Love, we're all looking for it. Some of us are lucky in love, some of us not.
Next month, my husband and I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. The average marriage in the United States lasts about 8.2 years, so I consider us fortunate.
We met before online dating was popular, but today it is a 2 billion industry where one in ten Americans spend an hour a day looking for their perfect match. Answering endless questions about your interests, preferences and background is an exhausting experience to create your perfect profile that will undoubtedly find your prince or princess. But what if these sites are doing it all wrong and what really makes us compatible is what we don't like, would never participate in or find to be annoying. Move over Match.com, Hater is a new dating app that is gaining buzz.
Do you hate people who create Instagram accounts for their dogs, celebrate their birthday for a week or longer, or paying extra for guacamole? Hater is for you! According to Brendan Alper, people like to complain and sharing mutual hatred equals endless bliss. The former Goldman Sachs finance associate quit his job to launch Hater, the dating app that matches you based on what you hate. By swiping on more than 3,000 topics, loving or hating them along the way, Alper claims that mutual dislikes are a better sign of compatibility than likes. Only a month after the launch, Hater had 350,000 users all around the world proving that Alper is onto something.
More than anything I just want to view the questions on Hater and finally be vindicated for my annoyance of slow walkers, Fast and Furious movies, and drivers with an abundance of political bumper stickers usually highlighting the losing candidate.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin
According to Wikipedia: Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.
I've always thought that knowledge is power. And what I mean by that is "being in the know" puts you at an advantage, especially in the business world. I had a boss that was fond of saying, "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu!" Exactly!
As a PR/Communications person, I've always been knowledgeable of what is taking place in the company, Naturally inquisitive, I actually thrive on knowing and understanding the current state of affairs. That knowledge has given me a bit of a boost in my self-esteem as well, because I feel privileged to be one of the few who knows what is taking place and what is planned for the future.
To be honest, I didn't always know everything that was in the works, but in many cases I had a pretty good idea. And because of that knowledge, my co-workers would stop me in the hallway to ask questions about the latest employee benefit, town hall meeting or company picnic. I always prided myself on helping these individuals and if I didn't have an answer for them, I promised to get back to them with a resolution. In many ways, I believe this is how I crafted my reputation of being a reliable person that would followup no matter the situation.
My tip to work success is to be thirsty for knowledge by understanding how your business works, suggesting ways to improve processes and developing new ones. By being an active participant you will become irreplaceable and always have a seat at every conference table.
When thinking about writing this blog and choosing my word for the letter "J" the word journey popped into my head.
To some, the phrase, "my journey" has been a bit overused. ApparentIy, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue, now artistic director of Condé Nast, Anna Wintour agrees. As part of Vogue's 73 Questions Series, Ms. Wintour was interviewed wearing her signature black sunglasses and looking completely bored and annoyed, but doesn't she always? When asked, "What is a fashion word that you wish everyone would stop using," she wrote down "journey."
But her opinion did not stop me on my journey - sorry I couldn't help myself! I recently read an interesting article that stated, "Everyone has a journey, why do you think yours is special?" That gave me pause, but the more I thought about it I decided that nobody is giving credit to the most important part which is that your journey is the reward.
What's great about the journey is that it typically is unexpected. When you set out to reach a goal you have a sense of what your reward will be. Perhaps you want your business to be acquired, you want to go public or you want to land a very senior position at a Fortune 500 company. Whatever the goal, you dedicate your life to the pursuit and establish a clear vision for what you want to achieve when you get to the end of your journey. And while you may think this destination is the top prize, the reward is also in how you got there.
Your journey may allow you to meet new people and experience different places and things that will become memories to last a lifetime. Remember, when Don Draper featured his own personal memories to sell a Kodak slide projector? Like me, he believes that the memories you make along the way really are your reward.
Take that, Anna!
The way you communicate with others is so important. What you say can ignite their energy and creativity.
As I embark on developing a new nonprofit for elementary schoolchildren, I feel that igniting individuals to volunteer, participate or support our efforts in any way is critical to our success. This is the time when we need passionate, engaged supporters to help us be innovative and excited about the future. Motivating these individuals and helping them understand our mission and vision is a strategy that will expand our program in more Phoenix schools.
