Magic Museums

It’s quite hot here in New Jersey today (yay!), which reminds me of those long summer days when kids don’t want to go outside but you’re tired of being stuck in the house for a week.  So I though I’d share a few museums around the USA that you could visit instead of being stuck inside.

Museums for everyone:

Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland There’s nothing like some fabulous art to keep your kids entertained.  From Egypt to Rome, Eurpoe to the Americas, they’ve got a little bit of everything.

Smithsonian Museums, Washington, DC.  Here you’ve got 19 museums, including a zoo, for you to choose from!  With art, history, air/space travel, and animals to choose from, you’ll keep your kids busy for days!

Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington.  Not only do they have a great selection of art, you can also sign up for art classes there as well!

Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York This is a great way to share a little history and fun for your fashion fanatic kids.  With fashions from the 18th century through today, you’re sure to find something interesting.

National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee.  With exhibits and classes, you can share with your kids this pvitoal movement in the US’s history.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Cleveland, Ohio Who doesn’t love music?!  This fabulous museum is a great way to entertain your kids and see some of the musical history you’ve grown up with.

Getty Centers, California.  Arts and ancient cultures abound here, there’s no shortage of things to see.  Also, with two locations, you can plan two trips!

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.  This museum complete with lots of art and sculpture, includes works that hadn’t been seen to the public before 1962.

Just for kids:

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana This awesome 5 story museum has over 120,000 things to entertain your kids!  With fun earth, science, dinosaurs, and health exhibits, there’s lots to see!

Children’s Museum of Houston, Texas.  For an epic adventure visit this cool museum with lots of fun building, discovering, creating and exploring things!

EdVenture Children’s Museum, Columbia, South Carolina From butterflies to birthday parties, the human body and seasonal exhibits, there’s plenty to see and do.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix, ArizonaArts, crafts, books, building, deserts and lots more fun, this museum will entertain your kids for hours!

Where are you headed this summer?

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First Things First

Today we’re wrapping up our look this month at ways you can become a world class business owner.  I know it’s challenging to be even a good business owner with all the people and situations that could tear you down, but I believe it’s possible.  It all starts with you being confident in who you are, what you sell and the results you give people.  There will always be opposition, but you can’t expect to please everyone.   Today, to wrap up, we’re talking about some of the things that should be core within your business, and even your life.

You may not be able to fix everything, but you can effect one person at a time.   It may not be possible for you to be as big as the Beatles or Elvis, but you can make your impact one person at a time.  I’m not trying to discourage your big dreams, big dreams are important to have, they help you keep moving forward and focused.  But what I’m saying is that you should take your vision one person (or business) at a time.  Focus your energy 100% on that client, not on the other things going on around or the millions of people you aren’t helping.

Stop being busy, start being productive.  There’s difference between being busy and actually getting something done.  It’s one thing to spend 20 minutes a day on social media for your business, it’s another thing to spend hours and hours just poking around the internet and social media.  Go do what you need to get done, don’t be busy for busy’s sake.

Words are life and death.  Some of your most powerful and most harmful tools come right out of your mouth.  Use words that inspire, direct and focus, not words that victimize people and treat them as less than the valuable and important human being they are.  There’s always a way to communicate something in a way that doesn’t sting like a jellyfish.

Your attitude makes or breaks you.  If you can’t smile occasionally, have fun and laugh, you’re not in the right business.  You’ve got to enjoy what you do for the most part.  You probably started your business because you enjoyed something about what you do, if you’ve lost heart, it’s time to reevaluate.  People want to do business with happy people, not miserable ones.

This week I encourage you to get focused in your business on doing what you can to make the world a better place.  You can change the world, but you have to get started to make that change happen.

Memorial Day Memories

This weekend and this week coming up in the USA we’re celebrating Memorial Day.  As a result, this week I’ve been thinking about remembering.  I’ve got great memories from growing up and traveling with my family, staying with grandparents and rainstorms.  Here in America this month we’re remembering the soldiers who have fought with Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day.

It’s not easy to talk with kids about war and death, and it can be hard for children to visit cemeteries where relatives are buried, especially some of the big ones where hundreds or thousands of veterans are.  But you know what?  It’s something I look forward to doing with my kids some day; bringing them to visit my grandfather’s grave and telling them about the great man he was, and how he was a soldier for America.

Remembering isn’t at all about telling depressing stories of soldiers who fought and died, of relatives who are dead or things that didn’t happen the way you wanted them to.  Remembering is about sharing love, telling stories and connecting kids (and people of any age), with the past.  You don’t have to dwell on the fact that they’re dead.  You can talk about the fun things you did as a family together, you can share your great memories of growing up with relatives, and you can make new memories with your children through the stories of their ancestors.

