Relationship Resolutions

As we look towards a new year and lots of changes, I thought I’d share some things that you (and I) can do to improve the relationships in our lives.

1-Encourage each other.  I believe that one of the most important things you can do in your relationship is to speak positively to each other.  Not only should you be saying things like “I love you”, but you should also verbally support your partner in their dreams, desires and goals.

2-Date nights.  Yes, I love date nights!  Date nights are important because they remind you both that you’re more than just parents, you’re two very special people.  Date nights give you a fresh perspective and help you separate yourself from the problems and challenges of home, school and work.  It’s also a fun way to try new things and create new memories.

3-Be physical.  Yes, spending more time in bed is important, both with sleeping together and other fun activities.  But studies also show that hugs, cuddling, kisses and touching while sitting close together can make a big difference in your feelings towards each other.

4-Less complaining, more action.   If you consistently talk with your partner about taking out the trash, doing the dishes or helping with the kids, it’s time for a change.  Either you’re not clearly expressing how much these things bother you and what you want your partner to do instead of what they’re doing, or you need to get off your lazy butt and go do what you’re complaining about!  Neither partner should do all the work in your home.

5-Change expectations.  This has been something that I’ve always worked on, and remains a challenge, but has made all the difference in my relationships.  When I’m not holding my partner to a ridiculously high standard, it’s much easier to accept their faults, mistakes and even those little things that would bother other people.  It’s good to have some standards and expectations, but if you don’t leave wiggle room in your relationship you’ll continue to fail and disappoint each other way too often.

What are you going to do to improve your relationship in 2013?

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Reflections on 2012

As we finish out this year’s Wednesday business posts, I thought I’d share some questions that I’m going to be considering in the next couple days for how this year played out and what my thoughts are for 2012.  I’d love to hear the questions and topics you’re contemplating, share them in the comments below.

Reflections on 2012:

1 What were your most meaningful success stories?

2 What do you wish you did better?

3 What mistakes did you learn the most from?

4 What was your favorite marketing campaign?

5 What positive things happened in your personal life?

6 What growth happened in your business?

7 What change happened in your business?

Reflections for 2013:

1 What do you need to stop doing?

2 What do you need to start doing?

3 Which relationships do you need to mend or work on?

4 In what ways do you want to improve as a leader?

5 Who or what do you need to let go of?

6 What goals and dreams do you have?

7 What do you need to change to achieve those goals and dreams?

I hope that 2012 has exceeded your expectations as it did mine, I’m looking forward to all the changes and new ideas that will come with 2013.  Happy New Year!

Hope for Christmas

This year Christmas is different for many parents.  We gather our loved ones a little closer and try a little harder to get along after the tragedies of Connecticut and others around the world.  Thanksgiving begins a time of celebrating life, family and friends, and Christmas is a major part of that celebration.  I’m OK with stores advertising and convincing us to give gifts to family and friends.  It’s good that someone reminds us that we need to appreciate the people in our lives!  Of course there are many ways to celebrate people, but gift giving is one that doesn’t have to be super personal and yet gives us a chance to show that we care.  Victor Hugo said

“Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.”

What happened in CT, and other tragedies that happen around the world like child slavery, abuse, genocide and murder, can’t be fully solved by changing gun or other laws.  That’s not the whole answer, although it is part of the answer.  The only way we can avoid tragedies like this is by being more responsible people.  It’s up to each and every one of us to make more responsible decisions about the people in our lives, our reactions to the things that happen in our lives, and how we treat the world.  The only way the world can be fixed is if we believe that we’re bringers of hope, not spreaders of hate.

I can’t tell you how to live your life.  What I can do is encourage you to think about the world you want to live in.  Do you want your kids to enjoy safely playing on the street or in the backyard with their friends?  Do you want your kids worried about coming home to mom and dad fighting?  Do you want people to treat you with respect and care?  Do you want nature devastated by pollution and destructive habits?  I don’t know about you but I want to live, and raise my children, in a world where hope and love are more common than hate and dread.  The only way that can happen is if each of us choose to be responsible for our actions and the impact we have in the world.

In this season I pray that you’ll share hope with someone else.  When you share Christmas joy and peace with someone you know, you’re beginning the charge to spread the hope so desperately needed around the world.

Dreams Today, Dreams Tomorrow

A Dream Deferred
By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

We’re almost to Christmas, a happy time for most people.  Unfortunately the people of Newtown, CT, and others affected by recent tragedies, will not be wanting to celebrate as much this year.  As a business owner you may feel some of the same conflicted emotions in regards to your business.  You may be doing well but not be satisfied by all you’re doing.  If that’s the case I want to offer you some words of encouragement today.

First, be thankful for what you do have.  It’s not easy to stay focused on appreciating what you have, or the dreams that you had and don’t have anymore.  But it’s important to recognize the good things you have accomplished.

Second, you have to open up to a new dream and change.  With your unhappiness you’ve got 2 choices: do nothing or change.  At the moment I’m very willing to work on change, but haven’t found my new dream yet.  Both the willingness to accept the need to change and discovering your dreams takes time.

