Monday, June 30, 2014

True Blood Final Season, Episode 2: Lost and Found

All right I'm going to protest because frankly this episode's opening of Jason and Eric hooking up (sorry for spoiler) was just plain ole gratuitous! It was the chance to get hunk no. #1 and hunk no. #2 naked, and it offered no other value to the story line. Why (and maybe they will explain later) they had the vamp sex connection with a vampire in which if my memory serves me at all they never exchanged V ... no clue and really turned off. I don't mind sex in context. I do MIND when it's just a sex scene to serve nothing apparent.

That said, the teacher (again sorry for spoiler) literally disintegrating between Arlene's thighs was almost too priceless and a great campy scene a la classic True Blood. Shall we take that as one massive and bloody menstrual cycle (wink from the writers maybe)?

And did Eric have the disease or not? I was a little confused but I think he did ... which for the final season explains where Eric is headed or not headed; but I would still like to know how he survived the fiery final close of last season. I assume maybe next show. The Adaline/Jessica connection pretty boring, and the Alice concentration-camp-like slaughter made no sense. If they were trying to find the victims, why go back to the originating town? It was definitely a stretch, and unless I missed something ... nonsensical. My other complaint was the insipid reading of the equally pedantic and trite diary in which Sookie recalled her first meeting with Bill ... pahleeze! Are we trying to be Twilight? Ugh!

Claps do go to pulling back to Tara's mom's addiction problem and the V. A great, more grounded storyline that worked and pulled from the history of the show. Another clap for this great line out of Arlene's mouth, “I did not survive four husbands, including a psycho murderer and the loss of my beloved Terry, to die in the basement of a vampire bar!” Well said!

In a quick glance at the other critics, I guess my views are shared. It's too bad Alan Ball went on to other shows before wrapping this one up. I will tell you true: the final episode of Six Feet Under was the all-time great and thematic end of a show I've ever seen: we got to see ALL the cast members die much like every episode showed a death at the opener. Alan Ball rocks! But True Blood isn't the same without him at the helm.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Promotion Realities

In promoting numerous books over the years, here are a couple things that I've learned that "are what they are," so to speak.

If the tipping point never arrives ... it just doesn't arrive and dumping more money and resources will not change that situation. I compare this to survey. If you survey 100 people and come up with an answer that is perhaps between 10-12 percent it doesn't matter if you survey another 1,000 people, your answer will still roughly be 10-12 percent. So if you're marketing and your book finally finds its place in the market and starts selling, it will continue to sell if you continue to promote. If you're marketing and your book has gotten 10 reviews with no momentum it's not very likely 20 reviews will be any different. The buying mood, the topic or story isn't resonating for whatever reason in the marketplace. When I have a book that has received more reviews than we can count and yet still sales remain overall flat (even if it's the critic's darling) chances are its sales will remain flat and no amount of dumping of resources, time and energy will change it. I'm always brutally honest, and I have zero desire to sell more services when this happens. Disappointment has a name, and it gets assigned to my company when authors feel frustrated and don't understand it wasn't due to our lack of effort -- the market is what the market is.

Can't please all of the readers all of the time. Let's just face the flat-fact that can send some authors into crying jags of protest and self-flagellation: you've put your work out there for critique. Sooner or later someone (there is always a hater for ALL the lovers) is going to say something negative about your "baby". Yes, it's going to zing, pow, ow when you hear it, but it's par for the course. I always encourage authors to focus on the 30 great reviews and ignore the one (and often loud) bad mouth. We've had books like Vengeance is Now where the reviewers went ga-ga and yet one cranky old dude decided to give it a nice slam on Amazon. Even placing as a finalist in the Indie Book Awards did nothing to assuage cranky's complaints. So you just have to know a bad review or just a person in a bad mood when they read your perfectly well written book doesn't mean your book is any less great. Just don't buy the cranky old dude's bad mood as true.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tips for Getting Married on a Budget

