Exposure to guns at home

My dad was a gunsmith when I was growing up. He was an avid gun rights supporter and subscribed to the NRA. There were guns in our house, expressly contained in his den. I recall many Thanksgiving holidays interrupted by deer hunting expeditions.

My younger sister and I grew up with stern commands to not go into his den when he wasn’t home. The door stayed open most of the time. Looking back, I marvel at the memory. From the doorway, I remember rifles and pistols, and ammunition everywhere in his den. Usually, he was repairing them or adjusting them for someone else. In spite of this exposure, I don’t know a great deal about guns. What I do know, is how much more prevalent they seem in society today, and that tragedy often occurs in homes with guns.

Many say that gun related tragedies in the home are not more prevalent today than, say, 30 years ago. It is just that we are more enlightened due to widespread use of the Internet. I agree. With more awareness of needless fatalities, the subject is a hot topic for politicians and researchers.

However, last week, a three-year-old girl died in an accidental shooting. Her father had cleaned his guns in the living room. He did not store them safely before leaving for work.

This is how accidents happen today. It may well be why such a tragedy did not happen to my family back in the day, when my dad worked on his guns in one exclusive room of the house. Kids are curious, and even the most well-behaved child is tempted at times. Childlike curiosity is one of the reasons parental vigilance is critical.

Today, society is gun radical. People feel the need to carry open or concealed, depending on state gun laws. It is more about being afraid today, a perceived need for protection.

In addition to that little girl, an eight-year-old boy died by an accidental gunshot wound by his 11-year old brother. The brothers were playing in the basement with firearms that were left unlocked and loaded, according to Capt. Doug Hunter for The Daily Record.

In June of this year, Everytown.org reported that at least 100 children died in unintentional shootings between December 2012 and December 2013. That is two deaths per week. Think about this.
Accidents in the home, involving guns occur too often to go unnoticed today.

I want to avoid overuse of statistics here. I also want to refrain from the implication that Washington needs to do more, or that laws need writing.  I have nothing against responsible ownership of firearms.   In my opinion, these tragedies are child endangerment, death resulting.  Yes, it ought to be a crime. Frankly, if two dead children per week are not sobering enough to engage gun owners to unload and secure their weapons, I don’t know what is. I don’t have faith that Federal or State government can make our private homes any safer.

What do you think?

No Nonsense Skilled Communicator

It seems these days the job market is all about talent.

Think about your resume. Does it represent your talent? Perhaps 2015 is the year you hone in on your talent and what you can do to improve your score in job rankings. A good exercise is to make a list of every job you’ve had in your life. Even if not listed on your resume, you no doubt developed transferable skills. Meditate on your work history. Are you giving yourself credit for transferable skills? Most of us need to give ourselves more credit. Be bold about your abilities. Go for full credit!

Time hasn’t changed the meaning of work, however, our culture and peer groups have changed the verbal and written understanding. English is an ever evolving language. So now, transition your mindset to your talent and skills while seeking career opportunities.

What does it mean to be talented today? Truthfully, the best showcase of talent I can think of is self-appointed upgraded skills and knowledge for personal growth. Talent is putting food on the table through the fear of failure. That’s talent!

My point is simple. Context is important in understanding communication. How we speak, what words we choose may depend on who we are communicating with. Be mindful of your mighty tongue as well as laser sharp fingers. Words and meanings are not universal. Speak and write so words gently glide in context to the receiver, as communication eloquently can do.

This post represents my thoughts. Let me know if you agree or disagree with me. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mastering Communication in a Complicated Age

From birth to death communication is an intrinsic part of the human experience. For each of us, our first lessons in communication come from our parents. They bring us into the world, helpless and dependent on them for everything. In those early years, they teach us and prepare us for the start of our school years.

In school, children learn more verbal communication, as well as tone, posture, gestures, and facial communication. Communication becomes interpersonal. One step over the threshold on that first day of school changes everything.

As adults, we often find communication challenging. We experience frustration when people misread us. Today, there is more room for error in communication than ever before because of the digital age and the Internet. How well we understand how to use interpersonal skills are strong predictors of how successful we will be in life.

Interpersonal skills include how we speak, how we look, how well we listen and understand.These are the foundation of communication. Interpersonal communication is why we don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Interpersonal communication is complicated, irreversible, inescapable, and contextual.

