Recalibrate

source: Technabob.com

source: Technabob.com

Being able to adjust to life’s twists and turns is about more than just going with the flow. And it is not just about having contingency plans.  I’m all about flow, but sometimes you just need to know when to calibrate.   You need to know when to check in with others to see if you’re meeting each other’s expectations.   
Today I took a very early morning spin class with a new instructor and it took me 15 minutes to realize that her range of easy, harder, getting tough and gut buster was a four-point scale.  The last teacher I had used a full ten-point scale.  So this morning, when the instructor said four, she really meant ten.

The same holds true when you start a new job, start working with a new manager or take on a new client.  Take the time to understand the expectations and needs of your business relationship. Don’t just discuss or set expectations at the beginning of the relationship or at the time of a formal review. Take the time to periodically check in, recalibrate when needed and you’ll see a lot more success and  fewer headaches.

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No U-Turns

u-turnU-Turns are like course corrections on the highway of life.
Double-back if you missed a turn; turn around if you aren’t sure of the direction you’re going.
In this economy it is easy to play it safe, easy to take the course others expect of you.
Follow your gut, follow your passions and take the fork in the road.
But No U-Turns.  You’ve been there. Done that.

Move over football, there’s a new Super Bowl Spectator Sport: Ad Tweets

This week I wrote a post for the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association.   Advertising industry thought leaders Edward Boches, Lisa Hickey and Steve Hall weigh in on the Twitter Ad Bowl.  Check it out here

Anybody really listening to this conversation?

What would happen if we gave human beings our full attention?

Over the past few weeks I’ve attended a few networking meetings, one hosted by the Boston American Marketing Association  and one hosted by Women in Business Connecting. The discussions and presentations were topical for me as a marketer and I bumped into some old colleagues and met some new people. 

The AMA focused on analytics and had some interesting panel speakers that were very forthcoming about the challenges they face as marketers, particularly in this rocky economy.  It is refreshing to get that honesty at a business event. The WIBC featured David Meerman Scott a thought leader who looks at how we leverage the Internet to connect directly with customers. He’s a funny and engaging speaker and I follow his blog.

The reason marketers and business people go to these events is to network and learn more about connecting with customers right?  In Web 2.0 parlance we’re all engaging in “The Larger Conversation.”

So, we want to be part of a conversation.  Conversations are with people, right?

But guess what?

Many of us are not paying attention to the human beings right in front of us.

Around me people at these events played with their cell phones, Crackberries and iPhones. They could have been Tweeting, checking email or compiling a grocery list for all I know.  Actually, I do know what one couple was doing. It seemed like they exchanged cell phone numbers so they could send text messages. Or maybe they already knew each other. They were sitting right next to each other and right next to me.  I guess for a Boomer like me that would be like “passing notes” in high school, right? 

They’re not listening.

How many of us are guilty of “email voice.” You know, when you are on the phone having a conversation with someone and suddenly you decide to check your email?  Guess what you sound like to the person you are talking to: “Uh, yeah, ah, oh, right, yeah, um, ok.”

We’re not listening.

Oh, I’m no saint.  I once sat at the dinner table with my family and then jumped up to check my laptop for an “important work email.”  Then there was the time I updated on FB and Twitter while my son ate his cheerios and told me a story about rockets.

I’m not listening.

What would happen if we gave live human beings our full attention for that moment?

What do we risk missing when we don’t?

Do we really have to be plugged in 24/7 and so highly distracted?

What do you think?

Are you listening?

If you liked this post, feel free to leave a comment on link below.

Three reasons why most New Year’s resolutions are like bad marketing plans.

 

dr jones

source: dr jones

On January 3, when we returned from visiting family in New Jersey, I headed over to my local gym, as I do nearly 4 -5 days a week.

The lines for the treadmills were practically out the door.  I was in the mood for a run, the elliptical machine just would not do.  So I waited but I was secretly annoyed at the gym newbies taking up time on the equipment.  They’ll be out of here within a month, I thought.

On January 11, just over one week later, the traffic had already diminished.  It got me thinking about how New Year’s resolutions, particularly those focused on fitness and losing weight, are doomed to fail if they are structured like short-term tactical plans. Like poorly constructed marketing initiatives, they lack strategy, planning, support and accountability.