In my recent dabbling in what most would call event planning but I would call "stumbling along with good fortune" I managed to put together my wedding at an unprecedented budget to be envied by the conservative-spending crowd. A few comments before I "sing my own praises". Marriage is sacred. Getting married is important and requires respect. What in my opinion it doesn't require is a debt the size of the deficit. Any couple who are getting started young or old really should get off to the best possible start. So, taking a second out on a house or extravagant spending that has to be "paid off" makes no sense to me. So if you're getting married and want to avoid the debt aftermath, here are some really great tips to help you along.

eBay and my wedding dress (cost $100 + shipping): This experiment was definitely an "experiment" in the sense when you buy on eBay who knows what you're going to get. The clues that it would be all right: brand new dresses and many, many of them. It seems that eBay is the dumping ground for wedding dresses that are overstocked or last year's style. You might expect a NEW wedding dress purchased on eBay to be flimsy or perhaps poorly made. To my utter delight, my dress arrived in its gorgeous chiffon glory -- well-made, well-sewn and easily 25 lbs of fabric, which hardly defines the word "cheap". Your only downside is you must buy the perfect size or bigger. Bigger can be tailored and fitted -- smaller, well, ladies you just bought a dress you can't wear. So here is my thought: I figured for a $100 what did I have to lose? Not much! So why not.

Flower girl dresses on Amazon: Another great and inexpensive approach is to buy your other dresses on Amazon. You have hundreds of choices. Now your bridesmaids may not appreciate not being able to try on the dresses. But for little girls, go out to the physical store. Figure out her size and buy it online.

Wedding Day Packages for Destination Weddings: find a service that sells the whole package at a really great price. First, you will be spared the coordination of the various ceremony pieces. My package provides the ceremony, transportation, flowers, cake, photographs, and a champagne toast at the very end. This whole package's total: $1500. The best part, no heart failure or stress for us as we try to coordinate or find someone to coordinate all of those aspects of the wedding.

Reception Supplies and Set up and Break Down: Another package you can customize and order online. We found a place in Truckee titled EventMasters. In a single phone conversation I was able to order the tables, chairs, table clothes, utensils, plates and glasses to my liking and quantity. They will set up early in the morning of the event and break down the next day, which presents none of my guests from the "honor" and they can all enjoy. Total cost for 30 people: $408.

Other really fabulous and generous offers from friends and family covered the rest of the potentially expensive and crazy costs. Our total we will slide out the door with is roughly $2500. Now I realize not everyone has a family member able to offer a condo in Tahoe for the honeymoon or generously offer to pay for the reception hall. BUT I will say this: open your heart and be receptive to those who truly want to help. Help and support is really wonderful for an event that can turn upside down and become stressful, which nobody wants. If someone offers help and support, take it. And simply express your appreciation and thanks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New 3L Publishing Book: In the Footsteps of Greatness

I love this cover image!
One of the latest titles coming off press this month is a personal favorite titled In the Footsteps of Greatness. Since I am the publisher my critique of the book wouldn't seem credible, but I will say I really enjoyed working on this project and felt inspired by Josh's word on a daily basis.  I think you will really love this inward and outward journey. Here is information:

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

Those words have always resonated with the softly strumming chords of my soul.

It is so much easier for me to be not quite good enough and to remain wrapped in the snug cloak of angst. My life was littered with the wreckage of self-imposed roadblocks. But I didn’t want to be that man anymore, and I could see my light shining up ahead, just waiting for me to step into it. I realized that I had just arrived at the moment this trip was designed to create.

Having attempted and failed to traverse the entire 212-mile John Muir Trail twice before, Josh Mathe decided to brave the Sierra Nevada wilderness one last time. And to up the ante, this time he would try to run!

In the Footsteps of Greatness is an inspirational and refreshingly authentic account of what Josh found while exploring his limits on the edge of the world. From the shady depths of Yosemite Valley to the top of 14,505’ Mount Whitney through some of the most treacherous and starkly beautiful terrain on the planet, this memoir is both a thrilling adventure (complete with bear encounters and snowstorms) as well as a poignant look into the mind and spirit of an athlete who is nothing if not human.

