Trust the Process

Anyone who pays somewhat attention to the sports world has heard these three words…

“Trust the process.”

My wife is a coach and fitness instructor, so I hear these words at least once a day. But even if you aren’t a sports fan or been around athletics, you may have heard these words from a boss or a leader in some capacity.

I think one way this saying can get misconstrued is relating it to “following blind”.

Some players may think their coach is just asking them to do EXACTLY what they are saying without question. Some employees who hear their boss say this may think it’s a way to get his employees to stop inquiring on the direction of a campaign. Students may think this saying is just a way for teachers to not have to answer any questions.

I know that my difficulty with this saying in the past has been assuming that if I just go through the motion, do what I’ve been told, plug X in, then I should get Y as my result. Right?

From my experiences, that’s not always the case. When I hear “Trust the process.” It now means… FORGET about the results.

When learning something new or improving on a talent you may already have, you must trust the process of trying, failing, trying again, failing again, and so on.

Just because a coach says, dribble, jump off your left leg, extend your right arm, lay the ball off the square… does not mean that you will be able to make a layup.

Even the NBA MVP misses a layup.

“Trust the Process”

Although the process may not be as enjoyable as the results, when you stick to a process and continue to work, you’ll be surprised when the results come instead of disappointed in the fact that they didn’t come immediately.

What does “Trust the Process” mean to you? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Balance

We are constantly pulled in a million different directions. Between social media, notifications on our phone, emails, texts, calendar requests, so on and so forth, we all do our best. We read article after article, posts (like this one), and listicles to try and better our lives. But one thought has always crept into my mind when reading these articles.

Someone will say, “Prepare for the future.” Another author will write, “Live in the moment.”

Our parents said, “You can grow up to be whatever you want to be.” And then teachers may have taught, “Start with realistic goals.”

We may have been told to, “BE YOURSELF.” And at the same time we are watching a documentary about a historical figure who is an EXCELLENT role model.

“Life is simple.” vs “Life is not fair.”

“You can’t make others happy, until you are happy.”
VS
“Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”

It must just be the way my mind has worked, but I often saw these as contradicting phrases. How can I BOTH live in the moment AND prepare for the future? How can I be myself AND ALSO strive to be like someone else?

Life is about balance.

balance

Sounds pretty simple. Another cliché quote right? “Life is all about balance.”

But truly, to use another cliché saying – it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

I don’t have the answers needed to lead a successful life, but I feel like this is a step in the right direction. We need to know WHEN to insert and live by the quotes above. An example that comes to mind brings two more contradicting phrases.

“Pick your battles.” vs “Stand up for your beliefs.”

Where is the line? When do you keep quiet and wait for a better time to make your argument, but when should you become outraged and stand up for what you KNOW is right?

All I can say is that instead of striving to ALWAYS prepare for the future or ALWAYS live in the moment, let’s strive for knowing when to prepare and when to soak in the moment.

Let’s strive to recognize the GOOD in our role models and apply those to our lives in order to be our best self.

Let’s strive to know when you need to take time for yourself in order to have the strength to treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

And lastly, let’s all realize that every single person is going through this same puzzle called life. We can EMPATHIZE with each and every person on earth because we are all simply striving to find what we believe is a balanced life.


How do you strive for life balance? Would love to get your idea listed below in the comments section! Leave a reply.

How do you inspire yourself?

How do you find something to write about when you don’t really know what to write about?

For me… my go-to is to head over to Google and search “inspiring story”. And today, that worked perfectly. Reader’s Digest actually has a section on their website titled Inspiring Stories. In it, I found an article titled ’12 Short, Sweet Stories about Moms (That Will Make You Want To Call Yours)’.

It was awesome. And made me think… could I write a story about anything in 100 words or less? Let alone fitting in words of wisdom from my mom… but here we go.

Well… Are you?

There is one piece of advice I will always carry from my mother – how not to worry about other’s opinions of you. Kids are called many things while growing up – loser, dummy, L7 weenie. Whenever my brothers or I would do the typical thing… run to mom, whine, say “Johnny called me a loser!”, and hope Mom would build us back up. She had one reaction for that… “Well… Are you?” Three words. You’d realize the other person’s opinion doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you think of yourself.

