Let’s Walk in the Park

Today, March 30, is National Take a Walk in the Park Day in the USA.  I always love celebrating this holiday because not only do I have some great parks near me, it’s a great time for everyone to get out and enjoy nature.

If you’re a little hesitant, or feel like it’s not something you have time for, here are a couple of my favorite reasons for getting involved:

1-do it as a family: together you’ll enjoy the experience more.  It will be a chance for you to be together and enjoy nature together.  Even though we’re supposed to walk in the park, if you’re more excited about biking in the park or running through the park or playing frisbee in the park, go for it!

2-do it as a couple: it’s a great time to be quiet together or to reconnect and talk about everything that’s gone on since the last time you had uninterrupted time together.  Seriously though, when was the last time you held hands and took a walk?

3-make it a game: if you’re really not interested in getting out in nature, make it a game with yourself or your family. You can see who sees the most squirrels or flowers, count how many cars drive by, or how many different birds you hear.

4-go at lunch time: if you’re really not excited about spending hours in the park, just spend your 30 minute lunch break there.  Get outside however and whenever you can!

What fun stories do you have from your walks in the park?

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Waiting for Perfection

Life is an adventure, a roller coaster, a journey where you can only see 10 feet in front of you, but all the way behind you, and full of surprises.  You never know what your life, the economy, or your business will do next.  Sure there are things you can do to have a bit of control over what happens, but not everything.  As a business owner or leader, what do you do with this challenge?

First, stop waiting for perfection: it won’t happen.  There may be moments that are more “appointed” than others, moments that seem torn from the pages of a fairy tale.  Times when everything just goes right, and as planned or predicted.  But more often than not, you’ll have to deal with things in less than perfect states.  Stop worrying about the perfection, start taking action now.

Second, accept failure.  It’s actually healthy to fail.  If you look at the animal kingdom, we see what could be called failures all over the place: plants die, eggs don’t hatch, animals fail to mate or plants get eaten before they can produce edible food.  Somewhere in our history someone decided that failure was unacceptable.  I would encourage you to realize that accepting failure and moving on is far better than staying stuck in a rut where things don’t work.

Third, plan for the challenges.  If you’re planning things out as I do, you’ve thought of several scenarios of how things can end up.  By doing this you’ve planned for at least some of the “unexpected” challenges that come along and try to mess up your plans.  Yes, it’s good to have a plan that you know will work, but it’s also good to have a plan that factors in challenges and changes.

Have you been waiting for something in your business?  Why are you waiting?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights, share them below.

Family Peace

I know, you’re probably laughing at the title: peace, in my family?? It may seem impossible or impractical, but peace is essential.  It’s important for your sanity as well as your family’s healthy development.  Now it may be impractical to have lion-and-lamb peace, but let’s talk about how you can create some peace at least in your home.

1-start with some rules.  Yes, I know people love to break rules, and I know that often people learn well when they have a lot of flexibility. But when we’re talking about kids, they do need some structure.  Start with the simple stuff like cleaning up, speaking and behaving with manners and eating mostly healthy.

2-set quiet time.  Even when your kids are past the napping stage, have a period of quiet time when the TV and computer are off and video games are away.  The kids can quietly read, color or even take a nap.  You have to go along with this quiet time rule and do quiet things yourself!

3-communicate.  The more clearly you communicate with your kids and partner and the more clearly you teach your kids how to effectively communicate the easier it will be to have peace in your house.  If you can teach the communication you can avoid a lot of the fighting and screaming.  A great resource comes from the Scream Free Institute, great for parenting and relationships.

I know most families would like more peace in their homes, the sooner you start setting rules, establishing a quiet time and communicating, the sooner you’ll have more peace.  What do you do that helps establish peace in your home?

Business Nutrition

This month in the USA we’re focusing on nutrition.  It’s an opportunity for teachers, doctors and parents to encourage good eating.  But when it comes to nutrition, what you eat impacts more than just your waist line.