Everyone has a story, but you have the choice of how to remember and tell that story.  What story will you tell your kids about the soldiers you know and love in honor of Memorial Day?

Power of Perspective

This month we’re discussing ways we business leaders can be world class!  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be world class than no-class.  Today (finally!) we’re talking about one of my favorite subjects: perspective!  If you didn’t know, perspective is my passion.  I love helping people and businesses get a fresh perspective on where they’re stuck and all the fabulous options they have for thriving and enjoying life (you can learn more at my website).  But for today, we’re continuing our look at Robin Sharma’s article and the topic of transforming our businesses into world-class ones.

Perspective creates clarity.

It’s easy when you’re in your business day in and day out to lose perspective and get unfocused.  That’s one of the reasons it’s important to work with a coach or mentor from time to time, as well as have a group of people in your business you trust to point out the things that could be improved.  When you truly have perspective on a situation, or when you get a new perspective on a situation, it means you’ve got the whole story (or have a chance to get the whole story), instead of just one side, or bits and pieces.  It also means you’re not ignoring things any longer and can get focused on what’s best and what’s next.

Perspective helps you see the truth about problems.

I believe that a problem is a problem only as long as you let it stay a problem.  What does this mean?  It means that if you’re ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room, you’re going to have a problem indefinitely.  However, if you get your head out of the hole and discuss and chart a course of action for dealing with the “elephant” you’ve no longer got a problem, but rather an opportunity for growth and improving your business.

Perspective discovers solutions, and options.

When you can get, or ask for, perspective, you look at things more open-mindedly.  You’re no longer stuck with the current (and maybe broken) situations, but rather have thrown open the door to more possibilities.  More possibilities and options doesn’t mean you have to pursue all of them, it just means you’re not stuck doing the same thing forever, there may be other things that would benefit you and your customers more and better than if you hadn’t thrown the door open to get perspective on your situation.

Do you need perspective in your business?  Don’t be afraid to ask someone for some!

Super Salads

It’s National Salad Month, and to celebrate I’ve got some delicious salads for the whole family!

Green:

Shrimp and snap pea with ginger dressing

Pea shoot and baby artichoke salad

Butter lettuce with poached salmon

Chop chop salad

Grilled flank steak salad

Cobb salad

Pork barley salad

Raw tuscan kale with pecorino

Asparagus, frisee, edamame and parsley salad

Stacked summer vegetable salad

Pasta:

Pasta salad with fresh herbs

Garden pasta salad with chicken

Sesame bean and pasta salad

Use your noodle salad

Antipasto salad

Summer vegetable pasta salad

Gazpacho crab and pasta salad

More:

Corny bean salad

Turkey Waldorf salad

Corn avocado and tomato salad

Asian chicken slaw

Thai cucumber salad

Stuffed tomato flowers

Roasted beet salad with arugula, pistachios, and shaved pecorino

Potato salad

Salsa, black bean and rice salad

Guacamole salad

Broccoli salad

Dressings:

Ranch

Creamy lemony pepper Parmesan

Honey mustard

Mango lime

Mediterranean

Fresh herb vinaigrette

Sweet sesame

What are your favorite salads and dressings?

The Value of Money

Today we’re continuing our discussion on how to be world class business leaders.  In addition to learning and having good habits, another way to be a world class business leader is to be a millionaire (or billionaire).  This may sound strange since we’ve learned over the past few years that you can do so much with so little financially, so why should money be one way to become a world class leader?

Well, when you have money you can pay people what they’re worth.  Yes you can hire some people for less than the monetary value that they’re worth if you have some other value added option that they are interested in.  But, money does speak loudly and it feels good to be able to pay someone what they’re worth, in proportion to the value they contribute to your company.

Education, both for yourself and your employees.  There are lots of great free and low-cost opportunities out there, some of them are excellent, and occasionally they’re better than the very pricy ones.  But when you have the money to be able to consistently offer your employees (and yourself) the opportunity to grow and develop personally and professionally, everyone (including your bottom line) will benefit.

You can contribute to improving your neighborhood and the world.  You’ve probably seen signs on a highway near you saying that that area’s cleanup was sponsored by some company.  Maybe you’ve purchased something from a company that donates a portion of your purchase to a school in Africa or other cause.  There are tons of individuals and companies out there that are doing their best to make a difference in the world, beyond that of their work.  Many customers choose to do business with a company because of the contribution they make to the world.

Yes, you can do great things with little, including hiring good people, having quality products, providing good customer service, or making an impact on your neighborhood and others with only a little money.  But with more money comes more responsibility and more opportunities to help others.

What ways do you think money can help make you into a world-class leader?

Bad Habits Busted!

