Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Things I'm Grateful For From 2010

It's that time of year...time to be grateful. I wish I could say our gratitude reached far and wide 365 days a year (I'd like to think the world would be a much more peaceful place), but hey, that's life! Before my website gets updated and this blog gets a refresh, I wanted to reflect on my 2010 and give thanks to the folks around me.

So rather than a "12 Days of Christmas," I give you a "12 Groups of People GFPR is Thankful For in 2010." My twist on an old favorite...and my grazzis to all! Without further adieu...

1) Family. Without you putting up with my travel, my ideas, my crazy "next big thing," and living life out of a pocketful of dreams...I wouldn't exist. Here's to sprinkling that little patch of stardust back your way, and thanks for all you've done to support me physically, mentally, emotionally and financially!

2) Kids. Every single day, I can look at the world through a 4- and 6-year-old's eyes. How cool is that? I'll tell you, way cool. Everything I do, I do for two little girls to look up at me someday and say, "mom, you blazed the trail. I knew I could do anything in my life without limits." Thanks Maiz and Willa for being the push off the cliff - and reminding me that sometimes life is all about dressing up like a princess & refusing to take a bath. :)

3) Racers. From bankruptcy to millionaires and back, this is one population of people who should (or maybe shouldn't) run Wall Street. They personify the American Dream, as well as being able to chase it. Not afraid to roll the dice, they'll put everything on the line in the name of doing what they love. I wish every single person on earth knew that way of living on the edge - it's a great reminder that YES, we are all ALIVE! Success or failure, they give it every ounce of what is inside them. Absolute thanks for that inspiration, it makes me work harder for my clients...knowing that stake in the game.

4) Runners. You can't be negative and run 12 miles in the rain or snow on a Saturday, when everyone else is asleep. Runners know that they are a little tweaky, off base from the rest of the world - but at the same time, that drive and determination runs the spirit of everyone around them. They take that warmth from a long run and let it be their buzz - and it radiates to others. So thank you, runners of the world...for motivating us, pushing out the door when it's 8 degrees, and proving that life is just about having the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Starts there!

5) People in the world who say "I can't." You're the ones I want to motivate - I just haven't gotten to you yet! Honestly, when you say that you can't, it's a mental click that makes it so. I used to live that way my whole life - protecting myself with a fear mechanism that I thought would keep me doing things that would instantly fail. Well, here I am, big girl, and I've had a lot of "cliff jumping" moments that didn't work...and just as many that did. It really is all about the journey - and yes, you CAN.

6) Vegans. For every vegan, there is a naysayer. A restaurant that doesn't serve food you can eat. Or a person in your inner circle who says, "How on EARTH? And WHY?" Then, there's that inner desire to make a positive change for yourself and your health. I absolutely salute your commitment - making recipes that take twice as long; or driving 20 miles outside your house for a vegetable; or passing that restaurant. Your quiet diligence pushes me to go "full tilt" first of the year from a vegetarian to a full vegan.

7) Scott Jurek. You are my hero. A vegan ultramarathoner, not only do you show the naysayers that yes, it CAN be done - but you do it with a quiet positivity. Without every giving criticism to the critics, it's that type of stoicism that helps prove the cause. Not every vegan is a blood-throwing PETA member - sometimes it's just your neighbor; or your co-worker; or your run partner.

8) Selfless yogis. I qualify this, just because there are some yogis out there that are just as commercial as an infomercial. The ones who aren't...who stay after class to help a student learn a posture; or who drive to do seva (service) work miles from your home, for free; or who strive to bring yoga to new populations and better the world. Thank you, you are why I became a teacher.

9) Selfless people. Not just yogis are selfless...there are a lot of amazing, inspirational, humble people out there who are making a difference - without a camera, or a pen, or a mouthpiece to a media outlet. To you, thank you for pushing through with your work, and thank you on behalf of humanity. You give us a gift every day for our children and grandchildren.

10) Teachers. Note I could have said "world leaders" or "pacifists" or "dealmakers." Well, behind every successful one of those is a set of really amazing teachers. The ones, much like yogis, who pour their all into their students (without rock star salaries). Thank you for creating our next set of diligent, peaceful world leaders. We appreciate you.

11) Eccentrics. This is a broad spectrum of people - from those who dare to think differently; to those who tinker in their garage to make the "next big thing" despite the naysayers; to the comedians of the world (famous and infamous) who keep us laughing. Without a quirky push in our lives and a drive to be creative, life is just going through the motions. Thank you for keeping me smiling, as well as keeping hope alive.

12) YOU! Last but not least...thank you for being in my life! I read a quote the other day that said, "People don't just fall into your life. They are around you because you fostered them in." So for whatever karmic reason that you and I communicate, I appreciate what you have done to give my life meaning and reason. THANK YOU for hopefully making me a better person.

