Freedom Rings Deep

4 07 2016

We are living in one of the greatest times the world has ever known.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask your parents, your grand or great grand parents, a former military vherdet, even a person who has successfully battled their demons and won.  We enjoy the freedom of choice, the freedom of speech and expression. We enjoy freedom of connectivity from the best technological advances the world has to offer and we are living at a very peaceful time with abundance and opportunity.  We literally have the freedom to become anything we want to be.

So I ask the question.  Do you enjoy freedom?  Are you free?  I’d argue that you aren’t.  I’d bet my paycheck that if you really thought about it and answered truthfully, your answer would be a softly spoken no.  Oh sure, you could answer yes and I would easily challenge with a rebuttal.  Yes, you are free to make bad choices just as easily as good choices.  You are free to gorge on the drive through value meal options, free to gossip, be judgemental or critical of other’s freedom to choose.  Believe me, it is easy to use the wonderful gift of freedom in ways that are uninspiring and unempowering.

If you want to look deeper into the word, freedom is having the courage to bust out of the mediocre majority.  That safe place where we choose to stay captive and enslaved.
That place from which many of us escape only to return for periodic vacations.  I admit, it is hard to choose to break away from mediocreville and your band of buds.  To break the chains of fear. To be the exception.  It is even harder to do it with any consistency.  People love people that freely choose the status quo and remain fearful inmates.   They like you so long as you do the bare minimum in order to get a paycheck or gain approval.

Don’t believe me?  Then break away from the migratory path of the herd and see how people start acting.  It’s nothing personal against you, other than you freely chose to design a grander plan for yourself, and how dare you by the way?  You freely chose to be your own architect for change instead of living in the poorly constructed, over crowded box of the mediocre.

Take the emotional risk.  Put your ego in jeopardy.  Don’t do what the mediocre do.  Do More.  Be More.  Live life on your terms.  Stand strong.  Be free.  And, don’t ever look back.  It will be hard at times, but it is your responsibility to show people what IS possible. Remember, only your opinion of you is what matters.

Today is truly your Independence day.  Take off the shackles.  Be THE exception.

 

 

 

 





Friendship is Clairvoyant

1 07 2016

friendsIt is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.  The unknown author of that quote truly deserves accolades for perfectly describing those special and rare someones that come into our lives deserving a much higher distinction within our world.
With that said, I write to you today from my office.  Yes, we’re closed for the long July 4th holiday, but those who really know me understand why it is I sit here: the kitchen in which my secret sauce is made, never closes.  Today however, productivity in that kitchen seems to be at a standstill.  My 9am conference call with a client went by quickly and I have done little else since.  That was over 3 and a half hours ago.  I literally can do zero work until I bulldoze through what seems like a mountain of feelings.  Thus, I write.  This day and this particular blog site, will be where the rubber hits the road.

As we know, the nature of life is change.  It sucks, it stinks and most times it’s a bitch.  But, you embrace it to the best of your ability and muddle through.  My entire professional career has been built upon change and I’ve learned to smell it coming, grin and bear it, and know that long term, good things shall come from each change. However, I can’t seem to apply this same thinking to my personal life.

For the last 6 1/2 years, I have had a kindred spirit in my corner.   Let me go on record by saying that this is six and a half years I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Our relationship started out as personal trainer and client.  On day one, as the good student “want to be”, I handed her a photo of a woman from her neck to her waist and said “I want to look like that”.  “I want her arms.”  She piped back ever so confidently “Oh, we can do better than that!”

So off to work we went.  Two hours a week, 52 weeks a year for the next 6 1/2 years my kindred spirit spent breaking me of bad habits, steering me back on course when I’d driven off, and listening to me mumble underneath my breath, saying no to her commands, knowing full well I would comply with her wishes.

As with any smart investment plan, one expects a respectable rate of return, right?  I hit pay dirt with this one.  Not only did I end up getting better arms than the picture I idolized, but my kindred spirit taught me to take better care of myself, make smarter choices when eating, mentally understand that I can’t handle the sinkers, sliders and knuckle balls thrown at me if I’m not as strong on the outside as I seem to be on the inside.

And then the curve ball came.  “Hey, how do I handle the curve ball?”  My kindred spirit announced she was moving to Texas with her husband.  This was a topic she talked about now and then over the span of our 6 1/2 years and like the boy who cried wolf, it never came to fruition.  But this time, her voice was different.  The tone in which she spoke had a matter of fact authority to it and I smelled change in the air.  The change I was told, would go into effect June 30th.

