4 Ways Running Can Help You Run A Business

Are you a runner or is shopping your cardio?¬†ūüėČ

The author finishing a 5k

I started running later in life (i.e. post-school), and I’m so glad I did. Besides being excellent exercise, it’s fun to be a part of such a wonderful community. The running community embraces runners of all capabilities and provides support in the form of running partners, groups and tips from more experienced runners.

A Supportive Community 

A supportive community is one way that running translates to running a business. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’re probably working alone. Tapping into the entrepreneurial community can help you grow and manage your business. Whether you frequent a co-working space or join an online community, fellow small business owners can give you advice, help you brainstorm ideas and offer support from someone who understands what you’re experiencing.

Related: Is collaboration the new competition?

Long-Term Plan

Runners tend to have a long-term plan, incorporating when they’re competing in races, rest days and specific things they’re working on (i.e. a stronger kick, running technique). Small business owners need to plan as well, so they can run their business effectively and look for growth opportunities. Looking at your bigger picture helps when making decisions about what opportunities to pursue and which areas to focus on at specific times. Of course the best plans should always be adjustable.

Rest Days / Down Time

As noted above, part of a runner’s long-term plan is incorporating rest days. They’re vital to performing well, in running and business. Small business owners tend to wear a lot of hats, which can make it difficult to unplug. It’s important to your long-term outlook (and health) that you take time for yourself so you can be at your best when focusing on your business. Don’t burn yourself out and short circuit your business before you’re able to achieve your dreams. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Related: How to Take a Break from Technology Without Moving to the Woods

Aha Moments 

When I run, I listen to my tunes and try to empty my mind (or think of inspirational movie scenes if I need an extra boost to reach the top of the hill). I’m not thinking about customers, business issues or other important topics. That’s probably why I come up with some of my best ideas or feel confident making a decision I’ve been thinking about after a run. The combination of physical activity, clearing my mind and the euphoria of finishing my run seems to spark creativity and clarify my decision-making process. The next time you’re struggling with a business decision or client project, go for a run. It may spark an ‘aha moment!’

Running translates well to running a business on several fronts. Runners can draw inspiration and insight from their hobby while they tackle the tough task of running a business. Not a runner? It’s never too late to lace ’em up and hit the pavement or trails. Couch to 5k can help you get started, or find a running community to join. You’ll find the same support, camaraderie and inspiration as you find in your entrepreneurial or small business community.

Happy running (a business)!

Just a (small biz owner &) runner from Akron,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business life, running, your marketing needs or otherwise):

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Yes, Small Business Owners, There is a Holiday Season

It’s our favorite time of year at CCC. The holidays bring so much joy and cheer — fun festivities, beautiful decorations and spending time with family and friends. How do you take part while still running your business?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... Are you in the holiday spirit?

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.”

Choose your favorite parts

You can’t do everything, so you have to choose. Which parts of the holidays do you enjoy most? Festive activities? Attend local shows and community events. Decorating in style? Spend time making your home shine. Buying the perfect gifts for loved ones? Dedicate your time to shopping for those you hold dear. Whatever areas you choose, be present. Don’t be worrying about your business or what you’re not doing while enjoying your favorite parts of the holiday season.

For example, I decided not to decorate this year. I’m not a Scrooge; I wanted to focus on taking advantage of all of the fun activities this time of year — ice skating, craft/art shows, tree lightings, parades, etc. — and shopping/baking for others, which I love to do. There’s no wrong answer here. Just make a decision and run with it!

How to Guiltlessly Take Time Off to Enjoy the Best Holiday Season Ever

Be smart about running your business 

Yes, you need to continue to run your business during the holidays, but scale back when possible. Commit to specific projects or tasks¬†and focus¬†on completing them within specified time periods. Don’t try to double your growth or take on herculean¬†tasks — especially at this time of year. It’s OK to focus on outside interests and not obsess about your business once in awhile. You may even find that it will make you a better business owner, boss and person.

I’ve been busy this week finishing tasks and meeting deadlines in addition to handling a normal workload. However, I haven’t started new projects or worried about tackling to-dos¬†that can easily be moved to next week, so I can enjoy the wonders of the season.