Grazzi, grazzi, grazzi...my gratitude for you all! May your holidays be merry, bright and full of laughter. Then, let's get out there and make the fireworks happen - MAKE YOUR 2011 FULL OF PROMISE! Let life take your breath away! Peace, Girl Friday

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Set Your House on Fire

"Do you ever feel just so paper thin, like a house of cards, just one blow from caving in?" -Katy Perry

Can you tell I've been downloading some running songs lately? Well, I have to admit that I love Katy Perry's new song, "Firework." Dedicated to help stop the bullying against gay & lesbian teens, it's also a nice anthem for anyone who's in a rut. "Baby you're a firework, show them what you're worth." Who WOULDN'T respond to a call to action like that?

I'm in an era of self-discovery myself, and I'm doing it while running a new business. I have people doubting me all the time (especially in a my primary industry of stock car racing) - questioning if I really belong there amidst the guys. It's okay, I'm not judging whatsoever - it's an absolute privilege to be at a racetrack to work, and I like to think I don't flaunt it. I also understand that I have a flair for the flamboyant - so if you saw a set of blond pigtails speeding towards you with a headset on, a notebook in hand and pen in mouth, you'd probably do a double take. What the? Who tha? Head scratch....

That's what I think is cool about the whole situation. At my core, I really have no care for what people think of me. I've had every label that you can have, based on pre-judgements, insecurities or even positives. In order to really light the fire within, you can't be afraid of what others think. You've got to set your "inner house" on fire to discover those fireworks that Katy Perry is talking about. Once you love yourself, you're going to radiate that out into the world. And at that point, it won't matter if you paint your face blue, wear pigtails or dreadlocks or shave your head - it's YOU that matters.

I'd love to sit here and say "your work should speak for itself." Well, our society has a long history of branding those with individuality - which translates to an innate sense of self. So rather than going down that road, I'll just give this advice.

1) Work hard, no matter what it is you do. Do it well first, then love it.
2) Be yourself. If you don't know what that means, then FIND YOURSELF.
3) Find yourself = peel the onion. What do you love? What do you NOT love? Be that.
4) Find ways to set your inner house on fire. What have you put off today, this week?

I guarantee you, once you find a passion inside, you just lit the flame of what makes you tick. Once you do that - man, watch out! You will be setting the stage for igniting your own spirit.

My pigtails were an accident - it was a hot day, and I had been doing it to my daughter's hair. I figured I could still put a headset on with pigtails, rather than one ponytail. What began as a utilitarian experiment became what sparked what's at my core - a spritely, energetic Girl Friday that runs like a fire. It really can be as simple as that.

Let it shine, baby, let it shine - make those colors burst...BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Peace.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cruisin' Downhill

Yes - crash, burn, fly downhill at the speed of light. Let all your cares blow away with the wind and just FAIL. Screw the world, no one has helped you, right?

Or not.

Cruising downhill is a runner's term. You see, all beginner runners start out doing the same thing (it's pretty textbook) - they take off running and see a downhill and think, "oh yeah, this is where I'll book it and make up some serious time." The more experienced runners shake their head and let them pass, knowing the outcome. Lo and behold, as they press to the uphill (because yes, everything that goes up must come down, and vice versa- that which goes down, must come back up)...they start the burnout process.

Weak knees, burning calves, heaving chest...all due to bad energy management. As time goes on, that novice runner learns to "cruise" downhill- meaning using energy super efficiently. Tucking elbows in to sides, letting legs "go" (rather than tensing up & speeding up), going loose like jello and breathing consistently. That way, when they get to the uphill, they are ready for a steady incline and "spurts" if necessary on a jaggy hill.

How does that apply to life? Well, in my world, running has everything to do with life. Think about it, the last time you "fell downhill" in business - call it failure, or call it just plain got down on yourself. It was a big fat downward spiral, probably - speeding through negativity, letting it snowball on itself and adding more limiting beliefs to the equation. So once you got through the process of the downturn and looked to the uphill in the distance - you just didn't have the oompf. How is that a recipe for winning the race? Um, it's kinda not.

So here's a scenario - next time you feel like you're spiraling...be it in a business relationship (say you haven't been paid by a client; or you just lost an account for your company; or you can't find funding for a venture; or you're not in that dream job). There are a million examples here - the only consistent being that feeling of snowballing downhill.

Take a deep breath, and see what you can do to tuck those elbows in, conserve your energy, and go loose. Loose = calm in almost any situation, and once you're loose, you can assess a situation and pinpoint a solution. After you've loosened up, see the positive and make it your "uphill." So if you haven't found that dream job, where have you been looking? Go turn over a completely different rock in a completely different place, and go ahead and take on that uphill.

I guarantee if you cruise in your downhill, you'll have that breath and energy to look forward to any uphill - and completely conquer it. So go get to cruisin' and find your inner rock star!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanks, Thanks and More Thanks

Gratitude. It seems appropriate to have a post about giving thanks, especially as we're moving into the Thanksgiving holiday season in the States. When we think of gratitude in business, we normally associate it with being thankful for the people around us who do things for us. However, I'll pose the question to you - have you ever just given thanks for the blessings & opportunities in your business life...or even further, just thanked yourself?