In the Footsteps of Greatness is available for $14.95 for pre-sale on the 3L Publishing website. To purchase, click here. It will be available on Amazon, 3L Publishing’s website (www.3LPublishing.com), on Josh’s website at www.joshmathe.com, and in select major bookstores and retailers upon order.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lessons Learned: Always use 50/50% Payment Model

Dumping the words "lesson learned" into my business knowledge I have acquired section of my so-called "management manual," there is a good one all small business owners should apply. Never pay contractors their fees all upfront. Either do payments or 50/50. Wanting to be a trusting person, I've stumbled and fell on my face a couple of times after "trusting" the wrong contractor -- someone I should have been able to trust. The rules should apply like this:

No. #1 Don't do anyone any favors out of strict kindness and pay them in advance of work. Motivation to do the work sometimes requires a carrot and a stick. If the contractor eats the carrot before commencing the work, the motivation is now gone. Leverage is now gone, too. Outside of legal recourse, that contractor can hold you hostage to his/her whims or lack of work ethic.

No. #2 Trust is earned ... period. I'm never one to suggest not to be trusting. Trust is a beautiful thing especially when you place it in the care of capable, dependable and trustworthy hands. Trust though is not automatic or should it automatically be given to someone who has not shown through trustworthy actions that it should be given to him or her at all. Even with a trusted worker, the 50/50 payment system or payments should still apply -- just keeping everyone real.

No. #3 Contracts might seem archaic and even annoying at times, but they sure are great when one or both parties is being contentious.  Some people really don't like contracts or contractual obligations. It's paperwork, and the thought is, it's only as good as the paper. Now I do like contracts because is covers my derriere to have one, and it's a "keep 'em honest" reference point.

Here is the real lesson learned. You think you know somebody, and you think they would NEVER do this or do that -- they're good people. Well, truth is we only know what we know. And it's what we don't know that can bite us in business. So, my practical advice: don't use the honor system. A strict honor system is only as honest as the client or contractor. And since that percentage is sketchy, the great and steady fallback system is to keep it writing, don't pay all upfront, and keep all agreements filed away for future reference.


Monday, June 23, 2014

True Blood Final Season

True Blood -- Season 7
Episode 1: Vulture

I was hugely disappointed last season with the show's declining writing after creator Alan Ball changed directions and left the series in the hands of the other directors and writers. As this season opened I was also a little apprehensive with the prospects of the "zombie-vamp" mutation story. But as the show began with an explosive slaughter of humans, and the fates of some show favorites like Arlene and Holly on the line, I was quickly absorbed into it.

I liked the way they got back to basics with Sookie being able to read the entire "accusing" citizens' minds as they blamed the "vampire whore" for inviting this havoc upon them. The show had deviated so far off her fairy powers in connection to citizens in recent years it lost a little of its humanity. The intensity of the opening scene though immediately invited you in for an absorbing episode where we find Andy and Vampire Bill on the hunt to find Arlene and Holly; Jason confronting his vampire lover about withholding sex that culminates in what we call in our house a "vampire porn" scene; and Pam playing a game of Russian Roulette with another vampire who challenges her will and belief in the divine. Not sure I welcomed another question of is she or isn't she dead with Tara (and we didn't see her actually die) -- that seemed repetitious. We are now left to wonder what is Eric up to? And given that all gossip suggests Alexander Skarsgard didn't leave the canvas, I'll bet he's up to something interesting. We're also generally aware (by re-watching the scene) that Tara isn't dead but probably taken.

Since I use this blog to discuss storytelling, I'll give the story's pace a nice, even clip. The storyline is focused a lot on redemption (not surprising since we're in the final season), and some interesting developments in progress. I am now hopeful Season 7 will make up for the lukewarm season 5 and 6.

Friday, June 20, 2014

True Blood -- The Final Seasons Begins ...

Welcome back my campy True Blood characters as June 22nd marks the beginning of the end of this truly unique vampire show that even from a non-vampire lover such as I managed to be absorbed  season after season. I have read that the sexy Viking vamp Eric Northman as played by the red-hot Alexander Skarsgard (my future daughter-in-law and I had quite a conversation about sexy men, and we had a mutual meeting of the minds that Skarsgard AKA Skarscandy wins! Well, she did have an admiration for Tatum Channing, which I can feel her on). I did ask Kirk for a hall pass should I run into Skarsgard and his eyes narrowed and he scoffed, "No! You're too pretty! He would probably go for it." LMAO ... maybe ... ;).

