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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why Do We Reward Lazy Behavior As Parents? (A Rant)

Now, I know I have not been blogging much as of late but it's certainly not due to a lack of ideas.  In fact, I have tons of ideas but lately I find myself thinking quite a bit.  One thing I think about tons as a parent is how we can better influences for our youth and help shape a better tomorrow.

I particularly find it strange how we sometimes reward or accommodate negative or lazy behavior.  I say "we" because I am guilty of this myself.  Sometimes, as parents, we figure positive reinforcement and encouragement may bring about better things yet it doesn't always work out that way.

Check out the images below and I bet they may hit home for many of you out there.

The reality is that we are doing a huge disservice to our communities and our youth.  Think about it: when we grow up, employers don't care about excuses an are not going to bargain with us to get us to do what we are expected (and obligated to do).  Yet, somehow, we bend the rules completely for our kids.  Allow me to illustrate...

Kid:  "I am too tired.  Have someone else do it."


Kid:  "I already did it last time..  It's not my turn."

How do we respond to this?  Is it something like this perhaps?

Door Mat:  "If you do it, I will buy you or let you do whatever you want!"

Of course, the exchange is usually much more involved than that.  There may be the usually "but why", "that's not fair", "this suck", and similar statements accompanied by teeth sucking, groaning, dragging of feet, and other pitiful gestures.  What is entertaining is that today's youth actually thinks they have it rough.

Little do they know just how much harder it gets!

Surely, having open an honest communicaton with our teens and tweens helps but they rarely want to admit that they are wrong, we know better, and they are just exaggerating.  I mean, today's kids are smarter and more mature..  After all, they carry cell phones! *sarcasm*

In the imaginary world of our youth, they will magically "grow up" and their bosses will be just as understanding, friendy, and accommodating as mommy and daddy.  Let's see how that works...

Big Kid:  "I am not in the mood to do any work today, boss..  Can I just watch some YouTube or go home?"

Imaginary Boss:  "Well, we really need those TPS reports today..  Tell you what, if you do this one thing today, I will double your pay rate AND buy you some Zaxby's!"

Big Kid:  "Okay, fine..  But next time find someone else to do it.  I already worked last month and now I have lots of slacking to catch up on!"

Certainly, it does not work that way in the real world so coddling our kids now is only going to prepare them for a real rude awakening.  You see, the real-life version of that exchange looks ore like this...

Big Kid:  "I know the TPS reports are late but I have already put in three 18-hour days and, with my two-hour commute each way, I am just going home to take a shower and leave again..  I'm working as hard as I can, sir!"

Impossible-To-Please Boss:  "Maybe this is not the job for you then."

Big Kid:  "No, sir..  I love working here.  I just wanted to assure you that I am making this my top priority!"

Impossible-To-Please Boss:  "Then you have two options now: get this done today or pack up your things and leave..  And don't think I will approve you for unemployment, either.  We pride ourselves at penny-pinching and screwing over our true company assets here, you know!"

The reality check of adult life is that not only are we expected to more, but there are often far less rewards and thank-yous going out, which means we have to find motivation within ourselves.  There is no negotiation, excuse-making, or trickery that works in the real world..  Well, I suppose SOME find ways to coast along their entire lives but that's besides the point!

This is why I really want to release a series of new content centered around business success an the lessons therein for kids.  Believe me, I am not some grumpy old fogey but today's youth seems might pitiful and we need to do something about it, for their sake and our own.  It all goes back to achieving that elusive work-life balance.  After all, we may wish that we could sit or lay down all day, but what sort of life is THAT?  Where's the achievemen and fufillment there?  Certainly, that's not what we want for our youth - lazy bums are not cool by any standards!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blood Doesn't Make A Family, Caring Does

~There is so much to aim for. So much more in reach, it seems and feels to me. The online capabilities available to each one of us, from my techno-challenged Mom in New Hampshire learning to use FaceBook to stay in touch and learning to Skype to be able to see her Grandkids all the way across the country to folks blogging for an endless number of reasons and businesses, small and large, using the internet to make their products more easily available to us all.

For me, as the Manager and Chief Bottle-Washer (no pun intended, to those of you familiar with the fact that THAT, could mean just about anything!) it fell to me to put Pioneer Outfitters into “cyber-space” as Master Guide Terry Overly of Pioneer Outfitters puts it.

At first, it was exciting for me to be able to put the photos I have taken, in the years I have been here, in the mix to be seen and appreciated. Then was the incredible feeling of accomplishment (and pride) as the website took shape. Learning even more, I see that there is way more to learn before I get too excited!

We, here in Chisana, have been having a terrible time of late, with our internet connection, so the news I have been receiving from the “outside” world comes only in small broken pieces of the whole.

I have real-life friends spread all over this great big beautiful world now. Real-life friends that I met through Social Media, who care about me and mine. Who would put the effort into finding our phone numbers and calling about my little girl when she was sick with positive thoughts, advice and prayers. All this from people who have never been in Chisana, Alaska, people who have never met me or my children in any physical sense. So the answer to one of Social Media’s big and debated questions, Are Friends You Meet Online, Real?

