Hope for Summer

What do you expect this summer?  I don’t know about you but I’m anticipating an amazing summer filled with opportunities, things to learn, people to meet and changes to happen.  This year I’ve declared the year to be all about hope.  So what’s my hope for this summer, you ask?  Let’s see…

~new friends

~good times

~yummy food

~fun crafts

~visiting the beach

~lots of writing

~watching sunsets

~new clients

~growing my spiritual passions

~time in the sun

~reading great books

~deepening my relationship

~helping people discover their passions

~transforming and uplifting homes and businesses

~taking walks at night

What’s your hope for summer 2011?  I would love to hear what you hope to experience this summer, share it below.

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Sharing the Good Stuff in Business

One question that is asked a lot is “What am I supposed to share in my business on Twitter, Facebook, in blogs, on my website…”  Here’s my list of 13 things you can share.  But be warned: not all ideas are good for all businesses!  What is good for one mortgage business for example, may not be good for another.

1 inspirational, motivational quotes

2 creative ideas

3 current projects

4 blog posts

5 articles

6 tips

7 spiritual verses

8 resources

9 ask questions

10 events-either those you’re attending or those in your industry

11 about people- success stories, employees, clients, customers

12 about you

13 your services/what you do

Three other keys:

1-whatever you share must be relevant to your business and your fans!  Not just anything you can get your hands on.

2-you must comment on other people’s content.  We’re in a social age, don’t expect them to comment on your stuff if you don’t comment on their stuff.

3-re-purposing content is a great idea.  But do your fans and clients the respect of altering it slightly between locations, using the smallest amount of detail on Twitter, more detail and information on Facebook, and the most on your blog and website.

What are you sharing in your business right now and is it working to connect you with your clients?  Is something you’re sharing not on my list?  Share your questions and thoughts below.

Together Outdoors

Are you ready for date night?!  I am!  Here are a bunch of romantic ideas you can do outside, don’t forget the bug spray, sunscreen and your partner!

Roast marshmallows-how long has it been since you sat next to each other by a fire?

Rent boats-go kayaking, paddle boating or canoeing in a lake or river

Hike-ready for a workout and a great view?

Camping-send the kids to grandmas, and pitch that tent!

Get ice cream/frozen yogurt-when was the last time you sat quietly and shared some ice cream?

Baseball game-go team!  Work on your tan and root for your favorite team.

Picnic-yes, get out that basket and pack some sandwiches.  Take it to the beach, park or backyard alone.

Walk-every night could be date night with this idea!

Beach-walk, swim, sleep and play!

Bike-bike to an ice cream shop, or just around your neighborhood

Frisbee-who tosses better, you or your partner?

Count the stars-can’t find a sitter? This might be the way to go.  Put the kids to bed and sneak outside.

Watch the sunrise with brunch or sunset with drinks-grab some blankets and go to a scenic spot.

Wash the car-you’ve probably  forgotten how much fun it can be to get wet together!

What other fun outdoor date ideas do you have? I’d love for you to share your ideas, and memorable dates, below.

Summer of Friends

It’s been a tough year for many people.  Personally, I know I wouldn’t have gotten through it without the support of my friends.  But I know that some friends aren’t always the friends you hoped they would be.  A year or two ago I made some tough choices about what friends I wanted in my life.  I only have a handful of people I’d call friends right now, but I look forward to meeting more people like my friends and growing friendships with them.

So where can you find people to be friends?  One of my friends I met in elementary school, another I met in church and a third I met on Twitter.  Personally, I love having friends I can sit and have a cup of coffee with, just as much as I love tweeting with my friend in California.  The blessing of social media (Twitter, Facebook and the like) is that you aren’t restricted to just the selection of people in your local area only, you’ve got the whole world at your fingertips.   Although, you may be surprised with the awesome people that you never knew lived just a few minutes away.

The second question that must be addressed is what makes a friendship a good one?  Personally, I’d rather have a couple of true friends, than friends that make me feel tired, pissed, frustrated, gossipy, fake or like someone I’m not.  Ending a friendship is never easy, but sometimes it’s one of the best things you can do.  When I made the decision that I would spend as much time with those who I feel healthy and whole with, and as little as possible with others, immediately it gave me the freedom to be who I am, embrace whatever the future holds for me and spend more time giving back to the world and less stressing out.

That being said, a good friendship will vary depending on what you need in a friend.  You may need someone you can call when your kids are sick and you need a nap, someone who will go out for coffee with you in your fancy clothes after a long day at work, or someone you can message or tweet a prayer or prayer request to as needed.    Friends are honest, loving, caring, supportive, responsible, reliable, trustworthy, authentic, real, fun, helpful and so many more things

Let this summer be an opportunity for you to be a better friend.  What will you do to become a better friend?  I invite you to ask questions and share your thoughts below.

