A Guide To Introducing Mindfulness Into Your Workplace

Meditation by Konstantin Stepanov via CC BY 2.0

“A number of Fortune 500 companies, including Google, AOL, Apple and Aetna, offer meditation and mindfulness classes for employees — and the top executives of many major corporations say that meditation has made them better leaders.”

— Carolyn Gregoire “The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People

In her article “The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People,” Huffington Post senior writer Carolyn Gregoire presents 10 influential business leaders who say meditation has helped them achieve (and sustain) a high level of success. The list includes Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington has brought meditation into her company, offering weekly classes for AOL and Huffington Post employees.

Let’s take a look at some mindfulness practices that are being integrated into workplaces.

Jeremy Hunter’s Article

In this terrific infographic, “Your Mind at Work,” Jeremy Hunter teaches us “new ways to approach those niggling challenges in the office.”

Your-Mind-At-Work

Jeremy Hunter serves as Assistant Professor of Practice at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. A PDF version of his article, “Is Mindfulness Good for Business?” may be downloaded here. The article first appeared in the premiere (April 2013) issue of Mindful

Breathing Exercises

Just-Breathe-Steve-Jurvetson

Just Breathe by Steve Jurvetson via CC BY 2.0 (https://flic.kr/p/7V8jKv)

There are a number of different simple breathing exercises that can be done virtually anywhere.

Here is one from the website of Dr. Andrew Weil:

The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise

This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day; you cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little light-headed when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.

Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens — before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.

Watch a video of Dr. Weil demonstrating the 4-7-8 Breath.

Walking Meditation

Kinhin

Members of Kanzeon Zen Center during kinhin

In Buddhism, kinhin (Chinese: 経行; pinyin: jīngxíng; Japanese pronunciation: kinhin, kyōgyō; Korean: gyeonghyaeng; Vietnamese: kinh hành) is the walking meditation that is practiced between long periods of the sitting meditation known as zazen.[1] The practice is common in Chan Buddhism and its extra-Chinese forms, Zen, Korean Seon and Vietnamese Thiền.

Wikipedia

Walking meditation is one of the simplest meditation practices, and ideal for workplace breaks.

“Walking meditation is practicing meditation while walking. It can bring you joy and peace while you practice it. Take short steps in complete relaxation; go slowly with a smile on your lips, with your heart open to an experience of peace. You can feel truly at ease with yourself. Your steps can be those of the healthiest, most secure person on earth. All sorrows and worries can drop away while you are walking. To have peace of mind, to attain self-liberation, learn to walk in this way. It is not difficult. You can do it. Anyone can do it who has some degree of mindfulness and a true intention to be happy.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh, “A Guide to Walking Meditation

Meditation Freedom Podcast

The Meditation Freedom podcast contains “interesting interviews with long-time practitioners, teachers, authors, and other folks with longtime meditation and mindfulness practices.”

I highly recommend  “MF 26 – How to Easily Bring Meditation into Your Workplace!“. The author shows you “how you can incorporate ‘mini’-meditations and mindfulness at your place of work, without having to look weird, or needing a, ‘meditation room’.

Drew Hansen’s Guide

Forbes contributor Drew Hansen has given us a wealth of information in his article “A Guide To Mindfulness At Work“. Hansen has brought together ideas and resources from many different sources, and the content includes several useful links.

Introducing mindfulness into your workplace can be a simple, gradual process.

The benefits to the individual, the workplace, and humanity are immeasurable!

This is part two of a two-part series, Mindfulness in the Workplace, by Carol Preibis of Ahh The Simple Life. You can read part one here. If you’re a regular reader of the CCC blog, you’ll recognize Carol as a contributor. Thanks, Carol!

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.


Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.

How To Improve Your Productivity With Mindfulness in the Workplace

Meditation Meditation by Moyan Brenn via CC BY 2.0

There has been rapid growth in workplace mindfulness programs, and there are some compelling reasons why this is a good thing!

