50 Things I’m Grateful For, Summer 2018 Edition

The tradition continues. Each year since 2012 (the year I started CCC), I’ve published a list of 50 things I’m grateful for. This isn’t a 5-minute exercise. I create the list over the course of weeks or even months. Oftentimes, I’ll jot down an activity I’m doing or a memory triggered by a conversation or passage in a book. What are you grateful for?

Celebrating CCC's 6th anniversary in the office

My business, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turned 6 in May. That’s something to be grateful for!

 

50 Things I’m Grateful For, Summer 2018 Edition

  • Coffee shop patios on overcast, stressful days
  • My smartphone — and the mobility it provides
  • Rare moments that I can put my phone away
  • Ocean waves crashing
  • Playing with my nephew
  • Meeting fellow KSU alumni
  • Handwritten cards, letters and notes
  • Instagram Stories
  • My niece, who’s growing into another strong Shine woman
  • Stephen King

  • Lifelong friends
  • Fireworks on a summer night
  • Listening to the orchestra
  • Firetrucks in parades
  • Brands who own their voice
  • 80’s movies
  • Classic rock
  • Finishing a workout and feeling strong
  • Linda by Chuck Close
  • Rollerskating (and Roller Derby)

  • Capturing a moment — in picture or prose
  • Creating content
  • Solving problems
  • Reliable technology
  • The power of putting pen to paper
  • Traveling for pleasure
  • Experiencing different cultures
  • Taking a journey in a book
  • Donating plasma to those who need it
  • Exploring trails

 

A lake view

I love water views — while working, relaxing or contemplating life.

 

  • Water views
  • CCC’s 6th anniversary
  • Small victories
  • Eating tacos on a patio on a beautiful, summer day
  • Sipping a latte
  • Long weekends
  • Touchscreen devices
  • Solving WONDERWORD, crossword and other word puzzles
  • Different viewpoints
  • Aha moments

  • Pocket, Evernote and other productivity apps
  • Mesmerizing stories and storytellers
  • Editing and revising a rough draft into sharp content with a clear message
  • Vegetarian enfrijoladas
  • Family
  • Outdoor concerts and movies
  • A night at the ballpark
  • Food carts and street food
  • Reaping the fruits (and vegetables) of a garden
  • Strong women

That’s my list for the summer of 2018. Take a moment to think about what you’re grateful for in your life right now. Share your list, however long or short, in the comments or leave a link to your own post. Writing down what you’re grateful for is a powerful exercise to remember to count the blessings in your life.

So, what are you grateful for?

Counting my blessings,
Jaime

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What The American President Got Right About America — And Marriage Equality

I thought this post from March 30, 2012, was especially relevant today and worth a share.

What The American President Got Right About America — And Marriage Equality.

Please read and share your thoughts…

Cheers,
Jaime

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Godspeed Roger, You Will Be Missed

Thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.

Shock is the word that comes to mind when I heard the news that Roger Ebert had died yesterday. I always admired his work as a journalist, reporter and film critic. His book, Life Itself: A Memoir, is an intriguing look back at his amazing journey from growing up in Urbana, IL, to becoming a cultural icon.

Godspeed, Roger. Give us ‘two thumbs up’ when you meet up with Gene Siskel up there.

More reading:

What The American President Got Right About America — And Marriage Equality

One of my favorite movies is The American President, and the scene that always jumps to mind is President Andrew Shepherd’s (an inspired performance by Michael Douglas) speech on America. If you haven’t seen it or just want to relive it, here you go.

Why do I love this speech? It nails the best — and hardest — things about living in this country. As Shepherd says…

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight.”

Living in America brings freedom of speech, the ability to practice whatever religion you so desire, the right to peacefully assemble, to protest. It does not bring insulation from others’ opinions, ways of life or personal beliefs. The law is not your personal value system. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that you personally agree with it; it means that other people in this country have rights as well.

It's time for marriage equality.

As the Supreme Court debates marriage equality, a furor has erupted from both sides on the issue. However, it makes sense to take a step back while taking a deep breath. It doesn’t matter (in a legal sense) if you’re for or against marriage equality; it’s necessary or the 14th Amendment isn’t really law.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The law’s pretty clear. Our LGBU friends should legally be allowed to enjoy the benefits of marriage just like their heterosexual counterparts. To quote the aforementioned fictitious President Shepherd…

“You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”.

Yes, we all need personal value systems and beliefs to navigate our course in life. Legalizing marriage equality isn’t an attack on or a support of your personal beliefs; it’s simply extending benefits of citizenry to those currently without. If you’re straight, it won’t directly affect your life. But to our gay friends, it’s an overdue part of the process toward equality.

