Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snow in South Africa this January: Children’s Book Series Sponsors Inspirational Female Driver Tiff Daniels in the ASA Transcontinental Series

SnowTheRaceHorse.com Joins TheWordNetwork.org as Co-Primary Sponsor for #19 Marc Davis Motorsports Toyota Camry; Associate Sponsor Skincode.com & Product Sponsor HINT Water

Mooresville, NC (December 15, 2009) – Tiff Daniels announced today that the #19 Marc Davis Motorsports Toyota Camry, one of only two entries piloted by female drivers in the invitation-only historic ASA Transcontinental ‘Freestate 500’ in Phakisa, South Africa - will have three new sponsors. The #19 SnowTheRacehorse.com Toyota will be supported by the upcoming children’s book series about a racehorse teaching kids valuable life lessons. Upscale Swiss skincare line Skincode.com becomes an Associate sponsor, with Daniels as primary spokeswoman for their UK distribution; and HINT Water becomes a product sponsor, distributing their vitamin-based water to teams & humanitarian visits during the trip.

The Adventures of Snow the Racehorse is a planned series of children’s books for young race fans & environmentalists. The first book of five, Snow Takes the Checker, is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will be released to the public during the week of the Freestate 500. Hoping to bring the lessons of friendship, teamwork & being comfortable in their own skin to the children of both the United States & South Africa – Snow will visit the country alongside Tiff. Possible visits include the Oprah Leadership Academy for Girls and UNICEF projects within South Africa.

“I am thrilled to be driving the #19 SnowTheRacehorse.com Marc Davis Motorsports Toyota in South Africa,” said driver Tiff Daniels. “I look forward to representing the USA in the first stock car motorsports race in South Africa, being able to inspire South Africa fans – especially the women and young girls. It sends a great message to dream big & believe in their ability to achieve those dreams.”

“SnowTheRacehorse.com is an ideal partner for this journey, joining TheWordNetwork.org – and with added support from Swiss skincare line Skincode.com & product sponsor HINT Water – we hope to have a great race while also making a difference. I also cannot thank Marc Davis enough for letting me run his car and Spraker Racing for prepping it,” Daniels added. For more information about the historic race on January 30th & 31st, visit http://www.asa-racing.com/.

ABOUT TIFF DANIELS:
Tiff Daniels has been driving racecars for almost 10 years, and is progressing quickly through the stock car ranks. She has won races and awards for her on-track abilities, while also graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering with a Concentration in Motorsports and a minor in PR. Tiff strives to be successful on the racetrack and to inspire fans of all ages to follow their dreams. For additional information, visit http://www.tiffdaniels.com/.

ABOUT MARC DAVIS MOTORSPORTS:
Marc Davis is the youngest team owner & driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. For more information, please visit MarcDavisMotorsports.com.

THE ADVENTURES OF SNOW THE RACEHORSE:
Started by a PR veteran & traveler who missed her daughters on racing trips, Snow the Racehorse has become an inspirational role model for young boys & girls who drive to dream & aspire. The first of five books, Snow Takes the Checker, is an adventure with life lessons of teamwork & friendship. Other titles will include Snow Goes Green, Snow Meets the President & more! The Adventures of Snow the Racehorse proudly supports Racing For Wildlife, begun by a partnership between the Ryan Newman Foundation & The Conservation Fund. To support, visit RacingForWildlife.org. For more information & to pre-order Snow Takes the Checker, please visit SnowTheRacehorse.com.

ABOUT SKINCODE.COM:
Skincode AG (Ltd) was founded in 1998 by a team of professionals with a profound knowledge and experience in the international cosmetic industry, in particular the development and marketing of cosmetics. The headquarters are located in Erlenbach/Zurich, Switzerland, where product development, sales management and legal affairs are handled. For more information, visit http://www.skincode.com/.

ABOUT HINT Water:
The idea behind Hint is simple: pure water, nature's original refreshment, accented with a hint of natural flavor. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners: Hint is a refreshing alternative to sodas, juice and other sweetened drinks and it tastes great. For more info, visit http://www.hintwater.com/.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Demi Knight Clark, Girl Friday PR & Marketing
demi@girlfridaypr.com
803.389.7153

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giving of Ourselves: Do You, or Do You Gift?

I love my Saturday yogi. She has inspired me to take teacher training & further instruction in Yoga. Sorry...had to give my grace today, as she also inspired this blog post via her story this morning. Her theme: "Giving of Ourselves: Do You, or Do You Gift?"

We all know that "giving back" is important - especially in this economy. But what does that mean to you, especially in the holiday season (when GIVE usually = GIFT, thanks to media & societal pressure)? I've learned quite a bit from a variety of people & personalities over the last year - very humbling experiences, many of which I had to "see" after several months of ignoring. I'd have to say the best lesson I've learned, is the gifting of myself.

I used to be very retail-driven (and sigh, I still heart a really good shoe sale. Damn you, Jimmy Choo). Can it "Jones-like" or "be the best by what you earn," many of my benchmarks were set based on the financial status it gave me. I'm in a transformational stage to "flip the wallet," so to speak - meaning, can I pay for the gift I'm about to give someone, or is it priceless?

So without further ado...5 ways to give priceless gifts this season.