“The enormous benefits of mindfulness at work are increasingly being recognized by employers as well as by employees. More mindfulness means more professional productivity and satisfaction, and less absenteeism, `presenteeism’ (where workers are physically present but unproductive), accidents, and workplace stress and the many psychological and physical problems that this causes. Mindfulness improves our work performance and enjoyment because it improves our decision-making ability, the quality of our working relationships, and our leadership.”
— Dr. Stephen McKenzie, author of Mindfulness at Work

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness2

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn,”mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

You do not need to meditate to become mindful. Meditation is a tool to lead people to post-meditative mindfulness. However, as you’ll see, much of the research focuses on meditation.

How Does Mindfulness Work?

neuroplasticity

Mindfulness actually works by changing our brains! That’s what’s behind the impressive benefits of mindfulness!

Richard Davidson is the founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A major aspect of the center’s research is neuroplasticity—the ability of the adult brain to change its structure or function in an enduring way. Specifically, 1) You can train your brain to change, 2) that change is measurable and 3) new ways of thinking can change it for the better.

If you’d like to learn more about neuroplasticity, see “What is Neuroplasticity?.

Benefits of Mindfulness in the Workplace

“The implications [of mindfulness in the workplace] are enormous. When you are mindful, you end up healthier, you end up happier. So, with an increase in mindfulness in the workplace, there is lower absenteeism, fewer healthcare costs and there is a reduction in accidents.”
— Ellen Langer, “The Huge Value Of Mindfulness At Work: An Interview With Ellen Langer

Health

Meditation has some substantial health benefits, including reducing blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even affecting cellular health. For a look at what it actually does to the body, see this Huffington Post infographic.

Emotional Resilience

Richard J. Davidson and Sara Begley co-authored The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them.

In her article “Rewiring Your Emotions“, Sara Begley discusses the idea of harnessing neuroplasticity to change how you respond emotionally to the ups and downs of life. She writes:

“I don’t know about you, but if I’m feeling miserable and someone tells me to just cheer up on the spot, I want to slug them.

Fortunately, the brain’s emotional circuits are actually connected to its thinking circuits, which are much more accessible to our conscious volition. That has been one of Davidson’s most important discoveries: the “cognitive brain” is also the “emotional brain.” As a result, activity in certain cognitive regions sends signals to the emotion-generating regions. So while you can’t just order yourself to have a particular feeling, you can sort of sneak up on your emotions via your thoughts.”

Begley continues with this example: “If the amygdalae is generating negative emotions, the left PFC sends inhibitory signals to the amygdalae, basically telling them to quiet down. As a result, the negative feelings generated by the amygdalae peter out, and you’re not mired in unhappiness or resentment.”

So emotional resilience depends on high activity in the PFC and a strong connection between it and the amygdalae. Begley prescribes mindfulness meditation as one way to strengthen the circuitry that supports emotional resilience.

Davidson_BodyMind

Happiness

Daniel Goleman, in his article “Want a Happier Brain? Try Mindfulness, presents solid evidence to back up that title.

Goleman’s discussion begins with some research done by neuroscientist Richard Davidson, whose work focuses on the emotional dynamics of the brain. Davidson discovered a correlation between left-to-right brain activity and emotional states:

“When we’re in a down mood — irritable, anxious and grouchy — our brain has high activity in the right prefrontal area, just behind the forehead. But when we’re in an upbeat mood — energized, enthusiastic, optimistic — there’s lots of activity on the left side of the prefrontal area.

Each of us has a typical ratio of left-to-right activity when we’re just at rest. And this ratio predicts fairly well our typical, day-to-day mood range.

There’s a bell curve for this ratio, like the one for IQ: most of us are in the middle, with some good days and some bad days. Those who are tipped to the far right are likely to have clinical levels of depression or anxiety. And those whose setpoint tips far to the left are able to bounce back quickly from upsets.”

Goleman goes on to describe a study led by Richard Davidson and mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn. This study concluded with good news — we can nudge our setpoint to the left!