Last season sadly went down the tubes as creator and executive producer (and master storyteller) Alan Ball stepped down and his directing team and head writers stepped up. The story line took on this discriminatory hate theme that ended with our favorite vamps locked away in a concentration camp setting where they were dehumanized. Not that it couldn't have worked, but well ... it just didn't work. It got tedious and boring.

Now with a fresh opportunity to wrap up what has been a great show, I am hoping to see something interesting and emotionally resonate return. With the original strong characters and love triangles up until Season Four things were going swimmingly or "blood thirstily." We were all rooting for Sookie and Eric's great hookup, and we were yelling at our TVs when she broke it off. We were loving/hating Bill and the whole Marnie thing did get a little ridiculous, but it kept us glued.

As we begin the final season, they have made it look like Eric went up in flames (not so, according to the rumor mill), and the rest of the Bontemps was about to be invaded by infected zombie-vamps. This year's theme seems to be pointed toward a Katrina-like government abandonment of the resident's life-or-death attacks and disillusionment of the characters left to be drained and/or turned to weird strains of vampire. I am not entirely sure I like this storyline either, but it's the final season. I will wrap up my True Blood love affair by saying a proper goodbye. Anything more than that ... well, we'll see.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Follow Your Gut in Life and Business

I have always been one to follow my instincts -- your gut tells the truth even when your mind resists. Gut-reactions are the ones that speak the initial truth. It is only our minds that cloud the issue and drum up questions or my all-time favorite, "Why?" A client of mine was talking to me about the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and he said its theory is that we size up stuff pretty much in a "blink" of the eye. I agree. Our senses tell us everything we need to know quickly. It is only our minds that interfere in the obvious. Some people might even say it's psychic, and I'm willing to go along with that assessment too -- part gut, part observation, part psychic.

You have two self-empowerment tools you probably didn't realize were at your disposal: your gut and your ability to trust your gut. Problem is (as this applies to women especially with men who are "players" or don't have pure intentions) many people will have that gut-reaction and think, "Hmm ... something here doesn't 'feel' right" and rather than following their guts their minds will begin to  rationalize and justify with "but" and "no, how can that be?" Women in particular who are looking for a relationship may even see the first signs of "there is something wrong here" and then proceed to follow with their desires,  hopes and dreams rather than see the truth -- there is actually something wrong.

If more of us followed our guts we would have a lot less trauma, drama and stress to deal with. We would learn not to question our inner-knowledge. We would trust ourselves. We would not necessarily just believe everything we're told without doing an inner self-check: is this true? Is this right? Does this 'feel' right? When someone tells me, "It didn't feel right" or "I thought something was 'off' -- don't ignore those impressions or feelings. Those instincts are almost always right-on. I can't tell you how many times I didn't follow my gut and was only proved right. I have been misled and lied to so many times, and I'm now having to learn  to heed my own wisdom:

If it doesn't feel right ... if it's too good to be true ... it's not right ... it's not true. 

Don't just take everything at face value. Don't just dismiss those feelings. Heed them. And this applies in business, life and romance without fail. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Goals! Goals! Goals!

I get regularly asked how I do so much. I can distill it down to one word: goals. My entire life and career I have been goal-oriented. The way to keep goals organized and stay on task is to write (not type) your daily, weekly and monthly goals. I have a desk calendar. When I was in college and had to travel from class to class, I had a binder calendar. I would write the homework assignments and deadlines on my calendar. I once had this condescending HR woman look at my calendar and make comments about "silly" calendar and neat penmanship. The only person who looked 'silly' was her. Truth is, I still to this day have a desk calendar with the same so-called neat penmanship, and I use a highlighter pen to put special emphasis on deadlines. My eye always goes right to the highlights so things do not go unforgotten.

The trick to the workhorse abilities is to systematically go through your daily goals, accomplish the tasks, mark it off, and move to the next. A list keeps you focused. Put the order of priority. I like to put lower-priority tasks toward the bottom just in case I run out of time and need to do something like cook dinner. If I get mentally exhausted I also give myself leeway to stop and move the task to later in the day or the next day. As an effective project manager you have to always be thinking ahead. If you know your business the way I know mine then you should be able to incrementally and successfully keep the work modulated to the right deadlines to make the overall deadline. For example, I break editing books into daily tasks. I like to edit at least a chapter a day (if possible). I also schedule my day based on the east or west coast time schedules.

