Today is an extremely sad day. Nelson Mandela, one of most courageous leaders, has passed away. South Africa –indeed, the whole world – is saying goodbye to a great human being and an incredible inspiration.
Soon after Jay Z welcomed his first child, Blue Ivy Carter, last year, a poem the rapper had reportedly dedicated to his new baby girl zipped around the Internet. “Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich / I didn’t think hard about using the word B—-,” it opened. “I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it / now with my daughter in this world / I curse those that give it.” The poem turned out to be a hoax, but a spate of recent research backs the idea that close relationships with women can dramatically sway men’s attitudes and behavior, at home and at work, for better and for worse
The point is that social media is a teeny tiny reflection of what happens in day-to-day life. In Jonah Berger’s Contagious, he makes the salient point that only 7% of word of mouth happens online (other studies say 5%). I’m not sure if all of that even belongs to social media channels, either. I’d guess a bunch of it happens over email and private chat.
There are hundreds of ways that your customer will find you (or not find you) online and offline. However, when it comes to spreading a message, word of mouth has always been the most effective way of marketing messages spreading. But these messages become ineffective when they aren’t authentic. The most salient point here is:
You cannot force word of mouth.
My best tip for life, and living is to know yourself. You may think from some of my posts, that I have the world’s most perfect home. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, what I have is a pile of toys stacked up about waist high behind me as I type this, because I did some Christmas shopping, and dropped it into a pile as I came in the other day, so I could deal with it. Last night, I went through my bathroom cabinets, and found stuff from 2003. I love to cook, but only a few times a year. A good portion of the rest of the year, I forget that the kitchen even exists. It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person, it just means that I’m not particularly focused on how my house looks at all times.
I recognize that I’m not necessarily the world’s most organized person. I know where my limits are, and where they aren’t. In short, I know myself. I think that it is important to to know yourself, and know yourself very, very well.
Think about what you do well. What things do you enjoy doing? What things do you really NOT enjoy doing? Clearly, I don’t enjoy cleaning too much, and apparently I have a thing for starlight mints. Okay, the starlight mints are for making Christmas Wreaths to give as gifts. But I know that I like crafting some things, and I don’t like doing other things. I recognize where my strengths, weaknesses, and talents lie.
If there is one thing I get through to you it is that you should know yourself. Understand your motivations, and what things excite you, and make you happy. Find a way to focus on the positives, and eliminate the negatives, as it were. Use that focus to improve how you perform, so that you can be happier, more fulfilled, and do better in your career. Clearly my strong suit is not in keeping the house clean.
No single challenge has been greater for me as a leader than learning how to take better care of the people I lead, and to create a safe, supportive space in which they can thrive. Like most men I know, I grew up with very little modeling around empathy — the ability to recognize, experience and be sensitive to what others are feeling.
It is the week before Thanksgiving, and the baking frenzy is just beginning. My husband and I both really like to cook, but the problem is that some things have to be staged over a period of days to be completely ready by the time we need them. Some things also have to sit in the freezer for a bit, like the cakes that are baked, so that they will firm up enough to be safely iced. My kitchen will likely be covered entirely in flour, sugar, and other ingredients, as we whip ourselves into a baking frenzy. For us, Thanksgiving is a time to stop, and spend time with friends, and bake at least a dozen different desserts- Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Cake, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, and white cake with buttercream frosting. We will make spiced pecans, and cookies to go with the rest. In addition to the sweets, we both really like baking bread, which means Challah, cornbread, soft butter rolls, biscuits and cheese rolls. We’ll also be baking a pizza for our youngest two, because they don’t care for the other stuff above. Picky eaters, but I guess it’s their Thanksgiving too. You could say, it’s a bit of a carb overload in our house on Thanksgiving, but that’s the way we like it. I’ll try to post pictures in the next few days of the process as we proceed. It may be amusing to watch us do silly things while we whip ourselves into a baking frenzy. Yep, You can call us crazy.
What Thanksgiving traditions does your family enjoy?
by: Samantha K. Herring
Like many other Girl Scout troops, Cary Girl Scout Troop #1799 is busy this fall. The girls and their adult advisors recently traveled to Huckleberry Trail Farm in Siler City, N.C., for an overnight campout. After unloading supplies and setting up their tents, the girls began preparations for dinner.
They cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner using their camp stove and a box oven they had constructed at a previous campout. After eating, the group headed off to explore the farm’s corn maze in the dark—their favorite part of the weekend. Girl Scout Allison commented, “I loved it when my mom jumped out of the dark like a spider monkey and scared us!” Allison’s mother Paula is one of the troop’s adult advisors. Later in the evening, everyone relaxed around a campfire the girls had built sharing stories, songs, and s’mores treats.