1) Pick up a phone. This is where I'm the worst...I have many friends, and they laugh at the fact that I really despise the phone (it comes from years of sitting in a marketing position, getting tons of aimless phone calls from salespeople. Ayeee!) I've realized though, that to have substance, a phone call just needs to be an "I'm thinking of you." It can be 5 minutes or an hour...and you never know the state the recipient will be in on the other end. They just might really need to hear the sound of your voice.

2) Email's okay too. Dropping a line, or a text, still has meaning (I'd probably draw the line at "tweeting," but hey, it is the digital age). Again, it's the message and the thought that makes the difference.

3) Where has all the "dish drop off-ing" gone? I'm fortunate to live in the South...where we like to bake people things as a hobby (and a gift for everything, from new babies to sympathy to sickness to graduation). Bust out the red velvet recipe and make cupcakes (the "gift of 2010") made by you. Sugar always ends up in a smile. :)

4) Offer an idea, solution or helping hand to a friend or family member in business (or become a pseudo-intern or advisor). Or forward a friend's resume on who just lost their job (and go the extra mile here...place some calls on their behalf). My old company had a favorite "ism" on their wall - "It's a quick trip from the penthouse to the outhouse." That could be you - so be humble.

5) Give yourself in the best way you know how. Spend time with your kids. Volunteer if an opportunity arises. Take care of a friend's children to give them a few hours to holiday shop (your idea, not theirs). Create a journal of great inspirational thoughts for a friend. Teach a yoga class to kids who could never afford it regularly (okay that's mine, but if you're a yogi, you know all about selflessness and community).

The point is, instead of whipping out your credit cards this season - could you give of yourself in a way that this recipient will appreciate even more? It's tougher to do and takes more/extra time, but it's worth it in lasting benefits. Don't worry - I'm definitely not there yet either, I'm a work in progress too. It helps to have a little nudge though!

Happy holidays - best in health, rest, family & life. Namaste Rock Stars! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wherever She Is, That's Where I'll Go

I had the absolute pleasure of hearing author & speaker Jim Comer speak last week at the New Year Publishing Author's Conference. Jim is an expert on aging & Alzheimer's Disease, especially poignant after taking an 18-year journey caring for his elderly parents. He said his "eureka" moment with his 90-year old mother was when he learned on a particularly difficult day, "wherever she is, that's where I'll go."

Translation: if she spoke baby talk, he would mirror her tone in his responses - illiciting calm in his mom. Or if she talked as if they were on their old street when he was a child, he would reference that location in his answers. I brought that quote home with me, because of its many applications in life. How many times do we choose NOT to go where our partners or families or coworkers "are?"

For instance, when your child receives a bad grade...do you get upset, or do you put your face at his/her level and get to the root of the problem? I've definitely been guilty of the first response. Or imagine at work, a complaining coworker that you normally filter out. Could you continue to filter, or dive into the meaning between the words to help solve the problem? And also flip it - how many times has someone "gone where you were?" Do you remember how you felt afterwards? It was probably good.

With that, I give you five ways to "Go Where They Are."

1) Become an emotional mirror. In your body language, speech, mannerisms...it shows you are listening actively.
2) Just show up. We avoid our most difficult personal & emotional interactions. Investing the time is step one to getting really great at feeling more comfortable.
3) Continue the contact. You've heard that practice makes perfect, right?
4) Watch other habits change as you do. You'll find out new things about yourself as you grow with your relationships.
5) Find calm & peace. The overriding message in Jim's speaking is that the calmness centers any communication. When you are at peace, it's a glow around you that others sense.

So the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, just remind yourself to "go where they are." And give thanks that you are still "here" to be able to experience it.

For more information on elder care, support & reading materials by author Jim Comer, please visit www.WhenRolesReverse.com.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eat Dessert First!

I was at a writers conference in Austin this week, & I had an amazing time meeting some fantastic authors from around the country. At dinner the first night, my publisher did an odd thing. In the middle of our first glasses of wine at the private table, suddenly, three large pieces of cake arrive. Dave, my publisher with New Year Publishing, smiles a mischevious grin & says," I've learned in life that I don't need to wait. I always order dessert first."

Wow, what a moment & a bunch of initially confused faces! After a little coaxing, it was a decadent, fabulous indulgence that we all appreciated. Simple, yet novel.

How does this apply to life & business? EASY! We all have ways to mix things up...so here are the top 5 reasons to "eat dessert first."

1) Don't put off doing what you love. Hey, you want cake? Eat cake. Same rules apply for your business of life goals...STOP putting off what you love. Go get your life.

2) It's life's little things that add up to the big ones. So little indulgences may seem frivolous or "against the status quo" at the time, but they are mixing up behavioral patterns to challenge your brain. That piece of cake not only did wonders for my tastebuds - it also taught me to think outside my own mental backyard of experiences.

3) Don't be afraid to be fearless, at any level. Sound oxymoronic? Nope. Think about it - fears are latent opportunities, and we are typically afraid of the unknown. When you step out of your comfort zone every once in a while, you not only address your fear head on- you also open yourself up to a new creativity level. Fears actually help you find a solution!

4) Other people secretly want to be you (or at least they are salivating while they watch you "eat.") Not every person wanted a piece of that cake - some were on low carb diets, others just politely passed. But those of us who dug right in...you could see the longing in the others faces. Classic "risk reward"- you either play in the game, or you sit on the sidelines & long to be in it.

