Eat, Pray, Love — In Business Too

As I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert earlier today, two things dawned on me. One, I’m enjoying this book. Two, the concepts discussed apply to business as well as life (and no, not only for women).

Bring pleasure to your work space!

I bring pleasure to my work space with a couple of my favorite things: espresso and a dragon tree.

In Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert travels the world in order to examine three different aspects of her life — pleasure (in Italy), devotion (in India) and balance (in Bali). While we all may not be able to globe trot to find our way in life (or business), it is important that we understand how to achieve symmetry in these three key areas.

Pleasure

I’m not going to throw a cheap motivational poster at you, but you should enjoy what you do, at least most of the time. We all have bad days, even world-class athletes, kings and queens. I’ve never bought the “love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” mantra, but it is far more pleasant to enjoy what you do. So whatever you’re in business for, I hope you enjoy it. If not, your true talents may lie elsewhere.

Devotion

You need to be devoted to something (or multiple somethings), so one of these might as well be your business. I’m not recommending that anyone be a workaholic, because that usually doesn’t work out in the long run. But there will be plenty of times that you’re up pre-dawn to travel to see a client or burning the midnight oil finishing up a project on deadline. You may want to be doing anything else during these times (such as sleeping), but devotion to your clients, to your craft and to your business will yield results.

Balance

There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance today. Some people believe it’s an ever-evolving work in progress, while others stick to a tight schedule. However you achieve balance, it’s important that you do. Focusing on only one area of your life for too long will leave you feeling out of sorts or unhappy. A vacation may not be on your horizon, but the smallest breaks can bring balance: sipping espresso on a patio, enjoying a night out with friends or taking a lie-in one morning.

While my goal is to one day enjoy gelato in Rome, you may have no interest in that dream.

What 3 places would you go on your own pleasure, devotion, balance journey?

Fellow Eat, Pray, Love readers, what’s your feedback of the book?

On my own journey,
Jaime

Join the conversation: 
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

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

Connect with CCC — and me — on social media:
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

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!
Facebook logo Google+ logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo YouTube logo

Survival Skills for the Real World

Welcome to the first post of 2014! I hope you all enjoyed ringing in the New Year.

Happy New Year from CCC!

During this time of year, people around the world resolve to learn new skills and achieve goals they set for themselves. So I thought it was interesting when I read an article in the November 2013 issue of Real Simple magazine that focused on skills you should have in order to navigate this crazy thing we call life.

Related reading: Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

Here are the five skills featured:

  • how to be alone
  • how to take a compliment
  • how to keep a conversation going
  • how to ask for feedback
  • how to remember names

Do you agree?

After reading this article, I realized that these skills were necessary in business as well as life. Whether you’re attending a networking event, dealing with co-workers or clients or working on an important solo project, these skills will keep you on top of your game.

Related reading: Boomers to Millennials: Your Generation Sets Your Communication Style

I would like to add two (or three, depending on your view) skills to this list: the ability to give and take constructive criticism and listen. It may sound strange, but I haven’t met a whole lot of people who dole out constructive criticism well. Criticism? Yes. It’s the constructive part that’s often missing. Listening also seems to be a lost art in our society today.

What do you think?

What other skill is necessary to navigate business or life?

Would you remove any skills from this list?

Chime in. Let’s get this 2014 party started!

Cheers,
Jaime

2013 or 2014, we’d still love to connect! 
Facebook logo Google+ logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo YouTube logo

Embrace the Suck (Because What’s the Alternative?)

Life sucks. Not to be a pessimist, but sometimes it seems that everything goes wrong. Sure, there’s always that saying that someone has it worse than you somewhere, but quite frankly, that isn’t always the most comforting thought in the world when you have your own problems.

a cat having a bad hair day

We all have bad hair days;
it’s how we handle them that counts.
Pic credit: Melissa West

Today, I decided to run some errands. I ended up going to three grocery stores (plus Target, Walgreen’s and the mall), buying a few things twice and taking much longer than expected. Then I came home to put a new battery in my alarm clock (which I went to two stores to find), and it didn’t work. The clock itself is dying, which should have been obvious because the battery is only a backup. You think I would have thought about this while holding the alarm clock last night while it was still plugged into the wall. (If anyone needs any CR2032 3 volt batteries…) Wednesday night, I took a nosedive on our beautiful sidewalks during a night run. Last week, I missed Trick-or-Treat. Seriously, I completely missed Halloween this year. (If anyone needs any candy…)

“Accept failure. Enjoy it, even. Embrace the suck, for the suck is part of the process.”  –A.J. Jacobs

So you know what I did? I threw the unneeded batteries in my drawer and went for a 6-mile trail run followed by 100 jumping jacks, 60 squats, a 60-second plank and 30-second high plank (with stretching pre-and post-run). Then I came home, made a green smoothie, had some trail bologna (a specialty in my world), updated the CCC Facebook page and sat down to write this blog post.

kicking toward the finish line

Running (and writing) makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your medicine when things go wrong?