The goal at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines is to instill confidence, leadership skills, and a collaborative spirits in girls. Planning and carrying out trips like this is a fun way of working toward those goals. Paula shared that “one of the joys of being a troop leader has been watching the girls grow and mature. It seems that they’ve come a to a new level in their maturity in being able to do so many of the things we used to do for them.”
The girls plan and look forward to many different experiences together. A week after their campout the girls met in an advisor’s kitchen for a cooking lesson. Marie Cloughesy, professional chef and teacher at The Chef’s Academy in Morrisville, taught the girls how to make bruschetta and Chicken Marsala. In addition to teaching cooking skills, Marie talked to the girls about her education and personal experiences as a chef. One of the girls said that she had always been interested in being a chef and really appreciated the opportunity learn from Marie and hear about her experiences.
Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.
In partnership with more than 10,000 adult volunteers, Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines serves more than 35,000 girl members in 41 central and eastern North Carolina counties. (Counties are: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Person, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne, and Wilson.) The council’s administrative headquarters is located in Raleigh, with additional program and service centers located in Fayetteville and Goldsboro. For more information on membership or volunteer opportunities, call 800-284-4475 or visit www.nccoastalpines.org.
An interesting trend in retail in the USA has been the encroachment of the Black Friday Sales into Thanksgiving Day itself. Mass market retailers have been opening earlier and earlier in anticipation of the surge in sales brought on by the official beginning of the Christmas season. This year, a number of large retailers, including Toys R Us will be opening as early as 6 PM on Thanksgiving day itself. That means that their workers have to report to work around 4 PM. So much for having a day together with your family.
This drive to open earlier and earlier is clearly driven by demand, and corporate profits. I think that we as a culture and country need to look at what is happening, and make a conscious decision to stop the madness. I personally refuse to shop on Thanksgiving day. I encourage others to also refuse to shop on Thanksgiving Day as well. The bargains aren’t that great, and are certainly not worth creating a situation where people who work retail jobs are essentially forced to work on holidays, or quit their jobs.
Can we unite, and stop the madness? Maybe let the retailers know that we won’t be shopping during those times, because we’ll be with our families, and encouraging others to do the same?
What do you think about stores being open on Thanksgiving?
As part of my Entrepreneurship and Innovation Concentration at Duke, I put together a business plan for a new, and different home care business. One thing I discovered when doing my research for the concentration is a company called Care Patrol. They are a national franchise, and we were quickly intrigued. Care Patrol has many of the same core values in common with how we viewed ourselves. So we decided- why not pursue that in addition to the home care company? In August, we purchased the Care Patrol Franchise for the Triangle area of North Carolina. We joined approximately 55 other franchisees across the country in this exciting endeavor.
What Care Patrol Does
Care Patrol is a great community service. We help families find Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and In-Home Care. We review the care and violation histories of the facilities we work with. We then tour our families to the recommended communities much like a Realtor shows families new homes. We are a free service to the families who use us.
What Care Patrol Means
Care Patrol means that we are finding the safest, and most appropriate care options for the families we work with. We work carefully with our families, and with our communities, to ensure that we are recommending great care options to the families. This means that we can remove a great deal of the stress involved with having to find care for our parents, and grand parents, since Care Patrol advisers will help their clients and hold their hands the entire way through the process. In addition, many Care Patrol franchisees and their employees are actually CSAs- Certified Senior Advisors, which means that we have agreed to abide by a strict code of ethics, and passed a background check, and subject matter test.
We have just started marketing in the Triangle Area, but are looking forward to building some great relationships with the communities and referral sources in the area.
I found myself baking a wedding cake for a friend this week. Now, that isn’t my core competency, but I can fake my way through a simple cake. I posted the picture on Facebook, and one of my friends commented, asking if there is anything I can’t do. I had to laugh, because there are so many things I can’t do, and really don’t do well. Cleaning my house is just one of those things. But I also started thinking about things on a meta level, and there are so many things I’d love to be able to do, but really can’t. What are your solutions for these problems?
Things I Can’t Do
- I can’t make adults behave like kind, considerate adults. Think of how many adults you know that don’t play well with others, or who don’t follow the rules. I wish I could fix them. Whether it’s people who drive like maniacs to simple stuff like jumping a line, I would happily make them follow the rules if I could.
- World Peace. This is probably along the lines of the previous comment. I think that so many of the world’s problems, including world peace would be solved if people learned to turn the other cheek, and behave in a responsible, mature manner. Instead, they’ve been fighting for millenia, simply because they can. It has brought them little but heartache and bitterness.
- Cure Cancer, and other life limiting illnesses. I’ve seen too many people die recently of nasty diseases like Parkinsons and Leukemia. I would love a magic wand that I could wave to cure those illnesses.
What about you? What things do you wish you could do – but can’t?