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Archive - March, 2009

The Gift of Gratitude

Last night, I had the pleasure of watching a segment on 60 Minutes about Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill virtuoso found living on the streets in L.A.  and the unimaginable bond created when a columnist from the L.A. Times found him and opened up a new world to him through music.  Nathaniel went from Julliard to the streets…and now sits in on rehearsals at the Disney Concert Hall.  I’m sure each person took something different away.   I was left with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the life I have today.

As we drove home, I was lost in my own thoughts on the things I am most grateful for.  Here are my top five (this list could go on and on):

1. Salvation-First and foremost is the gift of salvation.  If not for Christ, life would be very different.

2. Parenthood-Being a mommy is the single greatest joy of my life. Some days it sucks…no doubt.  But nothing is more rewarding than loving a child and watching that child spread love to others.

3. Family-While not born into the kind of family one hopes for, I’ve been graced with many people who serve as an adopted family with two amazing people who became my adopted parents nine years ago and changed the legacy of my family tree.  There is real freedom in being loved and accepted for who you are, “warts and all”.

4. Career-After a few years stumbling on the wrong paths, I landed on the right one and have been privileged to grow and be mentored by some amazing leaders at Nelson.  Others saw in me what I couldn’t and when it would have been easier to give up…they pushed.  And still do.

5. Second Chances- How wonderful to know that we can start over every time we screw up.  We have unlimited “do over” cards and our attitude and willpower are the only things that stand in the way.

In today’s climate where negativity looms around every corner, I am happy to be grateful, because life could be a lot worse. 

How about you?  What are you most grateful for?

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Therapy of Choice?

After a long day, most people pick a poison in an effort to unwind from kids or work.  For some, it’s sitting down with a glass of wine, or hitting the treadmill.  For others, it’s getting lost in front of the tv, or sneaking off to the laundry room with a dozen Oreos.  In my world…it’s baking.

After a day full of meetings, 237 emails, and ten phone calls, there’s nothing like concocting a new recipe during the 20-minute drive to school for pickup.   On the way home, I share the newly dreamed up recipe with my child and now have a willing and excited assistant.  We rush inside, unpack the remains of the day, eat a quick dinner, and get down to business.

Baker's Therapy

Baker's Therapy

For me, the whir of a Kitchenaid stand mixer is as relaxing as the crackle of a warm fire.  The golden color of Canola oil mirrors a fine Chablis.  And the taste of dark imported chocolate…well, words escape me.

In the end, my family, friends, and coworkers benefit most from my stress.  It’s a win-win for all.

What’s your therapy of choice?

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Random Ideas and Missed Opportunities

I don’t know about you, but my mind is always going.  It’s challenging to get to sleep most nights because my brain doesn’t have a “pause” button.  I’ve noticed lately that I daydream a lot in those hours before bed.  Sometimes it’s figuring out how I’d solve a crime in the novel I’m reading.  Or how I could have handled my child’s meltdown differently.  But often, it’s about random ideas (and I do mean random) and missed opportunities: 

Example of a random idea: If I were the head of marketing for IHOP, I’d create a campaign around how eating your pancakes tells something about your personality (do you chop them up and then pour the syrup on; do you eat one pancake at a time, or do you eat around the edges and save the buttery part for last ?)  People love hearing affirmations about their personality…and I guarantee you there’s a psychologist out there who can come up with a test to coincide with pancake eating.   In the end, IHOP could generate a lot of revenue with a low cost item and give customers something fun at the same time. 

Example of a missed opportunity: Last weekend, on a whim, I took my daughter to get her hair cut at Regis.   The pleasant scheduler told me it would run between $18 and $23, based on the stylists’ level of experience.  I quickly said it was well worth an extra $5 to get a more experienced person to cut her naturally curly hair.  During the time her hair was being cut, I watched six people check out…all happy with their new do’s.  And I noticed that every customer was asked if they needed any products (apparently, something they are counted on to push).   When the haircut was done and it was our turn to pay, our guy asked if we wanted any product, and I shared my “words of wisdom” for the day.  If they would offer customers who have just had their hair done a discount on product (like 25% off one or all products purchased right then), they’d be moving a lot of gel, mousse, and hairspray every day.  I’m no rocket scientist, but it doesn’t take one to know that catching people when they are already happy…and when you’ve just sweetened the deal for them within a limited window of time… is paydirt.  Selling slightly discounted products will always be better than selling No products.

Watching how other people look at the world around them has always been fascinating to me.  And often, thinking about ideas for other companies helps me come up with cool ideas for the world I work in. 

What random ideas or missed opportunities have you thought about lately?

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Hello world!

Looking ahead...I can’t believe it…I have started a blog.  I’ve done enough homework to have some ideas on what works and what doesn’t.  It seems that the best course it to be authentic and write about what shapes my world.  More than likely, those topics are relevant to other people, too.  So here goes…

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