Your appearance:

As a business owner you want to look healthy, well cared for and like you’re enjoying life.  Some potential clients will find an excuse to not work with you if you’re significantly overweight, look very stressed out or pull up with a box of donuts in your hand (unless it’s appropriate).

Your health:

Your body functions better when you eat right, so by not eating right you’re actually harming your business potential.  Feeding your body and brain the right food is essential to being creative, living long and being able to do all that your business demands.  Eating right will also help you not get as sick during flu season, which gives you more time to focus on business and life.

Full circle:

If you’re not caring enough for your body to feed it good things, chances are you’re neglecting not only your mind but also your business in some way.  Maybe you’re reading educational material but it’s only once a week.  Maybe you’re working with clients, but not seeking any new ones.  If you’re sliding on caring for one aspect of your life, chances are good there are other areas that are suffering too.

This week, take time to consider not only your physical eating habits, but also how you’re feeding and caring for your mind and business.

Eat Right Together

March is National Nutrition Month in the USA.  As families, it’s important to be not only feeding ourselves right but feeding our kids right too. Why? There are 3 main reasons we should consider when it comes to our nutrition:

1-childhood obesity, or even obesity for that matter.  As a culture we’ve gone over the top.  More than ever we’re seeing obesity in our kids and around our neighborhoods.  If your children are obese, it sets them up for health problems down the road, in fact, it’s almost a guarantee.

2-healthy weight loss.  Maybe you don’t eat only fast food for dinner but you’re not exactly in great shape.  Eating right is the first step to losing those pounds and looking (and feeling) better.

3-nutrition is your life.  You’ve got one body that you’re dealing with right now and it’s the only one you’ve got.  We haven’t gotten to where science can just give us a new body when we’re tired of the one we have so we have to make it last until we’re done with this life.

But it’s more than just looking good, it’s about feeling good inside and out.  It’s not easy to live in 2012, with the changes we’re experiencing and challenges we’re up against.  As humans we have more things going against us than we ever have in the past. But we’ve also got some great things going for us.  As a population we’re waking up and starting to get smart about our habits and choices.

The conversation continues on my Fresh Perspectives blog with some suggestions for eating and living.  What are you doing as a family to promote healthier eating?  Do you have tricks or tips?  I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Business Peace

This month we’re talking about peace on the blogs, newsletters, Facebook and Twitter.  It’s hard to find peace in this world, although it’s been pretty peaceful sitting outside in the surprisingly warm sun the past few days.  But the reality is that in business, most often what is found behind the office doors isn’t peace but a fight.  What is a businesses’ role in peace?

1-bringing peace to their customers.  While some businesses specialize in this, I believe all businesses need to recognize that part of their customer service is to make the customer’s interaction with them as peaceful and painless as possible.  Even more, the customer should feel better, aka more peaceful, after interacting with the company.

2-creating peace within the company.  Over the past decade or so we’ve heard stories of places like Zappos where people love to work and Starbucks who has created a community of employees and customers.  It’s not a myth, it’s not a ridiculous proposition-business (and the employee’s jobs) can be enjoyable and peaceful.

3-encouraging peace with the world.  As business owners we have a responsibility to take care of the earth we use to profit from.  This means participating in Earth Day, recycling instead of just throwing things out, and encouraging our employees and customers to interact with the world in a respectful way.

What if our attitude wasn’t about beating out the other companies and making the most money, but about bringing the most peace to the world?  It’s a big goal, and only working together, as companies, employees and customers could it happen.

What do you do to encourage peace in your business?

Fresh Starts for Spring

It’s March, and spring is just a few weeks away.  I’m not sure what it is about spring that makes us want to clean up and get organized.  Throughout much of the USA cleanup has already begun after the tornadoes that beat up many central states.  If you’re itching to start the spring off fresh, here are some things you can do to get started.