1. Many New Year’s Resolutions are short-term goals and not grounded in an overall strategy or cohesive plan.

Typical Resolution: “I’m going to loose 15 pounds this year“   This is a goal, but fairly tactical.

Better Resolution: “I am healthier and have increased my energy and resilience by committing to regular exercise and a more nutritious diet.”

This sets an intention in the present tense. It also communicates an overall mission with a strategy. What do you want to do and how are you going to get there?  Create a road map by writing down your goals and include a detailed action plan for each day or week so that you can track and celebrate your progress.

2. Many New Year’s Resolutions are made last minute.

This may indicate a lack of commitment and planning.  You’ll have better luck if your resolution is something you’ve identified is a strong need and that you’ve thought about for longer than 15 minutes. You’ve weighed the benefits of committing to the resolution (what benefits it will bring to your life) and you’ve analyzed what you’ll miss if you don’t stick to the resolution

3. Many resolutions aren’t shared with others and lack accountability.

To realize your goals, you need to write them down and you need support. Share your goals with others so they will support you and reinforce your commitment.  It is no surprise Weight Watchers is so successful. You get support from other members and you are accountable to others to demonstrate that you are sticking to plan.

Want to make a real change in your life?  Start now. Don’t wait until New Years, or your dog’s birthday or the next solar eclipse. Incorporate strategy, planning, support and accountability. And don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

What tips to you have for achieving your goals?  Please click on the comment link and add your thoughts.

                                               

               

 

 

When we were fearless

 

 

accapulco-cliff-diver

 

 

“Watch this, Mom.”

We had created a mountain out of gymnastics mats in one of the playrooms at the YMCA.  We had a pile that almost reached up to my chin.   My three-year-old son Jack was standing on top of the pile ready to jump.

“Five, four, three, two, one. Blast off.”

And he was off.  Up into the air and down onto a landing mat.  He did it over and over. Each time he said he was going to go higher and further.  No fear. No worries.  Just a sense of adventure and fun.

Some new kids and another mom came into the room.  Jack got off the mats and went over to say hello.

“I’m Jack, want to play with me?”   No fear. No worries. Just a sense of himself and others.

When did I lose that pure sense of adventure and discovery?   I want it back.

As we get older, we’re less spontaneous.  When is the last time you tried something new or something out of your comfort zone? Or something that gave you a great sense of fun?  Some of us get complacent. Some of us get stale. We stick with tried and true. We stick with safe. We do that with relationships too.  When is the last time you struck up a spontaneous face-to-face conversation with a stranger just out of pure curiosity? I’m talking face-to-face conversation.  Not a social network conversation. Many of us wait to see what we have in common with someone else before we initiate any kind of connection.

I learn so much from my son about the importance of living a life full of plenty of play and curiosity.  And watching him try new experiences gives me greater confidence to try the things that my own “inner critic” tells me I can’t do.

One of my favorite wise souls, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.

How will you be fearless in your own life?

 

 

 

Mocha Nut Cookies – Christmas recipe

christmas-lightsIn the spirit of the holidays and the sharing nature of social media, I thought I’d post a favorite recipe.

The chocoholic in me wants to make these cookies at anytime of year, but I save them for the holidays.

This is a wonderful recipe that my mom made each year from as far back as I can remember.

Just doesn’t seem like Christmas without them.  Hope you enjoy them. If you make the recipe, come back  here and let me know what you think.   I’d love to see new recipes (savory or sweet) so if you feel like sharing one via link in comment section, please do!

 

(Note: I usually triple the recipe ingredients)

Ingredients:

1 cup soft butter

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

¼ cup cocoa (unsweetened, I use Hershey’s)

2 tsp. instant coffee

1 1/3 cup sifted flour

½ tsp salt

1 ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Confectioners sugar (use after cookies are baked)

Steps:

Blend butter, granulated sugar and vanilla

Add in cocoa, instant coffee

Gradually add in flour and salt

Add walnuts

Roll into small balls (size of quarter)

Placed on non-stick or greased cookie sheet  

Bake at 325° for 15 minutes

Roll in confectioners sugar once they are cooled (still delicious if you decide to skip this step)