5)For goodness sake, just have fun. We are on this earth to live each day & experience each moment fully to fulfillment. So if you question why mix up your senses or patterns, i challenge you with...why not?At the end of the day, if it doesnt break a law or cause harm to others, its a-ok in my book.

Now go out there, rockstars, and be Marie Antoinette of the 21st century. "Let them eat cake...FIRST!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Benefits of Yoga!

Hi all! It has been a little while since my last post...I've been a busy bee! My first children's book is almost done - Snow Takes the Checker - part of the "Snow the Racehorse" Series. I'll be attending a conference in Austin with other writers next week - stay tuned for blog-worthy tips & "Snow sightings!"

As race season wound down, I also started working with some new clients (and old ones too!) I'm embarking on a personal journey as well, turning a hobby and love into work. Starting in December, I'll begin my RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) training at Urban Bliss through Charlotte Yoga. After an 8-week intensive training regime and an exam, I'll be certified and coming to a town or podcast near you!

What will I focus on? Yoga for mind, body, spirit - for all ages. I've discovered the amazing health & mental benefits of yoga in the last year, and I've also discovered that it has the power to "bridge the gap" economically, socially and demographically. Yoga is truly universal - for the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the individual from any background. My practice will seek out making lives better, and smiles on faces.

Children don't need chemicals in their body for lack of attention (ADHD) - they need attention and love, not to mention a solution (and drugs are not necessarily a solution). And EVERYONE, of any socioeconomic background, needs positivity these days. So look for me to be taking yoga everywhere - whether that be to schools where kids have never even heard of the safety of a yoga mat (or their own home); or hospitals; or moms in a neighborhood; or race teams who think yoga's "a little spacey!" :)

Again, yoga is universal. In an age where we fight stress, the clock, personal demons, and sometimes ourselves - it's the oasis that brings you back to Chi. Go make a difference in someone else's life today! BE YOUR OWN ROCK STAR!

One application of yoga, in hospitals and for kids with ADHD:
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=8967845

More about yoga, if you're "into" exploring something new:
www.YogaJournal.com

To pre-order my first book on Amazon (and follow Snow on Twitter/Facebook):
SnowTheRacehorse.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Girl Scouts Rev Up To Learn About Non-Traditional Careers
Girl Scouts from across Kansas and Missouri will be treated to a day at Kansas Speedway with an opportunity to learn from four female role models

(Kansas City, Mo.) – September 22, 2009 – 500 Girl Scouts and their leaders will take part in a special opportunity during the October 1st Kansas Lottery 150, part of the ARCA RE/MAX Series and Kansas Speedway’s NASCAR weekend. Girl Scouts will cheer on one of the few cars piloted by a female in ARCA RE/MAX, the #19 D’Hondt Motorsports (DMS) Toyota in 2009.

In addition to watching the DMS #19, Girl Scouts will be seated with three other female role models with non-traditional careers: Johanna Long, Tiffany Daniels and Tana Poppino. Girls will be able to interact and ask questions about how these young women are succeeding in non-traditional careers, where they are the minority in a male-dominated profession. In addition to the great learning opportunity, many of the Girl Scouts will be watching a stock car race for the very first time.

Alli Owens drives for D’Hondt Motorsports piloting the #19 ElectrifyingCareers.com Toyota in 2009. This is Alli’s second year in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

Johanna Long will be seated with Girl Scouts sharing her racing background beginning at five years old. She has several wins in the Florida Kart scene, experienced Legends Cars and then the tough Pro Late Model Series. Last year at age 16, Johanna became the youngest and first female track champion at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. She will make history as the youngest woman to drive at Rockingham Motor Speedway at the “Rock” under the #19 DMS flag as part of the Women’s Initiative & sponsors www.GrandmaRubys.com & hotel sponsor Great Wolf Lodge of Kansas City. Learn more at www.johannalong.com.

Tiffany Daniels will be seated with Girl Scouts sharing her racing and engineering background. Tiffany drives in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series & Camping World East Series. In addition to her racing career, Tiffany also holds a full-time job as one of the only female crew engineers with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. She is an aspiring 2010 ARCA RE/MAX Series driver with D’Hondt Motorsports as part of the Women’s Initiative. Learn more at www.tiffdaniels.com.

Tana Poppino will be seated with Girl Scouts providing another perspective to the girls in attendance when she shares her career as a championship barrel racer on the rodeo circuit. Tana had a 20 year career as a marketing executive enjoying weekend rodeo events. Finding success, her family encouraged her to take the leap and explore a full-time career as a barrel racer. Today, Tana has won several prestigious events and has been named one of the top 15 barrel racers. Learn more at www.tanapoppino.com.

D’Hondt Motorsports headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina is home to the #19 Toyota Camry ARCA RE/MAX Series team and the #92 Toyota NASCAR Nationwide Series team. With over 75 years of collective NASCAR and motorsports experience from general management to crew, D’Hondt is poised to skyrocket into NASCAR’s next generation. Learn more at www.dhondtmotorsports.com.

Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri is an organization that, in partnership with committed adults, helps girls grow courageous and strong through a variety of enriching experiences. Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri supports about 35,000 registered Girl Scouts, grades Kindergarten – 12th from all populations, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds in 47 counties across Kansas and Missouri. Learn more at www.girlscoutsksmo.org.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

D’Hondt Motorsports & Grandma Ruby’s Sweet Shoppe Support Women in the ARCA RE/MAX Series; Introducing Johanna Long

Grandma Ruby’s Sweet Shoppe Sponsors the #19 ElectrifyingCareers.com Toyota Camry in NJ & Kansas; Becomes Co-Primary Sponsor for Johanna Long at Rockingham
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 10, 2009) – D’Hondt Motorsports, LLC (DMS) announced today that Grandma Ruby’s Sweet Shoppe will sponsor their efforts in a variety of ways as we draw to a close on the 2009 season. Look for the Grandma Ruby’s logo on the # 19 Electrifying Careers.com Toyota Camry this weekend at the South Jersey Building Trades 150 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park; and at the Kansas Lottery 150 at Kansas Speedway on October 1st. Grandma Ruby’s Sweet Shoppe will also serve as a Co-Primary sponsor backing Johanna Long in her DMS debut in the American 200 to be held at the famed Rockingham Speedway on October 11th.

GrandmaRubys.com is a family-oriented confection company run from the Midwest by two enterprising granddaughters of “Ruby” herself. Johanna “Jo” Long, 17, has raced since she was five years old, in the footsteps of father Donald. Her career highlights wins on some of the toughest proving grounds in all of short track racing – to include the Super Late Models Blizzard Series & Pro Late Models tour, racing against names such as Kyle Busch.

“We are excited to continue the relationship with GrandmaRubys.com as we forge ahead in the final races of the 2009 season,” said DMS team owner Eddie D’Hondt. “Johanna Long is an exciting young driver who has learned from some very talented people in our business. We think she has a very bright future ahead of her.”

About D’Hondt Motorsports:
D’Hondt Motorsports (DMS), headquartered in Mooresville, NC, is home to the No. 19 Toyota Camry ARCA RE/MAX Series team and the No. 92 Toyota NASCAR Nationwide Series team. With over 75 years of collective NASCAR & motorsports experience & excellence, from general management to crew, team D’Hondt is poised to skyrocket into NASCAR’s next generation. For more information about D’Hondt Motorsports, LLC, please visit www.dhondtmotorsports.com.

About GrandmaRubys.com:
Grandma Ruby's is a family-owned business with locations in Minnesota and Tennessee. The Carpenters, Harvey & Kari, live in Minnesota and the Junions, Dan & Marni, live in Tennessee. Kari and Marni are sisters and, in case you're wondering, Grandma Ruby is a real person - she's our grandma. When we decided to go into business together, we tossed around a lot of different names, but we chose to name our business after the person who had the most influence in our lives growing up together. We live miles apart now but we reminisce often about the laughter and joy during our childhood with Grandma Ruby, whom we affectionately called Mamo, and she had the ability to touch everyone she came in contact with in a positive and meaningful way. Raised during the Great Depression, Mamo knew how to make mundane foods and dessert into delectable meals that friends and neighbors would talk about for days. Of course, we kids liked the desserts best!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perfection vs. Wholeness

A funny thing happened to me last week. I had one of those weeks where I just found myself pushing, pushing, pushing to be perfect & please others. Of course, perfection being that crazy little animal that it is...I fell short each day. In the goal of pleasing others, I was just trying to give myself a version of instant gratification. (I.e., quit trying to put a bandaid on a broken fire hydrant).

After some deep thought & "vision boarding," I went to a great yoga class that had a fantastic theme. Sarah, my yoga teacher, gave us the challenge of "Perfection vs. Wholeness." What does that mean? It is highly applicable in almost any work situation or home situation.

Perfection: this equals the art of trying to 1) please others and 2) be perfect, with no other goal to strive for. Here's the problem with that: perfect just isn't possible. With perfect, comes pushing for something that is out of reach - through that push, you forget to see the accomplishments & strides you made along the way. All you remember is, "me, me, me." Celebrations become just another "step on the chain" of the travel to perfect (a city that doesnt exist.) Trust me, I've searched - perfect is not a purchasable destination on Orbitz. CheapUnfoundTickets.com, maybe...

Wholeness: the art of completing oneself, mind...body...and spirit. Not only is wholeness attainable, it is also completing a journey. Remember that game, Trivial Pursuit? There was a pie that players had to fill with wedges from all sorts of categories - making the ultimate "whole" pie. Arts, Culture, Sports, History...you get the picture. "The Well-Rounded Individual."

We should strive for the same in life - adding wedges as we complete important life goals & milestones.So the next time you have a day that you say to yourself..."arrrgggh, i just cant seem to make this PERfECT!" scratch it out of your brain. Perfect isn't a place you can go - and it might look like some Shangri-La, but let's be real...it ain't a sandy beach with a Grey Goose martini & a cabana boy waiting on you. Get real! Make it substantial instead. Go fill up your life pie and make it whole.

Take the "Perfection vs. Wholeness Challenge" this week and let me know how it goes! I'm still in it...filling up my wedges. This weekend, I added the wedges of humility, honor & stoicism...great to learn, but always a work in progress.

See ya rock stars!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dealing with "The Unexpecteds"

Ever had a last minute houseguest? Someone you haven't seen in a long time, don't mind giving hospitality...yet REALLY wish he'd picked a different week? In biz & in life, we have "The Unexpecteds" stop by a lot. Whether in business meetings, calls, events or situations - in some of our lives, they seem to drop by every day!