There we go – 92 words – and I feel inspired.

What inspires you?

What does leadership look like to you?

I was a bit disappointed by Webster’s definition of Leadership – a position as a leader of a group, organization, etc.; the time when a person holds a position of a leader; the power or ability to lead other people.

At least that third iteration was getting closer, but I was always taught not to use the word in the definition. That’s not the real reason I dislike Webster’s definition. The real reason is because each iteration seems to hint that leadership is claimed according to a position held.

Prince John CartoonThink about this for a second… is leadership something that can be obtained simply through a title or seniority?

Years of experience. Not what you know but who you know. Climbing the ladder. Does that equal leadership?

Don’t get me wrong… respecting your organization’s hierarchy is important. That’s how decisions need to be made. But what does leadership really look like?

To me… leadership is not something that can be claimed by someone who was hired into a senior position or by someone who has been somewhere the longest. Leadership is obtained by individuals who show passion, a love for learning, fearlessness, and who value the educated opinions of those on their team.

What does leadership look like to you? I’d love to get your opinions. Leave a comment or shoot them at me on Twitter.

Or… you can join in on #MillennialChat tomorrow at 11am EST. We are talking all about leadership!!

One Shimmer of Light in the Storm tagged #BaltimoreRiots

This is not my take on who is right or wrong. Nor is it my take on what the right thing to do is in this situation. Simply an observance on the power of social media in relation to this tragic event.

One shimmer of light. If I had to look for one through the entire event of April 27, Freddie Gray’s funeral day, it would be the power of social media on how we consume news.

I woke up yesterday, 4/28 – the day after Freddie Gray’s funeral, ready to tackle my work. No meetings on the schedule, simply getting stuff done. (If my boss is reading, you saw that I stayed late, so what I’m about to talk about didn’t affect performance.)

When I opened my computer at work, I did the usual, scrolled through the news. Opened up Feedly, read a few of the latest posts about social media best practices, and then of course followed up on what had occurred in Baltimore. So I did what I normally do when these events happen…

A few hashtag riders have joined since yesterday, but you get the picture.
A few hashtag riders have joined since yesterday, but you get the picture.

A quick Twitter search. #Baltimore. I started scrolling. I found videos of the destruction and the rioting. Probably the one that fired me up the most was this one… [WARNING: This footage is raw and has NSFW language.]

Destroying buildings. People fighting each other. Arguments with cops. At some points it looks like rioters are antagonizing the police to a point where the cop would react to give them a reason to fight. Best way to describe my feelings after viewing videos like this – I was heated.

I thought to myself, “How can people react this way?” “I understand being angry. I’ll never understand what it’s like to grow up in their situation. But how can you be so angry to harm your neighborhoods?” I even texted my wife…

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.14.31 AM

This last sent message… a bit of foreshadowing. Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.15.09 AM

I couldn’t understand this, and my understanding was that no one protested, they rioted. The city burned.

What if I didn’t have the whole story?

Lunch break came, and I watched this Featured Periscope story by Paul Lewis. (Thank goodness I downloaded this app, I love it.)

It’s a long one. Sorry for the vertical video, but that is how Periscope works. Every word she said made me feel better. It’s just one person, but it showed me that not everyone there is trying to change things through violence.

You know what else it gave me? PERSPECTIVE.

To paraphrase the wonderful woman in the video – I was in the 4th grade when we had riots due to Martin Luther King Jr’s death. A few years later, the early 70s, our city came together. We had different neighborhoods, but we were at peace. But then… crack came in.

These kids are the grandchildren of the first crack users. Many of them, they do not have a family structure at home.

Boom. A dose of reality, and another reason, why I like to take a moment before reacting. People who spout on social media often want to be the first one with their particular opinion. This leads to speaking out of turn, speaking before you know the story. More on that later…

As the afternoon went on, I saw this from Ray Lewis.