What I'm really sharing has to do not only with goal-setting skills but overall organizational abilities. I once had a guy step in my house and say, "Whenever I see a messy house I always wonder what that person's mind must look like." Good and interesting observation. My mind looks neat, tidy and organized! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why Marriage is Sacred

I posted this about weddings on Facebook: That's it ... SACRED. I kept trying to explain why I felt a real effort be put into having a beautiful and thoughtful wedding ceremony, and not something to be done lightly, quickly or on-the-fly. It's SACRED! That was the word , and it's a rite of passage that symbolizes your deep love and commitment. To not go through the rite of passage thoughtfully, genuinely and with great reverence for what you're doing makes it easier to throw it away and disrespect the union.

The rising divorce rate and the idea that marriage is disposable has diminished the value and respect for the union. I've watched people literally get married and within months conveniently toss the relationship in the nearest "trash can". You could say marriage has become disposable and "recyclable" -- fail and try again. This accepted mentality has resulted in quickie marriages that don't  withstand the test of time, and a complete erosion of the institution altogether. Couples go straight to co-habitation and forget the marriage. They now have babies out of wedlock (hence the term "baby mama" or "baby daddy") and no spiritual or legal union ever takes place. Then when trouble arises (and it does because life is life) the quickest solution -- leave each other ... no legal untangling involved. 

A friend of mine and I were talking about the concept of the "starter marriage" (which came from the Baby Boomer generation). It became acceptable that you could have a "starter marriage" much like a kit. Here's how to "start" your weddings (yes, plural) and hope the last one is the "expert marriage" that lasts. Of course, I had a near 21-year marriage so one might suggested I had the "long version" of the starter marriage. I said the other day to my future in-laws that I've reformed my opinion and think no one should get married until their 30's. Does anyone really know who they are and what they want in their 20's? And the reality is you don't even REALIZE the difference until you're in your 40's LOL ... so I guess my advice will naturally go unheeded by most who don't know any better ... yet. 

Why am I talking about this subject. Well, after witnessing a few impromptu and quickie marriages done for all the wrong reasons and ended just as quickly ... and watching family members do the same thing, I began to ponder the subject. I had been so adamant that we respect our upcoming nuptials regardless of whether or not our budget could afford a major celebration (it's still going to be a beautiful celebration regardless of expense). 

I started to wonder why a beautiful, connected and thoughtful wedding ceremony felt so important to me -- that I didn't want to go to some lone beach with just a witness. And that's when the word "sacred" bounced into my head -- and hence the opening to this blog. Getting one of the most important relationships of your life off to a start with no respect for the rite passage produces all of those things I just described ... starter marriages, throw-away marriages, disrespectful relationships. Taking one day out of your life to respect your relationship (in my opinion) can only help not hurt it. Taking the time to reflect on your love, relationship, and why you're there on that day -- all good! 

And that my friends is my rant in support of marriage and wedding ceremonies. Now back to publishing and marketing and public relations. Ta-ta for now! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Movie Review: The Edge of Tomorrow

Rating: ***1/2

I always love an intricate story (since I'm a storyteller) and admire the writer's ability to keep it all straight. The Edge of Tomorrow, the new Tom Cruise movie and co-starring Emily Blunt, was one of those movies with extreme thoughtfulness to details to make it work.

The movie begins right as the world is about to be conquered by aliens called Mimics. Tom Cruise's character begins as a cowardly spokesperson who gets suddenly thrust in the invasion on the beach of France (think D Day in World War II). With absolutely no combat experience, Cruise is thrust right into the "shit" and within moments is not only being dropped from an airplane with no experience, but also lands on the ground to face the enemy. He is (naturally) instantly killed, but before his demise he lays eyes on Emily Blunt's character and a look passes between them, and then she dies and Cruise dies ... or so we think. All of a sudden, he wakes up with a jolt back to the beginning of the day before the invasion, and that's where the rest of the story unfolds. In a kind of Groundhog Day conundrum, Cruise must first figure out what is happening to him, and then he needs to unravel what to do about it.