I had one of those weeks, so its a great topic. You can't plan ahead for those "whoa, now what" crazy times, but you can certainly control your reaction to them.

Top 10 Tips for Hosting "The Unexpecteds"

1) Remain calm. You can either choose to freak that they showed up, or think clearly on how to handle. Keep your cool...always keep your cool.
2) Breathe. This helps #1 as well. Before you respond to phone calls, emails or someone showing up on your doorstep...deep breath.
3) Find a solution. It's easy to get sidetracked when you have "unexpecteds" show up...especially if you are a very "black & white" problem solver like me. Get your brain back in focus by creating a series of potential solutions.
4) Think of comparable situations. Has this happened before? Or anywhere? If so, use it like a "case study" in real life - how did you deal (and did you deal well with it?) What would you do to improve the situation the second time around?
5) Keep it relative. No matter what, there are worse off situations happening daily in the world. Someone throwing an unexpected situation/event at you...isn't 1) world hunger, 2) an epidemic or 3) global warming...for instance. Meaning, everything, in little chunks...is solvable.
6) Go run. Or walk. Or jump. Before you tackle the inevitable, you need some serious endorphins. So rather than hitting the snack bar, hit the road...literally. Walk, run, exercise for 20 minutes - it'll free your head, get your positive chi running and get you focused!
7) Count your blessings. Much like the "keep it relative," this one is a lesson in, "you've got a lot to be thankful for." Even when something/someone gives you a wallop to turn you in a new direction, look it as just that - a new direction. You aren't necessarily veering off course - you could just be getting back on the right GPS.
8) Be spontaneous & live in the moment. Change is good, like they always say...it really is. You can't stop it, you've just got to live for each second of the change. Let it happen and just "be."
9) Drop your schedule. Since the moment has probably changed your momentum anyway, it's a good idea to forget the other "pre-planned events" on your schedule. You need to focus on this "unexpected," and deal with it to the positive - rather than push it under the rug.
10) Maintain professionalism. No matter what, don't lose your cool. Keep your composure and look at the bright side...you'll emerge with a new friend. Once the "Unexpecteds" leave your house, you'll be that much more prepared for the next situation!

As a recent book I read stated, "The oceans refuse no river." Be accepting of any situation, and you'll be a pro! To your rocks, rock stars...time to climb!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whatcha Got to Give? PR "Christmas in July!"

You hear a lot of “pay it forward” statements out of me lately. Well, that’s for a reason – IT WORKS. I travel a lot, and I get to hear a lot of stories these days. A friend who is trying so desperately to achieve his business dreams said to me last week, “I’m all but depleted. I’ve got so much in my business, all I have left is my smile.”

Walking away from him, I was pretty speechless at the time. What do you say to that? How is there consolation? After some good thought on an 8-hour motorcoach ride, I came up with it. We all have gifts to give, no matter how big or small. That might sound a little trite, but think about it (past the Hallmark card warm n’ fuzzy connotations).

The definition of a gift, thanks to Dictionary.com – “something given voluntarily w/o payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.” So we can be penniless, shelterless, and without “things.” We still have a lot to give, every day.

So in honor of “gifts,” and waking up each day to get excited about the gifts you’ll give and receive each day….here are the Girl Friday Top 10 GIFTS to give or receive. Call it my little PR version of “Christmas in July!”

1) Smiles. Okay, that’s what my friend had left. Can we say, free gift that can’t help but make other people smile?

2) Favors. Seems like these days, we are ALWAYS shorthanded and doing more with less. Do a favor for someone without them asking – to include plant watering, coffee getting – and watch that gift grow in its reception.

3) Business. Right now, there is nothing better for you to do than to support your local small business. Money under a mattress might make YOU feel better, but your neighbor is still trying to feed his children. One night out a week at the local ice creamery will give you family time, plus help American capitalism.

4) Food. This does not have to be expensive – bake brownies for the office (that whopping cost of $2.50 at your supermarket, and good old love and elbow grease). Even better…go healthy. Make up an unexpected salad for the office! My tummy would thank you!

5) Errands. Who has time anymore for anything? Offer to pick up a friends’ kids at b-ball practice with your own (even if it’s a 5 minute drive out of the way). Next time, they’ll repay it and YOU will have an extra 30 minutes of you time!

6) Prayers. This is the all time “free gift” that seems to pay amazing rewards. If you don’t pray, then think positive thoughts on someone else’s behalf. Remember that law of attraction – you’re swirling good vibes through the air.

7) Notes. The good old thank you note – nothing better, it’s a personal favorite of mine. It is a gift that shows you care, and that you would devote the time to think about someone else’s thoughtfulness.

8) Time. Either for another or for yourself, this is a priceless gift. Time with your family…precious seconds they will remember. Or time with yourself – meditating, gardening, exercising…whatever floats your boat!

9) An ear. The gift of listening…an awesome power. Another friend calls it, “holding your hair while you puke.” Sorry for the graphics, but it’s appropriate when you think about it – someone pours out their secrets, fears or ideas and feels better. You provide a gift of peace & comfort.

10) A service. If your business is landscaping, plant a garden for all of your neighbors to receive its bounty. It’s a simple prophecy, give to receive.