That leads me back to the beginning of my story.  I’m mad (at myself).  I’m very happy (for her).  I’m sad (because I won’t have her here).  I’m regretful (that I didn’t make more of the time).  Hell yes, I’ve shed tears over this and I’ll continue to do so.  In time, my tears will be of the joy I’ll have from seeing her excel in this new chapter of her life.  I’ll laugh till I cry when she tells me funny stories from her new job, about her new friends and how she has taken on a new personal training client that is as big of a smart ass as me (like that’s possible).

One thing is for certain.  I gained more than I ever set expectations for during this time.  I’ve learned from Kris priceless lifetime lessons.  Habits, philosophies – things I can build upon to improve my emotional and physical foundation.  I’ve gained new friends, that were her friends, and became mine as well.  Most importantly, I’ve gained a lifetime friend in her that no distance will ever come between.

People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.   And when we come across those truly special ones (the life timers), it is our responsibility to take a teaspoon, tablespoon or heaping cupful of their secret sauce and add it our own recipe.  I am so much better because of Kris and every person she’s introduced me to over time will say they are better as well.  I hope she knows just how special she is.  She’s the money and she doesn’t even know it.

I love you my friend and I will miss you immensely.

 

 

 





A Full Plate Doesn’t = A Stomach Ache

8 09 2013

FullPlate_final_wtag-02-1-295x300
I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “You have way too much on your plate”.  If I did have a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I no doubt would be able to buy that Rolex watch I don’t need. 

I would agree that if a person were burning the candles at both ends, missing deadlines, not responding to emails, or phone calls, making costly mistakes or decisions and just sucking hind tit in their position, that yes, you have way too much on your plate and it would probably be a good idea to divest, digest or do a little portion control.  If that means speaking up to your boss or supervisor before you implode or explode, then please do.

However, some people are just good at being a “professional” over-eater.  If that individual is able to manage all the things on their plate, hit deadlines, exceed budgets, ask for seconds, and know when to ask for thirds, then don’t make it your business to worry about what is on said plate, especially if their (digestive) track record is a winning one. 

Your view of their plate could be a deceptive one so don’t be judgmental.  Also, evaluate why you actually feel you can make this statement.  Does it boil down to how you are interacting with this person?  If your idea of communicating is a “drop by” meeting or “shit on demand” (I need this yesterday) type of interaction, don’t be surprised if the red carpet isn’t rolled out for you.  They honestly aren’t sitting at their desk waiting for you to need them each day.   In almost every case, they have planned their work and are currently busy working that plan. 

Net, net…everyone is wired differently.  Some people accept their full plate and suffer in silence, there are those who piss and moan about their full plate to anyone that will give them an audience, and others who simply bite off more than they can chew.  But, there are a handful that are pretty darn good at digesting what’s on their plate plus welcome an additional trip to the buffet line.  For those rare few, don’t be so quick to think they are moody and stressed – think instead they are focused and flourishing.  There could be the chance that underneath all that food, they actually have a bigger plate than you.  And you know what, that’s ok.

   

 





When Your MOJO Is M.I.A.

9 07 2013

mojo-sdkIf you’ve ever been to the horse races, it wouldn’t take many visits to notice that thoroughbreds don’t run every day.  As a matter of fact, they run every 7-10 days at best.  Stop and think for a minute how that formula might work in everyday life.  We probably wouldn’t get much accomplished, now would we?

In the real world, we are expected to perform like thoroughbreds every day.  Bring our “A” game to the table and have laser focus.  But again, I say that is the expectation.  The reality is that sometimes we don’t have the same intensity day in and day out.  Whether it is a negative environment, a business deal gone sour or personal issues, nothing seems to be going right, you don’t feel like you’re growing and your mojo feels distant.

Who’s responsibility is it to bring us out of this funk?  Does that job fall on our friends, spouse, co-workers, relative or boss?  Honestly, these people can help us realize what is important, only as an individual can we really impact the results.

So how do you motivate yourself when your mojo is M.I.A.?  First, begin by understanding that this is a natural experience to go through and one that needs to be the exception and not the rule.  At the end of the day, there is personal accountability to inspire and motivate one’s self.  It is not your boss’s job to keep you psyched up every hour of the work day, nor your family or friend’s responsibility outside of the office.