Time to set limits: Business owners suffer tech overload

Set boundaries and let others know about them

Are you working limited hours throughout the season or on specific days? Let clients and prospective customers know up front, and work with them to plan accordingly. You may be surprised that others want to enjoy the season too and understand that you’re closing up shop to attend your kids’ concert or preserve your family’s tradition of a special day out together. Remember to update your Facebook page, website or other domains where you list hours of availability.

As a small business owner, you may feel the need to check in, which I understand. You can do that without spending the day glued to your phone or working away in another room while everyone else enjoys the festivities. Don’t spend this magical season watching everyone else reconnect, recharge and have a good time. You’ll enter the new year with a case of the holiday blues instead of relaxed, rested and ready to go.

How do you balance your business and life during the holiday season?
What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Enjoy the magic and wonder of the holiday season!

Happy Hanukkah * Merry Christmas * Happy Boxing Day * Happy Kwanzaa

CCC’s Head Elf,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about your holiday traditions, marketing needs or otherwise):
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Want Your Business to Flourish? Kill Your Sacred Cows

What’s holding your business back? Probably a sacred cow.

Death to all Sacred Cows: How successful businesses put the old rules out to pasture

Death to All Sacred Cows is a business book worth reading, no matter what business you’re in.

A what?!¬†You’ve heard them before — those magical sayings in the business world that savvy businessmen and women everywhere regard as sacred.

The customer is always right.¬† ‚ąö
Teams create the best solutions.¬† ‚ąö
Always trust your research. 
‚ąö

Here’s the problem with sacred cows: always and never are rarely a good idea in the business world, a place which is constantly moving, changing and adapting.

“Businesses that only look to the past to guide their futures can be doomed to failure. In a rapidly changing world, anything dated tends to be dangerous.”

We’re not saying to forget your traditions or roots; they shouldn’t be the sole decision makers within your walls. You need to make decisions based on the current situation by looking at all of your options. Making decisions based solely on past successes can cause a company to be afraid to take risks or try new things. Success breeds success, until it doesn’t.

“The point is, in order to prepare for the future you need to unchain yourself from the strictures of the past. Let the past help and inform you; just don‚Äôt let it hold you back.”

Here’s one of our favorite sacred cows: the customer is always right. Don’t get us wrong; customers are critical to the success of your business. You need people to buy¬†your products¬†and services.¬†We’re lucky to work with some great customers at CCC, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. (Neither are we.)

Unless your business operates in an industry we’re not aware of, your customers are human beings. Human beings are fallible (yep, all of us), so¬†customers are not always right. Of course, you want to provide the best customer service and experience in the world. You need to review each situation and understand when a customer is being unreasonable or is just plain wrong. (It happens, but if you work with great people, it doesn’t happen often. ūüôā )

“We‚Äôre just saying that slavishly kowtowing to the idea that the customer is the ultimate authority on how your business should operate is a surefire way to wind up with an inoperable business.”

In conclusion, use your brains. If you’re smart enough to run a business or be a successful businessman/businesswoman, trust your gut and decision-making skills. Don’t hide behind a sacred cow; it will kick¬†you in the face eventually. (And read Death to All Sacred Cows for sound business advice and pure entertainment.)

Your Feedback
What is your favorite sacred cow to kill?
Have you read Death to All Sacred Cows? What’s your feedback?
What other business books would you recommend?

Eat, Pray, Love — In Business Too
Blink: The Power of Snap Decisions & First Impressions
Winning as the Underdog: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

p.s. I’m not being paid to recommend this book. I just enjoyed it that much!
p.p.s. No real cows were harmed while writing this article (or the book, to my knowledge).

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about sacred cows, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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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‚Äô (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.”
‚ÄĒ 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‚ÄĒthe 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.”
‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôt know about you, but if I‚Äôm feeling miserable and someone tells me to just cheer up on the spot, I want to slug them.