Did you ever watch the movie Pretty Woman? At the end, the guy on the street walks by in LA saying, “Everybody’s got a dream in this world. What’s YO’ dream?!” That’s my challenge to you…what’s your dream today?

Go give, and be surprised at what you receive. See ya Rock Stars! Happy Christmas in July!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No ACE in the Workplace

Have you ever heard of that ad jingle, “Ace is the place for your helpful Hardware Store?” I’m picturing a jolly John Madden across my computer screen. Giggling! Well, I’m going to teach you a new way to approach Ace (no offense major hardware store chain). In this week’s blog, we will chant our mantra, “NO ACE in the WORKPLACE.”

So you’re asking, “uh, what?” ACE. I like acronyms, to the dismay of many of my clients and friends…but hey, it’s a good memory point! ACE, for sake of this discussion, stands for:

Assumptions
Conditions
Expectations


I came up with these three “vices,” for lack of a better term, after looking inward at some of my weaknesses in the last few months. Women especially – we have a tendency to put “our all” into things, business and otherwise. Unfortunately, that passion runs the danger of putting too much stock in ideas, presentations and/or outcomes.

So this week, I want you to chant the mantra, “No ACE in the WORKPLACE.” When I say “ACE,” here’s how those three little vegetables in the bowl of Work Salad relate to keeping a clean palate:

1) ASSUMPTIONS: When we assume an outcome or answer from someone, it will usually end up in what I call a “Frying Pan to the Head” moment – meaning, you didn’t see it coming, but that assumption got thrown to the wind. For instance, if you walk into a meeting assuming a bad outcome such as a lost account…it will show on your face and wreak havoc on your game….most likely ending up in you losing the account. So word to the wise: don’t assume! Keep an open mind in any situation.

2) CONDITIONS: Much like assumptions, conditions are tough little animals. As my very wise Yoga instructor Sarah says, “When you put a condition on a relationship, situation or dilemma, you are choosing the receiving party’s answer for them.” Imagine yourself going on vacation (we’ve all done this) and saying, “I’ll have fun, but only if Aunt Sally doesn’t try to discipline my kids.” Poor Aunt Sally – she’s doomed, based on the condition you just put on her. Drop the conditions, again keeping an open mind…and be surprised at how cool “Aunt Sally” can actually be with your kids this time.

3) EXPECTATIONS: This is the top of the pyramid on vices…and the most common. We put expectations on everything we do – and that’s why so many self-help books have flooded the market…because we very rarely can live up to the high expectations we set for ourselves. Think about what you expect out of yourself, your family/kids, your relationships with friends, your job- and then think of how many times you actually had those expectations MET ? Drop the expectation game for ONE WEEK – my challenge – and you will feel a massive weight lifted off your back.

Did you get that there is an element of surprise to all three of these outcomes, if you drop ACE in the WORKPLACE? Yep, like I said, try it for a week. You will be, not only surprised, but I’ll go as far as to say AMAZED – at the very positive outcomes you’ll see by being so open. Don’t worry if you stumble here and there – it’s worth the learning for sake of the journey.

All the best, ROCK STARS - DKC

Don't miss Alli Owens, #19 as she takes on Kentucky on July 18th in the Click It or Ticket 150 at Kentucky Speedway...makin' history, one track at at time! AlliOwens.com or DHondtMotorsports.com for more information.
demi@girlfridaypr.com

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sales 101: How to Close a Deal in "Downomics"

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of salespeople singin’ the blues. The whole, “well, if the economy was better I’d sell…” C’mon guys, enough Weather Reports. From a very wise former employer…we don’t need to know it’s raining. Just sell something…capitalism might be moving out, but entrepreneurship is King these days – and SALES is at the very heart of it all!

TOP 5 WAYS TO CLOSE THE DEAL IN "DOWN TIMES" (BEST TIME EVER)

1) Quit seeing people as dollar signs. Most prospects aren’t stupid – they are under the gun Marketing & Sales VPs who are doing more with less (people and budgets), and they get an average of 5 sales cold calls a day. When you DO get them on the phone, don’t instantly hit them with your pitch – ask them about their brand goals and how YOU can help THEM. Don’t be afraid to use humor – I once gave a guy an offer of $5 Starbucks just to listen to my elevator pitch. Why he emailed me back – he was laughing because he was 80 miles from the nearest Starbucks but loved my enthusiasm. Don’t think I didn’t find his local coffee grind and send him a custom basket.

2) At the end of the day, it’s not about YOU. Hate to bring this up, but remember “Death of a Salesman?” If you hate what you’re doing, it becomes all about you – and this is about the brand and/or company that you’re selling (ie, it’s about them). Remember to keep your phrasing and your end action point about what THEY need, not your commission or your new client win. People might not be in business to be friends, but high level VPs buy & sell with people they like…hands down.

3) Marketing Directors can smell fear – are you scared? When salespeople don’t get paid, they panic and it shows all over their face…it’s well known from the marketing side that it’s “smellable in an office.” Don’t show your poker chips, it will kill the deal every time…calm down, relax and walk into each meeting thinking you’re going to meet a new contact – not finally feed your 3 kids and husband or pay your mortgage with this deal.