Think about your childhood. More so, think about your parents and their communication and interactions with each other. Do you see in yourself some of the behaviors learned from your parents? This has nothing to do with their marriage, but with how they handled conflict, and then, how you handle conflict. What communication nuances will your children bring with them to adulthood?

The patterns formed in the early years of life are difficult to change as we mature. We don’t know what our weaknesses are until someone else makes it clear to us. The same is true for our strengths. Negative feedback is hard to take while positive feedback can send us to the stars in glory.

Do you wish your communication skills were better? Think about what good might come to you. Maybe you would get a raise at work, or be noticed by your peers and management team?

It’s nice when people respect you for something that seems as ordinary as conversation, or writing, or speaking to a group. These are not life skills that we are inherently born with. They are however, life skills to learn, not just learn, practice. Truth is, we didn’t get what we needed from our parents to be masters of communication. You owe it to yourself to hone your skills. Learn from a master of communication.

 

The Truth About Marketing & PR

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) makes it easy to combine functions that in the past would use a lot of employee time. CRM applications are available for any size business and different price points. When they are not so nice is when users don’t know how to use them. It surprises me when I learn that a business has invested in tech, sans training on all the bells and whistles. It’s as if the investment ends at purchase. That is not true.

Marketing has a direct influence on revenue. Yet in the budget process, sometimes funding is less and not more, on the notion that marketing is secondary to sales. I do not buy into marketing as unimportant or less important, or secondary to anything. Marketing is a well-wrapped present that touches all aspects of business.

First, let me be clear that marketing and public relations are two different functions. True, they are closely related. Marketing is about product and anything to do with product, service, or sales. By any textbook, marketing revolves around product, price, place, promotion. In addition, marketing is cyclical in planning.On the other hand, public relations pertain to anything to do with company reputation, brand, and public affairs, intangible matters that affect the company, its employees, or its name.

Many mid and entry employees do not understand that these functions are two. After all, we usually just say Marketing and everyone seems to know the topic. Or so we think they do.

The truth is people in their careers seldom run a straight line. As human beings, we are prone to forget information we do not use every day. Maybe you never took a marketing course, never considered it part of your business. Maybe you had different plans altogether. Now, here you are with a well-wrapped present from your employer.

I visualize marketing as a well-wrapped present. To make the best use of it, we open it slowly, savoring the anticipation of something grand. Take some time to learn and train, or at least explain, the basic concepts because marketing can fail. That’s not fun. Therefore, we go ahead with our grand opening with care. There are many details. We need to teach our teams the fine art of marketing and public relations. It could be that some of us were not expecting to find PR mixed with marketing.

Good, sustaining PR is something to start and cultivate over time. That is people time, not product time. Generally, product cycles out, where relationships always need tending. It may be a relationship with one sole proprietor or a huge business with hundreds of employees.

What we share in our knowledge, how well we communicate concepts, answer questions is a moderate predictor for success.
It’s important to know the basics, and it is nice to know the new technology. Put them together after the grand opening and keep on trucking with PR and marketing. Understand that information and education, or training is critical to success. Never stop learning.

Make Non-Toxic Your First Choice

I used to feel comfortable about what I do to take care of myself. That changed back around 2009; a year I began to question many things such as what is the point of healthy clean living if the environment, or food or toxic chemicals were causing early cancers in the populations born in the 1950s and 1960s?

It was 2008 two women close to me had breast cancer. Both healthy in body and mind, one in her early fifties and the other in her forties, and the year my husband discovered his late stage rectal cancer. He was 45. Not one of these three had hereditary factors for their cancer. If I ever thought that poor lifestyle habits and genetics were the likely causes of cancer, these three people blew that thought out of the water for me.

Since then, it seems to me, random occurrences of cancer have become frequent. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting an increase or a surge of 57% worldwide in the next 20 years.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists the top five cancers being prostate cancer, breast, lung, and colon and rectal cancers. Do you know someone diagnosed with any one of these early in life? I’ll bet you do.

As a society we have learned to question ingredients in our food. We know that artificial ingredients in processed food, while cheaper, are not good for our bodies. Whether we like it or not, we have learned a great deal about the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe in the last 10 years.