As a leader of this new venture, I feel it's important to foster a positive, productive atmosphere that shows people how they can contribute. Everyone wants to work for a winning team, and as a volunteer, people want to find a worthy purpose in which they enjoy devoting their free time. I think we are all happiest when we are doing something important, when we are working toward a mission larger than ourselves. Helping children for many of us would fulfill that desire.
It's a huge undertaking to start our own nonprofit, but one that I'm passionate about and hope that my excitement ignites others to get involved and make a difference.
I'm always asked, 'What's the secret to success?' But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room. Dwayne Johnson
At times it seems that self-importance has become the norm in our society. Posing for selfies on social media, acting out through road rage on our streets, and general rude behavior are all examples of an inflated sense of self. Many people believe that a combination of narcissism and charisma make for an interesting person and in many cases a great leader. For me, the opposite is true and being humble is a characteristic that I find attractive in people. In fact, I’m more apt to respect a boss who is humble and unassuming because the environment they create becomes more collaborative.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who admires humbleness. One of the biggest country hits of the past few years is Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind,” written by Lori McKenna who recently became the first woman to win Songwriter of the Year at the ACM awards. McKenna, not your typical Southerner, is a Bostonian who is one of country music’s best writers, having written or co-written songs for Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Little Big Town over the years. As a mother to five children, she claims the song is a list of lessons she wanted to share with her children.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, research is clear: that humble leaders can improve the performance of a company in the long run. In many cases, these types of leaders have a strong appreciation of others’ strengths and contributions, while being open to new ideas and feedback. Another study showed that a leader’s humility can be contagious: with followers emulating their modest attitude and behavior.
A favorite quote of mine from John Madden, former football coach and NFL broadcaster sums up my feelings about how we all should conduct ourselves:
Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.
While searching for a news story to highlight today's word - GUTSY, I found numerous stories on amateur and professional sports figures, regular folks doing extraordinary things, and business leaders making gutsy deals, but this story in light of current world events, not only defines gutsy, but also tugged at my heart strings.
With the hope of continuing their education in an unconventional way, a few gutsy students maintain a library of beloved books under the rubble of Darayya, Syria, a suburb of Damascus.
Buried beneath a bomb-damaged building, is a haven filled with over 14,000 books on almost every subject. This secret library provides an opportunity to educate and bring hope to the citizens who have been besieged by sniper’s bullets and shelling for over four years. Founded by Anas Ahmad, a former civil engineering student, and other young students who have had their education halted due to war, risk personal harm to collect books from shell-damaged homes.
It may seem strange to risk your life to collect books for a hidden library, but these students are determined to help their community in several ways. Hospital volunteers use the library's books to advise them on how to treat patients; untrained teachers are aided by the books to help them prepare classes; and aspiring dentists learn how to insert fillings and extract teeth.
To date, about 8,000 of Darayya's population of 80,000 have fled. But nobody can leave now. But, according to Ahmad, the books motivate citizens to stay hopeful for resolution and peace one day in their country. Many of the books share stories of how other nations in history have suffered and yet in the end triumphed. He believes that one day Syria will be a free nation and by reading these books the citizens will be prepared for that day.
It happens to all of us, swarms of distractions, constant interruptions and texting under the table during meetings, keep us from accomplishing the task at hand and we lose focus. We live in a nonstop mental traffic jam where it’s always rush hour. We only have ourselves to blame since our gridlock is caused by the ingenious inventions that we now can't live without. Only when we learn how to take back the controls that we’ve given away, can we manage our attention better and not surrender to every distraction.
After some research, I discovered a few tips to stay focused and on track to achieve your goals.
1. Keep your energy up! Do this by keeping your brain active. If your energy gets low, you start to fade.
2. Your emotional state drives your ability to focus. Steer clear of the negative because positive emotions will keep you engaged. And engaged individuals are more interested and motivated which will eventually bring you to your "sweet spot."
3. Everything up to this point is great, but means nothing if you don't establish structure. Structure refers to how you spend your time, what boundaries you create, what rules you follow, what hours you keep, what priorities you set up, which tasks you take on and which you farm out, what plans you make, and what flexibility you create. Without structure, focus is impossible. Chaos reigns.
4. Take back control. Don't give away your time and attention to meaningless things you're not even aware that you are devoting time to. Know how and where you spend your time.