4) Numero Uno rule – DO YOUR RESEARCH before picking up a phone. I used to get tons of cold calls a day, many times people mispronouncing my name (yet they wanted $50k in business). Think about how you feel when you get that dreaded 6pm telemarketing call from someone completely unrelated to your buying habits – you cringe and make up an excuse to get off the phone. Don’t be “that guy” with a Marketing Director – if you get them on the phone, you’re already past the hardest hurdle…you better know what they do, what their business stands for and how you can solve their pain with your product or service.

5) Find out how to best reach your contact – and respect that they are busy. Phone calls are the old standby for sales, but today’s generations have grown up sans phone (yes, folks, there are 30-year old marketing directors who like to text or email). It’s not about being antisocial, it’s about being busy with 3 peoples’ jobs on their plate – learn how they like to be best contacted, and you’re that much closer to getting a response. Many dread coming out of a meeting to see "22 Voicemails" on their Avaya phone - but they can shoot off email responses in meetings. Again, just be courteous and be a friend with respect!

At the end of the day, Aretha said it best. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what that means to me.” Respect your prospects and the door will open wider, not just that crack you’ve been waiting for – and when you find out what it means to them, you just might close that golden deal.

Good luck and GREAT weekend, ROCK STARS! DKC

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Eat Crow: Lessons Learned in Staying Humble

Have you ever totally “hard charged” a meeting, knowing you were super confident & could literally own the room from start to finish…but then got completely checked when you overwhelmed everyone? Or have you ever walked into a situation thinking you know WAY more than you do, and overcompensating in order to “save face” with your peers or superiors?

Oooof (that's my kick to you in the gut). How’d that feel? Yep, I’ve been there (c'mon, every Girl Friday stumbles on her pre-meeting Sbux runs here and there). Here are five ways to learn a "keep it real" lesson in any situation – and be proactive enough to walk into that next meeting, business call or prospecting appointment, “sharp & on the ready!”

1) Never assume. If you walk into a situation overconfident (and salespeople, do not mix “amping yourself up for a situation” with overconfidence – you can get your game face on without getting cocky)…you automatically assume that everyone else cares. Hello, this is not about you – and when you assume it centers around you, it takes objectivity out of the scenario completely.

2) Listen. It’s like Mom always said, “open your ears & knowledge will flow in.” If you focus on others, it gives you a chance to not only empathize, but also help find a solution to the challenge they might face. Listen, and remember you should be an active listener.

3) Follow up to #2 – choose your responses wisely after listening. Since you’ll already be a new Empathy Expert, now it’s your true challenge – how you respond. Don’t feel pressured to have some wise solution – sometimes, silence & more time to process is just what the group needs. Hot air doesn’t power a factory – smart energy does.

4) Learn something in every meeting. Find a takeaway. I found out an amazing lesson one day, ha ha – that when I shut up, it actually opened up my ears enough to not only PROCESS what others were saying in the meeting, but actually LEARN something in the meantime. We’ve got a finite amount of time on this “business earth” as individuals – it’s worth our while to find an educational aspect about every interaction we have in business.

5) Don’t read your own press releases. A friend of mine wrote this into a contract for his employees, and I love it – meaning, stay humble. In all facets of an organization, humility garners you general respect, no matter the person you’re speaking with and nor what level of expertise. Keep it humble, REAL and honest - and your employees, vendors & peers will seek you out for regular guidance.

Remember – you can ALWAYS keep your rock star status without looking pushy, overconfident or cocky. It’s all about listening to what’s inside, rather than worrying about portraying what’s on your outside. Be YOU, every day, and be a BETTER you. That’s the challenge.

Until next time, rock stars. Go get your sales! (Oh, and if you need help with that: internal plug, drop me a line at demi@girlfridaypr.com.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

How Many People Will Come to Your Funeral?

Top 5 Ways to Lead an Enriching Life in Business

I lost an amazing friend this past week - someone who inspired thousands of people in his work, personal life and through a very full existence. He managed to pack, in a mere 38 years, at least 300 years of living. This weekend, I will attend his wake & memorial service with friends & family...and there are expected to be HUNDREDS of people there to celebrate this special life (and I say "celebrate," because it is not a time of mourning - JG would have wanted us to throw a party instead!)

I fought with this blog submission all week - how do you write about this? It came to me pretty easily, because I have been so very touched by HOW MANY people have reached out via Facebook, email, CaringBridge and alumni sites to express their emotion. How could one person be like a brother to hundreds and hundreds? Easy. He just subscribed to the theory that everyone was family & treated them as such, every day...and reaped the rewards of having so many unique experiences with so many amazing people.

So in his honor and spirit, and subscribing this to business...how many people would attend your funeral if you died? It's not a popularity contest - it's about how many people you've touched along the way. Here are the top 5 tips to "give back" to others. I'm going to start living them myself!

1) Give back to someone, every day. Relationships, friendships, marriage & family are all work (we like to forget that...since they are "there" all the time, we don't necessarily need to invest in them like we do our work life). Well, we do, every day - and we need to invest the most. By connecting and reconnecting with the people closest to us, we continue cultivating rewarding and fulfilling experiences....thus making the full 24 hours of your day more eventful. It wil make you feel better, even if you're having a bad day, to do something for someone else.

2) Find your inner "six degrees of separation". Go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or your alumni websites and find old friends. Don't be afraid that "they won't remember you" or "he didn't like me in high school," you'd be surprised how willing & open people are to just connect with their past. In the journey, you'll be rewarded with new friends, old friends and "friends of friends" who can share stories about the bigger picture. Your network will grow in more ways than just work!