Fortunately, the brain‚Äôs emotional circuits are actually connected to its thinking circuits, which are much more accessible to our conscious volition. That has been one of Davidson‚Äôs most important discoveries: the ‚Äúcognitive brain‚ÄĚ is also the ‚Äúemotional brain.‚ÄĚ As a result, activity in certain cognitive regions sends signals to the emotion-generating regions. So while you can‚Äôt 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‚Äôre 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.‚ÄĚ 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”‚ÄĒour 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‚Äôt 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.
‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôre 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.
‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôre 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‚ÄĒusing every moment to learn from experience so that we grow in insight, wisdom, and compassion.
‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄúLove is for home and discipline is for work.‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúright livelihood‚ÄĚ while learning to meditate in a Buddhist monastery. Meditation teacher S.N. Goenka said, ‚ÄúIf 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.‚ÄĚ 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” (‚ÄúJust 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‚Ķ.‚ÄĚ 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.

Restless in Akron

I’ve been kicking this post around for awhile, but like everything else lately, I’ve had trouble deciding on a direction. This isn’t typically a problem for me. I make decisions and move forward — always reviewing and learning — but not regretting or living in the past. What’s the point, anyway?

I'm contemplating life

Contemplating life… what’s my next move?

But 2014 has been an interesting year thus far. It got off to a rough start, and has had numerous ups and downs. While I’m in a good place, lately I’ve been so restless — like I’m in the wrong place. Have you ever felt this way?

Instead of abating, it’s actually getting stronger. I feel like I’m waiting on something to happen — although what that is, I don’t know. To fall asleep and wake up in a different life? To be abducted by (kind) aliens? (Kidding, on the last one anyway.)

I love the community I live in but have long yearned for a more tropical climate year round. My house has felt like home since the first time I laid eyes on it. If I could take it with me, I would. I’m not consciously worrying about anything in particular or fearing anything. I just feel restless.

It’s almost like I’m working on a project, and I’ve reached a natural stopping point. I’ve finished this part of my life and am ready to move on to what’s next, only I don’t know what that is yet.

Any suggestions?

Do I need a major life change? Or is this simply some kind of itch that I can scratch by jumping out of an airplane again or jumping into a shark cage (high on the bucket list!)?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, including any personal experience!

Restless in Akron,
Jaime

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33 Lessons in 33 Years

I recently came across a fun post, 32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life. The timing was perfect as I was pondering what to post about on my birthday (Yep, Pisces here.), and I had actually been toying with the idea of this type of post.

I hope you find these short lessons useful, and please feel free to chime in with your own at the end. So, here goes… lessons I’ve learned from 33 years of living:

1. You’re only as good as your word. Don’t break it. (Read: If You Say You’re Going To Do Something, Do It!)

2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

kicking toward the finish line

Running makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your favorite activity?

3. Own your decisions. You are responsible for you — not anyone else.

4. Pay it forward. Karma has a way of reciprocating. You’ll ¬†benefit more than those you help anyway. Trust me.

5. Make time for you. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary to recharge and be at your best.

6. Some “vices” are OK. If you really enjoy something, do it (unless it harms others).

7. Pay attention. You’ll learn so much by being observant, in business and in life.

8. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present. It’s the best show there is. If you’re constantly reliving things or worrying about future events, you’ll miss a lot of wonderful moments.

9. Learn to give — and receive — constructive criticism. (“This is terrible” or “you’re stupid” is not constructive.)

10. Listen, listen, listen. It will take you far in life.

11. Follow your gut. It’s your instinct for a reason.

12. Try new things — foods, adventures, travels. You never know what you’ll fall in love with. (Like ice skating, for me.)

ice skating

Snow, wind & ice. Lots of ice. Enjoying some time on the pond — the best part of winter.

13. Respect your values and beliefs. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s OK to walk away.¬†(Read: Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?)

14. An interview is a two-way conversation about an opportunity. Relax.

15. The devil IS in the details. Handle those and the rest will follow.

16. Do something special for yourself monthly, or more often if you can. Because you’re worth it. (Thanks, L’Oreal.)

17. Don’t project your bad day outward. Just because you’re in a bad mood, everyone else doesn’t have to be.

18. Social media’s great, but get social in real life too. (Read: Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL)

19. Embrace the mundane. It’s 80% of life. (Listen: This is Water, David Foster Wallace)

20. If you feel like getting dressed up to go to the store, go for it. Likewise, if you head out in workout gear, it’s no big deal. Life doesn’t hinge on what you’re wearing. (Granted, there are occasions where your dress is dictated by the occasion. Embrace it.)