This month we’re looking at ways we can be world class business leaders.  Today we’re talking about one of the most prevalent and most challenging: rudeness!  Somehow people have become more and more rude over time, less inclined to follow even basic societal niceties.  Maybe the exact rules of etiquette have changed some over the past few decades with the changes of technology and working with all cultures around the world and not being able to adopt all customs at all times. However, those who are rude, and know it, are asking for trouble when trying to do business.

Phones:

I love being able to check my email or be available for my partner when something comes up.  However, it’s rude to randomly check your messages or answer your phone while in a business meeting or while working with customers.  If you’re a front-line worker and expected to work with people as well as answer the phone, do your best to let other workers answer the phone while you’re with a customer, but if that’s not possible, make sure to politely excuse yourself and ask how you can help the person on the phone, and take a message if it’s evident it’s more than a “what are your hours” type question.

Manners make you stand out:

In this world where manners and etiquette have fallen by the wayside, those who display manners stand out.  Even just saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can make people sit up and take notice.  You don’t have to go out of your way to display good manners, but showing some basic common courtesies like holding the door open for someone, cleaning up the area around you, cheerfully greeting guests, and being polite and kind even if you’re not thrilled with the person you’re talking with or job you’re doing, can make a big impact on a first time (or long time) guest.

Ignorant people:

I have to admit that I think there are tons of people who have gotten so used to not using manners, that they just don’t realize they’re being rude.  If you have employees like this, it’s important to do an education class and just remind everyone what you, as the business owner, expect when they’re interacting with customers.  You’ll set the stage for discussion around what it means to represent your brand and why you want them to act a certain way.  It’s not about controlling people or telling them they’re wrong, it’s about everyone improving to be better people, and ultimately have happier customers.  But, once you’ve had this class and discussion, you’ll have to lead by example and show your people how you want them to interact with your customers.

This week I encourage you to check your rudeness at the door.  Don’t let your bad habits hurt your business any more.   If you don’t think you’ve got bad habits, ask an employee or friend you trust to reveal them to you.

Awesome Asparagus

If you ever wondered what to do with asparagus, wonder no more!  These recipes will get you inspired to eat this healthy and delicious vegetable.  It’s low in calories, has lots of folic acid, lots of potassium and fiber and other goodies that help your body run well!

Asparagus rafts

Asparagus in blankets

Asparagus ribbon salad

Asparagus bread pudding

Spring couscous with asparagus, peas and mint

Fritatta with asparagus

Asparagus soup

Chicken, asparagus and bacon skillet

Ham, asparagus and cheese strata

Lemony asparagus and new potatoes

Citrus roasted asparagus

Garden risoto

Vegetable pot pie

Asparagus and carrot slaw

Asparagus and green beans with chili-orange oil

Corn and asparagus salad

Grilled asparagus stromboli

Grilled salmon with sweet corn tomato and avocado relish and grilled asparagus

What are your family’s favorite asparagus recipes?

Learn to Grow

This month we’re going to take some inspiration from Robin Sharma’s recent article, 51 Ways Ordinary People Reached World Class.  You can read that here, and today, we’re going to talk about the importance of never ceasing to learn.

Why learn? Well, in case you have missed it over the past few years things have changed rapidly.  What we would have learned in marketing school 10 years ago would not have included anything about social media and today we wouldn’t spend as much time on print publications for marketing purposes.  That’s just one small example, there are countless more.  If you’ve running your business based on just what you knew when you got out of college 10+ years ago, you’re making a big mistake.

But learning’s not just about knowing more, it’s about becoming smarter.  Yes, when you know more you can help more people or make better products, but you can also learn how to do things better, faster or more efficiently than you did in the past.  No, time probably doesn’t improve on Mom’s fabulous brownie recipe that you’ve built your business on, but the back end of running your business can be improved with some of the newer client management systems, or even by building a website to promote your business.

But learning is really a personal thing: no matter how “current” your business is, you can always improve you personally.  As the head of the business, you need to be able to work with many different types of people, deal with many challenges and still have a life when you’re not working.  You can always improve as a leader, in personal interactions and in communication skills.    You can also learn a lot about yourself and who you are by your ability to spend time alone with yourself and let new ideas come to you.  If you can’t walk alone without your phone playing music or with a partner, or can’t meditate for 10 minutes each day, learn how!

There are lots of great ways to learn, some of the easiest are newsletters that you can subscribe to or blogs you can read.  You’re checking your email all day (even though you shouldn’t), so why not find some that are helpful for business purposes and a few to encourage you in your personal interests?  You can also take a class, join a mastermind group, work with a coach or mentor, or read a book (one of my favorites!).

Join me this week in making a commitment to learning something new every day!