3) Subscribe to the Laundry Theory. A dear friend taught me this one who gives to people all the time...this means, you don't ever look over your shoulder when giving and providing to and for others, you just do it and in time it all comes out in the laundry. If it doesn't, then that person probably doesn't subscribe or understand the meaning of your gift. So give, and give often.

4) Don't sweat the small stuff. When you have tiffs here and there, it's easy to internalize them, dwell about them and want to hold a grudge. Why would we? We're given a finite amount of time on this earth, and every second we spend angry at others is a selfish moment that we can't get back. Lose the attitude and the ego - when things "don't go your way," accept the difference and shrug it off!

5) Tim McGraw sang it best..."Live Like You Were Dying." He's right - if you give it your all, all of the time no matter what you're doing (personal life, work life, spiritual life), you will open yourself up to so many experiences and journeys. Don't wish time away if you're having a bad day - tomorrow you'll wake up after losing 24 hours, and still feel the same. Make it a great day, every day!

So the next time someone says to you, "Let's go to that one-armed arm wrestling contest that's here for one day only!" Instead of laughing it off, take them up on it - because if it will enrich your life; give you quality time with others whom you love; give you a story you can't beat; or just plain give you multiple belly laughs...it was worth it.

If you'd like to find out more about the person who inspired this post, Major Jason E. George, here are a few links:

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x1393099401/Fallen-son-Former-Tehachapi-man-killed-in-Iraq

http://projects.latimes.com/wardead/name/jason-e-george/

http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12378

To be inspired on Facebook via his Memorial Page:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=79901088950&ref=mf

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who Moved My Chi?

Top 10 Ways to Keep Positive Energy in Your Work Environment

Ever walk in the door to your workplace, open it, and instantly feel drained? Why is that? It's because you need your own personal version of a "workplace Red Bull," that' why. Negative times breed negative attitudes, which breed what I like to call "Negative Nellies." Are you a Negative Nellie right now? Here are some tips to lose the 'tude...and retune your positive chi!

1) Get your "game face" on. Yep, it's not just for Tiger Woods - learn to amp yourself up on your AM drive time. Throw some hot tunes on the iPod, reward yourself with a Sbux Chai Latte to start the day, or silently pray/recite thanks for what you have in the world.

2) Dress the part. Break out that red "listen to what I'm saying boys" dress (or guys, no need for cross dressing here - you get the picture...throw on a power tie). Make a point to dress one part dressier than the rest - if you feel good, others notice that you feel good.

3) Do one rewarding "pay it forward" thing for someone else. You know the feeling you get when you volunteer for a great cause, or raise funds for a charity? Apply the same to the workplace & you'll feel the same satisfaction. Today's offices have less people doing more work - do something nice to take the load off of a fellow employee, and they will reward you in spades...and will do the same for you.

4) Write 5 "positive affirmations" on a page & use it when you get into a "I'm dealing with Stupid" moment. Everyone's stressed out these days, we get it - but it's no reason to take it out on someone else (and it's like a drinking binge...feels good that night, but boy does it suck afterwards). Write down 5 positive statements about your day - it can be as simple as, "I can get along with anyone." When you get that angry customer on the phone, recite it in your head and remember that you can stay cool at all times.

5) Have a winner's attitude & the law of attraction (and your boss) will work in your favor. Everyone likes a winner, and they want to associate with one. The only difference between winners and losers, is that winners do what losers don't want to do; are afraid to do; or refuse to do.

6) Tackle a tough project. Nothing proves your mettle to you or someone else like doing a great job at something you have NO knowledge about. Test your limits and jump outside your comfort zone - not only will you feel rewarded, but you'll get "props" from others who didn't know you had it in you!

7) Fix something or find a solution. Followup to tip #6 - when you are part of a solution, you feel like you accomplished something as part of the bigger whole. Be a team player, make a process more efficient or find cost savings in your job sphere.

8) Reward yourself for "good workplace behavior." If you keep it clean for a week, pay it forward, get kudos from your boss, etc - set a weekend goal. Buy that new shirt in a hot color you wanted. Or go get an awesome pedicure for the summer. Pavlov proved it best with the pups - stimulus, response!

9) Recite the statement, "There's No Crying in Baseball!" Tom Hanks said it best in A League of Their Own...meaning, put your pants on one leg at a time, like everyone else - and get over it! Roll up your sleeves and get the job done...and you'll feel better about creating a work product at the end of the day.

10) Treat your job like a spouse for a day - fall in love with it. At the end of the day, if you really hate your job, you will do nothing but dread coming in every day. Refocus your attention on what you love to do...and if it's not what you are currently doing, write a business plan for yourself to "get to what you love" within the next year.

Onwards and upwards, my ROCK STARS in development...quit moving your own Chi! Email demi@girlfridaypr.com if you need more Chi help...or just to help increase your sales!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Introduction to the Friday Sizzle

I’ll be blogging on a variety of topics that will be useful to your weekly life:

- How to get ahead in marketing WITHOUT spending your hard-earned $$$
- Using PR to your best advantage
- How to bring out your “inner Rock Star”
- Everyone can be in Sales

…and MORE! Stay tuned, watch next week for my first official Friday Sizzle. In the meantime, make today a rock star day for yourself!