Feel Good, Lists

What’s yours?

Yesterday I attended a meeting and events industry association networking event.  The guest speaker was Andy Lansing, he is the President & CEO of Levy Restaurants.  Although I was not aware of him prior to the event, I’ll remember him and his presentation well into the future. He made me laugh and made me think. Which is exactly the outcome you want when hiring a speaker for your event. His topic was about the Top 10 Things he’s thinking about right now, and his list changes frequently.  This blog is not about sharing his top 10 things, but rather to say it got me thinking about My Top 10 Things.  And since it’s my blog, I’ll write about what I want.  (and if perhaps Andy Lansing happens to read this blog post, great job on the presentation, you got me thinking 😊 )

  1. My Blog – I will write when I am inspired, you won’t get blog posts from me which are forced “just because”.  That means there will be gaps of time when there are no stories posted.
  2. Fundraising – Is challenging, rewarding and humbling.  Everyone should donate some of their time and give it a try at least once in their lifetime.
  3. Meditation – is a year-long habit that has literally changed the way I react to things in my life.
  4. Growth – I’ll never settle for what I already know, I will challenge myself all the time.
  5. Exercise – this week I’ve banished this word from my vocabulary and replaced it with “movement”.
  6. Barking dog – I have one, he’s loud.  I’m sorry.  (#6 is for my neighbors)
  7. Kudos and Thank You – I’m learning to give these out freely and without hesitation.
  8. Guts – Career changes, hard work, dedication, volunteering, networking, doing the next right thing even when you don’t want to.  All takes guts; give yourself Kudos and Thanks if you’ve done some of these things! 
  9. Laughter – this word will likely be on my top 10 list 100% of the time.
  10. Fewer words; more pics – keep practicing using pictures to replace a thousand words in my presentations. (right after this blog post…)

What’s in your top 10?

Feel Good, Funny

Three little birds…

According to the song by Bob Marley & The Wailers there are “Three little birds pitch by my doorstep”.  Well that’s Bob’s story, and this is mine.

Recently as I walked to the kitchen, I noticed something outside the window flying around my three-season screened in porch, and this was abnormal.  The porch is completely screened in, except for a tear at the bottom of one of the screens which I had been meaning to fix, but in my façade of normalcy nobody from the street can actually see the tear, so is it really there?

This will not end well

I sipped my coffee and looked out the window to watch the bird fly back and forth unsuccessful in his escape from the porch.  As I watched I engineered solution in my head about how I could help guide the bird back to the hole in the screen in which it entered.

It kept flying (and pooping) near the tear in the screen, but he couldn’t quite figure out his exit strategy.  I went out to the porch and moved a piece of furniture that I figured would help guide the bird’s migration.  Didn’t work…

Go out this way, follow the arrow sparrow

Now his friends were in the bush located next to the porch outside coaching him, but he wasn’t getting it.  So one of his friends decided to come on in and help him out.   Then I had two little birds outside my doorstep, not singing “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”  Instead their lyrics were more of something like this “Oh God, we’re gonna die, die for sure”!

Good job helper bird!

A third bird propped itself in the bush just outside the screen, and this is when I flew into action.   I went to the kitchen, grabbed a box cutter and thought about which screen was best to remove.  The torn one? The one the bird kept smashing his little bird body into? I was not sure, he seemed to have short term memory loss of the original entrance / exit location. 

Get off my porch

To my delight, when I returned, there were no more birds.  Apparently #3 was the wisest of the bunch and managed to coaxed them out from their original location.  I went out to the porch to verify this was the case, and that I wouldn’t have three little dead birds outside my doorstep in the spring.  Nope, they were gone, they flew the coop, friends of a feather they flocked together. 

Will I fix the tear in the screen in the spring?  Depends on how many birds enter from this point forward.

Feel Good, Funny, Tips

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter Q

When I hear people talking about how much they hate networking events, my brain immediately thinks “Qué”? (which is Spanish for WHAT? and with my limited knowledge of the language, that’s about all I got).  But since the post mentions that today is brought to you by the letter “Q”, I figured I better make my opening quirky.  (raises eyebrows up and down like…get it?) 

