keeping a balance, marketing consultant, Passion, Uncategorized

Gifts and Gratitude – Part II

Since many of my clients have currently gone into what I call “holiday hibernation” mode (really, it’s a combination of year-end and holiday demands, and I totally understand both of these), I have the wonderful “gift of time” — a phrase we used a lot at my last job — that allows me to write two consecutive posts.

While part I of this two-post series focused on gifts, this one focuses on gratitude. As the calendar year comes to a close, and a new year is just around the bend, I think it’s important for me, and for all of us, to look back at 2014, and find blessings wherever we can. I can easily identify mine.  One is  a positive resolution to a handful of health issues that continue to plague me from past cancer treatment. While, from a health perspective, 2014 was almost as equally challenging for me as 2013 (the year in which I endured two major emergency surgeries), I am ever so grateful to be closing the year feeling significantly better.

Other blessings include:  the continued love and support of a large and diverse group of friends and family members related to both my health and to launching my marketing consulting/agency business, the fact that most of my family members and friends continue to enjoy decent health, and the willingness for various friends, former colleagues, and connections to engage me and my firm, Results Communications, to oversee a variety of marketing and marketing research activities on their behalf.

I feel so fortunate on so many fronts.  As I shared recently with family members, and I want to share with you, “The Boston Globe” has recently published two great pieces that remind all of us of the importance of gratitude — that no matter how dire our circumstances seem, how we can all find and count blessings, if we choose to do so.  I hope you’ll enjoy the two pieces below.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/12/12/mother-glass-isn-half-full-overflowing/4Hoesz8hsYZ3qyMdDJ9wtO/story.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/11/30/why-have-all-forgotten-say-thank-you/lm8SiwHcu1cX8T4uaKlflO/story.html

I’d love to hear what you are most grateful for this year.  I know I’m also grateful for all of my readers — a group that includes many family members, friends, clients and prospective clients.  I wish you peaceful, safe holidays filled with gratitude.

Enjoying What You Do, keeping a balance, marketing consultant, Passion, Uncategorized

Gifts and Gratitude – Part I

As you might expect from any blogger, I feel compelled to share some thoughts from the heart and soul during this holiday season.  From my title, you’ll see it’s important to me to share my thoughts about both gifts and gratitude.  In fact, after another year of both great blessings on various fronts and more health trials and tribulations, there’s so much I’ve learned and want to share, this is going to be a two-parter.

Let’s start with gifts.  And, I’m not talking about the tangible ones you give friends and family, like baseball cards, the new Taylor Swift CD, or Godiva chocolates.  I’m talking about the two gifts that I think are the greatest gifts of all — love and good health.  I thought about it a bit, and while I think good health is one of the most important gifts that is both bestowed upon us — and that we can cause in ourselves and others through the right actions — I believe the most important gift is love.

You can live many years, even a lifetime, with certain types of poor health. It may not be easy, but it’s doable depending on the health challenge, but I don’t think any living creature can survive without love. I’ve always loved this line from “Nature Boy”, “the greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return“.  Not just during the holiday season, but all year long, I hope you’ll remember, as I try my hardest to do, to share a smile and reach out to those who are most in need of it. It only takes a second of your time to speak to a stranger who appears down-on-their-luck or to reach out to a close or distant acquaintance who you know may be lonely and/or hurting in some way.

Now, on to good health.  Some of us, like me, were fortunate to be born with good health.  When I see children struggling with any kind of mental or physical health challenge, it breaks my heart that they have to be so courageous and fight so much at an early age. Also like me, some of us have known major health issues in adulthood, such as cancer, MS, diabetes, COPD, and heart disease.  While in certain cases, we can’t prevent the arrival of our illness, there are certain steps we can take to manage or minimize our symptoms or disease progression.  In addition, we can give the gift of good health to others by making sure we aren’t encouraging unhealthy behaviors through our actions.

I’ve shared information with family and friends about this great book I bought at the beginning of 2014.  Reading it was a wonderful way to start the year committed to taking actions that support good health. This book, http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Move-Sleep-Choices-Changes/dp/1939714001, by Tom Rath, was a good reminder that in addition to guarding your own health, you can help others guard theirs.  By taking the lead by ordering first at a restaurant and making healthy selections, or by refusing to bring unhealthy food into the office or to get-togethers with family and friends, you can be a help instead of a hindrance to supporting good health in your family and friends.

I hope during this holiday season you will be both the giver and recipient of both love and behaviors that encourage good health.

 

Enjoying What You Do, keeping a balance, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, Passion

Carpe Dieming

I’m not yet ready to break out all my fall sweaters on this Friday before the long weekend — one that signals that summer will soon be on its way and we’ll need to dress for crisper, cooler air.  In keeping with my post headline and being a New Englander, I plan to savor the warm days and nights of summer and all the season brings for as long as I can.

However, this post and the motto that I live by warranted my modeling a favorite sweater of mine.  Thank you Banana Republic!

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I’m such a big fan of both the phrase (and the color orange :)) that I eagerly scoffed up sweaters for me and my twin, Audrey, with this phrase, and wore it to work on some casual Fridays to inspire my former marcom team.