Another vertical video, sorry. But another message, a fatherly message. An individual who, sure, had some history with the law, but Ray Lewis is heralded by many young adults in Baltimore. They grew up loving him. This was another refreshing video to watch.

And here is one last video that sealed the deal for me…

Three rival gangs. The early “news” was that they had an agreement together to fight the cops. The REAL NEWS, news that took the time to hear both sides, found out differently. Their truce was to show solidarity in protest… peaceful protest.

Whew. What a day.

I say that, not in trying to describe April 27 in Baltimore, but in description of my own day. I first consumed the news of the riots, the destruction, the mobs, the fights, and I was irate. Mad at the people of Baltimore for they way they would act, and for that early judgement, I apologize.

Now allow me to please ask all of you reading this right now a simple question. You are all consumers of media. Print, radio, billboards, TV commercials, news stations, Instagram posts, Vines, tweets, Facebook posts, and more. Opinions are everywhere, and facts are thrown in between. How do you choose who to follow in all of these media outlets?

We get a first-hand look at what is going on, but we are also a victim of our choice on who to follow. If you don’t seek out both sides of the coin, you’ll have a one-sided opinion. If you only follow, fan, subscribe people who think like you, then you won’t be pushed to get a 360 degree view of any situation.

This is one tragic event out of many that happened before and many that will happen in the future, but my one request – seek out both sides of any story.

News channels are giving us what they think we want. Maybe we need to be more vocal about hearing the whole story a half day later, than one part of the story 140 characters after it happens.

#FeelGoodFriday: The Power of Choice

I have the privilege of observing people make choices each and every day. Whether or not they are going to donate on a particular day. Whether or not they are going to have my cousin, Mic, and I DJ their wedding. Whether or not someone will give a retweet to any of the posts I put together for a client.

The power of choice, I believe, has grown stronger The power of choice has not grown stronger. It has been the same since Adam & Eve chose to eat the apple. What I mean is that with the growth in technology, and the encouragement of children to follow their own individual dreams, more choices are available.

A child in Provo, Utah can hop on the search engine in Instagram and see what is available to a child in Rome, Italy. An individual in Belgium can stroll through a #BelgianIPA hastag and notice someone in Bargersville, Indiana enjoying a cold one (which would be odd to them) at Taxman Brewing Company.

But what I’m getting at is that every individual has the power of choice at their fingertips. We make daily choices – who to follow, what to eat, when to take a break, and more. We make choices off of advice – pick your battles, turn that frown upside down, and YOLO.  (It’s okay to use YOLO sparingly… Drake apologized for it.)

The remarkable thing is, we have a

My first Feel Good Friday… I wanted to bring this to light. It should make everyone feel good to know that you have a choice.

You can make your life what you want it to be… you have a choice.

You can decide to make someone’s life more positive… you have a choice.

You can connect with others throughout the world or you can foster a relationship with someone nearby… you have a choice.

Choice may be the most powerful tool we have at our disposal.


Want to submit your own Feel Good Friday post? Share it now!

 

If you could ask a stranger one question… what would it be?

So I have this card game on my desk… What, How, Where. Pick a what, pick a how, and pick a where. Hoping this would spark some thought, I played this morning, and here is what I received.

image1Thought it may be difficult to write a blog about this as I may come out sounding a bit more like Ralph Waldo Emerson than someone who likes to share thoughts on online marketing. So, I dove into the ASK category of these cards.

If you could ask a stranger one question…
what would it be?

One question… that’s all you got! I started to do the typical run through of conditions – “well it depends on the person”, “It’d probably depend on where we were”, or “when am I asking this question?”

But holding myself accountable and wanting to stretch my mind AS WELL as start a discussion with you all… the question would be a standard question across the board that can be used at anytime.

My answer: If you knew that you couldn’t fail at the next thing you attempted… what would you do?

There you have it folks. I’d like to know what YOUR answer to the “If you could ask a stranger one question… what would it be?” Leave them in the comments section below!