“Jonny [Kabat-Zinn] taught mindfulness to a group of the biotech workers and had them practice about half an hour a day for eight weeks. Richie [Davidson] measured their brains before and after. The result: at first their emotional setpoint was tilted toward the right — they were, after all, on a hectic, 24/7 schedule. But after eight weeks, the mindfulness group on average showed a greater tilt toward the left.

What’s more, they spontaneously said that now they were in touch again with what they loved about their jobs, with why they had gotten into the field in the first place.”

Thus, the ability to “nudge our setpoint to the left” can make us happier with our work.

Focus

Meditation can be “an antidote for workplace ADD.” One of the biggest problems in the workplace today is what some have called “continuous partial attention.” Attention deficit can harm people’s ability to interact competently, impeding understanding and rapport. Lack of attention also negatively impacts individual job performance. A person’s ability to do his job is directly related to how well he can concentrate and focus.

Mindfulness meditation techniques can overcome workplace ADD by training our minds to focus on what matters in the moment and to resist distractions.

Decision Making

One aspect of good decision-making is the ability to avoid “sunk-cost bias”—our tendency to continue down a path because we’re already so far along. For example, you realize that your job is not right for you. But you don’t look for another job or go back to school, because your current position has consumed so much of your time and effort. In her Greater Good article, Hooria Jazaier, explains research conducted by Andrew Hafenbrack and colleagues. The research abstract states, “In the research reported here, we investigated the debiasing effect of mindfulness meditation on the sunk-cost bias. We conducted four studies (one correlational and three experimental); the results suggest that increased mindfulness reduces the tendency to allow unrecoverable prior costs to influence current decisions.”

In fact, “Close analysis of the latest mindfulness research, with Jochen Reb, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Singapore Management University, for the upcoming book Mindfulness in Organisations, suggests that mindfulness techniques can have a positive effect on all our widely recognised stages of the decision-making process.” In her article, “How Mindfulness Improves Decision-Making“, Natalia Karelaia lists the four stages of the decision-making process as:

  1. Framing the decision
  2. Gathering information
  3. Coming to a conclusion
  4. Learning from feedback

For each of these four stages, Karelaia explains how mindfulness can have a positive effect on that stage.

Leadership

Mindfulness is the essence of effective leadership.

The essence of effective leadership is mindfulness, which is also the essence of charisma. When you are mindful, you are present. When you are present, people notice it. When people experience you as mindful, they then see you as authentic and trustworthy.
— Ellen Langer, “The Huge Value Of Mindfulness At Work: An Interview With Ellen Langer

When we are mindful, we are fully connected to ourselves and to other people, and this connection allows us to lead ourselves and others from and to shared certainty, rather than individual confusion.

“Being mindful more of the time and mindless less of the time helps us be great leaders because it helps unite [us] in common goals and ways of achieving them, and frees us of our separate ideas about what needs to be done and how. When we experience mindful connectedness with the people we work with, we will be great leaders, whether we’re leading a sporting team or a hamburger shop or a multinational corporation. We are not great leaders regardless of the people we lead, we are great leaders because of them.
— Dr. Stephen McKenzie, author of Mindfulness at Work

Creativity and Caring

Mindfulness practice has been shown to draw out creativity and caring. In an interesting piece, “It’s Not McMindfulness,” Barry Boyce says, “[mindfulness practice] naturally leads to inquisitiveness about our own minds and examination of how we’re connected to other people, of the causes and effects of our actions. … Leaders touched by mindfulness may find innovations to solve real problems and help make a better life.”

The Greater Good

What matters in the workplace is what matters in our lives—using every moment to learn from experience so that we grow in insight, wisdom, and compassion.
Mirabai Bush, “Mindfulness at Work: An Interview with Mirabai Bush

I’ve saved the best for last! Expanding on the “caring” benefit, let’s talk about “the greater good.”

