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Archive for July, 2010

R is for….Really?!?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Two things happened to me that sparked the “R” word today – in my homage to America…the land of the free, and the home of, Steve Winwood and real toilet paper.

First, I had an appt this morning at school, so I headed there.  I live on the main drag of my subdivison.  But, it has a bend in the road and a stop in the center of the street.  So as I turned the corner to head toward the stop sign this morning, lo and behold, I faced a house…that was TP’d.  REALLY?!? It was so…old school.  Do people really still TP people?  I think those who do should definitely take a trip to China, where they’d swiftly learn the value of really high quality toilet paper.  I guarantee if they hit a few public toilets while there, they’d NEVER TP again.

And speaking of old school, just got back from my power walk for the evening.  Had to put on the dance channel from Pandora on the iPhone while working out.  Stunner #2: someone actually took the time to remix Steve Winwood into club music.  REALLY?!?  I barely liked his music in high school which, er, was more years ago then I care to mention in this forum.  Suffice it to say, someone who actually took the time remix his tracks into dance music could only have happened here in America.  Not sure anyone else would officially bother to wipe the dust off of the track, let alone remix it.  (Not that I minded, but I did a little…Winwood totally reminds me of a really awful high school job I had at the Toasty Shop in South Bend.  Cheesy uniform and all.)  No, thanks, don’t need a higher love…

In conclusion – I’m always amazed in this country by what some people actually value and spend their time doing.

REALLY?!?

For sure.

Bob & Me

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Ok, it probably should be Bob and I, but really don’t care.  Here’s the good part:

Yesterday, I had a bad day.  Had some annoying technical issues on top of a major speaker we were trying to get politely just say no.  Topped off with dinner with a good friend who I am trying to help obtain their ‘dream job’, albeit thus far unsuccessfully.  While it was great to catch up with this person, I still didn’t feel like I’ve gotten them to where they’d like to be.  Translation: not my best day.

My cat Bob also had a bad day.  He really wasn’t eating much.  And, he’s old and isn’t in the best health.  So, between the two of us we were a little bummed out.

Today, however, was a different story.  Not only did Bob get a massive hair ball up and is now officially ready to eat, but I also received not one, but two emails for people who I connected to others announce they got jobs!  YAY!

This, mind you is not a yay me rant, it is a yay WE rant.  If we all just took a little time to focus on others, maybe we can unblock the hairballs and get people free to be better versions of themselves.

Just like Bob & me, may you have a good, hairball unblocking day in your near future.

Q is for Quake

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

There’s a quake afoot in this country right now.  A revolution, so to speak, which is moving the country from a manufacturing based economy to an idea based economy.

I know what you’re thinking…duh!  Of course!  But, the good news here is that in this country, despite the earthquakes, floods, and general hysteria and entropy, we have the power to actually change things, make things better, improve things DESPITE the change going on around us.   Do people in other countries have that ability?  Maybe some.  But not like here.  We have a lot of freedom to handle the quakes of our lives.  Seize opportunities.  Make things happen.  Create quakes of our own.

Now that’s a country I want to be part of!

P is for Possibility

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Possibilities in this country are infinite.

Case in point – I’m filling out some paperwork for a training course I’m taking in NYC soon.  It asked me a question that I didn’t really think about too hard until just now, which is this:

If you could be on any board, in any company, which one would it be?

This is a hard question!  Why?  Because the possibilities are nearly endless!  But that’s the blessing (and sometimes the curse) of living in this country.  The possibilities are endless!

O is for Open…and OMG!

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The I love America rant continues…!

O is for open.  As in–hey, do you have a cool thing you want to try or do?  As long as its not illegal or might harm someone else – go for it!  That’s the mantra of the US of A!

Had to throw in OMG too – you never know when trying new things (aka being open) lands you in an awesome, exciting place – OMG!

America allows all of us to be more open to surprises, exciting things, and new ideas.

OMG!

The Super Store of the Mind

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Today, I’ll be shopping.  For ideas.  In the store…of the mind…for my law school note.

