Say Yes

March 30, 2016

I am often amazed at the turns my life takes. If you had told me ten years ago that I’d help someone write a book, be helping with two more books, help start a ministry, and work occasionally for an assisted living facility, I’d have thought you were crazy.

Years ago I learned to look for opportunities, pray about them, then say yes if I knew that God had opened the door. All it takes is a willing spirit. Say yes, even if you’re scared. Say yes, even if you aren’t sure you can do it. Say yes, and see where it takes you.


Where’s YOUR Business Card?

July 28, 2014

I collect quite a few business cards in any given month. I attend several networking groups regularly in three different towns/cities, and I get to events when I can. I put the business cards I want to have handy for referrals in a binder. Those are my referral partners. You are probably picturing that binder as huge and overflowing. It’s not. Want to know what happens to that huge stack of cards I collect? I’ll tell you.

Step 1

When I bring home cards from new contacts they go into my holding spot. You see, someone has to earn a spot in my binder. So, the first time I meet you, unless we had a huge connection or your business is absolutely unique, you haven’t earned that spot.

Come to a networking event once, and I’ll be happy I met you. Come a couple of times, and I’ll consider you a business acquaintance. But, you won’t make it into my binder.

Step 2

Every couple of months I go through those cards in the holding spot. If you’ve become a part of that networking group and we’ve gotten to know one another, you move into the binder. If I haven’t seen you since that first meeting, but we’ve been corresponding or connected through social media, you move on to the binder. That binder goes in my van almost every time it’s on the road. I keep a few copies of each business card in there, and they’re categorized by location. That way I’m all set when someone asks if I know someone who does ___________.

If I’ve haven’t seen you since that first meeting, but I’ve only had your card for a couple of months, it goes back into the holding spot. If I’ve had it for several months and haven’t seen you, or I’ve only seen you a couple of times, you go into the recycle bin.

Step 3

If we’ve become true referral partners, if I’ve gotten to know you in a way that makes me comfortable not just referring you but recommending you to the people who trust me, then you move into my purse. This is prime real estate. I have fewer than 10 business cards that I carry with me.

You see, in order to earn a referral, I have to know, like, and trust you. People trust me to send them to people who are good at what they do and run an ethical business. It’s nothing against you, but if I’ve only met you once I can’t honestly tell them that you’ll treat them well.

Step 4

Every year I go through the binder. If I’ve lost contact with someone in the binder, their card is removed. If I’ve had a bad experience with that person’s business and it wasn’t handled well, the card is removed. Only current good referrals stay in the binder.

 

Oh, and if you walk up to my table at an event and toss your business card on it without asking me if I want or need it, it won’t even make it to the holding spot. It goes directly into the recycling bin. If you don’t take the time to find out if I want your business card before tossing it my way, I can’t imagine that you’ll listen to a prospective customer to truly find out his/her wants or needs either.


Distractions

February 13, 2014

I had an interesting experience recently. I was at an event where the speaker was talking about avoiding distractions. While she was speaking she was completely distracted by the two women who were having a private conversation instead of paying attention to her. How ironic.

I have two observations. The first is that it is incredibly rude to talk while the speaker is talking. Anything beyond “I never thought of that” or “What did she say?” should wait until after the speaker is done.

Second, when you’re speaking you need to be able to shut out those kinds of distractions. Granted, this particular speaker was talking about reducing the number of distractions in your workspace, but, since she’s a speaker, this was her workspace for that evening. I do a lot of speaking. I know how frustrating it is to feel like people are missing something key you’re saying. But, stopping to single them out (whether by saying something or simply waiting until they sense the silence and tune back in) is disruptive to the entire group. Respect the ones who are listening enough to keep going. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s the professional way to handle things.