 

 

#ThankfulThursday

I’m taking a keyword from Steven Shattuck’s blog post about #GivingTuesday… but I changed it a bit from #ThankINGThursday to #ThankfulThursday, so that makes it okay, right? He brought great insight about one thing that fundraisers simply do not do well right now… retain donors.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying ALL fundraisers are bad at donor retention, but check this out… another thing I’m stealing from Steven is his slide about a survey done with Bloomerang.

Less than 45% of fundraisers even KNOW their retention rate at their given organization. That’s a striking figure.
Every donor has their own preference on how they want to be thanked, on how they want to be stewarded, and how they want to be talked to. This causes fear in many fundraisers minds. If I were to run a survey of fundraisers about what fears they have, I would venture to guess that “upsetting a donor” is at the top. Here is my suggestion…

Don’t be afraid of upsetting your donors.

It’s as clear as that. This fear paralyzes development departments. A trusting and loyal donor will understand honest mistakes such as (1) sending a tad too much direct mail, (2) giving one too many asks via email blast, (3) putting “Thomas” on an envelope when they go by “Tom”, and things like this. If a donor explains that they will NEVER give to your organization again because you sent one too many thank you’s, then I’d guess they weren’t going to give to your organization again anyway.

Here’s the one fear you SHOULD have… NOT LISTENING.

When the donor explains to you that they believe you are over mailing, over asking, or spelling their name incorrectly… fix it. Right then and there, your donor will feel as if they are valued because you understood you made a mistake, you listened to what they had to say, and you acted on it.

So… let’s thank away today on #ThankfulThursday. Let’s steward and act how we believe is right for our donors, and if we make an honest mistake, let’s be sure to fix it! Let’s stop being afraid of upsetting our donors because you never know when you will be able to make a second ask on the phone with a donor who originally called to complain about getting too much mail.

What is your biggest fear as a fundraiser? How do you overcome it?

Ray Allen Teaches Us A Lesson

Athletes and celebrities hold a certain amount if power or carry a certain amount of Klout if you will in the online space. They attract so much attention that whenever they post, they will immediately get blasted by haters or retweeted like crazy by fans. So whenever a celebrity uses social media to educate, I am always intrigued.

Ray Allen's Instagram Picture

Ray Allen for those who don’t know, is deciding where he will end up playing in the NBA and many basketball fans are wrapped up about exactly where. He gets bombarded day after day with the question of, “Where will you play, Ray?” Well, Mr. Allen took the opportunity to educate with an Instagram post.

It’s so easy to get lost using social media as a way to get attention not only from your friends but also celebrities who seem out of reach. But Ray reminds his followers exactly what it could be used for…

– Educating Yourself
– Making an Impact
– Connecting with People you may never have met

A hat tip to Ray Allen for educating all of his fans on just how powerful we ALL can be using the tools this generation has been given.

What celebrities do you like to follow because of their positivity? Do you mind sharing them in the comments section below?

Bonus Example: Selena Gomez

Selena-Gomez-Instagram-Comment-467

 

MY FIRST POST REVISITED: Advocacy is needed for all things in life.

Wow. I just took a look back to February 2, 2011 – the very first post that happened right here.

What’s weird is that my quote of the day outside of my cubicle is from Henry David Thoreau:

photo (8)Have you ever looked back at where you started and thought about how things may have changed?

When you look back can you see certain traits and/or beliefs that have stayed rooted in everything you’ve done?

It’s kind of cool to see.  Sometimes in this crazy, busy world that has gotten even more cluttered since 2011, we get busy and keep our heads down to the grindstone that it feels as if we are just going through the motions.

This is one reason why I recommend laying out a personal mission statement or outlining your personal brand.  The professional world has changed a lot.

  • Everyone is always connected.
  • There is less FACE-TO-FACE interaction.

But some things have not changed.

  • You will be held accountable for all actions (online and off)
  • Results, results, results.

If you set yourself a core foundation of what you want to accomplish, then that can be your navigational beacon throughout your career.  My very first post was about advocating for my city of Indianapolis.  In the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to meet a multitude of great people trying to do the same.

Back to the quote above. It is good to look back every now and again to make sure you are pointed in the right direction.

How have you set a core foundation? What has worked for you? I love hearing new ideas on personal branding. Share them below!