I'll take it one audience at a time. Giving thanks for the blessings in your business life. Here's what I mean - okay, yes, people do things to help advance your career, or bring you clients, or give you funding. That's awesome, be thankful for sure! Flip that coin though, and take a moment to look around you during your day. What do you have around you? A house or shelter or a place of business; a world full of opportunities at your fingertips - with a phone call, an email, a meeting; a circle of friends or associates who really do mean well by you, but ones who don't necessarily have to do something for you, for you to appreciate them.

Jeffrey Gitomer, one of the prominent sales trainers in the States, once said, "The key isn't to call the decision maker. The key is to have the decision maker call YOU." How does that happen? I like to think it's one part REALLY doing what you do to the absolute, passionate, to-the-wall best of your ability; one part taking care of your customers or clients like family; and one part, having amazing gratitude for the people, places and things around you. It's not just positive energy - it's FAITH that with a humble, grateful attitude, all things return to you in time.

Second audience - giving thanks to YOURSELF...well, you've heard that advertising slogan, "You deserve a break today." Yep, that's right, you. Give yourself a little mental pat on the back for what you've accomplished today, this week, this year. Cut yourself some slack while you're at it, because we have a tendency to be the hardest on ourselves. When we forget to be grateful for our health, our mental well-being, our talents - that's when we lose immunity in both our personal health arena as well as business.

Being confident enough to thank yourself isn't boastful - it's incredibly necessary. For you to be able to bring enthusiasm to your job and the people around you, you have to be able to admit that everything is just fine. That calm, cool, centeredness comes from being aware of where you are and what you're doing. I know I preach about being present all the time, but it really is a gift to yourself - so BE PRESENT.

Wherever you are today, do two things. First, reach out to someone in your immediate sphere of influence and give thanks for their presence in your business life. You'll find it's amazing how that gets passed on to someone else. Second, take a massive inhale and an even deeper exhale. Close your eyes, feel gravity take your chest down on the exhale...and thank yourself for where you are today. The future will come, the outcomes unknown.

But for right now, just put gratitude in your conscious world. And by the way, thanks for reading this - I appreciate you. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Sizzle - Grab a Costume, Shake it Off

Okay, don't shake off the costume...that could get a little crazy. Yep, it's HALLOWEEN again, and the kids and crazies are all coming out with bells and costumes on. My kids' choice this year - a dalmation and Neytiri from Avatar. At first I laughed - I don't think you could get two more polar opposite kids. After thinking about it though, it makes complete sense.

Both of my kids are individuals, but they are incredibly passionate about what they love to do or love to follow (I'd have to say, that's American consumerism at its finest on the one hand; on the other, it's youthful innocence who wear their hearts on their sleeves). Both chose costumes of what they admired, who they wanted to BE in life. For Maizie, my oldest, she loved Neytiri in that movie - I haven't seen her moved like that in a while by anything, much less a blue creature with dreads! Back to the point - what she admired was the chance to be skillful among the boys; a graceful expert within her people; a respected member of a tribe; and a "tough girl."

So bring that same philosophy in our business world - like begets like, and we become what we hang around with. It's our choice to seek out people who we want to "be" like when we grow up - people who will be good mentors or friends; help us grow in our careers; or just become a better person overall. Sometimes, it's easier to find the people to hang around that are how we feel - maybe they complain about the economy; or they don't know what to do in their lives; or they feel lost. It's good to be a friend to others, but if the majority of your friends are in this mindset, it's going to be more challenging to keep your mental state moving forward.

I'm not advising you to ditch your friends - actually, quite the opposite. This time of year is awesome for dropping the inhibitions and grasping what you want to be. Okay, so that might be one night, Halloween, through a costume - but who's judging? Not me. I'm all about a catalyst for change, and if it's a Wonder Woman costume that gets you jarred out of negative thinking, by all means - GO TO TOWN! You can also support friends in this effort, especially if they are feeling down. Have a good time, use it as a creative tool to speak a "vision board" of sorts - if they had anyone in the world to choose who they'd like to be, who would it be? How can they take on those traits? How can they ultimately win here?

So go grab a costume, start your change. You never know - maybe YOU are the one who someone else wants to be like someday. It all starts with a little spark!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BE BOLD. THINK BOLD.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have been on the “positive thinking” journey for a year now. I’ve poured through The Secret, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, The Happiness Project, and most recently, It’s Your Time by Joel Osteen (and just about everything he’s ever written). I started a business about 14 months ago, and it was with the idea that I am absolutely committed to a dream and making it work.

In the process, I’ve taken a lot of risks. The foundation behind risk is a huge level of confidence – that kind of unflagging, unwavering, absolute belief in oneself that no one can “naysay.” I’ve produced four vision boards with my dreams plastered all over them; written my affirmations on paper, releasing them to the universe at the beginning and the end of each day for a year (with a few tweaks here and there…it’s fun to look at the drafts). Now, I’m ready to take it to a new level- making those affirmations BOLD, SUPERNATURAL STATEMENTS.