In a superb interview on mindful.org, Elisha Goldstein talks to Mirabai Bush about how mindfulness can make our work life more meaningful. Goldstein introduces Bush as “the author of Working with Mindfulness (MP3), a key contributor to Google’s Search Inside Yourself Program, Cofounder of The Center for Contemplative Mind and Society and so much more.”

The interview begins with a discussion of “right livelihood.” Here’s an excerpt:

Elisha: When it comes to the workplace, you have found a fundamental flaw in our minds when we think of work, like “Love is for home and discipline is for work.” One of the foundations to bringing mindfulness into the workplace is through an approach called Right Livelihood. Can you tell us more about that and the benefits?

Mirabai: I first heard the words “right livelihood” while learning to meditate in a Buddhist monastery. Meditation teacher S.N. Goenka said, “If the intention is to play a useful role in society in order to support oneself and to help others, then the work one does is right livelihood.” Other teachers expanded on that: Do work that is ethical and helpful to your personal development. Do no harm though your work. Cause no suffering to yourself or others. Use work to nourish understanding and compassion. Remember that all life is interconnected. Be honest, be mindful of what you are doing.

Other topics discussed are:

  • Mindful Listening: “a way of hearing in which we are fully present with what is happening in the moment without trying to control it or judge it.”
  • Walking meditation: “the practice of paying close attention to the ordinary action of walking, a helpful practice for people at work, who usually walk at least sometimes during the day.”
  • A compassion practice known as “Just like me” (“Just like me, this person has known physical pain. Just like me, this person has done things she regrets. Just like me, this person wants to be happy….” and so on)

I encourage you to read the full interview.

Are you ready to try minfdfulness at your workplace?

Watch for the companion article “Introducing Mindfulness into the Workplace” on Friday! 

This is part one of a two-part series, Mindfulness in the Workplace, by Carol Preibis of Ahh The Simple Life. Don’t miss part two on Friday! If you’re a regular reader of the CCC blog, you’ll recognize Carol as a contributor. Thanks, Carol!

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.


Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.

50 Things I’m Grateful For… Summer 2015 Edition

The author enjoying small talk at a conference.

It’s time, once again, for our annual tradition on the CCC blog. Each year, I list 50 unique “things” that I’m currently grateful for. While I’m grateful every day, it’s helpful to write down a list every now and then. I encourage you to try it! Write your own blog post or share your list in the comments below.

Here we go, 2015 edition:

1) Biting into fresh watermelon
2) A steaming hot latte, even on a hot, summer day
3) Emoji — a universal language that has graduated to the business world
4) My quirks & imperfections
5) Coloring
6) That Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood concert not that long ago…

7) Christmas
8) A good trail to run
9) Zip-lining and high ropes courses
10) Burning candles and a roaring fire in the fireplace
11) Getting lost in a good book
12) The dark
13) The beauty of nature

Just another day in paradise... 🌅 Nature in the city.

A post shared by Jaime Shine (@jaimeshine) on

14) Dirt track racing
15) Scheduling my platelets donations through an app
16) Learning something new
17) Family (blood or not)
18) Art & design
19) Bruce, my first food sculpture (and event planning)

20) Keeping score at a ballgame
21) My brother, sister-in-law & soon-to-arrive Baby Shine!
22) The power of knowledge
23) Mental math
24) Andy Warhol
25) Catching a movie on the big screen
26) Small businesses (and the people who start them!)
27) My wanderlust spirit

28) Hope & second chances
29) God, and his (or her?) glory
30) Music, especially live
31) Clients who pay on time
32) My ever-running mind, even when I want an off switch
33) Whiteboards

34) Adventures
35) Golden Flashes
36) The thrill of crossing the finish line
37) Flexibility
38) Fellow bloggers (Ahh The Simple Life, Lance Wyllie & Sage Doyle to name a few)
39) CCC’s 3rd anniversary

40) Cheez-It Crunch’d (my new favorite snack)
41) Growing up in the 80s
42) My parents
43) Laughing out loud
44) Strong women

45) JAWS
46) Typewriters
47) Mad Men (& women)
48) Wedding soup
49) Generation X
50) Chucks

There’s my list on a beautiful Friday afternoon. We’d love to hear what you’re grateful for!

