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What Gifts Have You Given?

What Gifts Have You Given?

As we are headed toward the countdown to Christmas and the end of the year, you probably have a running list of overwhelming to-dos and a mental list of all of the things that you didn’t accomplish this year.

Here’s a just a glimpse of my running list –

  • Christmas cards still to sign and send
  • Presents to wrap and ship
  • Didn’t master several new social media strategies
  • Didn’t blog more than once a month
  • Didn’t run regularly

Sound familiar?  Seriously, we could totally beat ourselves up fretting over all of our shortcomings, challenges and issues we may have faced this year.

But stop for a minute.  Take a deep a breath – and let’s look at the other side of this coin.

What if you asked yourself “WHAT GIFTS HAVE I GIVEN THIS YEAR?”

Think about the clients whose businesses or life paths you altered in a positive way, or the co-workers you helped with a project, or the community organizations and non-profits that you supported.

Think about the “just checking in” phone calls or texts that you DID make. Don’t focus on the ones that you didn’t.

Instead of the obsessing on the perfect family dinners that you may rarely have or the not-so-tidy house you keep, think about the time you spent standing around the kitchen island laughing at a really stupid joke or hugging a loved one when things weren’t going so well.

Instead of fretting about the time you didn’t spend with your children, think about the time that you did.  Whether driving them around or being on the sidelines at a game or in the concert crowd, you were giving gifts!

I’m certain that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of people – family, friends, co-workers and strangers – who benefitted this year from your gifts of talent, time, love, attention, kindness, donations and probably just a smile at a time they needed it.

They may not have all been able to thank you, but I am.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH! The world is a better place for all that you do! Keep up the great work!Click To Tweet

(Credit and shout-out to author Laura Vanderkam – my first and favorite client – for this inspiration on “changing the narrative”.  It’s far better to focus on what we are doing right instead of having a persistently negative mindset about what’s going wrong.  To quote her: “Nobody wins in the Misery Olympics. Victory comes from refusing to take part.”)

Please share in the comments what gifts have you given this year, or connect with me on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, or Instagram.  And if you are having trouble coming up with the gifts you have given, shoot me an email, I’d love to help you with your list! 

It's Time To Play!

It’s Time to Play

On my way to share a blog post about being “blessed not busy”, I got sidetracked when I went to concert last night.  As I was dancing and listening in the awe of the amazing talent of The Lone Bellow – seriously having some soul stirring moments, I was reminded how much harder it is for us adults to play and how sad that it for our souls.

In our younger years, there just seems to be more opportunities to play – to physically move, to dance, to sing, to create music, to create art, to experience something so profound that it stirs your soul.  It was part of how we grew up. It was integrated into our schooling and our extra-curricular activities and our free time.  But as adults, we seem to get caught up in day-to-day trappings of being serious grown-ups with serious jobs and serious to-do-lists and playing seems frivolous.

So stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What stirs my soul?”

Now do it. Make it happen.

You can dance in your closet, dance with your kids, dance with your spouse, sing in your shower, sing in the car, color in your kids’ coloring book, paint pottery, book a concert, go to a museum or climb a wall.  Just do something fun for you! It’s good practice.

Whatever that “soul-stirring” creative play looks like to you – whether it’s drawing, crafting, photography, videography, singing, dancing, playing music – whatever it is, your heart and soul need it now.  We should be nurturing and stirring our souls a regular basis.  It’s what makes us who we are – our to-do list certainly doesn’t.

Though it sounds totally contradictory, I keep hearing the more you play and the less you work, the more successful you will be – I’m really starting to believe it.  The more we are aligned with the experiences that make us happy and heart-ful, the better we are able to give back to the world in a positive universe shifting way.

So I’m off to more concerts . . . what about you?  Please share in the comments what soul-stirring moments you will be experiencing or connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.  Thanks!

Not What You’d Expect: The Top Buzz Words in Social Media Marketing #SMMW15

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You would think the top phrases you would hear at a top social media marketing conference would be “fan growth,” “key posting times,”  “traffic,” “conversion,” and “ROI” – right?  Wrong!

I am refreshed and recharged to share from this year’s Social Media Marketing World 2015 (#SMMW15) the consistent calls for marketers to connect on real and authentic levels in order to build their communities.  From keynote speeches and breakout sessions to table talks and networking, the focus in this age of information overload and short attention spans was “better not more” and “helping not selling.”

Take a look at these key buzzwords, sound bites and takeaways from the top experts in digital marketing to see what resonates most with your business:

HUMAN
Being relatable and relevant is key in getting the attention of your customers and building your community. Tell your story and get others involved in it.
·  “Always Be You”  – Ambassador Mike Bruny
·  “It’s not the wand, it’s the wizard”Tom Webster shared by Christopher Penn
·  “Invest in human beings” Pam Moore

EMPATHY
Address the needs of your community, customers and clients by creating content and using technology to care, share, serve and listen.   Don’t simply create a marketing plan on autopilot.
·  “Earn the right to sell” Chris Brogan
·  “Caring is scalable” – quote attributed to Gary Vaynerchuk by Mari Smith

SERVICE
In this age of instant gratification and bad reviews, go above and beyond in serving your fans and your haters.  Wow them!
·   “Service is the new social”Mari Smith
·   #HugYourHatersJay Baer

ENGAGE
Create moments, movements and communities in which people want to belong and participate.
·   “People don’t buy, they join”  – Pam Moore
·   “If content is king, then engagement is the queen”Mari Smith

ENTERTAIN
Yes, marketing can be entertaining. Celebrate and have fun.
·   F – I – W – T – S – B – S Find Interesting Ways To Say Boring StuffAnn Handley

Upon review, you realize you can’t really embrace any one of these concepts without touching on several of the others.  If you are being of service, you are engaging and showing empathy.  In embracing all of the above, you are more than likely being very human in connecting to your community.

Whether you are in product sales or creating a brand for your service business, keeping these very essential concepts top of mind as you create your marketing strategy is vital for being found, being seen and being heard and more easily connecting with your ideal community.

For more takeaways, tweets and tips from #SMMW15, check out these all-star posts:

For further recommended reading about personal, service based marketing and content creation, check out these great books:

Please share in the comments, how you are being more human, engaging, empathetic, service-oriented and entertaining with your online marketing.  And also sign up for my newsletter to receive more articles like this one directly in your inbox every month.  Thanks!