This movie moves with voracity and repetition that could have easily bogged it down in boredom. The directors did just the right amount of "fast-forward" and left just enough gaps to keep the audience guessing and intrigued. It's a clever, complicated premise, and I imagine the writers had some serious intellectual mapping to do to keep it straight. It's definitely a great summer popcorn movie with intelligence.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Promoting Your Business at Every Opportunity

The biggest failure I see entrepreneurs do is fail to promote effectively at key moments. If you have a newsletter, blog or website you should have links and information about it on every promo piece. You can't drive traffic to your website simply by having one. You have to advertise and promote it. Blog -- same thing. You have to promote your blog to increase readership. Keywords and social media are not enough. Your blog is designed to market your business and increase visibility and therefore exposure to your brand. You have to spread the word about it at every opportunity.

Also, if you're doing speaking engagements, make sure you're either bringing a sign-up sheet to capture audience contact information for a newsletter or to promote an upcoming product or service. Make sure you ask permission (naturally). Again give the audience a business card or postcard to promote your other marketing material. You often have to continually touch your audience until they remember, and then when they have a need to fill they remember you can fill it. Marketing is about increased visibility and constant exposure. Some people only need to see you perhaps once or twice. Other people need long-term exposure to pull the trigger on the relationship. But the trick for you as the entrepreneur is CONTINUAL, CONSISTENT long-term exposure to capture either type of audience member.

Do you need a marketing or PR campaign? Contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Growing Contingent of Social Media "Disgust"

In giving my marketing presentation (especially in front of older audiences), a theme has developed. A contingent of the audience has what I'll call the folded-arm social media "disgust" attitude. The demographic here usually consists of those whose hair (how shall we say) has grayed. They don't accept social media, and most of these folks don't even know what to post or more importantly "why" they should post at all.

Social media has become a lynchpin to my marketing mix. For me not to post on social media I would be missing a tremendous and valuable percentage of the market segment. Now the gray-haired naysayers who typically look at me almost with an incredulous disdain when I say it's mission critical to have a social media presence don't seem to understand social media in general nor do they even want to deal with it.

The next contingent of naysayers will look at me with their eyes glazed over and push back by saying, "Who has time?" My general response is that 50 to 75 percent of your business should be spent on marketing your business. What time are we talking about? Time to spend the entire afternoon liking and commenting on everything down to your friend's skin-care products? My response to the time question is that you can't avoid it based on lack of time, put it in your daily marketing activities, and then here is the tip: don't spend more than 15 minutes in the morning posting and 15 minutes in the late afternoon. Add it to your daily routine, but discipline your time spent. I admit I can get caught up in the chatting too, but keep your business hat on and keep it all business. If you want to socialize do it after hours.

As for those who don't have any idea "what" to post, strike a balance between professional and personal. People want to like who they work with. So mention family activities, events and general comments. When something does relate to business, make comments or posts accordingly. Don't do too much of any one thing: not too much personal and not too much professional. And yes, even if you own a chain of dry cleaners I'm certain you can come up with interesting comments. Do you know the average person leaves their dry cleaning at the cleaners for two weeks? See what I mean. Or how about tips to get nasty stains out on your own. Funny things you've seen and observed. Ideas about management of employees. Stories about life. Subject material exists if you'll just think about it. So go forth and "social-media-ize"!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Social Media Sharing: When is it TMI or Just Good Business?

I was recently criticized by an associate for "living my life" on Facebook. Today I came back from a very productive meeting with a Facebook connection who observed me for approximately six months before he pulled the trigger on a meeting. He is not the first business associate to use Facebook as a tool to keep an "eye" on a prospective business partner or employee. In the course of our conversation we discussed the whole Facebook "thing," and he made some interesting comments that I don't want to digress off the topic. So the question of being one of those people who lives their lives on Facebook I'm going to shove in the cubby hole I'll call "and that's your opinion". Here is my opinion: I do think there is a fine line between TMI and smart business. I do think there is a balance to strike.