Usually barefoot, always grateful,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on being grateful, our lists or otherwise):
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Add The Power of Print to Your Marketing Mix

brain power by Allan Ajifo via CC BY 2.0 // text added by author

By 2016, the printing industry is expected to hit $845 billion.^ And yes, it’s growing. Before you go all digital in your marketing efforts, take a step back and consider the power of print.

Beyond the sheer size of the industry and options available, creative uses of print in your marketing campaigns can help you break through the information overload of today’s digital world.

Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper illustrates this point. In a Temple University study conducted for the U.S. Post Office, researchers found:

  • Paper ads engaged viewers for more time
  • A week later, subjects showed greater emotional response and memory for physical media ads
  • Physical media caused more activity in the ‘purchase intent’ area of the brain

We’re not telling you to ditch digital. In fact, print is even more effective when combined with your digital efforts. Send a direct mail piece with a personalized URL (PURL) to your recipients, so they can go online and respond or buy quickly and conveniently. Utilize a QR code and text short code on a handout at an event, so attendees can request an electronic version, answer survey questions or enter to win a contest on their phone while they’re still in the room.

The Temple University study highlighted a key takeaway. Effective print ads will drive digital purchases. So even if the C-Suite prefers flipping through a physical catalog, they’ll probably place an order online. Make sure that you devote enough time to your website design and checkout process. You don’t want a disastrous digital experience to interrupt the steady stream of leads — and sales — that print will bring to your door.

The Power of Print in Your Marketing Efforts

Do you utilize print in your marketing efforts?

Do you see your brand increasing, decreasing or holding steady in its print usage in the short-term?

How can you integrate the power of print with your digital marketing efforts?

Share a powerful print example that moved you or someone else to make a purchase.

Sources: ^Pira International via adampage1976

Yes, I have physical business cards. 😉

Jaime

Let’s chat (on print, marketing or otherwise): 
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Does Your Brand Speak Emoji? 😎 💬 💻

Emoji. Those cute little characters that you add to your texts and tweets are all grown up — or at least getting there. In fact, the “picture letters” have moved into the business world.

Take the above example: Chevy used emoji to launch its 2016 Cruze, and the popular auto manufacturer isn’t alone. Brands continue to get into the emoji game, tapping into the characters’ popularity and universal appeal.

With today, July 17th, being World Emoji Day, brands across the globe, large and small, are getting into the act.

Brands utilizing emoji took a big step forward when Instagram announced that you can use emoji in your hashtags. This is a great move, expanding brands’ reach and allowing them to connect with people across time zones and languages. Considering that we live in a global world today, that’s good business.

As more people and companies use emoji, the demand for a wider variety of characters grows. According to Yahoo News, 38 new emoji are set to debut in 2016. We’re excited to see new business characters, such as a handshake and clinking glasses. The latter seems so much more appropriate to celebrate a business deal than clinking beer mugs.

Our goal in the short-term is to work on incorporating more emoji into our social media, including hashtags on Instagram. We recommend that you do the same. Just remember to use appropriate emoji for what you’re trying to convey and don’t go crazy. Even these cute little characters can make your audience want to face palm, and that character isn’t available until next year.

Emoji Talk

Are you planning on incorporating emoji into your brand’s social strategy?

CCC would love to see an emoji representing a brand. What would you suggest?

What brand does a great job of utilizing emoji?

p.s. Did you know that you can use emoji on Facebook via desktop too?

Majoring in emoji,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on emoji, branding or otherwise): 
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Living a Good Life: On the Road to Authentic Happiness

“The more I learn about positive psychology, the more I am convinced of its tremendous potential. Potential to transform individuals and societies. Potential to steer humanity into a new era, an era that pays homage to this statement: Every human being, whether living now or in a future generation, should be afforded the opportunity to live a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life.