Yes. Yes, they are.

All the wonderful feelings and teachings I have absorbed from my explorations online have given me a pretty clear set of base-rules. In consideration for those of you that have been with me for awhile, (yes, I do tend to repeat myself!) I’ll just sum them up for you, Everything you need to know about your own behavior online, in business and in your life, you learned when you were between 4 and 6 years old. Be nice. Share. Tell the truth. Be helpful. Say you are sorry. Forgive each other. Go play.

One of my online friends (and teacher) caught my eye one morning right before I lost internet connection as well having to head back out to the field this Fall. Power Blogger Bullies Baby Blogger, Threatens Lawsuit. Wow. Shame on Power Dude. I am sure that this “Baby Blogger” will come out right where she is supposed to. I only got to read a bit of what was happening, (sheesh, what have I told you? High-school FOREVER) but Mr. Bully wont get his thrills there, I am sure. “Baby” isn’t naive, shy or ignorant of the ways of the online world or the business world. (AND she follows those pesky remember, the ones you learned in Kindergarten?)

Back to the point. Oh, the point? Life continues. Life goes on. Whether we are online or not. Whether you are having a great day...or not so much. Life just continues. So why not help someone out today? Hold the door open for that lady a half a step ahead of you, smile at that guy (he might need one- you never know), answer a tweet of someone you haven’t really taken the time to get to know, let the next car pull out onto the road ahead of you (with a smile), tell your kids you love them, run your hand over a dear one’s shoulder, shoot off a message to your mom or dad and just say “hey.”

It’s all about us. Each and every single one of us can change things, and do quite often, for someone else. Just a smile can help someone remember that life is a great gift and tough shit doesn’t last forever. We are in this together (like it or not) so we hold the power. Us, together. I think we’d make a fairly incredible team.

How about you?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Is NOT Where I Want To Be!

A few weeks ago I enjoyed a wonderful article by local pastor and spiritual leader, Dave Willis, of Stevens Creek Church here in Augusta, GA.  There, he touched upon the importance of valuing diversity, creativity, change, excellence, and, most of all, our youth.  He concluded the inspirational piece with the power of smiles.

In doing so, Dave used an analogy that really brought these points home.  He shared the magic of Disney World and why it's a place that brings us all great warmth and a feeling of belonging...

Now, I bring up Disney World and the wonderful blog post by Dave Willis to discuss how we all have those times when we say to ourselves...

This is not where I want to be! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11: Building Communities On Love And Hope

Today is a day of remembrance, reflection, and revelation for me..  and I hope it is for you, too.

I promise this will not be "just another 9/11" post.  No, today is different.  It's been a decade since the tragic events of 9-11 and, surely, our thoughts and prayers should be with the families affected by the deplorable acts committed that day.

But I'm here to share another side of this story.

You see, my financial loss and distraught that day is nothing compared to those that lost loved ones and heroes that day..  But the events are finally catching up to me and I now see what I was scared to face all these years.  I feel a solace and reverence for that day, which says a lot considering I tend to subside negative feelings with the potential for growth; that is, where others see loss and pity, I see an opportunity for something positive.

Reading Ken Mueller's reflections on 9/11 and lessons in community reminded me that today is a day for everyone, not just those mourning losses or claiming patriotic pride, though those causes are admirable and encouraged,  I reckon.  I whole-heartedly agree with Ken that tragedy tends to bring out the best in people but, with a decade now gone since that day, I lament more than the loss of lives, I lament the loss of heart we see in the world around us. 

Why is it that great tragedy and adversity have to strike before we can see the goodness in others? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Numbers Game VS. Warm Connections - Which Is Right For You?

A colleague of mine and someone I hope considers me a friend, Stan Faryna, pointed out that my article Tell A Friend: The Magical Power Of Ten came off as a rather bold statement.  It seems that in all my zeal I inadvertently discredited some close friends and colleagues, folks that are true heroes in my book.

Well, for that, I deeply apologize.  Let me reiterate: 
For those of you in my inner circle that have worked hard to develop a powerful personal brand and massive audience, I have no doubt that you worked hard and honestly to do so.
Now that we have cleared the air a bit, I will say that I do stand by my beliefs.  I feel that many so-called "gurus", experts, thought leaders, and influencers are mainly just broadcasting and spamming.  Maybe they got lucky or maybe some folks stood by them in spite of their selfish ways.  Who knows..  We're not here to talk about that.

Here's what I have found: some play the numbers game and others focus on warm connections (a.k.a. engaging, unmarketing, and caring).  While the numbers game is not always about spamming or insincere communications, I feel that it is more of a grind.

If you're into gambling, perhaps comparing this behavior to playing roulette may make more sense... 

