October 15, 2014
Finally. The elixir. Geez. I’m starting a wisdom circle. So excited. I thank my cousin Angela Andrews for asking me, “Don’t you have a masters degree in spirituality?” (humblebrag) “Why don’t you use it?” Well, me scared. I’m only three-years-old. Whatever. Thank you Kevin Aschenbrenner for helping me hatch my plan. And then to my brand new friend Jane Sanguinetti for renting me her gorgeous Moss Beach yoga studio for the six-week pilot program. The wisdom circle is almost filled for the first night. Yippee!! I’m just feelin’ so gosh-darn grateful for having the courage to step into my own power. But here’s the best part of the wisdom circle, I’m not the leader, simply the facilitator. The purpose is to inspire and be inspired. One by one we’ll contribute to the group’s collective wisdom and discover a deeper, more authentic way of communicating. As we learn from one another, we’ll recognize the power of a larger community to discuss big ideas in a safe space set up for listening and speaking. This wisdom circle feels like it’s so California. And I have to laugh and say, well, I wrote the book on California. Thanks everyone, for all your love and support along the way. Me happy.
October 8, 2014
Want a huge dose of testosterone and adrenalin? Listen to Gary Vaynerchuk’s passion-filled Building Personal Brand Within the Social Media Landscape presentation. Note: lots of adult language, some of it vulgar and offensive, and that’s what makes it so gut-level good. This guy’s on fire! Just don’t ask him what wine goes with fish, he might just slug you in the face. A special thanks to Joe Hines at A-Cubed Marketing for sharing this life-affirming speech.
September 24, 2014
Gosh I love it when a personal and business friend’s name pops up on a social media site with a great blog post. Surprise! Kevin Aschenbrenner, a law firm communications consultant, and grad school alumni of mine from Holy Names University in Oakland, has written a thoughtful and entertaining blog post: Am I A Mindful Communicator?
Here are the bullet points from his post:
- Really listening to reporters, clients, and colleagues and keeping in mind who they are and where they are coming from. Maybe they just got dumped on by someone else, missed a deadline or spilled coffee all over their keyboard.
- Letting go of my impulse to formulate a response in my head to what someone else is saying while they are saying it. That extra pause lets me respond in a more mindful, charitable way.
- Keeping this saying from my days at ProfNet and PRNewswire front of mind: We’re all on the same team.
- Be one of the good guys when it comes to pitching reporters: Respect deadlines and busy times, don’t be aggressive and don’t pitch garbage.
- Realize that, as a handbook I got years ago when traveling on a Contiki tour said, “There are few things in life that are actually fatal.” And there is likely nothing I do in legal PR that could result in a fatality. So, chill out, dude.
Congrats dear Kevin, for a job well done. Bravo.
September 16, 2014
Checky answers a simple question: how many times a day do I check my phone? If you’re anything like me, the number is high and teeters on the brink of addiction. Yesterday I took BART from San Francisco to Berkeley. I checked my phone at just about every stop. A total of 10 times in less than 30 minutes. This new app is much needed in our technology addicted culture. I can only speak for myself, and my sense is that once I can actually observe this disturbing habit using data, I can monitor myself in a more mindful way. This hyper-vigilance around instant gratification is unhealthy. The way forward is to free up time that’s wasted on impulse phone checking and use it for more productive endeavors, allowing a sort of spaciousness to emerge. From that expansive place, creativity can flow. Tapping into this creative wellspring is good for business.
August 25, 2014
I spent time at the Kratona Library in Ojai studying my new non-religion—theosophy. My daughter Haley (pictured above), a Cal-grad, joined me to visit this well-stocked library, which was built in 1924 and houses rare, out-of-print books focusing on the esoteric branches of knowledge such as alchemy, astrology, and mysticism. In my opinion, the Kratona Library invented and now owns “New Age.” Sometimes we have to get out of the digital world and smell the scent of books. Often I would simply sit in the library while looking out from the floor-to-ceiling picture window at the Heritage Oak tree and rose garden, absorbing the teachings without ever opening a book. Does anyone remember the osmosis joke from college days? I’m just soaking it in, osmosis-style.
August 11, 2014
I’m riding BART from Richmond to Daly City when a young man steps on at Embarcadero. We lock eyes and he smiles. I move my backpack from the empty seat and he slides in next to me.
“How are you today?” he asks.
“Super good,” I say, even though I’m running on fumes after an eight-day, whirlwind SoCal trip to visit my mom, attend a friend’s wedding, and an overnight visit to check on my son who’s just graduated from UC Davis.
“Did you just get off work?” the young man asks, eager for conversation.
“No,” I tell him, allowing the weight of silence to either discourage further questions or to pique his interest.
“I just finished for the day,” he said. “I’m an IT tech.”
It’s on, I thought to myself, and engaged in the playful banter between two strangers who have only a short time to talk before a final train destination arrives.
“Do you work?” he asks.
I tell him I’m a social media strategist and his ears perk up. His face, which looks to be about the same age as my 23-year-old son, animates.
“Wow. That’s great. Me and my friend have started an IT consulting business. We’ve got the URL and everything. Right now I’m still in school, going to SF State and will graduate in one year. Maybe we’ll use your services. That’s just what we need, social media. Do you have a card?”
I reach into my purse, find my wallet, extract a business card and hand it to him.
He examines my card with a tenderness I equate with innocence.
“I’m Elvyn,” he said, reaching out his hand for me to shake.
The Balboa Park station arrives and Elvyn quickly exits BART.
He flashes a smile and extends a little wave of his hand.
I relax into the train’s rumbling, close my eyes for a moment and consider this chance encounter.
There are no accidents, only opportunities for discovery.
Soon enough the Daly City station arrives. I gather my purse, backpack and then step off the train. The scent of salt air from the Pacific Ocean fills me with longing for my Half Moon Bay home, only 20 minutes away.
As I pull into the driveway of my home, I hear a Ding! chime on my cell phone, and recognize the sound of incoming email. It’s Elvyn.
“It was nice to meet you today on BART. As I mentioned, myself and a couple friends are starting a company that will offer A through Z business solutions. Any suggestions or advice regarding business success?”
I turn the cell phone to the off position.
My exhaustion complete.
I have nothing left to give anyone, especially an eager kid who was planning to embark into the entrepreneurial world, a place where the price of entry is true grit, only the super gnarly need apply. Check your fear at the door, there’s no place for it here.
That night, I slept for 12 hours.
When I awoke, I thought about Elvyn’s query.
Any suggestions or advice regarding business success?
Yes, I do have business advice.
#1 ~ Passion requires risk
An entrepreneur must be passionate about the service or product they are providing. This passion is a lot like falling in love. It’s a sense of empowerment at finding the right idea at the right time and then doing all you can to keep it going. That means talking about it with others, and sharing the enthusiasm with great clarity and focus. At this phase of entrepreneurship, there’s no room for fear. It’s all about confidence and the ability to execute the idea.
Look for the next post called “Generate an action plan.”
July 15, 2014
When I first thought about issuing a press release for the book I wrote “My Year In California,” I searched the Internet for a service to support my effort. After careful planning, I went with PRWeb. The reason? A recommendation from Deltina Hay, author, publisher, developer, blogger, and professor. I’ve taken Deltina’s excellent online course on app marketing. I selected PRWeb’s robust premium package at $369 because of its interactive, web-optimized ability. It’s like having my own website hosted on the PRWeb server. As a social media strategist for a travel app that will soon be released, I may use PRWeb to promote our launch. I’m using the book’s promotion as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Keep your fingers crossed for me and my partner PRWeb that the media will pick up the release and write a story on my book. Thanks a bunch!