with anger. Pfeiffer says that anger is often looked upon as a negative emotion. However, she believes it is a very healthy and necessary emotion. It is what you choose to do with anger that determines whether it’s going to benefit you or create additional problems in your life. “Sometimes anger can work as a very useful tool to bring about a positive change in your life. All emotions are messengers. You need to understand why they show up in your life and what you’re supposed to do with them,” sums up Pfeiffer.

Feeling Valued

One of the biggest challenges Pfeiffer faces when she conducts trainings for companies is that people feel devalued. They are upset about their hard work not being acknowledged and are completely demoralized due to constant criticism. They become disillusioned and lose the motivation to be good at their job. Sometimes companies are so big that nothing is personalized and people become like robots. Thus, one of the things Pfeiffer does is to bring back the human connection. The number one complaint across the board is that people don’t feel valued. When people feel that they are truly appreciated for what they do, they’ll work ten times harder, according to Pfeiffer. But when that is missing they lose all motivation.

Healthy Work Environment

Companies need to be able to recognize and appreciate the unique talents of each of their workers. Even within departments, it helps to get to know one another, not just as co-workers but on a more personal level. When you know what a person’s likes and dislikes are, what their struggles are and what they really are like outside of work, you get a whole new perspective which helps in getting people closer to one another. “This brings the human quality back to the work place because people realize they have more in common than what they may have understood previously. Finding a common ground is very important for establishing a healthy culture,” explains Pfeiffer.

Great Leader

According to Pfeiffer a great leader is not someone who has the right kind of qualifications and skills to lead. Effective leaders are the ones who are extremely compassionate and genuinely care about their people. They are not pretentious and they take everyone’s opinions seriously. While working with such leaders, employees feel like they’re being valued and that they are making a contribution towards the success of the company. They feel like they are being heard and that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. Good leaders take time out to talk to their people and find out what they’re struggling with and how they can be helped. These are the human qualities that workers connect with and make them feel that they aren’t just a “means to a profitable end.”