For those of you from another world from law–in law school, some of the students get on law review.  Its a prestigious thing, or that at least is what we are led to believe.  Anyway, the students on law review get the opportunity to write a law school note, which really isn’t a note at all.  It is usually a lot longer than a note, about a topic relevant to law in whatever law review they are aiming for.  In this case, the target is the Indiana Health Law Review.  It has to be well researched, argued efficiently, blah blah blah.

So, picking a topic, especially in healthcare right now, is kind of like drinking from a firehose.  So, instead of getting overwhelmed, I’m going to pretend that all ideas are organized neatly, like a grocery store.  Probably like Trader Joe’s.  You’ve got your produce section (wellness), vegan and vegetarian sections (preventative health), the freezer section (fixing the current healthcare reimbursement/bill mess), and other various sections relevant to disease states and different demographic types of patients.

Now, what aisles to go down…?  If you have any burning issues that you’d like addressed from a legal perspective, and need a student to write them pro bono (as ideally I’d like this ‘note’ to be…dare I say…helpful to someone….?  Please let me know your topic du jour.

Clean up on aisle 6!

N is for Network, Network, Network

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

This is a great country, where we have the freedom to meet who we want, when we want.  The only thing I’ve been meeting a lot of these last two weeks are powerpoint slide decks, but one of the talks I’m building (from scratch, for the first time, unfortunately) is on the power of social networks.

For example, the average worker with a wider online network actually is 7% more productive, and those with a wider face to face network?  They have 30% more productivity with their peers!  I’m fascinated by this MIT study that was mentioned in HBR last year.  The journal didn’t get too deep into why the networked individuals are more productive, other than if one can cast a wider net with questions, info requests, ideas, etc., they have a higher and faster methodology for potentially getting answers, from the appropriate people.

Granted, the concept of the inside outsider isn’t a new one; but I’m starting to think…if you have two employees, all other things equal, but one has a big fat Rolodex and the other doesn’t, WHY aren’t we measuring our networks as part of our performance at the workplace, and how we utilize and maximize our networks to create win-win situations for our employers AND our network?

While I’m pondering all this, the bottom line for all of us is to get out there and network.  We are all one anyway – just like drops in the ocean!

M is for Magic

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Ok, this is going to be a long winded post for the letter M in my homage to America the Alphabetical – but I hope you stick with me on this one.  It is important.

I dislike most television.  Really, really, dislike.  Almost loathe.  Here’s why: 1. most TV programs assume that Americans are completely inane, and 2. most TV programs and channels make the incorrect assumption that fiction is more interesting than nonfiction.  (The truth is ALWAYS more interesting than fiction.)  BUT, there is one particular category of TV I do like (as do many others): reality shows.  Not so much the cat fights.  More specifically, I heart family business reality shows.  Cake Boss, Jersey Couture, Pawn Stars, and my current favorite, The Fabulous Beekman Boys (and they ARE fabulous, in case you were wondering…) are ALL about magic. American magic!

Why are these shows so cool to me?  Easy!  They are all living and breathing the American Dream right in front of our eyes!  Yes, there’s entertainment, drama, and divas–but the most important and interesting thing about these shows is that these families and significant others are attempting to run a small and/or growing business. SMALL BUSINESS is now and will continue to be in the future the engine by which our economy drives, NOT big business anymore.  Small mom and pop or family businesses are where it’s at from here on in for this great country of ours!

The more examples available to us on TV, radio, the net, and media in general, the more we are going to feed our American souls on T-H-E American Dream moving forward!  If we can see real families and their trials, tribulations, joys and drama in a small family business, study them, learn from them, AND be entertained by them, that will help the next generations in this country see the value in chasing and working hard toward their very own magic!  (Besides, I want to buy stuff from them – just because they are busting their butts to work hard and grow their businesses!)  I know – having a business these days just isn’t easy at all, but working for oneself is a truly admirable and respectable quality that we should all try to embrace!