21. Sometimes, you can buy happiness. Just don’t try it all the time.

22. Value those close to you. Don’t¬†take them for granted, because some day they won’t be there.

Color Run Akron 2013

My sister-in-law, brother & I after Color Run Akron.

23. Make the extra effort. It usually pays off — even if no one’s watching.

24. Have a strong handshake, a genuine smile and a killer pair of earrings. (Gentlemen, I hear cuff links produce the same effect.)

25. Laugh a lot. It’s the best medicine, and you don’t need a prescription.

Yours truly, enjoying the moment

Yours truly, enjoying the moment.

26. Don’t waste too much time worrying. It really doesn’t change things.

27. Think through major decisions but don’t be afraid to act. Indecision can be paralyzing and leave you watching from the sidelines.

28. Be impulsive every once in awhile. Do something crazy at least once in your life.

29. Celebrate birthdays. Age brings wisdom and life experience. Appreciate them.

30. Think — every single day. It never goes out of style.

31. Listen to your body. It’s amazing what it can tell you.

32. “Never being satisfied” makes a great motivational poster but leaves you feeling empty inside. Always wanting more can leave you broke and alone. Enjoy your achievements and appreciate what you have. Remember, perfection is unattainable. ¬†(Read: What’s your riddle?)

33. Be genuine in everything you do. It’s easier in the long run, and people will appreciate you for it. Eventually, you’ll even find people who like you for who you are.

“And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…” ¬†–Lester Burnham, American Beauty

stick em up!

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

I’ve never really grown up (vertically challenged here), but I have learned a lot. Like a good hat can make up for just about anything, even a really crappy day.

Share Your Lessons

What lesson(s) have you learned?

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? Do you disagree with any?

Maybe we can all learn to navigate this crazy thing we call life a little better.

Cheers,
Jaime

Life lesson: Connect with others!
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Blink: The Power of Snap Decisions & First Impressions

“On straightforward choices, deliberate analysis is best. When questions of analysis and personal choice start to get complicated — when we have to juggle many different variables — then our unconscious thought processes may be superior.” –Malcolm Gladwell

Do you agree? Or do you think the opposite is true?

This quote is pulled from¬†Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, a book that takes you deep into the unconscious and explores the power of thinking without thinking (i.e. thin-slicing, snap decisions and first impressions). It’s amazing how powerful (and correct) our snap judgments can be although it is easy for them to become flawed by a number of factors.¬†As Gladwell notes, “From experience, we gain a powerful gift, the ability to act instinctively, in the moment. But… it is easy to disrupt this gift.”

blink_malcolmgladwell

Discover example after example of people using thin-slicing to make impressive quick decisions in the face of pressure, and learn how we can practice these abilities to improve them, just like anything else.

What’s remarkable to me is the wide range of people, places and events represented in this book — inner city detectives, Civil War generals, marriage counselors, musicians who defy genre. I love psychology and learning about the powers of the mind, but even if you don’t, this book can help you in your life and career by helping you make better decisions.

At the end of this intriguing read, Gladwell leaves us with this final thought.

“This is the real lesson of Blink: It is not enough simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious. Once we know about how the mind works — and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgment — it is our¬†responsibility to act.”

Have you read this book? What did you think?

What other books would you highly recommend?

Blink cover courtesy of Gladwell.com

Your favorite bookworm,
Jaime

Don’t blink! Join the conversation…
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Behind The Scenes: Ahead of the Game

Most of my life I’ve been behind the scenes: backstage, behind the camera, off right, number two, backing someone up. Mostly by choice, sometimes by necessity.

See, it’s not that I wasn’t capable; sometimes, the person behind the scenes is really running the show. A linchpin, so to speak. This person wields power and shouldn’t be ignored.

A behind the scenes view...

A behind the scenes view can make the big picture crystal clear.

What’s my point? Know the situation you’re in; the players, who’s involved in the decision-making process. Titles can be meaningless, and seating arrangements misleading. That marketing coordinator in a cubicle? He runs the marketing department; his company recently moved to an open concept floor plan (no offices).