Well, technically this post is not brought to you by the letter “Q” as much as it is about networking at events and how I grew to enjoy it.  Now a networking event doesn’t always mean the traditional “let’s exchange business cards” type of event, here are some others and see how many you recognize as “networking events” – a business meeting, company party, neighborhood block party, cookout, church event, fundraising gala, wedding…. So with these events in mind, here are several tools I learned over the years which have helped me tremendously.  I can’t claim to be the originator of these tips, but I have applied them and they have worked in most cases.   I hope they help alleviate some of the queasiness you feel before your next networking activity.

Quest – make it your quest to make the obviously uncomfortable person in the room feel more comfortable.  You know who I’m talking about, that person standing alone, awkwardly clutching their drink and fumbling with their phone.  The one who looks like they wish a cloak of invisibility would envelop their body right in the middle of the room?   Go talk to them, make it your quest to find out something about this person.   By doing this, you will not only quell your own fears, but you’ll be helping to quash another person’s as well.   (honestly, I didn’t think I’d find this many “Q” words before I started this blog but I’m enjoying it now, so roll with it)

Questions – You may be thinking, that’s interesting advice, but what do I do in order to make another person feel better about their networking situation?  Well, I’m glad you asked, because it brings us to our next “Q” word.  Ask them some very targeted questions, but don’t ask them so they end up thinking you’re creepy, just open-ended questions to start a conversation.  If you get to the 5th question and you are both still just kind of staring at each other, my apologies to the both of you. 

  1. What’s your name?  This is a fundamental question asked by all children who want to make friends.   Don’t worry if you forget their name as soon as they say it, here’s a tip; at the end of the conversation just ask their name again and make a remark like “I really want to be sure I got your name correct, was it Todd”?  or “forgive my forgetfulness – please tell me your name again, so when we meet another time I’ll remember”
  2. Where do you live?  Remember the creepy reference from above, this question is where this comes into play.  I prefer to phrase this question as “Do you live locally, Todd”? (less creepy).   If yes – tell them what you like about the town/place they live.  If no – ask from where, and some general questions about why they enjoyed living there.
  3. What did you like about your last vacation?  Totally open ended, and even if they haven’t taken a vacation in years or stayed home and read the latest Quidditch techniques; this question is still relevant.
  4. What do you do at your job, work, career?  If they don’t work, an alternative question is How do you like to spend your time?
  5. What do you enjoy doing with your family? This is a great way to phrase the question because it doesn’t matter what kind of family situation, this topic can produce a quality discussion.

Quick Summary of yourself – I would recommend before going to your next networking activity that you do a quick summary of your answers to the questions noted above.  Have some thoughts ready so when the conversation continues, you can also talk about your experiences. 

Well this post was a lengthy one, I hope it quenched your thirst for knowledge on how to hate your next networking activity less.  Good luck!

Feel Good, Funny

It’s Groundhog Day so wear your brown

When I was in elementary school we had this teacher who got creative and told all of the kids in her class to wear brown for Groundhog Day. So I did, and I continued to wear brown on Groundhog Day from that day forward. This was the new normal and I thought it was written in stone.

Throw a top-hat on this little fella and he’s dressed for the day!
Great Groundhog outfit!

Imagine my surprise however, when I turned into an adult and started to talk about wearing brown on this day to my co-workers and friends and they all gave me a strange look like “you brown wearing weirdo, wear whatever you want that day”… My beliefs were crushed, but no matter, I still wear brown on this day.

Feel Good

“To Do” Lists are Overwhelming

Sometimes instead of making a “To Do” list I make a “Stuff I’ve Done Today” list and by “Stuff” I mean SH*T I’ve accomplished.  This is so much more satisfying than looking at the list of things that may or may not get completed in one day. I’m pretty amazed at all the things that I’m able to accomplish throughout the day. Like wash dishes, sweep floors, send emails, walk the dogs, make the bed, create 1/2 dozen excel spreadsheets, write a blog, do freelance work, and the list goes on and on. Then I feel like “I SERIOUSLY ROCK!!!!” No wonder I’m exhausted at the end of the day! I think I’ll add – went to bed as my last task!

This is me telling everyone how AWESOME I am.