1-clean the countertops.  Yes, take everything off, put away things that don’t need to be out and wipe them down!  You’ll instantly feel better and your kitchen (and bathroom) will thank you.

2-open the windows.  Just getting fresh air into your space will make things feel fresher.

3-clean off your desk.  Yes this means putting the files away where they go, shredding what needs to be shredded, and throwing away everything you’ve been keeping that isn’t relevant anymore.

4-pick up the toys.  Not everyone has kids, but if you have kids I highly suggest that you invest in a storage system that you can easily use to clean up the toys with your kids. Now that I think about it, pick up any of your (adult) toys too.

5-vacuum.  Yes, get out the vacuum and do a thorough job.  Since the floor will be clean of toys it shouldn’t be too difficult.  Don’t forget to move the furniture too.

These are just 5 things you can do to start your spring off organized and clean.  Where will you start?

Be Yourself in Business

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is a famous children’s book writer who could teach entrepreneurs a thing or two.  The quote I shared today speaks loud and clear about what your business should look like.  It should be unique.  It’s hard to be unique if you’re doing the same thing as others though.  Like a coach or social media support company.  But you can put your spin on it with your brand.  You can be a social media style company and show businesses how to put their style on social media, or you can be a coach that’s all about living on purpose. You can also do what Starbucks has done and create a place that has a unique place in the coffee and entertainment industries.

Chances are you didn’t get into business to fit in with everyone else, you got started to be different and do things your way, a better way.  If you’ve been in business for any period of time you’ve probably lost a bit of that initial sparkle, maybe life has beaten you down a bit.  My advice?

Do something fun.

Yep.  Go get creative with a paintbrush or camera.  Run a couple of miles or take a yoga class.  Spend time with your kids or volunteer at an animal shelter.  Do something that you enjoy that will get your mind back on track. Then clean up your business.  Just like houses need to be “spring cleaned”, your business needs cleaning too.  It needs a fresh coat of paint to bring that initial perspective and shine back.  Maybe you’d benefit from an outside opinion on how to get your business back on track (link).

What will you do to get a fresh perspective in your business?

Peanut Pleasures

One of my favorite foods for lots of reasons are peanuts!  I love how easy it is to make something that has some good nutritional value yet doesn’t break the bank.  It’s a great way for parents to get some nutrition into picky or busy kids.  Don’t forget that there are some serious peanut allergies out there so don’t just start giving peanut butter away.

To get things started right, here’s a recipe for homemade peanut butter.

Breakfast

Peanut butter pancakes

Carrot peanut bran muffins

Peanut butter cinnamon rolls

Peanut butter and jelly stuffed french toast

Breakfast cereal bars

Peanut butter granola bars

Snack

Peanut butter blast

Honey peanut butter balls

Peanut butter and chocolate bars

Oatmeal peanut butter energy bars

Peanut butter smores

Crispy peanut butter treats

Adobo peanuts

Lunch & Dinner

Peanut crescent rolls

Crispy chicken with apple peanut sauce

Peanut pork/chicken kebobs

Chinese peanut sesame noodles

Indonesian beef satay with peanut sauce

Southern fried chicken

Colonial peanut soup

Thai peanut noodle salad

Thai chicken pizza

Noodles with lime peanut sauce

Peanut barbecued ribs

Pepper shrimp in peanut sauce

Ground peanut stew

Lettuce bundles with spicy peanut noodles

Spicy peanut satay sauce

Dessert

Peanut butter and strawberry sundae

Peanut butter blondies

Peanut butter pie

Monster c0okies

G-force cookies

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing

Peanut butter cheesecake minis

Peanut butter chocolate parfait

Peanut brittle

Salted peanut bars

Peanut butter pretzel candy

Triple chocolate peanut butter pudding cake

Frozen peanut butter chocolate sandwiches

Peanut blossoms

I know it’s early but I’m off to make the frozen peanut butter sandwiches, they look delicious!  What are you having with peanut butter?