Organize Your Summer

For most of you summer has arrived.  Maybe it’s arrived in the form of children being home with you, or maybe in the form of a shorter morning commute.  I know the big sign for me is the warm weather!  What are your plans for the summer?  Do you have big extravagant plans or are you planning on relaxing?  Whatever your plan is, it will work better with a little organization!  Get out your notebook, weekly planner, wall calendar or a sheet of paper and get ready to plan!

Food:
Plan the week ahead, whether it means making sure you’ve got enough watermelon to snack on and lettuce for salads or fish, beef or chicken for grilling.  Organize your trip to the food stores in one afternoon, freeing up the rest of your week.

Family time:
Summer is when you spend a ton of time with the family.  Schedule time that you will all be together, a weekly trip or activity to do and what will be required of each of you for that trip (share the responsibilities).

Vacation:
Absolutely!  You should definitely take a vacation.  Whether it’s a trip to the beach and you stay overnight with friends or a big trip to another part of the country or world.  It’s important to take time to get away, unplugging if you possibly can.

Learning:
Don’t run away yet, learning can be fun!  Read books of all kinds, learn about all kinds of people, and visit museums or national parks.  It doesn’t have to be boring, there are tons of fun ways to learn and grow your mind, you just have to be smart and creative about where you go!

Exercise:
A lazy summer is not the best idea.  Get outside for at least an hour a day.  Maybe it’s an early morning/evening walk, a 30 minute lap-swim at the pool, or a hike each day.

TV:
Most kids and parents will freak out if I suggest that you shouldn’t watch TV.  TV, just like all the other activities we’re scheduling into our summer weeks here is fine in moderation.  As usual, the recommendation for not watching news and picking something to watch that actually engages your mind and emotions, stands.

Clean up:
Just because it’s summer it doesn’t mean we are letting go of our responsibilities.  Spend a little bit of time cleaning and organizing each day with the kids.  A great time would be before bed or before dinner, depending on what your schedule is like, so that the whole house is picked up before the kids even get in bed!

Relaxing/alone time:
You must take time to be alone this summer.  With all the family time, it’s important to be insist upon everyone having quiet and alone time each and every day.  Maybe it’s 30 minutes of quiet time reading before bed, or mid-afternoon with the option to either play quietly or read.  Don’t plan your schedule so full that you don’t have any time to take advantage of the slow summer days.

Time with friends:
Don’t neglect your friendships this summer!  It may be a bit harder because everyone’s schedule is different, but do what you can to talk and spend time with friends.  Maybe coordinate with a couple other families to do a rotating kid day where one family gets all the kids one afternoon or morning each week.

With all of these great ideas, make sure you have a schedule that the whole family can see and agree to.  Adding a little structure and organization to your summer will help you have lots of fun, and keep the “b” word from coming out of your kid’s mouths.  What are your thoughts and plans for your family each day this summer?

Celebrating Dads

Sunday is Father’s Day!  Are you ready to celebrate the men in your life?  Last week I shared this fun blog post with some gifts, cards, food and fun that you can start with for your Father’s Day celebration.  Today I have a few ideas for you and a reflection on Dads for you to consider.

1~Go on an adventure.  Here are 40 great places around the USA that you could visit as a family.  Pick one close enough to you and it could be a fun weekend trip! Fun locations include gardens in South Carolina, blowing glass in Arizona, hunting for shark teeth in Alabama, Long Island lighthouses, a fun park in California, zip lining in New Hampshire, and much more!

2~Not sure what to get Dad?  Here’s a fun quiz that you can take for ideas on what to give Dad.  They have 4 clear categories they try to squeeze you into, but the results give you some good ideas.

3~Stay at home!  Yes, it’s true, I just suggested that you just stay at home on Father’s Day.  Why?  Because it will give you an opportunity to all be together.  Maybe make a meal together, do some activity like gardening together, or just hang out together and watch tv.  Taking a walk as a family or having takeout for dinner is a fun way to end the day at home too.

In all this talk about Father’s Day I want to recognize those of you who have a difficult situation with your Dad.  Dads are imperfect humans just like the rest of us, but it seems over the years they have lost a lot of the leadership and strength that they used to have.  So if your Dad isn’t the Dad you need, isn’t a good Dad or has never been there, my heart goes out to you.  Often I expand Father’s Day to include all men, because you probably do have men in your life who have stood in what should have been your Dad’s position over the years, or a brother who has been very supportive.  So take this opportunity to send them a card or gift and let them know how much you appreciate them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and plans for Father’s Day!  Share them below 🙂

Change Your Life This Summer

If you’ve been following along for a while you know one of my favorite topics is change!  Yes, I actually enjoy seeing things change, seeing what new things arrive and making room in life for opportunities.  Is it easy? No, not always. Sometimes change is welcome, for example, if you’re really sick of your job, getting let go, being offered a new job or starting a business is a welcome change.