Third, don’t go it alone.  Yes, the dream that motivates you will have to be your dream, but finding the courage to chase that dream, or put that dream on the back burner for a bit until the time is right, is done best with the support of others.

Finally, you have to go for it or let it go.  This is the step that separates the leaders from everyone else.  True leaders know when to go for it or when to let it go.  Sometimes you let it go because there’s a bigger and better dream.  Sometimes you let it go because it’s no longer your dream.  But if it’s still your dream and it’s big enough for you, you have to go for it.

In these last few weeks of 2012, now is the time to make the decisions about your business and your dreams.  A new year is almost here, and it can be a clean slate for you, or it can be an opportunity to take what you’ve got and grow.  What will you do?

Fabulous Family Food Gifts

It’s the holiday season, and one of the best ways to celebrate is by giving gifts.  I can always appreciate a good homemade gift, and none are better than food.  So today I’ve got a collection of delicious ideas that you can make or give for the holidays.

Make and give:

Reindeer lollipops

Candy cane snowmen

Peppermint bark

Candy cane wine box

 

Honey

Nut clusters

Chocolate cookie bark

Doggie bark

Peanut brittle

Peppermint sticks

Crunchy granola

Festive chocolate bark

Sugarplum treats

Spicy lime pistachios

Chunky cranberry relish

Vanilla bean liqueur

Great DIY gifts:

Hot cocoa mix

Cup cakes

Jamaican spice and Montreal steak rubs

Herbed rice

Tea kit

Pancake mix

Toffee blondies

Coconut crunch cookies

Gingerbread scones

Apple cinnamon muffin mix

Christmas macaroons

Here are 7 more fabulous ideas for mason jar fillers

What are you giving this holiday season?

 

Team Players

This week, as we’re approaching Christmas, I was reminded by a friend how difficult it can be to be a team player.  Sometimes your bosses are rude, sometimes customers are forgetful, sometimes people steal money, and other times your partner doesn’t feel like working.  As I’ve been thinking about what it means for a business to work together as a team, I read this quote by John Maxwell:

“Every team has three groups of players. There are the starters, who directly add value to the organization or who directly influence its course, and the bench players, who add value to the organization indirectly or who support the starters who do. The third group is a core group within the starters that I call the inner circle members. These are people without whom the team would fall apart.”

If you’re a business with more than one employee, you can probably see your business in this quote.  Business owners see “starters” as their cashiers, drink makers, secretaries and other front of the line people.  “Bench players” include affiliates, suppliers, marketing material printers, and other people most likely not involved in the day to day interaction with customers.  The “inner circle” includes your managers, shift supervisors and others who report directly (or almost directly) to you.

Yes, without the managers the business would fall apart or not be as successful, but without the bench and starter players, many businesses would cease to exist.

So what does this mean to you and me?  Well, it means that you need to understand how your business is set up and the human talent is distributed throughout.  It also means that you need to make sure you’ve got the right people in the right group doing the right thing to best support your organization.

But what it really means is that all people on your team, all the people who make your business run, are important.  The person who cleans the floors is just as important as the supervisor who takes care of your elite clients; you couldn’t have elite clients visit your location unless your floors were clean.

So this season, thank your team for doing what they do, and promote, or at the very least recognize, those who go above and beyond the position they play.

Christmas Cupcakes

As the holidays draw near, it’s always fun to look at festive food.  With cupcakes all the rage these days, I thought you’d want to show off some of your impressive baking and decorating skill with these fun and festive cupcakes.

Reindeer

Holly

Ornament

Santa

Christmas trees

Gingerbread and snowflake

More holly

More Christmas ornaments

Peppermint

More trees

Best of all, you can add these nice decorations to any cupcakes you create this holiday season.  Let’s get baking!

Gifting the Business Owner

With the holidays upon us, I thought it would be fun to share some ideas for what to get the business owner in your life.

1-a gift card to a marketing site.  You know they’ve been thinking about new business cards, so why not give them some money
towards those cards?

2-tchotchkes that work well in their office.  Every office, whether it’s in home or office building, or is part of a business
like a restaurant or office supply store, can use a personal touch.  Shop Etsy and other handmade sites and shops to spread a
little cheer.

3-clothing store gift card. No, you’re not telling your friend that they dress poorly, you’re simply acknowledging the fact
that they need to look good to do their job.

4-new customers.  For something different, give your business owner friend some new customers!  You’re not just referring
people to them but pre-buying some services or giving them a gift card to your friend’s business.

5-technology.  Just about all businesses work with technology.  Gift them something that is essential but they may not
have been wiling to purchase like a new computer, camera, program or piece to upgrade current technology they have.

6-a break.  Offer to watch their kids or give them a massage gift card.  Give them a chance to remember that they’re more than their
business.

7-education.  All business owners need to be learning new things.  Give them a class taught locally that would be
beneficial or even a strategy session with a mentor or local coach.

What great ideas do you have for gifts for the business owner?