[ Source: ]

Let's use a social media example.  If you play the numbers game, you're sending out automated tweets and broadcasting to a large audience.  With all the stuff on Twitter streams, the chances of someone seeing your particular tweet is pretty slim. The average Twitter stream moves at around 30-50 tweets a minute at peak times and it gets crazier once you follow over 1000 people!

That scenario, in my experiences, is certainly more akin to playing roulette.  You keep playing until you "win".  Chances are that, by the time you finally hit, you barely broke even (or are still in the hole).

With that roulette-style of marketing and communication, there are too many variables to know if you just had good timing or amazing content..  Or maybe something else.  With all the tweets going out there, having your stuff noticed, let alone acted upon, is tough. 

Now, if you take the time out to really connect and interact with people in more deep, authentic, and meaningful ways, you may be added to a Twitter list or be set up as an alert/notification.  For most, that takes time and perhaps it's more time than folks are willing to invest but consider how much more you can get out of a relationship where there is more of a give and take.

I don't know about you but, if I'm going to gamble, I want to go with something that has better odds of winning. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tell A Friend: The Magical Power Of Ten

I've noticed quite a few of the majority of our audience, which consists of inspirational mommies and family-first bloggers, is involved in some sort of online or WFM (Work From Home) business.  As such, I figured I would share a few quick tips on how to grow your audience organically...  Without spamming.

I'd also love some support (likes, tweets, stumbles, and comments particularly),  with my Conversion-Fest 2011 Blogging Contest entry. Again, without spamming..  Tell a friend, better yet, tell 10 friends!

So what the heck does organic growth really mean?

It can mean a lot of things but, for our purposes, organic is synonymous with natural.  That means you're not pushing hard on people you don't really know; instead, you leverage your warm connections, your natural market, the people that you keep up with often.  Those are the folks that trust, like, and/or respect you most.

In SEO or Inbound Marketing terms, organic growth means you are attracting people and retaining some of the new visitors to your online content.  This typically means creating content that is remarkable and significant, from a human and search engine perspective alike.  My guest article on explains more on that, from a technical and people-serving perspective.

The idea is to kill the noise and the busy work that has little returns (the average traditional marketing campaign has less than a 1% conversion rate, BTW).  Focus on engaging people, rather than marketing.  Be remarkable, create some buzz, and do things that compel, motivate, and inspire others so that they'll WANT to act.

Scott Stratten says something similar in his book,  UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. (affiliate link), and I would recommend that read!

Now let's see how we can promote things more naturally... 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cloth Diaper Classification for New to Cloth Diapering Mamas

First I would like to say welcome to the world of cloth diapering!!! Now that you have decided to cloth diaper it is time to start looking. Here is a classification, plus definitions of many words that you will be stumbling upon while you start your search for the "right" cloth diaper. To begin here are the definitions. :)

  • One Size - one size are simply diapers that grow with the baby. They have layers of snaps or Velcro or some other creative way to start out as small as your baby needs to as big as they can get, if your LO (Little one) is not too big they should fit up the time you need to potty train. Here are some of the brands that I know that come in one size: FuzziBunz, Flip, Sunbaby, GroVia, Rumparooz and Thirsties Duo Diaper.

  • Sized- these diapers come in sizes of extra small, small, medium, large and extra large. Once your LO grows out of the size you buy the next one up! :) Here are some that I know of : FuzziBunz (they come in sized and one size), G Diapers, GroVia (come in both sized and one size) Swaddlebees and Kushies.

  • Pocket- pocket diapers are diapers that have a cotton (fabric may be different depending on the brand) lining sewed onto the waterproof outside and there is a opening, "pocket", for you to stick an insert in. Some pocket diapers are Swaddlebees, Sunbaby, and Rumparooz.

  • Hybrids- hybrids are the diapers that can use not only the normal insert but a disposable insert. Brands: BumGenius and Flip

  • WHAM- these are diapers that someone, not a retail, makes at home. There are plenty of patterns that are fallowed and available. You could, if you want to, make your own as well with all sorts of different designs, fabrics and more :)

  • Flats- these are what you would call "old fashion" diapers. These are any kind of fabric you want to use (you could even use receiving blankets!) and these would be the simple fold and pin however there are now snappis that you can use. Flats that are most common are the Gerber Prefolds.

  • Covers- they are exactly that. You would use the flats, and maybe and insert if you like, and simply put the cover over them. Some brands that I know of are Gerber, Thirsties and Bumkins.

  • Inserts- Inserts are layers of cloth that are be sewn together, does not have to be, that you would put in the babies diaper to give that extra absorbancy. Ones that I know of are Prefolds, Gerber Prefolds, Microfiber, Hemp, cotton, receiving blanket, really anything you want to use!!!

  • Stash- this is a word to describe your collection of cloth diapers

  • Flip Diapers- this has its' own point because this is, besides the covers themselves, are the only diapers that I know of that are a cover that has snaps and grows with the baby. It is not a pocket diaper. With this one you simply put in an insert in, when you go to change the baby you take the insert out wipe out the cover, put in a new insert and re-use the cover.