Going through your life, it’s easy to think that there are other people who are “worse off” than you are. Meaning, Joe the neighbor lost his job last year and hasn’t found anything new – so HE is the one who deserves blessings today to find something. Or Suzy has been sick with a debilitating disease, so SHE is the one who deserves prayers first in her life. Now, I don’t want to get controversial – yes, of course Joe and Suzy need your prayers and your positive thoughts. However, you were put on this earth to do something AMAZING.

That amazing thing might not be realized or actualized just yet, but every time you think you don’t deserve to have those big dreams come to fruition (meaning, someone else deserves it more, or you have “a good life” already and should just be thankful for that) – you are doing yourself a disservice. Joel Osteen likes to put it this way – he’s all about being humble and thankful for what he has, but he sure would be sad if he found out his big dream was just a mile away from his acceptance of living in his “okay life.”

What does this mean today? At its basic level, DREAM BIG, BOLD DREAMS. When I heard this, I took a look at my affirmations on paper. I realized that I had a lot of “wills.” Translation – I wrote down things that could happen someday, but really weren’t worth a hill of beans until I put them BIG AND BOLD in the present tense. Here, I’ll give you an example. My business is primarily in NASCAR PR, although I have clients outside of motorsports. I love motorsports, and my top affirmation used to say, “I will have a NASCAR hard card with full-time paying clients in all three Series in 2011.”

Positive statement, right? Sure, but it says I WILL. I will what, and when? That could be years from now. So throwing a BIG statement, nice and bold, rewritten: “I HAVE a NASCAR hard card with full-time paying clients in all three Series in 2011.” Now, it’s present tense, and it’s up to me to keep making the phone calls, doing the work, exceeding expectations and going the extra mile for my current clients. The added bonus – everything I do for them this year makes strides so that THEY can be those full-time teams next year. It’s a win win, because I have faith in them too.

So not to make this all about me, but it’s a good example. I’m living proof that dreaming big isn’t selfish. You’re literally just fulfilling the universe’s full promise for you, so that once you leave this earth you can look back and say, “I did what I was supposed to do for the world.”

If you don’t know what that dream or purpose is just yet, it’s okay. Take some time to tap into things you love to do. How can you make that something that you do every day and help others? Make a plan, and write down BOLD STATEMENTS to get there. Don’t worry about the how. The how figures itself out after you state the WHAT. Be a rock star and be bold!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Who, me...volunteer in my work life?

I'm going to tackle a semi-controversial topic in this blog - but hey, I've never been one to shy away from at least a LITTLE controversy. If it starts a conversation, it's worth a shot.

The "V" word. No, not high school biology - actually, volunteerism. I don't mean in the traditional sense...via a soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, or some other nonprofit service venture. Today, I'm talking about volunteering to heed your calling. Maybe I'm a little more guilty of this one than others, as I run my own business and have to get creative as to building new relationships. The more I think on it, however, I think it applies to any adult - whether you run your own firm, or you work for a corporation.

Let's put it this way - do you have a dream? Okay, most of us would say, "yes, affirmative" on that one. If you don't, no offense, but start thinking & start...um...living? Segue, sorry. Back to that dream - what are you willing to do in order to make that dream a reality? Sacrifice? Toil? Make a financial contribution?

Well, what if I told you that you don't have to do any of the above? Well, unless you consider going unpaid a "sacrifice," which I'd deem a little dramatic. Your dream is waiting in the wings for you, just ready for you to take steps to actualize it. Depending on what it is, I guarantee if you volunteer your time first towards that cause, it will be karmic debt paid to you to increase your odds of a succesful venture.

Scratching your head? Okay, example time. Every client I've ever signed on in my firm, with the exception of my former employer (whom I consult for now) - I volunteered my services, or came on at a reduced rate, for first. It might sound insane, and yes, I've certainly had some interesting stories along the way - but it was the single most important way I could build trust with my future clients. If I believed in what they were doing SO much, that I would put my most valuable asset in life - time - on the line for them...how could they not know I was on board?

Each active client pays now, and I've earned that keep - and even to the tune of referrals, which is incredibly humbling. Do I have to still get out there and work it every day? ABSOLUTELY, I'm a small business owner. My day screams hustle. Love it!

BIG POINT HERE - massive emphasis - not every venture you volunteer for, will actually turn into business. Put a huge stamp on that letter in your head that says, "that's not why I'm doing this." Volunteering in business is not a means to an end, you can't approach it with ulterior motives. If you approach it almost like an internship with said business or person, you gain the following towards your dream: 1)field knowledge, ie, "boots on the ground entrenchment;" 2)valuable relationships; 3)resume building.

I also want to make the point that this is going towards a DREAM - meaning, something you're probably not doing right now in your daily life. For me, it was starting my PR firm and stating the affirmations every day, "I go above & beyond for every single client who trusts me with their business," and "I am THE most successful PR person that will ever exist on the planet." Bold dreams, bold statements...but both statements that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make happen. No ego here- it's destiny and I believe it.