Life sucks. You’re going to fail, fall down and get beat. You have to deal with it and get up — again and again. Sometimes it’s really hard to do that when it seems like the odds are stacked against you. But I believe that we are all dealt a winning deck, eventually. If you keep working and working, things will work out. They may not be what you had planned, but they will work out. (For a real-life example, listen to Steve Jobs’s inspirational commencement address at Stanford in 2005 below.)

Honestly, this week has just been a microcosm of the past year and a half (and I left a lot out for brevity’s sake). I knew it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done to start my own business, be my own boss and and build my client base. It’s been even harder than I expected (which somehow I expected, if that makes sense).

A 6-month battle with insurance companies over a mistake in my medical records while setting up personal insurance. People not following through on their word time and time again. Anticipated projects (and the paychecks) never materializing. Working for free. Being asked repeatedly to work for free (subject of an upcoming post). Coming from a background and an area where nobody understands what I’m doing (or why). We all have things that beat us up every day. 

Are you feeling shitty? Down in the dumps? Do what makes you happy — whatever that may be. Don’t worry about what people think of you. If you’re a runner, run. If you’re a shopper, shop. If you’re a film connoisseur, catch a flick. If you’re a talker, call a friend. How long? Until the smile’s back on your face.

Cheer up. Yes, life sucks, but learn to embrace it. The suck is just one small part of this beautiful thing we call living.

What do you do when you need to cheer up?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

p.s. If you need to vent and a friend’s not available, feel free to vent below or hit me up on a social network. Seriously, I’m listening.

p.s.s. If you’re having a bad day and can’t bring yourself to comment, just throw me a like so I know you’re there. 🙂

Embracing the suck,
Jaime

Embracing the suck or riding a wave, connect with me… 
Facebook logo  Google+ branding  Twitter bird icon  Instagram  Pinterest logo  YouTube  LinkedIn_Logo60px

To Blog, or Not To Blog: That Is the Question

Original photo credit: "Portrait of Duranty Blogging, after Degas," Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Original photo credit: “Portrait of Duranty Blogging, after Degas,” Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com (CCL)

Why do you blog?

That’s assuming you do blog, which millions of people do across the world, on millions of different topics for millions of different reasons for audiences of one to (yes, you guessed it) millions.

Some blog for business while others type their hearts away purely for pleasure, a way to scratch that itch deep inside or satisfy a longing need. Some blog to motivate themselves to lose weight or graduate from school while others share a deep knowledge of a particular topic while still others hope to be discovered.

–> Here’s my question: is it worth it? 

Blogging takes time. No matter how organized you are or how many tips you read about becoming a more efficient blogger, it just takes time. (Although you may want to check out this handy post from Jeff Bullas entitled How to Streamline Your WordPress Blogging Workflow to save some of that precious time.)

Is all of the time you spend on your blog worth it? I guess that depends on your objectives.

Related Reading: Do You Mow Your Blog?

This blog grew out of starting my company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, just over a year and a half ago. It functions as a place where I can share marketing, writing and social media (the main services CCC offers) tips and resources as well as reflect on my personal experience of being an entrepreneur, small business owner and on life in general. Yes, it has a varied overall direction, which works for me (and I hope for you).

As a new business, I really wanted this blog to generate exposure for the services I offer while connecting me with people who have shared interests. Sure, I would love to generate some business as well, but that wasn’t the original point and still isn’t today. I’m not a big fan of hard selling via blogs or other social media channels, so I hope that I haven’t come across as trying to sell you anything.

My goal every time I click on New Post is to add a little value to your day.

Whether it be insight into a business decision, a social media tip, marketing ideas or how to write a little more effectively, I want you to walk away from the CCC blog with just a little more knowledge and a smile on your face. I hope I do that, and if you have any ideas on how I can do that more effectively, please let me know. Seriously, I would love to hear from you.

So now we’ve come full circle… why do you blog?

For business? For pleasure? To share your knowledge with others? To keep yourself on track?

Leave your answers in the comments below, and feel free to leave your blog URL as well.

To blog, or not to blog: that is the question. Do you?

Related Reading: Attention bloggers! We want you.

Blogging away,
Jaime

p.s. Thank you to each and every follower of the CCC blog. I truly appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to read my musings, and I really do hope that you find them valuable in some way, shape or form. Cheers!

As always, please reach out to me and join the conversation: 
Facebook logo  Google+ branding  Twitter bird icon  Instagram  Pinterest logo  YouTube  LinkedIn_Logo60px