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