These simple elements; energy, emotion, engagement, structure, and control will help you avoid time-wasting activities and instead create a plan that will allow you to perform at your best and regain focus.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination. Tommy Lasorda
There are so many great examples of determined individuals who through their perserverance have been successful in their chosen field. For example, as I write this blog I’m listening to Al Jarreau, a seven time Grammy winner who earned a master's degree in vocational rehabilitation and worked as a rehabilitation counselor, but moonlighted with a jazz trio. Once he made jazz his primary occupation, he worked with other artists including Miles Davis, Chick Corea and David Sanborn and recorded and toured for over 40 years. His longtime friend, George Benson was a studio musician performing on many famous albums until someone heard him sing. Once his solo career was launched, to date he has racked up 10 Grammy’s. Both of these careers didn't happen overnight, but with a steady determination they were able to cultivate successful careers that stood the test of time.
Based on a simple Google search of the word: determination. This is what I found:
When you’ve defined your goal, outline the steps you need to take to reach it. Create 30, 60, 90 goals to help you meet your expectations and continually revisit your outline to stay on track.
Once you’ve decided on what success looks like for you and you've developed a strategy to achieve your ultimate goal, that’s when being ENERGIZED is important in order to stick with your strategies. You'll have your good days and bad, but staying the course and being ENERGIZED is what will get you to the finish line.
Spending an entertaining weekend getaway out of town is always a welcome escape, but returning home to a loving dog and my own pillow is icing on the cake. Even though I loved the time away, within the first hour of returning home, I had to watch the finale of The HBO mini series, Big Little Lies.
Based on the #1 New York Times bestseller by Liane Moriarty, this seven episode series is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, adultery and domestic violence, schoolyard bullying, and the dangerous little llies we tell ourselves to fit in and survive. The entire series prepared the viewer for the final episode which featured a murder at the school fundraiser. This wasn't your typical bake sale, but a glamorous evening where each parent dressed up as either Elvis or Audrey Hepburn. Not only was I intrigued by the ongoing drama, but as a huge Audrey Hepburn fan who adores her movie Charade with Cary Grant, I couldn't ignore the parallels between this movie and Big Little Lies.
In Charade, romance and suspense ensue in Paris as Audrey Hepburn's character is pursued by several men including Cary Grant and others who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Just like the women of Big Little Lies, who could she trust?
I don't want to give away the ending, but not only are the actresses wearing fabulous costumes from Audrey Hepburn roles, but the story delivers with a great, unexpected ending. Just like Charade, it's a great mystery that keeps you guessing throughout and ends with a shocking finale.
This weekend I'm on a getaway to Tucson, where it's impossible not to notice that the cactus, trees and desert flowers are in full bloom. Spring is the best time of year in the Southwest where you can see green trees for miles and flowers of almost every color popping out all over the landscape.
Hiking Mt. Lemmon, located in the north part of Tucson, reveals a variety of wildflowers as you drive up the curvy mountain road that offers spectacular views of southern Arizona. As you make your way up this scenic drive, you experience desert fauna including saguaros, brittle brush blooms and ocotillos. Once you begin to gain elevation, the temperature cools off and Mexican gold poppy and desert marigolds are growing wild along the roadside.
On the way to the very top, pull off to the side at Windy Point. A popular spot that offers photo worthy vistas, you'll find the young and old alike posing on the side of rock formations with amazing mountain views in the distance.
If you're a camper or just want to relax by a secluded lake, visit Rose Canyon. Off the main road, Rose Canyon features great camping spots, picnic areas and a lake stocked every season for avid fishermen. At this point, you're at 8,000 feet elevation making hiking a bit challenging.
My favorite spot is Summerhaven, a quaint mountain town almost at the very top of Mt. Lemmon. Filled with a cafe or two, old fashioned ice cream shops and more, Summerhaven is home to beautiful mountain homes. Rustic cabins for rent offer locals the opportunity to take advantage of cooler mountain air when the heat of the summer becomes unbearable.
If you're a skier, Ski Valley is your Mecca. At the very top of Mt. Lemmon, Ski Valley is located at over 9,100 feet elevation. Known for great ski runs, it's even more impressive in the spring and summer months. Playing host to a blanket of yellow wildflowers that will take your breath away, this spot is worth the trek up this picturesque mountain.