Joel Osteen gives a great quote - "You have to pray BOLD prayers. You have to watch out for the little ones, as you just might get what you pray for today." So in that quest to achieve your dream, throw it out there to the universe - and then give your TIME & energy to it. Volunteer. Build your base. Quit having an ego (and I work in some pretty ego-driven industries). Who cares what you make? The ones who care are the ones who are not responsible for your dreams.

So the next time you approach that dreaded "V" word in business, don't be afraid to go do it. As long as it's a NEW venture, you're ready, willing & able to go prove yourself as a new expert in your dream field - & the money will come. I promise.

In the name of V, rock stars...DKC

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Step Out of Your Ego Box - Say "Hi"

When was the last time you really met someone new and felt a good connection? When I say that, I’m not talking about anything weird – I’m talking about a person or group in your life that has changed it for the better. That could be a friend, a relationship, a family member or a complete stranger. Many times? No times? That leads me into the point of my blog and followup question – if you said “a long time ago,” or “never,” when was the last time you started a conversation with a complete stranger?

Getting there now? Okay, so it’s about taking the challenge of meeting someone new. See, I travel a lot, consulting with a few different industries ranging from homebuilding to yoga to NASCAR. That’s a pretty DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED set of people – yoga and NASCAR. Not two words that I would lump together, minus a really interesting Halloween costume perhaps. The totally awesome (pardon my “eighties-ness”here) part of this, is that I meet so many new, different, cool-in-their-own skin people every week.
Not only does everyone have a story, but meeting these new people makes this huge global world seem tinier by the minute.

For instance, I just subbed a private yoga instruction class for a friend, and I happened to be teaching the mom of a playmate in my daughter’s new pre-K class (the yoga class was in a remote location). I’ve also met NASCAR folks who went to high school with college friends from 10 states away; CEOs on planes who were looking for a place to put money (ie, thus supporting a team I worked with); and just plain new friends.
It helps that I like to think everyone is a friend, no matter what happens to push us away or closer together in the universe.

Your world is as small or big as your connections to other human beings, and it all starts with a “hi.” I rarely miss an opportunity in an airport, on a plane, in a store or at an event to open my mouth and talk to someone I’ve never met before. Let’s face it – yes, it takes energy…but how boring and solitary would your life and/or your travels be without new relationships?

As long as you choose to treat these new friends with care – ie, it’s a FRIENDSHIP, not a guarantee of business, or time, or energy for your purposes or ulterior motives – usually it will end up with great return. That might mean them suggesting a business contact for you (or giving you their business themselves/for their own company), or just mean a cool new friend to visit the next time you’re in _____ (insert city here). Oh, and it might be close – like just saying hi to your next door neighbor every once in a while.

Because after all, we live in our own little world sometimes, with our own challenges and opportunities. It’s nice to open your eyes a little wider and branch out. A good friend of mine once said, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid/tired/angry/hurt/bored?” So stop making excuses, go say hi to someone you’ve never met. I guarantee that you’ll do nothing but gain in the end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Loss is Gain

I flew back from my grandmother’s funeral yesterday. She was the last of my grandparents to leave this world and venture on into the next, and that was a special kind of moment for me. Not only was she part of the “Greatest Generation” in our time, but she was also what I would consider my biggest loss.

My entire life, she was my inspiration – one of the first female Marines who joined in WWII, she was a trailblazer from the start. A teen model, she was a “looker” until well in her 80s – with a shock of red hair and a flair for the dramatic, in dress, jewels and attitude.

I sat on the flight home and reflected on my loss – what an amazing person, how could I ever contribute her style of love and devotion to her seven grandkids…the ones who adored her, couldn’t wait to run out of the car at Dahl House, our beloved family retreat, to join her on the dock to catch a big Chesapeake Bay Jimmy?
Then I remembered that loss is always gain.

For the last several years, Gram was in an assisted living facility. Slowly, she went from being an independent woman with a fiery disposition and a lot of love and thought for others, to being dependent on those others to take care of her. She had quality of life, yes – but she wasn’t the free-spirited, spunky Gram who fed me Tang, Snickers bars and sugar cereal when my mom wasn’t looking.

Her freedom came this past week – now, I like to think of her wading around in the water “upstairs” with my granddad, then dressing to the nines to go out to “the Club” with him for dinner and drinks. They are both youthful, happy and bright. How does that translate to me, or you, and loss?

Well, think of it this way…when was the last time that you lost something – a person, a beloved object, or something that you had centered yourself around for some time. That could also mean a job that you toiled at for years that resulted in a change, or a divorce, or a move. At first, the loss is poignant, stabbing and throughout your whole body. How can you survive without ____?

After some time though, that stabbing pain subsides, and you start to focus in on growth. What was the meaning of that loss? If it was a person (as in my case), what did you learn from them that you can pass on into others (or how did they inspire you to ignite change?) Ghandi had a great saying, “Be the change you want to see in this world.” If it was a person or thing that changed you, when you lose it, become that change in order to grow.