Still, there is more that we need to understand, such as the safety of things like soap, cosmetics, hand or face cream, deodorant, toothpaste, hair spray, shampoo, any product that projects itself as a cure or enhancement. Women and girls are the targets for cosmetic enhancers from body shapers to manicures and pedicures. Let’s not forget ink. It’s popular in recent years for men and women of all ages to alter their skin with permanent tattoos. Tattoos might be another post altogether, but for now I’ll just say I don’t trust “ink” as a safe enhancement, embedded in the skin by anyone.

Our skin is the largest organ of the human body. Its function is protection. It protects our internal organs, our skeletal and muscular systems; it supports and houses our cardio, nervous, and immunity systems. Ultraviolet rays are not the only threat to our skin. Toxins found in everyday items are just as deadly, just as carcinogenic. Over time, these things that seem mundane to us actually leave a trail in our physiology. Over time, chemicals break down the safety barrier that is our skin.

Some manufacturers and companies have taken a stand to remove carcinogens and toxic chemicals. Johnson & Johnson is one such company. The Subway franchise and their use of an unnatural ingredient was found by Vani Hari (the Food Babe), a blogger and activist. With 50,000 signatures in a petition and media glare, Subway cleaned up by removing azodicarbonamide from its breads.

I can’t help but wonder why Johnson & Johnson, Subway, and many others would originally use carcinogens or any unnatural ingredient in their food. In other cases, companies use industrial type products that just don’t belong in our bodies. P&G recently agreed to remove bits of plastic from toothpaste. Those tiny flecks of color made it easy to sell as something better, more innovative, than it was.

The FDA, while they may have standards, does not inspect or regulate in this regard. We are left to ourselves to “trust” big companies with the little details of consumer safety. The job belongs to each of us to question and seek answers for the greater good.

What You Need to Know About Strategic Planning

Starting a business; what a wonderful dream it is. I would say it’s right up there with writing the next great American novel. Live according to your own terms. Be your own boss. Leave a lasting legacy, and so much more.

Where do you begin? What is the first step? A business plan is what you need. It’s not something you can start and finish in a day. I find it easier to start with an outline, like a skeleton. When the skeleton is complete, the details will be easier to show.

The purpose of a business plan is to serve as a guide through the life of your business. You will need the complete business plan to apply for funding of any sort. You will find it helpful to stay on course with your goals.

Part of the business plan is the strategic plan. The strategic plan identifies goals and actions for the growth of your business. As you move along in your business, the strategic plan will streamline practices, boost productivity, and help expand markets.

Consider that the strategic plan output relates to high level goals and initiatives. The plan improves communication and teamwork. This is not to say that everyone who starts a business, and develops a strategic plan along with the business plan, will be successful. Communication is crucial to success. Think hard and be honest about how you communicate to others. What’s your style? How do people respond to you?

There are five components of the strategic plan. You should learn them in the following order:

  1. State your purpose or vision for you business. Be brief yet blunt.
  2. State your goals. State them in a list or a paragraph.
  3. What are your strategies?
  4. Strategies require action. What are your actions?
  5. Monitoring plan; you must have one. This is where  your document benchmarks, checkpoints, and milestones. Via the monitoring plan, you will see what strategies work and what do not work.

When you arrive at this point in working your business and plan, you have achieved an efficient business. Pat yourself on the back but don’t get too comfortable. There is still a long way to go.

 

 

 

 

What you need to know about seasonal blues | LinkedIn

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Thank you for reading my work. I am happy and proud to say that I am writing on LinkedIn. When you see a link like the one below, please click to see it on LinkedIn. You do not have to have a LinkedIn profile to see it.

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What you need to know about seasonal blues | LinkedIn.

Using Devices and Apps to Get Fit Quick | LinkedIn

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Thank you for reading my work. I am happy and proud to say that I am writing on LinkedIn. When you see a link like the one below, please click to read the text on LinkedIn. You do not have to have a LinkedIn profile to see it.

If you like it, please give it a thumbs up on LinkedIn.

Using Devices and Apps to Get Fit Quick | LinkedIn.

Facebook Friends and Enemies

Facebook is a great social networking site as it allows us to communicate with our friends and relatives. Worldwide people and businesses have their own Facebook account. In the beginning of Facebook, the user experience was great in that Facebook was free.