Living a Good Life by Carol Ann Preibis

Are you living a good life? Carol Preibis’ new eGuide, Living a Good Life, is packed full of tips, ideas and inspiration on the subject. Divided into three parts, the eGuide explores what it means to live a good life (backed by science), showcases inspirational role models in this area and discusses the positivity project.

Loyal readers of the CCC blog will recognize the author’s name due to her contributions to this space. Preibis’ Kindness in the Workplace series: It Just Makes (Dollars &) Cents and A Guide for Your Organization, shows that kindness is important in the workplace because it directly affects your bottom line, and she brings the research to back up her claims.

low employee engagement is a crisis for businesses

Does your company engage its employees?
Photo credit: Kevin Kruse

Preibis does the same in her new eGuide.

Living a Good Life

In the first section, Preibis explores scientifically proven ways to achieve authentic happiness, beginning with the five elements of what free people choose to do in their lives and ending with the search for meaning to make sense of our existence.

“Simplicity is simultaneously a personal choice, a community choice, a national choice, and a species choice.”                                                                                                 –Duane Elgin, author

The Perfect Storm by Carol Preibis

“What is this place? It’s a crossroads, where we must choose between two paths.” -The Perfect Storm by Carol Preibis

If you’d like examples of those living a good life and achieving authentic happiness, you’ll be happy to move on to section two.


Role Models and Teachers

Who are the true superstars in our world? Preibis showcases 10 examples, from personal connections to Nobel Peace Prize winners and celebrities, who are doing extraordinary things and inspiring others to live a good life. Then she moves on to two iconic figures, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope Francis, who have worked to make their dream of justice and equality for all real — 50 years apart.

“Four times in his I Have A Dream speech Dr. King proclaimed, “Now is the time.” In an exhortation 50 years later, Pope Francis asked, “So what are we waiting for?””  -Carol Preibis, Living a Good Life


The Positivity Project

In the third section of the eGuide, Preibis explores positivity and how it can impact our health just as much as diet and exercise. Shared positive emotion and social connections are major driving forces in our lives.

“Positive emotions are good for our health. Shared positive emotions — positive emotions people feel in connection with others — seem to be a real driving force behind health benefits.”                                                                                                    -Carol Preibis, Living a Good Life

Seeds of Light

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”
                                                 -Anne Lamott

The research, exercises and the author’s own contributions in this section will enable you to take advantage of the powers of positivity to improve your health and overall life. Discover how to build your own positivity portfolio, meditate on loving-kindness and explore what gives your life meaning.

We invite you to read (and share) the introductory version of Living a Good Life, which includes the table of contents and first chapter. If you find it as worthwhile as we did, you’ll want to purchase the entire eGuide, available in PDF or EPUB, for only $4.99. It’s a small price to pay to discover how to live a meaningful, happy and fulfilling — aka good — life.

What does living a good life mean to you?

What gives you authentic happiness?

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.

 

Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.

 

 

I was honored (and surprised) to have the CCC blog included in the Resources section of the eGuide. As such, Carol did send me a complimentary copy of the guide as a way to say thank you. Rest assured, that’s not why I chose to review the guide or promote it. That decision was based solely on my opinion of her guide and the value it will bring to readers. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you, Carol! –Jaime

On the road to authentic happiness,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on living a good life, blogging or otherwise): 
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Selfies: Awesome Advertising or Bad for Business?

Selfies tend to draw a reaction one way or the other. Some people love them while others hate them. But here’s the real question: are they awesome advertising for your brand or bad for business?

Selfies: Awesome Advertising or Bad for Business?

It depends on how you use them. For example, the above image is a selfie I took after a spring run two years ago. (Yes, I said spring, which includes snow in Northeastern Ohio.) I’ve used it a few times already for different purposes in addition to this post.