I know with my Gram, she was a spitfire. She was way ahead of her time, and she was part of the “bleeding edge” of women who weren’t afraid to challenge social norms, nor “bust through” the cultural mindsets we fall into so easily. I consider it not only a duty, but an absolute honor, to tell her story to others. She inspired me to work with women in motorsports, something that today is on the barrier of entry to norms. I’m also a pretty fiercely independent female, sans the red hair.

The best thing I learned, that is a huge source of comfort to me now, that loss is definitely gain. Her stories will inspire thousands of others through me – I wouldn’t have it any other way. So what have you lost lately, that you can turn into a positive?

If you haven’t had a significant loss in your life, the takeaway can be as simple as just recognizing it when you do. After all, life is all about knowledge and growth through coping with loss. Just gain a little understanding of yourself!

DKC

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Setting Your Intention

Okay, so I might look like this uber-motivated, filled-to-the-brim-with-positivity, energy-inducing ball of fire. However, I’d love to set it straight that I’m actually just as challenged as the next girl when it comes to “making the work magic happen.”

Who hasn’t been that person that starts something with full zest and gusto, only to let it go after reaching that first obstacle; or letting the fear that is inside all of us, grab hold and shrink our power? You may have goals – possibly even put on paper in the form of a basic intention. I’ll ask you this though- if you’ve written (or even just verbally expressed) your goals, how many times do you revisit them and ask yourself what you’ve done to achieve them?

I am a huge pen-to-the-paper writer. If I don’t write it down in a notebook, I can’t cross it off to say that it’s done. A little OCD? Maybe. It also forces me to focus on my intention (notice I say intention, rather than goals). Again, anyone can set goals – but how many people set their INTENTION each day?

As a part-time yoga instructor, it’s something I teach people at the beginning of each class. We set our intention for our practice – whether that be letting go of stress; not thinking about outside distractions or “to do” lists; dropping a habit that doesn’t serve us, etc. It’s easily something that spills over into life. Once we train ourselves to set an intention for an hour class, we can move on to set an intention for the day. If that pans out (or even if it doesn’t, who cares?), we’ve gained trust in ourselves to continue lengthening that time frame.

5 EASY WAYS TO FORGET GOALS & SET INTENTIONS INSTEAD:

1) Write it down. Somewhere. Anywhere. It can be a dedicated notebook; a sticky note on your bathroom mirror; your fridge; or your hand. Set your intention for the day and remind yourself of that intention until you can cross it off.

2)Intentions aren’t goals. Intentions are much more meaningful – a practice of placing your passion and efforts in a place where you want them most, helping and serving others in order to achieve. There is trust, loss, gain, courage and fire in intentions.

3)FIND your intention. If that means you have to start with a goal, and then “back into” your intention, that’s fine. As in, state your goal first – “I want to make tons of money.” Okay, rephrase with intent: “I will provide for my family so that we will be financially independent – with no worries about money, ever.” See what I mean? Strong phrase!

4)The Stones said it best – “you can’t always get what you want…you get what you need.” You will find that you gravitate to the intentions you want most…and then feel failure when they aren’t achieved. Try to look at the partial success you might have reached with that intention, and then realize that it was the universe giving you what you NEEDED.

5)Start small – baby steps are good. As above, set your intentions in small increments and pace them out. Set an intention for an hour. Then a day. Then a month. Then a year. We call it “living in the present” for a reason – you’ve got to cross the molehills in the day to day before you ever conquer the mountain.

So the next time you check yourself on the “goal setting for 2011,” try to flip it on yourself. Take those goals or statements that you made and make them stronger by placing intention around them. Go getcha some!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Ran a 5K

You might be saying, “Wow, good for you!” Or, “Um, thanks for sharing?” So why is this relevant to business or to making yourself better?

Commitment. You see, I’ve had trouble with it in the past, much like most of us. I mean, who hasn’t had that project they have worked on for months – and you get to the point where you just want to pitch it out the window? Or frustration with a goal – weight loss maybe; eating healthier; quitting smoking; spending more time with the kids. You set the expectation that you’ll be diligent and regimented, and then when the regimentation is too much of a schedule, it falls to pieces. Failure in your own eyes, right?

I’m here to tell you – let it go. Why do I bring up the 5k? For the sheer fact that I had absolutely no desire to run it. It was a Sunday morning after a long Saturday with my family – my muscles hurt, I overdid it the day before, it was a holiday weekend, and the back deck of my in-laws’ house was too appealing to watch the sun rise. Whhhhhyyyy meeee…why did I commit to running a race, where I knew there would be a bunch of high school cross country runners who had legs up to their armpits, running like Steve Prefontaine for a PR?

I got over it, thanks to commitment. Something overcame me – it wasn’t positive energy, it wasn’t some sign from God – it was just a gentle, pushing drive to put my running clothes and shoes on. Going through the motions of tying my laces, I knew it was what was written for the day for me. The simple, sheer process of accepting that it was what I had to do that morning – made me let go. No pressure to run fast, no expectations or judgments of anyone around me.

