The Most Fruitful Resolution EVER!

iStock_000017647274_SmallWe are all aware that New Year’s Resolutions are not very helpful, at least for the long run.

Instead, for the last few years I have been choosing one word as a focal point for my personal growth for the year. Then I realized that setting a time frame is a bit restrictive as well, so have actually changed my word as the year went along.

I still like to choose a word to start the new year. Though the timeline is artificial, I find benefit in taking stock of the past year(s) and pondering my goals for growth for the upcoming year-ish.

Last Monday I was reminded of a method for personal growth that I love.

Do one thing that scares you, every day.

My Love–Hate Relationship with Christmas

And how to lean toward love

I love Christmas and the holidays.

I get to guiltlessly sing along with John Denver and the Muppets at full volume (when no one is around), just sit and stare at the Christmas tree decorated with treasures gathered from near and far over many years, bake a lot, gather with family and friends, and drink milk loaded with fat and sugar (eggnog).

So why do I have bouts of feeling miserable during these lovely days?  When I do allow myself to pause for a few minutes, I realize it’s because I load my plate too full–then take that list seriously.  How crazy is that?

The Precious Gift That Love Brings

Kermit the Frog Reminds Us of the True Spirit Of the Holidays (and Life)

Kermit Christmas“I don’t know if you believe in Christmas

Or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree

But if you believe Love

That will be more than enough

For you to come and celebrate with me

For I have held the precious gift that Love brings

Even though I never saw a Christmas star

I know there is a light

I have felt it burn inside

And I have seen it shining from afar…”

Hear the whole song with Kermit and the gang, plus John Denver, on YouTube

Please share your favorite holiday music in the comments below!

My best wishes for a peaceful, loving holiday season.

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Can Joyful Work Help You to Stand Out?

Expert Dorie Clark Shares on How, and Why It Matters Anyway

Dec. 3, 2014. Boston, MA. Portraits of Dorie Clark. © 2014 Marilyn Humphries

Dorie Clark photo courtesy of © 2014 Marilyn Humphries

Autonomy and Creativity.

According to personal branding expert Dorie Clark when we humans feel like these qualities are maximized in our work we are more engaged, productive, and fulfilled–personally and professionally.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dorie recently.  The sentence above is how she answered my initial question on how the concepts of Creating Joyful Work tie in with her work on personal branding and marketing strategy.  From that start I knew it was going to be a great conversation!

Next we discussed how each of us can ensure these qualities are a part of our daily work. Dorie shared that most of us don’t know how to keep it going.  We want a fast process, a magic bullet or silver lining.  That does not usually happen so most people give up. The good news is that when we do persevere there’s not much competition!  Success increases.

Einstein’s Genius Shows the Way to Everyday Miracles

“There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

~ Albert Einstein

Perfect words as we head into this season of miracles. Just once a day I pledge to see a “non-miracle” as a miracle? Non-miracles include traffic, grumpy colleagues or relatives, too full, too busy, too…whatever.

For me, a way to find the miracle is to take a couple of deep breaths. This helps me to relax in the miracle of my body–where my heart is beating and food digesting even though I am cranky, frustrated, hurried or harried. I also love getting outside to see a tree, or the sun on the clouds.  Or the miracle of mirrored balls and candy canes, children (or adults) laughing.

In other words… the miracle of life.  As crazy as life can get, there is always a miracle to be found.  Go for it!

A Key Marketing Lesson from a 7-Year-Old

Dragonflies Rock!

Jeff dragonfly1 DSCN0158

Dragonflies also like Jeff

“The dragonflies. There are lots of dragonflies.”

This is the answer I received from Joey* (who’s 7) in response to my inquiry on what he likes best about his new home in our neighborhood.

A big smile crept across my face.  You see, I like the dragonflies too.  Jeff and I often sit and watch them for a long while after lunch on the patio in warmer weather.

Dragonflies are pretty far down on the list of answers I expected. Yet, it’s a REALLY good answer for a kid of any age.

Most of you already know what I am about to say next…something along the lines of “being a good listener means not expecting a certain answer.”  Yes, I am working on that.

In addition, it’s a great lesson in marketing: no matter how well you know your customers (and prospective customers) we are ALL UNIQUE and different things are important to us.

KC_OverTheHump_Masthead 230x200Apple does a great job of providing customers with dragonflies: experiences they did not know they wanted until they saw them and played with them.  Apple says that market research is not useful because typical market research would not have come up with iPOD, or iTunes.

However I do believe Apple studies the market, knows how people use and build relationships with things.  To me that’s market research.  It’s the relevant kind that puts us marketing geeks in the shoes of our customers– and then adds our knowledge of what cool, amazing and useful.

Dragonflies don’t need much product development and marketing to be cool, amazing and useful.  Most other product do, and open-minded listening is key. It’s the kind of listening that does not have any potential answers, even in the very back recesses of our minds.

In order to remind myself to let go of ALL expectations, I am going to put a picture of a dragonfly on my desk. What about you?

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  • Joey is not his true name.