Audrey and I love to say that we are “carpe dieming” and regularly encourage friends and family to do so. Being two of six siblings who have known our share of health-related hardship — three of us have battled cancer and now deal with the long lasting impact of treatment, and two live with the day-to-day challenges of multiple sclerosis (MS). Through all the great energy they bring to both their personal and work lives, I witness all the time the great awareness the Snow family siblings have of the importance of seizing every day and living each day to its fullest. And, I see this sentiment repeated over and over in a sarcoma discussion group that I participate in — whether it be voiced by current cancer patients, cancer survivors, or their caregivers and loved ones.

Given the fact that Americans, and perhaps, individuals throughout a lot of the world, think of September as a time of new beginnings and opportunities, I thought this was the perfect time to update and publish this post that I had drafted, but then put aside, several weeks ago.

To me, carpe dieming means:

1) Not putting off until tomorrow, what you can, should, or want to do today — whether it’s fun- or work-related.

2) Taking action towards your goals TODAY — whether they be to eat right, exercise, have more fun, visit more with friends or relatives, start your own business, or launch a new project.

3) Finding good in, appreciating, and enjoying every day.

4) Participating in life’s simple pleasures and acknowledging that the best things in life are, indeed, free.

5) Not over-focusing on “saving for a rainy day” to the detriment of doing enjoyable things today.

I’d love to hear what Carpe Dieming means to you.  Regardless, I hope you’ll seize this long weekend and make it the best ever, and if you haven’t seen it, check out this tribute to Robin Williams related to the important message he shared with his students in “Dead Poets Society”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance of Circumstances, Enjoying What You Do, keeping a balance, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, Passion

Attitude Truly Is Everything

While you’ve all heard my blog post heading said and written numerous times in numerous ways, I think it’s a message that bears regular repeating. It’s a timeless message relevant to everyone in every situation and in every century — your attitude can and will make or break you.

I was reminded of this late last week when a friend told me that as part of consideration for a newly created position — one that would initially require a lot of mundane, repetitive work, but that was expected to grow to a much more diverse, and challenging one — she had to submit her favorite quote. She submitted the following: “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind” – Author Unknown. A perfect quote for my “Keep Up the Fight” page.

I do believe if you go into any situation — whether it be business-, social-, family-, or health-related focusing on the good — and if the good is not easily identifiable, hunting for it, you are more likely to be both successful and happy. I speak from experience as someone who has dealt with serious illness that if you look and give thanks for whatever silver lining you can related to the situation, such as the ability to help others dealing with the same illness, a greater appreciation of the simple things in life, the forcing of one to have more life balance, etc., you will fare better mentally and physically.

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The same holds true for any business situation. Thirty years of work experience has taught me that a positive attitude is infectious. If you are proposing or beginning a project with a strong belief that it will have positive outcomes, others will believe and approach the project with the same belief. This is one of the many things I love about being a consultant (and a leader, in general), and where I think consultants, regardless of their field of expertise, can really help. We aren’t battle-weary from internal and external politics and other challenges impacting a particular department or organization.

Consultants are like fresh troops who come into a situation with brand new ideas and eyes that bring renewed enthusiasm and energy to a situation because we believe that we can be effective and help lead individuals and teams of individuals to the best possible outcomes. If we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t do what we do for a living.

Belief that great results can be achieved and no challenge is insurmountable is a powerful thing. I’d love to hear how you’ve seen it work in your lives.

Importance of taking break, keeping a balance, marketing consultant

The De-Grid Pledge

I was so inspired by an article I read in “Shape Magazine’s”  May edition last night that, as soon as I got situated in my home office this morning, I had to share its reminders and insights.  You’re probably thinking I’m going to blog about how to change poor exercise or eating behaviors, but this post is about another widespread behavior that could be equally, if not more, damaging to the health of individuals across the Globe — what I call “grid syndrome”, the need to always be “on the grid” or connected.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t read, thought, or taken action related to the ideas and concerns in the aforementioned article (“Get Phone Smart”) before.  But, I’ve been giving a lot more thought recently to the  impact of  “grid syndrome”, and this may be the last “alert” I needed to put new healthy behaviors in place — consistently and permanently.  I believe this “Shape” piece was one of the more comprehensive ones I’ve read on the constant-need-to-be-connected topic. It reminds readers of both the professional and personal impact of feeling the need to always be “plugged into” the outside world — whether it be with friends, family, or strangers — via the internet.

While I was a very early adopter of “LinkedIn” and “Twitter”, and a fairly early adopter of “FacebooK’ compared to many of my friends and family members, I have become both a bit leary and weary of all forms of social media.  I don’t like the way I have to pay homage to/”feed” them all the time, and therefore, how they make me feel somewhat imprisoned.  It’s a good thing to have a lot of friends, particularly in the world of social media, but what if work, family, health, and other needs, don’t allow you to read and respond to the hundreds of updates that friends and acquaintances post, particularly on “Facebook”? Are you a bad friend?  Have you missed the one opportunity to learn about some really important occurrence in a family member’s or friend’s life?  My thought and hope is “no” and “no”.