Don’t get me wrong: if someone’s life long dream is to work for a big box retailer, or for someone else, by all means, ROCK IT OUT!  However, I know so many young people who are frustrated with having no paycheck at all, or the big paycheck for the bank account along with the simultaneous huge withdrawal for the soul.  By having the American Dream on television–by watching people chase down their passions, we in turn can inspire ourselves and others to start and live their own dreams and passions…and how many of those really want to be in business for themselves?  I’d argue a ton, and I’m probably right.  Small business is magic in this country.  Small business is the American Dream to many.  Magic is this country, because to me, magic is the American Dream.

So the next time you’re channel surfing, stop by and watch some of these small business owners in action–not only are they entertaining, but maybe, just maybe, we can all learn something from them, on how we can in turn live our own magical lives based upon them being the pioneers of taking the risk to make their own magic happen.

That, and learn how to make a cake, custom dress, cheese or soap too.

The Fine Line Between Pleasant Persistence…and Stalking

Monday, July 19th, 2010

I’ve been pounding through several books while building a couple of presentations the past few days…PPT usually puts me in a foul mood, so I’m going to declare a break and talk about something I talk a LOT about with my students and mentees, because it really doesn’t appear anywhere in the formal curriculum of anything I teach, or took, in school.

As I was reading Scott Belsky’s new book, Making Ideas Happen, last night, I fell upon page 84-85 and just had to chuckle, as I’ve been conversing with many a young career professional about the art of follow up (this section of his book is entited, “The Tao of the Follow-Up”).  Ironically, an example was from an employee of one of my previous employers…and I have to say, this employee was spot on in Belsky’s book when he said the following:

“I’m starting to believe that life is just about following up.”

I get it.  I also agree.  In fact, so many people out there, bluntly, suck at follow up (sorry, there’s not really a better word for it).  I’m not always the very best about it myself when I get really swamped. But, this person has a valid point, especially in our attention deficit, do-more-with-less multitasking stressed out society. You have to keep following up to get information and people to take action.

However, with that 2 sided story comes the dark side as well; to wit, the title of my blog entry.  There truly is a fine line between being pleasantly persistent and being a stalker.  However, you can temper it by being gracious about your follow up.  I am certainly no Miss Manners of follow up, but here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…the hard way:

1.  Always THANK anyone you are following up with for their time…esp if you met with them face to face. As I’ve preached here before, time is the only thing finite on this earth – everything else with enough time and money can be potentially infinite.  Time is precious.

2.  Spare us all the War & Peace email – if you’re following up, one simple line on an email will do.  No one has time to read a Tolstoy-esque diatribe.

3.  Switch up modes of transport – if you emailed last time, pick up the phone this time.  Or snail mail. Or fed ex. Or fax…just keep switching it up.  If you just keep using only one method, you’re not showing any flexibility, and you might not even be reaching the person you intended to because maybe they don’t use the common mode that YOU do!

4.  If you don’t know the other person you’re reaching out to – you might want to cautiously explain what you’d like to gain from them, without getting too obnoxious.  Again, this part is art more than science.  I don’t have a formula here, but it comes with practice, time, and a few blunders along the way.  I got this certificate on follow up from the school of hard knocks.  It’s like your networking or social capital is like a bank account – and you definitely do NOT want to overdraw with a brand new bank…or a brand new person in your life.

5.  If you’re going to follow up and be long winded, you’d better have something interesting to say – seriously.  Help them by following up with a book or an article you discussed when you were face to face. Give them something they didn’t expect to learn from you – it shows that you add value to their network…and you’re not just a one way street stalker.

Besides, no one in this world ever got anything really worth fighting for by laying back and waiting for it to happen, without a ton of hard work and…pleasant persistence.  So, when in doubt?  Follow up!  Just be careful and smart about how you do it.

L is for…the Love!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Would you expect anything else other than LOVE that I have for this country during my alphabetical love fest for USA?!?  Of course, you wouldn’t!

Along other fronts, today was a fantastical Sunday!  Built a super and brand new talk for a continuing education program, caught up all my e-mail, reviewed some textbooks for a class next year, and bonus–brunched with a friend from out of town.  All in one weekend.  Yay!  That’s the love I’m talking about – freedom to do whatever you want on a weekend, or any day for that matter, in this great country of ours!!!! YAY!