Here are a few things that I do when I feel the anxiety or angst starting to affect my mojo:

  • Breathe…and embrace the fact that I feel a rut coming on.  I don’t fight it as it will make things harder for me.  The faster I try to dig, the deeper the hole might get.  If I don’t battle it, it will not gain more power over me.
  • Get Clear On My Vision – Truly visualize what it is I am hoping to achieve.   I focus on what needs to be done and helping others that rely on me to achieve their goals.  Without a clear vision, it will be one distraction after another.
  • Focus on one element of a project, complete that and move on from there.  Don’t make a huge list of to-do’s for yourself.  Even more angst and failure.
  • I work out and I don’t mean a stroll to the fridge and back.  I do cardio, weight, and core work every day.  I can’t imagine not having exercise as an outlet.  Things are a heck of a lot easier to tackle and look much different to me after a work out.
  • Examine my perspective.  I try not to hold onto an old perspective.  I try to watch how others look at things in order to help myself.
  • I make an extra effort to steer clear of the whiners and associate more with the people I view as winners.
  • Review my past successes and remind myself of the good things that I’ve achieved and that my next success is around the corner
  • I try to not procrastinate and associate pain with what might be the obstacle in my path.  (I’ve improved significantly on this one)

I can honestly say that I avoid many a rut by implementing the above.  I have the discipline necessary to stay on track.  At the end of the day, discipline is merely the motivation to stick with something.  That ongoing motivation is what keeps the proper level of mojo in place and allows me the ability to do my best work personally and professionally.





Sales 101 – The Most Successful Sales People Do Their Homework

31 05 2013

Fear1

The majority of my week is spent in one of three ways:

  1. Sitting in front of clients uncovering needs or finding that one big, hairy, problem that keeps them awake at night
  2. Brainstorming ideas with Media Sales Reps that addresses needs they’ve uncovered while meeting with clients or prospects
  3. Crafting ideas to use as valid business reason to secure that initial appointment

You see, I am in the relationship marketing and management business.  It is my job to come up with creative ways to assist business owners in moving their customers up the ladder of loyalty using a myriad of integrated marketing tactics that could include radio, digital, mobile, video, social, experiential marketing or a combination of the aforementioned in addition to numerous others.

Today, we have many ways to research a client and their business versus years ago when it was limited to print, networking, and (if you were lucky),  a little bit of data from the internet’s infancy.
Here is the process I use the majority of the time:  Prior to sitting down with a client or the sales rep that calls on them, I do my own independent research on the client’s business.  My research always starts with an organic search within that client’s business category on Google.  For example, if the client’s business category was furniture, I would Google St. Louis Furniture Stores.  Then I would check for the following:

  • Did this client’s business show up?  If so, were they on page one?
  • Did any paid search show up at the top of the listings?
  • How about their Facebook page, did it appear in an organic search result?

Next, I follow the same process but actually use their business name (example:  Fabio’s Fine Furniture) in my organic search.  I go through the same drill as with the business category search to see where they rank, and what exactly it is that is showing up in the organic search.  At some point, I would spend time with their website, audit their Facebook page (if applicable), check to see if they have any customer reviews or feedback (Yelp, FB, etc…), see if they have been in the news lately for any reason, learn about their origin, their owner, how many locations they have, etc…If at all possible, I would stop into one of their locations if it were a business I had never or infrequently visited.  What about networking?  Are they on LinkedIn?  Better yet, a I connected to anyone that is connected to them.

You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Don’t squander it away by thinking you’re prepared.  Really, REALLY do the research.  I’ve sat in front of enough clients that actually make it a point to thank me and/or the sales rep for being so prepared during the appointment.   Being prepared helps you understand the needs of your client better and gives you a head start with potential solutions to fill the need.  It also sets you way ahead of the competition as you have shown an honest and sincere interest in their business.  Not to mention the confidence you will have during the appointment and the credibility you will build with the attendees.

By doing your homework and researching the client or prospect, you will be well on your way to building a productive relationship.  So I ask you now?  Do you have productive relationships with your current clients?  Do you exercise the same philosophy with prospective clients?  Have you done your homework?





Positive Change

31 12 2011

positiveIf you remember back to this past New Year’s Eve (2010), I was on a quest to REALLY change things in 2011.  After a full year, I am proud to give everyone my progress report.  You see, back on New Year’s Eve I was excited about the things in my life that I wanted to change.  I looked forward with eager anticipation, to head to the gym on New Year’s Day and set out to achieve my top goal of getting my body back.    And what happened?  I quickly fell into that New Year’s Resolution trap where it was easier to put it off until tomorrow, or next week, etc..  Until something changed.  In early January, I had purchased a book called the Compound Affect by Darren Hardy – Editor of Success Magazine.  It wasn’t until early February that I had finished the book that would change my perspective on everything I did from that day forward.   It was officially February 16th when I put my roadmap on paper and became determined to get the body back that disappeared behind a protective layer or two of gurth.

At that time, I emailed my friend Kris Kennedy, who is studying o become a personal trainer and dietician, and told her I was ready for some personal coaching and help in changing my mindset.  She said she was up for the challenge and from then on, I have spent practically every Tuesday and Thursday with Kris sweating away the old, bad habits of the last 10 years and replacing them with better choices.  She even encouraged me to get a subscription to myfooddiary.com.  That my friends was the difference maker in all of this.