So, my finish? I ran it alongside my father in law (well, for a little while, then he smoked me by 3 minutes – quite rightly, as he’s a diligent runner!) I was awake for the day, refreshed, and proud of myself for just merely taking the small steps to do it. No thoughts of the future or the next race; no nags of the past finishes. It was written.

The next time you’ve overwhelmed yourself, whether in business or in your personal life, just let it go. Make sure you accept what you have to do today first – then enjoy what you’re doing. Once you really enjoy it, you’re on the road to finding what you love. Those little commitments sometimes turn into big passions.

Sizzle on! DKC

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Egads! A Reporter!

I hear this all the time: "I can't do my own public relations because I don't know how to deal with the media." Okay, DING! I have to admit that I love this admission, because it usually leads to a new client. However, I also coach folks that it has nothing to do with fear of the media...rather, it's fear of venturing into unchartered waters.

After spending much time in media centers with NASCAR, as well as being a J-school grad and writing myself - basically being on both side of this untidy fence - I can say that most journalists do find it funny that people are afraid of them. Wherever it started, in the McCarthyist 50s where opinions were suppressed; or by the Oprah-generation, who thinks everything is worthy of making her show....who knows.

But I will get out a shocking newsflash: they are nice people. They get up and put on their pants, one leg at a time, much like the rest of us; take their kids to school or play with grandkids; have stress, deadlines and stumbling blocks (hey, we all have bosses); and they pay bills.

Basically, they are human. Human with human stories, regular day jobs, and similar gripes. They don't want special treatment, gift boxes with press kits in the middle, or a cooing phone call on how wonderful they are at what they do (hint: they just might be investigative enough to see through it). Ha!

What they ARE interested in: talking to you, if you've got a concise, relevant, timely and newsworthy story. Being human, as they are - they like to write for their audiences. And they know you are afraid of them - and that leads to a little schoolyard-like ostracism. At the end of the day, they just want to write their column (or tape their story), have a great conversation, learn something, and then turn the lights off and go home. Just like you.

Top 5 Ways to Build Media Relationships to Promote Your Business

1) Remember that "they just want to be friends?" I'll repeat. They just want to be friends. When you show your fear or discomfort, they smell it. These are busy people who have deadlines, people calling with insane story ideas, and editors wanting more "retweets" each story. If you can stay calm, make them laugh, and inform them about something new, they will appreciate the new friendship.

2) Spend your time building relationships rather than the newest, greatest online press kits. Journalists don't have time to go through long press kits, cool videos or the latest and greatest social wunderkind you've put together for yourself or your client. Yes, they like info and facts - but they'd rather talk to you about it than have the bells and whistles. When you pick up the phone and start a conversation, it shows transparency - and that you're willing to devote more than just a mass email with a lot of "BCC'ed" people on it, to your topic.

3) Keep it short, shorty. We've all heard the term, "just the facts, Ma'am." Holds true for policework and PR - get your passion across in the big 5. Who, what, where, when, why...jazzed up with your reason for newsworthiness (see #5). It's just that simple - the major whizbang details can be on the followup.

4) Keep the word "used" in Used Cars - not PR. Journalists don't like being put on the hook - don't bait them and use them for a story. It's the best way to get printed once and once only by that contact. Media still use "sources" - and if you become a source, sometimes they'll come to you for ideas.

5) Ever notice the word "new" is in news? Journalists love to be the first, to see the latest and greatest, and to break the story. If you have a landscaping company that has water-free grass...hey, that's pretty interesting. But if it's just sod season, and you're laying grass - that's just another thing we all do as part of the calendar. Find the "only" statement about your company - a first, an only, a "cool" - and hawk it.

I'd add a sixth to this, but it would defeat the purpose of a "Top 5"...never give up. If an editor doesn't want your story today, it doesn't mean that it might not be usable to them later on (or another topic in your sphere of influence). Goes back to that building relationships point - if you establish a dialogue and drop them useful info from time to time, they'll remember you down the road.

Bottom line - don't expect the front page! PR isn't easy - that's why there are people who do it full-time. However, it's something you can hone and practice over time. The more you do it, the better you are!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love for PR

So I haven't seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I'm sure it's amazing, inspirational and with a message that will touch a lot of people who need a touchstone right now. What I do know, is that I've been on a bit of an EPL journey myself over the last year.

It has been a great experience - travel, new opportunities, starting a business, prioritizing time for family & friends, being a better mom, and finding joy in the present. My only rule to myself is to say "yes" to everything (well, okay, not EVERYTHING - I don't get to eat my kitchen in the morning). When I say everything, I mean any opportunity that in my "previous life" I might have hesitated, or found an excuse, or said "no" to out of fear. I also renounce anything in both my business and personal life that doesn't serve my best interests - people, events, habits or ideals that are negative or "energy-draining."