Summer is a time when there are a lot of changes too.  Not only are kids off from school, they’re preparing to enter a new grade.  Teachers prepare for a new school year and new group of students.  Parents take time off to be with their kids, and many businesses have casual Fridays or offer special summer deals.

Unlike the changes of winter, summer changes are all about growing.   Think about it-much of the vegetables and fruits are grown in the summer, and baby animals grow up in the summer.  Summer is the perfect opportunity for you to look for new opportunities, new places to visit, new friends to connect with and take the time to learn more about yourself.

Summer is the perfect time to explore and change.  Consider this quote from Gail Sheehy: “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”  I don’t know about you, but I really want to live my life to the fullest.  To do that though, I’ve committed to making changes so that I do grow.

I’m sure you’ll be off exploring fun places this summer, but I encourage you to leave time for the changes too.  If you’re not sure the changes are worth it, take a moment and think about what your life would look like if you were really living.  The only way you will get there is with some growth and change.  If you’re ready but not sure, I invite you to contact me.  I’d love to point you in the right direction or help you achieve your dream.  Don’t forget, you can share your thoughts or ask questions below too.

Passion in Business

Too many businesses I run across these days are dead, lifeless and going nowhere.  I hope that your business isn’t lackluster, but if it is, you’ve come to the right place.

1-It may seem obvious, but you should really be interested in what you do!  You may say you are, but your grumpiness, lack of attention to customers and poor business decisions say otherwise.

2-Rediscover your passion. If you’ve been in business for a while, or you’re an entrepreneur doing everything for yourself, you may feel a little burnt out and far from what you’re passionate about.  Return to the essence of the business each week so that you don’t get burned out. If that’s a pet care business, play with the pets.  If it’s a creative business, create!  If you sell an item like shoes, look for new fun shoes to sell.

3-Cut down.  Sometimes what’s necessary is getting back to the core of your business.  Maybe you’ve been in business for several years and you’ve added other features, talents and options for people to invest in.  If you’re feeling scattered, it may be time to return to just that core essence of your business that you started with.

4-Really be interested in who you work with.  You may have started your business because of something you enjoyed doing, but now you’ve got clients and customers.  Make it your mission every day to be interested in them, in meeting their needs with what you enjoy doing.

5-Make adjustments to your business so you work with those you want to work with.  Maybe you’re feeling passionless because your clientele hasn’t been your ideal client.  The issue may not be the people, but how you’re telling people about what you do.  Freshen up your website and business model to reflect the client that you cater to.

6-Hire fantastic support staff and consultants.  Your business will loose steam quickly if your support staff isn’t good or don’t work well with you.  Avoid this in the first place by only hiring those who work well with you.  If you’re in a situation now with those you aren’t happy with, start by discussing the issues with them.  If they aren’t responsive and things don’t improve, begin looking for replacements.

7-Do something work-related each day that you enjoy doing.  It’s as simple as it sounds. Make time in your day, each day, to do something in your business that you enjoy.

8-Do a 180.  This is a scary one.  If you really can’t release that passion back into your business, maybe it’s time to start from scratch.  Start over building passion into your business model and your day to day activities.

These are just 8 thoughts on putting the passion back into your business.  Are you passionate about your business?  I would love to hear how you keep the passion alive!  Share your thoughts below.

The Great Outdoors

We’re currently experiencing a heat wave where I live, so today’s post may not be what you’re thinking about doing.  Today, as part of great outdoors month, let’s talk about some of the things you can do outdoors as a family!

-go hiking

-go swimming

-go fishing

-go on swings

-go on a road trip (to an ice cream stand 🙂 )

-visit a national park

-go to a theme park

-go to the beach

-walk the dog

-go camping

-go on a picnic

-go geocashing

-fly a kite

-rent a boat

-make a fire and roast marshmallows

-go hang gliding

-go to the zoo

-birdwatching

-visit a local fair

-farmer’s market or pick your own farm

-garden

-ride bikes

-play a sport

-go rock climbing

-do a scavenger hunt

-play Frisbee

-play with water balloons (don’t forget to pick up the pieces)

-go snorkeling

-go dolphin or whale watching

-count the stars

Stay tuned for some date night outdoor ideas in a couple weeks.

What other favorite family activities do you enjoy doing?  Share your ideas for great outdoor fun below!

Inspirational Passion

June is passion month!  I’ve gathered some wisdom from some people who know a little about what passion is.  I hope their passion inspires yours.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

“Passion makes the world go round.  Love just makes it a safer place.” Ice T

“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” Mark Twain

“Passion is universal humanity.  Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” Honore de Balzac

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of you, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” Napoleon Hill

“Passion is the genesis of genius.” Tony Robbins

“A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.” Charles M. Schwab

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Renew your passions daily.” Terri Guillemets

What will you do with your passion today?  Share your thoughts below.