Nothing is free. We know now, as if we didn’t before,  that nothing is free applies to Facebook as much as any other business.

“Users must stop being cogs in its profit-generating wheel and start mucking up the machine,” I thought this was an interesting start to an article recently, without attribution, by E. Alex Jung’s article, Is it time to quit Facebook?

When in history have consumers not been cogs in profit generating? Never, that’s when.

Facebook knows this and while I feel Mark Zuckerberg was as surprised as anyone by its growth and success, the company is playing a risky game with business owners, small and large now. Small business doesn’t matter to Facebook. Entrepreneurs included in the small group.

However, it’s bad karma to deliberately, across the board, invite your friends in and then not make them feel at home. Does this ring true with you?

Carol Steven, in her article also titled Is it time to quit Facebook?, appearing on LinkedIn Pulse, concludes her essay on the side that Facebook is still a good value. “Consider a small fee, like a dollar a day.”

A while back, when Facebook was still the rage, entrepreneurs and start-ups could rely on the Facebook advertising model as affordable and far-reaching. Not true anymore with the change in algorithm affecting news feeds.

I like Facebook for what it offers with family and friends. As a start-up myself, Facebook appealed to me for the reasons above. I stopped putting quarters into the machine however when some questioned if Facebook pays people to Like pages in ads. This was after a change in which organic views dropped dramatically, and Facebook made no secret of the fact that going forward, organic Likes and Follows would be few and far between. In the Facebook forum, Facebook did not directly answer the question. It’s possible that a third-party unknown is in for easy money. I don’t know.

I guess I’m a bit disappointed that a company like Facebook cannot find space within itself to help small businesses get established with a following that is real and organic. Doesn’t such willingness to help ultimately behoove both Facebook and start-ups? In my mind it does.

The platform is there. It’s ready to go. But Facebook today is a busy place making millions every day off the backs of its followers.

Don’t expect any help or service from Facebook, even if you pay for it. You’re just a cog in the wheel, as the saying goes. Now I have to think of a different original title for this post. I hope it scores.

No-Nonsense Caring & Daring Self Discovery

I love it when people ask me what I do because I am not just one of anything.  The truth is, some folks are just one thing; like a banker, an insurance representative, a chef, a dentist, a doctor, a nurse, a programmer, and so many more hard-earned career titles. However, that is not to say that anyone is one-dimensional. We are all multi-dimensional in different roles through out each day.

As it turns out, if I put all the pieces of my past together, I am a writer, a health communicator with a nice mix of clinical experience from working in the trenches as a Licensed Nurse’s Aide, and industry experience from a decade in health and financial services, a marketer of services and products, a director, an entrepreneur three times up to bat.

I am not much of a sports enthusiast. I will say I like baseball. I can follow the game, and as a visual person and writer, the baseball metaphors are fab. I am also a wife and a mom, and we have four dogs; two Tibetan spaniels, one Shih Tzu, and one hound mix getting on in years. I am also an advocate for change in many social issues. I’ll save that for another day.

What makes me different, is my young midlife. I often feel that I’m too young to have a husband with terminal cancer diagnosed in 2008. I’m too young to have to support his illness and illnesses that go along with cancer; to be strong in the face of his weaknesses.  I fear I can’t possibly be strong enough for him and me, and our son, and all that goes along at end of life.  What scares me the most today is knowing all treatments and therapies are exhausted. If you have stood in shoes like mine, you are different too. Life like this changes people and families and friends.

So, once again, I am trying something new in my professional development (Batter up!). In an effort to support my family and hopefully to help others like me, I  am going the Full Monty on ideas I’ve put off for various reasons. Mainly anxiety and fear.  I must stop self-defeating thoughts. We all have demons, a point so poignant and clear with the suicide of actor and comedian Robin  Williams. There is a saying that writing is easy,  just open a vein. The truth is, we really don’t know where our talents lie until we try.

Don’t be mislead. I’m not going the Full Monty nude. I mean that I am going transparent with facts and fears blocking my path (Play ball!). I’m going to dare to dig deep on issues I’d rather run from. I have found faith, and some peace through yoga, and the benefits of physical fitness. Maybe I’ll rediscover my quirky sense of humor. I have to admit, I’m tired of all the seriousness of the day.