Giving Begins at Work

Many of us are happy to give — a little. As long as we’re not the ones who have to organize it, pull it together, deliver it… whatever.

Most of us are happy to give generously – by our definition. Small sacrifices. Winston Churchill’s quote encourages us to recognize that we give because it feels good and gives our lives meaning. The tricky part is to give in a way that is meaningful to ourselves and to the recipients.

I am an advocate for giving of our talents, whatever they are. If you are an artist… give lessons. If you are a programmer, program something! I am a business coach so I donate time to SCORE.

So today I am campaigning for two things. To ask you to:

1) Find a way to give through your job. I found this interesting website Global Giving which allows people to donate their talent — online– to help organizations. Check it out. You might be surprised.

2) Help your company identify an organization that your team can serve. Many people already probably give to causes through their affiliation with church or other ‘social’ venues. I am suggesting that your team pick a group to help as a group. And let me give you this hint… if it helps children and/or what effects their health… you will have more cooperation.

The more I read about inter-generational communication issues in the workplace the more convinced I am that purpose, outside of profits, benefits this cause directly. (Believe me I’m all for profits too!)

I recently presented at the New York State Lions Club and came across their Lions See project seeking to reduce childhood blindness in the US.  It probably wouldn’t take much effort to a great program and your company will benefit as much if not more than the recipients. Let me know if you need any help finding a cause.

Look, I Fell Down!

I’m fortunate to have 3 grandchildren under the age of 4 and yes, it’s as fun as everyone says.

There’s joy in watching them grow but there’s also a BIG LESSON. Here it is…

They fail… a lot. And they do it with a big smile. They fall down, the say words wrong, they make ridiculous observations about us…

How about us? When did learning become something SO serious. We get older and suddenly we have to be good at everything? If we have to learn something new we get impatient, even angry at ourselves for not:

learning fast enough/being smart enough/knowing how to do it and on and on.

If you aren’t “falling down” regularly, you are probably not learning very much. That’s why being a parent is an interesting journey. You are guaranteed to fail regularly (whether you realize it or not!)

Today, you have a choice. Learn something new, take a chance. I’m getting ready to learn a new kind of art. I’m a little freaked out. What if people tell me they don’t like it. What if the stuff looks ugly? This is what risk takers face everyday.

Write down the top 3 risks you are taking this week/month/year. You can tell if it’s a real risk if you feel like talking yourself out of doing it and you have all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it worked out in your head. So please, fall down, take that risk. Tell me about the risks you’re taking and I’ll keep you up to date about my art experiment. Everyday I’m talking myself out it so I know it’ll be worthwhile.

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Shake, Rattle and Tweet

I like twitter. I use it for both business and personal purposes. I know, you’re shaking your head right now and wondering how I have time to fool around on twitter.

If you are interested in a great twitter tutorial… check out Charlene Kingston’s free eBook, Twitter for Beginners. You do need to register to get it but I promise you won’t get ANY spam from her and you’ll have a great resource.

I wish I could show you right now the power of real time search. If you follow smart people, leaders in your field, you can learn a great deal in a short period of time. I use it to search for relevant information for my clients. I also search for articles that I think would be relevant to my connections, then I add my 2 cents and post the link to Linked In.

This article helps you to learn how to target your tweets to people by occupation (e.g. attorneys) and location (e.g. city). You can provide customer service or listen to what people are saying about you or your competition. In just a few minutes a day, you can keep up with real time information about your industry.

Just remember that marketing today isn’t about telling the world how great you are… it’s about adding value.  Just because you can easily find a target audience on twitter doesn’t mean you should spam them! (definition of spam: I don’t want it and I didn’t ask for it).

I realize it’s popular to say (and think) twitter is stupid.. and it’s certainly your choice to stop reading this or think twitter is dumb. But it’s the business that is most adaptable to that often wins. Are you adapting?

Image credit: twitter tricks

Help, I’m a Millenial Trapped in a Baby Boomer Body!

This past week, I had the fun of being a mentor for the first Rochester Start Up Weekend. Start Up Weekend is an international non profit organization that helps communities run a weekend ‘create a company’ marathon.

In 54 hours, teams work to build a company idea. By Sunday night, the teams pitch their company ideas and the winning team gets cash and prizes.

This is why I feel like I’m a 20 something trapped in a boomer body. I loved the idea of spending hours hanging around young entrepreneurs who are so excited about their ideas.

But more than that, I am excited about change. I’m excited about the revolution that’s taking place across the world– people telling their governments what they want.

I see tremendous power in the social enterprise and the way customers are telling companies what they want.

I am thrilled to see so people involved in changing the world for the better.

Here’s how I am contributing:

  • teach as many people and organizations as possible about the power of social media
  • teach college student where I learn more from my students than I teach them
  • lead a small non-profit that helps people who live in low income communities
  • speak for free for any non profit that asks me
  • mentor entrepreneurs through SCORE
  • support and encourage people of all ages to live life fully
  • respect every person I meet for exactly who they are

I hope that I am also a loving wife, mother, in-law, sister, friend, etc. Let me know how you are making your life as fun and vital as possible. It’s great isn’t it?

The Kids Are Lazy, Self Absorbed, Difficult

This is what I heard in 1969 when I sat with 150 other young people outside a public building to protest the war in Vietnam. My friends and loved ones were fighting and I felt I had to take action.

Whether I was right or wrong in my beliefs; I was speaking up. It was scary but  I felt it was important.

Today’s younger generation, Gen Y (aka Millenials b. 1980-2000) is also taking it to the streets. In the form of  The Occupy movement. The press criticizes them for:

– not having a clear agenda

– not really knowing what they want

– being lazy and protesting as a way to get out of work

When I saw this last minute prep list for today’s May Day protests, I thought about 1969 and what it would have been like to have websites to help prepare us and cell phones to take photos of abuses and communicate with friends. Some of this sounded very familiar…

Know your rights: The ACLU has some good basic info on your legal right to protest here

Other items are heartening:

Know how to identify legal observers: Observers from the National Lawyers Guild will be on the ground throughout the day.

You may or may not agree but they are speaking up. They are not lazy or self absorbed — they are fighting for their future.

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