A Happy Home

May 19, 2012

I’m watching an old movie, If a Man Answers…. It’s a Sandra Dee/Bobby Darin movie from 1962. The plot of the movie is simple. Chantal (Sandra Dee) meets photographer Eugene (Bobby Darin) and the two fall in love and marry. After a few months Chantal is feeling ignored. Her mother’s advice is to use the techniques in the book How to Train Your Dog. When Eugene finds out, he’s understandably furious. Mother’s next bit of advice is to take a lover. Or, at least, to make it appear that she has. She sends long-stemmed roses to herself with no card. Mother calls periodically and, if Eugene answers, hangs up. (Hence, the title of the movie.) This, of course, gives the appearance of an affair, making him jealous. Eventually he turns the tables on her, there’s a blow-up, and then they make up. There is, of course, a happy ending.

I often encourage young women who are about to get married to watch this movie. For one thing, it’s a cute, innocent movie from the heyday of sweet romantic comedies. But, the main reason I suggest it is the good advice—the imaginary affair, but the dog training book.

After putting up a fuss at the thought of using the book, Chantal gives in and starts using the advice. Later, while talking to her mother, she realizes that she hasn’t “trained” Eugene at all. She’s trained herself. She makes their home a pleasant place for her husband. She praises him and lets him know how much he’s loved. As Mama points out, husbands sometimes leave home; pets never do. (Advice she received from her own mother.)

We often hear about how husbands stop romancing their girlfriends once they become wives. But, just as damaging is that women stop praising and expressing admiration for their boyfriends once they become husbands. A man’s greatest need in a marriage is to feel respected. Letting him know how wonderful she thinks he is is one of the best things a wife can do.

I’m not talking about empty praise. If she tells him how great he is at fixing things when he’s barely able to change a light bulb, he’s going to view that as sarcasm. She should look for the things he does to make her life better. Trust me, once she starts praising him he’ll do even more to earn more praise.

One thing I tell soon-to-be brides is that the only person they control in their marriage is themselves. They can’t make their husbands do or be anything. They can only control their own actions and reactions. It is up to them to make sure their home is a lovely, welcoming place for both their husbands and themselves.


Getting Older

November 3, 2011

Today I turn 49. I have to admit that it’s not what I thought. It sounds older than I feel.

Chronological age has never meant all that much to me. My father is 17 years older than my mother. And, until recently, he always seemed so much younger than he was. (Strokes have left him with memory and balance issues that make it believable that he’s 88 years old.) So, I have known for most of my life that you don’t have to act older as you get older.

I know that good genes are a blessing, and I thank both sides of the family for those. Exercise and eating right help, too. I have a lot of energy. My life is filled with laughter, joy, and love. I could not be more excited to enter the last year of my 40s.


Navigating the Unexpected

September 23, 2011

As I write this I’m sitting in a hospital room. I’m fine. The Furry Guy had hastily-scheduled surgery. (He’s doing well.) He had his first appointment with a specialist yesterday at 1:30 pm, and had surgery at 7:30 this morning.

Yesterday afternoon was filled with trips for tests and work-leave-related paperwork. We got home after 6. And, since we live 90 minutes from the hospital and he had to check in by 5:30 am, we had to leave the house by 4.

I can’t tell you how glad I was to have an overnight plan in place. That’s right. I have a list for overnight trips. It’s all of the essentials. I also keep a toiletries bag ready. I just have to add my cosmetics and skincare things as I get ready.

No, I don’t travel a lot. But, one last-minute trip was all it took to convince me of the need for a plan. Last night I was able to get everything together quickly. Then, I got a good night’s sleep because I wasn’t worried about forgetting anything.

I also have a weekend list, a camping list, and a list for business travel. These are simply on my computer in a travel file. No muss. No fuss.

Being prepared helps me navigate the unexpected with confidence.


Shouting on the Street Corner

May 10, 2010

My son’s friend recently ranted a bit on facebook because he discovered that his employer was checking employees’ facebook pages. I understood his frustration, but I see where he made his mistake.

Nothing you do on a social site is private. Nothing. If it’s posted on your wall, it’s like someone wrote it on the side of your house for anyone passing by to see. If you’ve commented on someone else’s post it’s as though you’ve shouted that comment in the middle of a crowd. Even a private message is only as private as the person receiving it decides to keep it.

If you’re posting something online, just assume that you’ve hired someone to shout it on a street corner. If it’s not something you’d like revealed that way, you might want to reconsider posting it.