People like to work with people they like. So meaningless fluff or comments that border on salacious or inappropriate fall into what I call TMI and will actually hurt business. Making comments about your private parts, for example, TMI and just plain tacky. If you can appraise the comment you're about to post with the answer, "No, most people don't need to hear about that..." then use your internal barometer and don't share it. In business (and here is my opinion again) most people don't need to hear about or see your "goodies" (as Kirk likes to call them) nor do they need to hear about or see comments about other people's "goodies" or any manner of inappropriate behavior you would cover your mom's ears to say. In fact, if you wouldn't say it to your mom maybe that is the correct gauge of what you should or should not post in polite society.

Even if it's your personal page, please realize you never know who is reading it or who could read it (prospective business or employers). If you're trying to do business, my recommendation is use the "Mom Meter" before freeing up your fingers to type something that in most cases does nothing more than attract negative attention. And if you're seeking "negative" attention then perhaps a good trip to the handy-dandy therapist's office might be better time spent. Besides if you're trying to attract attention from the opposite sex, what kind of person do you think that kind of stuff is going to draw in? Perhaps not a quality person ... just saying.

So where is the line? Keep the human interest angle. Everyone likes pictures of people, babies and animals. Be interesting and funny. Share your wins. Share information to inspire and make people think. Share your business acumen and successes. Be relevant. Outside of that information, just use the "Mom Meter" to determine the answer to a questionable post. You can't fail with the "Mom Meter" unless your mom is a foul-mouthed crazy person and that's my big LOL for the day :).

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

Did you know you have a personal brand? It is funny but even you as an individual are in a way a brand. What do you project about yourself? Personal image is a part of a personal brand. If you're in business you do have to consider your self-image as a part of your personal brand, and what you project to the world. Your personal brand can affect who hires you. Your personal brand can affect whether or not you receive that promotion at work. Are you now wondering, "What is my personal brand?"

A personal brand extends beyond self-image, but self-image is a part of your brand whether you realize you had a brand or not. Most people don't think of these things in business terms. Beyond what you project to others is any personal communication you put in the public arena that defines you both professionally and even personally. Personal brand identity starts with what people associate with your name and what you do. Everything about you out on the Internet is defining that brand as I write this down. Did you realize that whatever has been written about you in the public space is affecting your personal brand. Do you even know what is written or said about you? Most business people don't even consider what is said about them as individuals as influencing their personal brands, but it does. When people go to work with you what is often the first thing they do? They put your name in a search engine to find out more.

Are you controlling your personal brand? If you just read the above information and it's triggered the thought that you never realized you had a personal brand at all and yet you do then chances are you are not controlling your personal brand.

These days social media is possibly playing the biggest role in defining your personal brand much more than you realized. Employers now look at prospective candidates personal brands via social media. Again, did you think about your social media usage from this prospective? Everything you now put out in the public arena can be scrutinized and influence your self-image. I have now opened a discussion for people to consider. If you are not carefully considering everything you post on social media as impacting your professional image, it's time to do so. You want to be aware of how what you do impacts your self-image and what you project to the world. What do you want people to perceive about you vs. what you do without thoughts and then find out afterwards what people think either negative or positive.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Destination Unknown: Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Destination Unknown this week was to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a place that is special to my fiance and I since he proposed to me on the upper deck. The aquarium is constantly changing with new exhibits added to keep it fresh. The baby sea-turtle display (see picture) was all new. I thought the turtle was cute, and I had to follow him around the aquarium a bit before I could snap off this shot.

The aquarium now charges $39 for each adult and $24.95 for children. It's a great place for kids and adults alike to stroll through at a leisurely pace and check out the displays. Stacked in three layers, you see everything from the sea-bird preservation enclosure to penguins of all of all types, and of course the adorable sea otters. In the spring you enjoy seeing the babies. Sweet, itty-bitty sandpipers run around the bird enclosure. This year the most captivating exhibit was the octopus display. The octopus was suctioned to the glass, and that made quite a sight.

After an afternoon spent wandering the aquarium, you John Steinbeck enthusiasts can check out Cannery Row or the Steinbeck museum. Cannery Row has all kinds of eclectic stores to explore, and lots of great eats and treats.