How has that served over the past year? Well, I ran a marathon. Wrote a book, became a speaker & became a columnist for two large pubs. Went to England, Canada & South Africa. Became Girl Friday & found the best clients ever. Became a yoga instructor & started to understand that yes, the light within me is within others & needs to be shared - volunteering in a women's prison, teaching to runners, teaching to anyone. Just sharing. I also walked my daughter home from kindergarten, reconnected with friends, and made hundreds of new ones. Time is precious, and it's the biggest gift you can give.

My daily life is public relations. I've always loved to "sell for free" - and when others pushed me to try sales, I knew it wasn't in my nature. It's passion, and it's personal. If I believe in a cause, watch out - it's like a steam engine. So PR is my lifeblood - a way to touch others with a message. I don't take on clients who have ulterior motives, or who are in business for the wrong reasons, or who don't have a story (although, I can bring out a story in just about anyone!)

People ask me sometimes, especially in racing (one industry where I have clients), what's the 'secret' to good PR and clients? I'd have to say it's the mentality of the message in 'Eat, Pray, Love." So without further adieu...

Top 5 Ways to Bring Eat, Pray, Love to Your Business through PR

1) Treat your clients, or customers, or employees - like you would your family. Would you forget your husband's birthday? Or not call your parents on a holiday to wish them a happy day? Simple rule, everyone needs to be remembered.

2) Being a human means becoming a human being. Wha? Yep, you need to be conscious, not walking around with the outside world a blur. How can you be good in business, if you can't feel what's in your heart, buzzing through your veins, beating, breathing in and out - every day?

3) Your client's goal is like your wedding. It has to be the most special, prized, amazing thing to finally become realized - after months of planning, thought, precious detail. Help them execute it, and find their wildest dreams come true. How can you not celebrate even the smallest achievements, when even the smallest achievements & milestones are important?

4) Take 30 minutes, every day, and devote it to your personal fulfillment & dreams. Whether you meditate, pray, find stillness or sit on a front porch in silence - it will make you recharged & on point for your clients, your business, your employees, your family. If you can't learn to be 'at home' in your own body, it's hard to ever 'come home' to anyone else or 'leave home' to serve others.

5) Great lead in to my last tip - serve others. Yes, if that means go volunteer, rock the world - go out there! But in a simpler term, treat everyone as if it's serving others. If you're in business just to make money, or buy a massive house, or own a pro NFL team, etc - that's great, but someday, it's going to crash around you in lack of personal fulfillment. When you build your business by asking, "how can I serve you? Where can I help?", you're on your way to satisfaction in what you do. At that point, it doesn't matter your title, your job, your place on this earth - you're just happy in the giving.

So what are you waiting for? I guess this means I need to put 'Eat, Pray, Love' on my date night list with my husband...but again, EPL every day. Then you can live it. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Marc Davis Motorsports Makes World Motorsports History with 2 Top 7 Finishes in Historic South African “Freestate 500” Stock Car Race

Marc Davis, #96 WHUR Howard University Radio/The Word Network Chevy Leads 24 Laps & Races to 3rd Place Finish; Teammate Tiff Daniels, #19 SnowTheRacehorse.com Toyota Places Personal Best 7th Finish

Mooresville, NC (January 31, 2010) – Marc Davis Motorsports makes world motorsports history with both drivers, one African American and one female, placing top 7 finishes in the historic inaugural Freestate 500 at Phakisa Freeway in Welkom, South Africa.
Marc Davis dominated from the race beginning, leading the stock car pack from the second lap. Overall, Davis led 24 laps & ran in the top 4 for 185 laps, top 2 for 150 laps. His best time was 36.501 in the #96 WHUR Howard University Radio/The Word Network Chevy, finishing in 3rd place overall and taking a visit to the winner’s podium.

Daniels ran in the top 13 for most of the race, with 75 laps in the top 10 or better in the #19 SnowTheRacehorse.com Toyota. At the halfway mark of the race, Davis led the field and Daniels was right behind him in 3rd. Daniels’ best time was 37.384 and finished as a personal best in 7th place.

“It was a great day overall for Marc Davis Motorsports cars – a solid top 7 finish for both of us. We came up short at the end of the day, but we put on a great show and I had a blast here in South Africa,” said Davis, 19. “I definitely want to come back and win in the NEXT South African race. When they announce the next race, I’ll be the first in line to sign up!”
Daniels echoed the sentiments, saying, “What an amazing 207 laps – it took everything I had to give in the South African heat, and I did it. What a fantastic country and a historic race, and such a great tribute to Marc’s dad Harry Davis, patriarch of Marc Davis Motorsports – who passed away last week. He would be so proud of both of us. “

“I’m so proud to be able to represent the United States, women, the next generation and the kids of the world in showing that you CAN achieve your dreams. It’s great to not only have a diverse team with different faces, but also to be able to back that up on the track – what racing is all about,” Daniels continued.

For more information about the historic race and other finishes, visit www.asa-racing.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 Freestate 500 was driven in tribute to Marc’s legendary father, Harry Davis, who arranged the race – who passed away in January 2010.

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 www.tiffdaniels.com.

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