I’ve seen so many situations where someone never has a chance — to win the business, to land that dream job, to be invited to partner with an innovative organization — because he ignores the assistant that he arrogantly assumes is worthless. She’s not; she may be one of the most powerful people in the room.

While you should be nice to everyone in general, there’s also something else at stake.

In today’s society, that receptionist taking your phone call could have the president’s ear — and be an integral part of the decision-making process. The barista making your drink at Starbucks could be a power player in your industry someday (soon) — or the daughter of the Fortune 500 CEO you’ve been after.

Don’t judge someone by the position she’s in at the moment or for trying to show gratitude. That ‘young lady’ carrying coffee you came in the building with? She’s not an intern or assistant; she’s the CMO you’re interviewing with. I hope you didn’t miss that opportunity!

Speak out–

Have you ever misread a situation? Assumed someone wasn’t important when he was? Been misread yourself?

Chime in with your experiences so we can all grow together.

Cheers,
Jaime

Photo courtesy of Asian Development Bank on flickr

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Jumping Off A Cliff: My 1st Year As An Entrepreneur

A year ago today, I took a deep breath and jumped off a cliff. Figuratively speaking, anyway. I left my job in corporate America to start my own business.

A year ago today, I walked away from familiarity and security toward an unknown and exciting horizon. What a ride.

A year ago today, I walked away from familiarity and security toward an unknown and exciting horizon. What a ride.

I was terrified and excited, overwhelmed yet satisfied with my decision, completely burnt out but eagerly looking toward my future. In some ways, it’s been better than I expected. In other ways, I had no idea. Would I do it again 12 months later? In a heartbeat.

Venturing out on my own has taught -- and continues to teach -- me to focus on what's important.

Venturing out on my own has taught me — and continues to teach me — to focus on what’s important.

I’ve grown so much as a person and as a business owner even though there’s still so much to learn. I’ve experienced the highest of highs (tremendous opportunities) only to dip into the lowest of lows (major health insurance issues) days later. I love roller coasters, but this has been the craziest ride of my life.

While I continue to learn new things about myself, some things have become even more clear. I love to help people. Whether it’s donating platelets, helping a friend or writing copy for marketing collateral, it makes me smile. It pulls me out of bed in the morning (preferably not too early though) and gets me amped about the day.

My pride and joy, hopes and dreams. I'd love to work with you!

My pride and joy, hopes and dreams. I’d love to work with you!

That’s how it all started. Clearly Conveyed Communications. The name, the focus, the mission. Because my goal is to help others communicate. It sounds simple enough but is surprisingly difficult to do. We live in a 24/7¬†hyper-competitive¬†world, so it’s tough to stand out.

Whether it’s writing copy that sells, creating marketing that brings opportunities, managing social media that sizzles or cultivating your personal brand to help you stand out and move up, I love it.

I have so much respect for others who have made this jump — successful or not. I’ve learned so much about myself and experienced so many situations because I stepped outside of my comfort zone; I’ll never regret it. No matter what happens going forward, I made the right move.

trail running

I love the outdoors. All of it, even the mud.

I’ve rediscovered who I am. I’ve reconnected with nature. I run on the local metro park’s trails and walk errands and hike to see the beauty. I’m eating cleaner and healthier than I ever have. I cut cable and read even more (certified bookworm here) and finally stopped to smell the roses (or espresso beans, whatever your pleasure).

My point is: love what you’re doing. Enjoy your life and do everything in your power to do what you love and love what you do.

I’m not a motivational speaker (a little too sarcastic) and am certainly not stepping on a soapbox anytime soon. I’m here because I’ve failed and failed and failed again. But I kept pursuing my dreams and I still am today. I’m not there yet but I’m on a much better path than I was 365 days ago.

Oh, and I’d love to work with you. Really, I would. Because I love what I do.

Photos via my Instagram account

Have faith in yourself,
Jaime

p.s.¬†If you’re new to the¬†CCC website, come back soon and visit our¬†Facebook page¬†too. ¬†We’re going to be running a few contests to celebrate our first year of¬†existence.

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“What’s the most amazing way to do it?”

Great thought from Sir Richard Branson…

What's the most amazing way to do it?

How do you make what you do amazing?¬† As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Photo courtesy of Richard Branson’s blog

Enjoy the weekend!
Jaime

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