You see, the exercise part while grueling, was the easiest part of this self-made project for me to handle.  Afterall, I was always active and athletic as a child, teenager and young adult.  The tough part was knowing that I needed to change how I ate but I honestly had no desire to change my food choices….until I got my subscription to this web site.  For $9 a month, I simply go in and log every morsel of food and drink I put into my body.  From there, each item is calculated and spit back out to me in a form I understand.  I know my calorie, fat, carbs, iron, calcium, fiber…you name it, I know the intake.  It also allows me to input all exercise and water consumption goals.

It was this piece of software that I have on every computer, mobile device and tablet I own, that has led to the very changes I see taking place right before my eyes.

After 17 weeks I lost 15 pounds and after 10 1/2 months I am 351bs lighter and have my body back.  Not only do I have my body back, but it is in better shape than it was a decade ago.  My husband tells me this is the best $9/month I have ever spent.

While the secret of my success consisted mainly of making small changes each day – those small tweaks compounded over time has resulted in a 351b weight loss and a body with the muscle tone I had in my 20’s.  And, it wasn’t too terribly difficult.  I am still eating some of the things I was so afraid of letting go of.  Foods like french fries, pizza, Hershey kisses, soda and cookies.  While I drastically limit my consumption of these items, they still exist in small amounts in my diet.

Looking back, something magical happened when I organized and focused my mind on the goal of losing weight and getting my body back.  Ask my husband – EVERY year I told him was the year I going to make it happen.  Over a decade passed and each year I fell short.

It all started out with making that tiny change each day and every day, that over the period of these past 10 or so months has yielded the result I get to see when I look in the mirror and others notice when they look at me.  Darren Hardy calls this the compound affect, which was the catalyst behind him writing the book of the same title.  I urge everyone that desires to make changes, yet lack making the decision to go there, to read this book.

There is no holding me back.  The compound affect will be applied to even more areas of my life and  future successes will be mine.

Thirty-five pounds…All without pills, powders, points and drops (HCG) of a fad diet.





How Technology Changed the Workplace

24 10 2011

Technology affects almost every aspect of our lives.  When I think back to my start in radio sales just over a decade ago, we were just launching station websites, our account managers shared 3 computers to put their advertising schedules together, two sales assistants created almost all presentations that went out the door, email and the internet were in their infant stage, color printers were a luxury, a type writer or two was still being pecked on, the big thing was having a clam shell mobile phone, pagers were hip, and new business development was done through micro fish at the library, or reading print articles and combing the yellow pages.   For many of us, communicating with clients meant more face and telephone time along with sending letters and cards through the mail in the hopes of getting a prompt response.  Interoffice communication consisted of memos being circulated and posted in a common place for all to see. Couriers were used to carry our important documents across town.  Yeah, those were the good slow days.

The business world and the way we are conducting business has revolutionized almost beyond recognition in 10 short years and has forever changed the face and pace of what we do.  We now have access to a world of resources.  Almost all of human knowledge has been scanned, transcribed, recited and digitized for immediate access via a simple Google search.   We’ve witnessed firsthand technology grow like a child budding into adulthood.  We’ve seen technology fail, and we’ve seen it succeed. We’ve poked fun at it when it doesn’t make sense, and we’ve praised it when it’s absolutely brilliant. We’ve yelled at it when it runs out of power, and we’ve fixed or replaced it when it gets run down.

No doubt about it, technology has made our workplace and business more efficient.  Many would argue that technology has blurred the line between our professional and private lives.  Wireless internet, smart phones, tablets, etc…have made it easy to work from home—or for that matter, from anywhere.  Barriers of distance have disappeared.  Our ability to communicate with colleagues and clients has been amplified with replies taking seconds, not days.  From teleconferencing, web ex presentations, email, text messaging and social media, to HD experiences and video – we can connect, engage, communicate, activate, research and create with the touch of a few buttons.  And, if you look around, we all have a laptop or desktop in our workspace…not to mention a smart phone that is tied and tethered to us 24/7.

Let’s face it – these technological advances have been for both better and worse, but have unequivocally impacted the way our workplace now functions.  We have a wonderful opportunity to make our industry and brands more customizable, on-demand and instantaneous.  We have nothing stopping us from making more money as a company and capitalizing on our ability to create new revenue channels while convincing all categories of business to be our clientele.

We are no longer a radio company…we are MEDIA…we are a CHOICE – radio, TV, print, outdoor and on-line all bundled as one.  But so are our competitors in these categories as well as the Average Joe.  Ultimately, we have to make certain we are maximizing the wonderful technological gifts that are in our hands and make certain we don’t fall prey to complacency and contentedness.   The worst “thank you” we can give our employer for all the modern tools we now have in our workplace is to become lazy, stop out-hustling and become lax in our thinking all in the name of efficiencies, created by technology.








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