Let’s all ‘fess up.  How many times a day do we feel the need or desire to post the smallest of thoughts or activities on social media for validation that it was a smart/good thought, or a heroic, important deed or action? How did we survive in the days prior to social media without validation from so many close and not-so-close acquaintances? Looking back on my internet-free days, I feel confident in saying that, for reinforcement related to less impactful thoughts or actions, we did a quick check-in with ourselves, and for the bigger life thoughts and actions, we reached out to friends and family members via phone or in-person for support or feedback.  And, didn’t the self check-in build confidence in ourselves, and the family/friend check-ins build stronger relationships?

This past weekend, I visited Boston’s wonderful Museum of Fine Arts for the fabulous annual “Art in Bloom” event with several women I have known for thirty years now.  During our lunch break to fuel up for more art and flower arrangement viewing and chit-chat, I posed a question I’d been pondering regarding “Facebook” — were people starting to be feel the way I was, and that I had heard people were feeling, i.e., burnt out on it?  Two of my lunchmates chimed in immediately that “yes”, they were, and I think all of us present wouldn’t have traded our wonderful day together for hundreds of shared posts on “Facebook”.  We are friends that hung out frequently  in our early twenties, before major life changes like marriage, children, demanding jobs, moves, etc. lessened the frequency of get-togethers.  It was the early-to-late-1980’s, when mobile phones were only for the very wealthy and the internet wasn’t even something we could possibly dream of or anticipate.  But, somehow, and quite successfully, we made plans to meet up or travel together to the “Jukebox” in Boston, the former “Chevy’s” in Quincy, Duxbury Beach, cross-country skiing in New Hampshire, or a road trip to Falmouth, without e-mail, cell phones, Facebook, or texting!  And part of the fun was calling one friend to ask if they were able to reach another friend — by  phone or in-person, of course — to alert them of that evening’s or weekend’s plans.  There was an excitement and energy to making all the arrangements that brought as much fun and camaraderie as participating in the activity itself.

It’s so fun to reminisce about a less complex and “freer” time, and that brings me back to the personal and professional impacts of “grid syndrome”.  As they pointed out in the “Shape” article as well as many others I’ve read, doesn’t it truly take away from your enjoyment of a day visiting a local farm, traveling to the seashore, or watching a play-off game, if you are constantly thinking about what witty remark you’ll post, or if you feel the constant need to take photos to upload vs. just enjoying the event by yourself or with loved ones?  I strongly believe that it does. And, what about the professional impact of always being plugged in?  As the aforementioned article and other publications have pointed out, many individuals have found themselves more sleep-deprived and anxious as a result of feeling the need to be constantly “plugged-in”.  The lure of reading that one last “Facebook” post, sending a status update, as well as the bright light of computer screens and cell phones keep us up or our minds racing later than would be ideal for functioning well in the morning.

While it would seem contradictory, stepping away from work e-mail at a reasonable hour, say no later than 8 p.m., will in the long run make you a better manager, employee, business owner, etc.  Because, as the article explains, you’ll arrive at work more rested — leading to better performance, idea generation, and enthusiasm — attributes your employer or your clients are sure to value.

Because I am both a business owner and a marketing consultant, without a doubt, you will still find me tweeting and posting about marketing issues.  And, you’ll still see me using all forms of social media to share what I believe to be information that helps others — whether it be a health and wellness tip, a link to support a charity, or some other information that keeps people safe and healthy — because this is what I believe is the true value of social media, and the internet, in general — to spread information that will help others.

In recent months, I’ve cut back my “personal”  participation in “Facebook”.  I still post regularly on my “business” “Facebook” page at allintheresults.  I’ve always tended to go in spurts on the personal posting side anyhow. I wanted to see how much I would miss it and if I would feel less anxious if I stayed away from it. Not enough time has passed to draw a conclusion, so I plan to continue my experiment to lessen my exposure to “grid syndrome” triggers and see what the results are — very much in keeping with my love of research and analytic nature! I don’t consider myself a social media addict, but then again, that’s a common cry among addicts.

What I’m pledging here, and I ask my friends, family, and colleagues to hold me to this, and to strongly consider taking the De-grid Pledge:

  1. Unless a non-movable, tight work deadline requires it, I won’t use a computer, cell phone or other hand-held device for work-related purposes after 8 p.m.
  2. I won’t use a computer, cell phone or other hand-held device for personal/social interactions after 9 p.m, but preferably, will de-grid even earlier in the evening.
  3. I’ll be fully present and engaged in any social/fun activities with family or friends, and not think about what I’m going to post or share about it online.
  4. I’ll employ more “old-fashioned” means of staying updated with friends – calls to land lines, breakfast/lunch/coffee/walk get-togethers, cards, and letters, and spontaneous visits (with a quick call ahead of time, of course :)).

I’m hoping to generate some lively discussion on this topic,  and that some of you will pledge to join me in my pledge. I’d love to hear what other components should be added to this pledge.  And, I can’t wait to check in six months from now to see and learn who is sleeping better, is less stressed and anxious, and who’s enjoyed the wonderful daily activities of life as God meant them to be.