Obviously, this is a contentious issue, so I would love your thoughts. Is my logic correct? Or do you believe that the law is about morality and personal beliefs?

Video of speech courtesy of antoniocostaamaral via YouTube

Image courtesy of The Human Rights Campaign via Storify

Looking forward to the day we’re all equal,
Jaime

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How Ben Affleck’s Story Carried Argo to a Best Picture Oscar (And What We Can Learn From It)

Argo_Best Picture

When Argo won Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, I was thrilled. Don’t get me wrong; there was some stiff competition in the category, and I was impressed by some of the challengers, most notably LINCOLN. However, it was interesting to watch how Ben Affleck’s Best Director snub by the Academy became a leading story, how the actor handled it, and ultimately, how it helped push Argo to the forefront of the Best Picture discussion. And of course, how we can all learn from it.

Ben Affleck has been in Hollywood a long time, bursting onto the scene with his pal Matt Damon while winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1998. As he noted in this year’s rambling, heartfelt acceptance speech,

“I was here years ago or something. I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all… really just a kid.”

Despite this initial success, Affleck continued to seek out and learn from others in the industry while honing his craft. He thanked the “… so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood.” We can all continue to learn every day, no matter how many years of experience we’ve accumulated or success we’ve achieved. Appreciate those who have contributed and continue to contribute to your career. 

In addition to learning every day, perseverance is key.

“It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up.”
-Ben Affleck

We all need to learn to persevere because things won’t always go as planned. There are a lot of potholes, detours and speed bumps on this road we call life.

Along with his perseverance, one of the qualities throughout the entire process that drew people to this story was Affleck’s humility. He didn’t respond angrily when the Academy snubbed him of a Best Director nod; he only spoke of the deserving directors who were recognized. This was a big reason why the press and social media picked up the story and brought Argo back to the forefront of the Best Picture race. People empathized with Affleck, spoke positively about him and rooted for his movie.

When you are humble, it goes a long way to connecting with others and forming meaningful relationships — in business and in life. 

So there you have it — continued learning, perseverance to his craft and humility along the way; three reasons that Ben Affleck has achieved success and his personal story helped carry his film to the forefront of the Best Picture discussion. The same three qualities that can help carry you in business and in life. If you missed Affleck’s heartfelt speech (or just want to watch it again), enjoy!

What do you think?

Did Ben Affleck’s personal story help carry Argo to a Best Picture win? What are other examples of the press and/or social media bringing an issue to everyone’s attention and affecting an outcome? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

photo credit: Disney ABC Television Group

Cheers!
Jaime, amateur de cinéma

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What LINCOLN Taught Us About Business (And Life)

Today, February 12th, is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which brings me to LINCOLN the movie. I had high expectations due to some of the names involved: Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones — and the trailer looked intriguing. But WOW, was I blown away.

While reflecting on the movie afterward, I realized that there were some interesting takeaways I could apply to my business, and even my life.

Lincoln contemplating history

  • Seize the moment While some shy away from critical decisions and important moments, Abraham Lincoln (portrayed so eloquently by Daniel Day-Lewis) was proud to be a part of history. He knew that abolishing slavery was going to be a moment that changed our country’s future, which only made him want to pass the 13th amendment even more — despite the law’s unpopularity at the time. Lincoln knew the amendment was necessary for the country to reunite, heal and move forward together. Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to make the decision that everything hinges on or step into the spotlight. Live in the moment.  

“We’re stepped upon the world’s stage now with the fate of human dignity in our hands. Blood’s been spilled to afford us this moment.”

-Abraham Lincoln

  • Cast your characters well LINCOLN, the movie, was cast perfectly. I’ve already mentioned Day-Lewis, who should win an Oscar, and Tommy Lee Jones played the powerful Thaddeus Stevens perfectly. Sally Fields was so elegant, yet human, as Mary Todd Lincoln, and the list goes on. Takeaway: Choose the people around you carefully. Hire people for your business who fit into your culture, think for themselves and have the necessary skills, not only the latter. Associate yourself with people who bring you up, not tear you down.

Daniel Day-Lewis as LINCOLN

  • Be yourself in everything you do. One of the reasons I love LINCOLN so much is that the characters are portrayed as human. You see their strengths and their weaknesses, what ultimately drives them and what they’re willing to compromise on. Takeaway: You are unique and bring value to your business, life, social circle, etc. When you’re transparent, people become more comfortable with you. That’s when they buy from you, work with you, spend time with you and develop relationships with you.

Have you seen LINCOLN? What are your thoughts?

What other movie(s) made you think about your life or business?

Will LINCOLN win Best Picture? Daniel Day-Lewis best actor?

Chime in!

Happy birthday, Abe!
Jaime

Image credits: LINCOLN the movie

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