Why do I use selfies? As a small business owner, it benefits me to let customers and prospects see the face behind CCC. It allows people to put a face with a name and helps to build trust, essential for small businesses to survive and grow. When I started this journey over three years ago, my personal brand carried a lot more weight than my company’s brand because CCC was new. Utilizing selfies (and pictures of myself in general) helped me establish and promote my new company brand.

Related reading: 7 different types of selfies

Having said that, there’s a time and a place for everything. I only use selfies where it makes sense, either connecting something in the photo to my business or using the picture as an example. When I kicked this post idea around in my head, it made sense to me to use a selfie and this image immediately came to mind due to its color and layout. I’m not a huge fan of having my picture taken, so it’s taken me some time to get used to being more visible.

Related reading: 8 of the Absolute Worst Times to Take a Selfie

In addition to tapping into your personal brand and building trust with target audiences, being visible as a small business owner can also help your social media efforts. As we’ve covered before, photos with faces receive 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram.^ Showing faces in your photos brings in the human emotion element, which increases engagement on any network. Snap a selfie with happy customers at your next event or meeting to show what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’ at your business.

In summary, selfies can be awesome advertising for your brand AND bad for business, depending on how you use them. Think before you post a selfie to a business (or semi-business) account. Is it appropriate to post to this account? Will your target audiences find this image insightful? If so, go ahead and showcase your self(ie), letting customers and prospects alike see the face behind the business.

Selfie Talk

What are your thoughts on selfies?

Tell us about a selfie you saw or posted that made sense.

Did it surprise you when selfie was the word of the year for 2013?

Source: ^Georgia Institute of Technology & Yahoo Labs

Hanging out behind the keyboard,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on selfies, small business or otherwise): 
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How To Earn Your ’15 Minutes’ In Business With Style & Grace

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

-Andy Warhol (or not)

People often ask me what the hardest part of leaving the corporate world and starting my own business was. It was learning to promote myself, which may come as a surprise. Granted, I should have been doing that in the corporate world, but that’s always been an area of weakness for me.

Posing for a picture at a client conference

I’d rather run the show from behind the scenes, but I’ve had to learn to be more visible while running my business.

In the past, the old adage was to keep your head down and work hard. Today, that will get you nowhere. You need to work hard and let others know what you’re doing, in a positive way. How can you do that?

4 Ways To Earn Your ’15 Minutes’ In Business With Style & Grace 

  • Use social media to build your brand. Take advantage of social platforms’ tools, such as adding projects on LinkedIn and showcasing happy customers and successful projects on Facebook (milestones!) and Instagram. (Use a platform that your customers are on so you can tag them.) Prospects want to see and hear about work that you’ve done and happy customers are your best brand ambassadors.

Photos with faces get 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram.^

  • Give credit where credit is due. If you collaborate on a project, give credit to others who contributed. When adding projects on LinkedIn, you can tag multiple people as contributors. Colleagues, customers and business partners will appreciate the recognition.
  • Be grateful. Remember to thank and recognize people who help you along the way. Whether someone acted as a sounding board, contributed to your business plan or came through in the clutch during a last minute project, let them know how much they are appreciated. Small gestures and kind words can go a long way.

Related reading: Stop Saying Thank You on Social Media & Say Something Meaningful!

  • Let others tell your story. When you follow the first three suggestions, people will be happy to spread the word about your work. Most human beings enjoy helping others, especially when they view others as deserving. Make sure you’re deserving and continue the cycle by thanking those who take the time to promote your brand. You never know when a casual mention will turn into your big break.

Related reading: How to Self-Promote Without Being a Jerk (on my reading list!)

On the topic of humble self-promotion, I’m excited that the CCC portfolio page is finally live! Feel free to browse some of our work, and let us know if you would like to discuss a project. (Perhaps how to build your brand on social media?) 🙂

Source:
^Georgia Institute of Technology & Yahoo Labs

Your reluctant self-promoter (and introverted business owner),
Jaime

Let’s chat (on self-promotion, building a brand or otherwise): 
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