The Concept

Social networking, leadership, & business strategies on a fundamental level, hand delivered with an edge. (With a heaping side of whatever I find interesting!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Things Get Better With Age

Some things do get better with age, and my blog has matured.

I've moved The Catalyst For Change to a new home.

www.thecatalystforchange.wordpress.com

I'd love if you'd join the conversation there and see where the new version of my blog goes.

Thanks,
Stephen

Monday, July 19, 2010

Overkill

Yesterday I was sitting at Damons in Belden Village and I looked over to my left and took a long stare at the wall of stereos and tv box things that run the big screens and projectors and speakers. On the center of the wall was a little white note card with a message scribbled on it in sharpie. Upon closer inspection I found that it read as follows:


Never, Ever Ever Ever EVER EVER EVER Turn This Switch OFF!!! EVER EVER EVER!!!


To me this felt like overkill to me. Maybe instead of wasting the time to write this note card out and plaster it to the stereos you could have taken 5 mins and trained your entire staff on what that little switch does... why it's a bad thing to have it in the off position... and what the results of flipping the switch would be. Wouldn't that just make sense!?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Viral & Guerrilla Marketing In The Supermarket

While walking through Giant Eagle the other day I was hit with what I can only call a combination of Viral & Guerrilla Marketing. While walking down the isle next to the pharmacy I was met with a wall of little yellow tags! What you see is what I stood there dazed and confused, starring at. The entire isle was a wall of yellow stickers. Each of them jutting out into my field of vision.

Each tag was marked with, check this, the same sale price as the white tag on the shelf.... not a sale price, not a discounted members only price.... but the same price!

I was standing there being bombarded with little yellow attention grabbing tags that told me nothing useful at all! What's the point to all of this!? Well, I certainly stood there and took a few moments to analyze what I was looking at. Which potentially gave the brands on the shelf more time to gain exposure in my subconscious and make me more inclined to make a buying decision. But mostly it just made me laugh.... people text "LOL" all the time, I actually laughed out loud. And I got some STRANGE looks! The tactics at work here are lost on most people, but when you stop and look at this great version of small scale viral marketing and guerrilla advertising all at once.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Show Must Go On

Sometimes it is good to be reminded that even when you aren't on stage, that the show is still going on....

No matter what the situation, no matter how difficult the situation is, the show keeps on rolling even if you're in over your head. Sometimes it pays to realize that even in the worst of times, you have to keep on fighting.

Because the world stops for no one, and the show must go on!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Coaching By Relating

While reflecting on when one of my good friends and supervisor Roger Spencer was coaching me as a sales rep a few years ago, I realized he made it easy for me to learn how to sell by relating to my interests.

For some people that might seem elementary but it's such an effective method. I (as I'm sure you have by now figured out)am by the very definition of the word addict, am addicted to fis hi ng! So when I was trying (and failing) at becoming a sales rep on my own, Roger stepped in. He noticed my fishing magazine and instantly the gears started turning in his head. He talked in fishing terms, showing me how I could relate specific closes to fishing lures. He showed ,e how sometimes I had to power fish, just RIP the offer past the buyers face and let them hit on reaction and impulse alone! Or how sometimes I had to slow down and finesse fish them into biting despite their reluctance. And even how sometimes I needed to speed fish and probe the buyers lake to find that honey-hole where I could get the bite and close the sale.

I created this document back when Roger started coaching me and molding me all at the same time. And until I was cleaning up my hard drive recently, I thought I had deleted it along time ago..... It was a product of my brainstorming and me just trying to visualize how to convince a customer to bite on what I was selling.
The idea is that Roger came down to my interest level to find common ground, and more importantly, a common vocabulary that we could use to effectively communicate our thoughts about selling to one another.
Of course it helped that Roger is a huge fishing buff as well.... but it's the point. I've used this technique to coach and teach others myself. A few subjects I've used would include, MMA Fighting, Marching Band, Choir, Video Games, Nascar Racing, Soccer, Scrapbooking (that was an interesting one), and Driving a Car.
The idea is to just find that common ground that lets you put your coaching ideas into verbiage that makes it easy for the person you're coaching to understand and actually retain what you're saying.
Too often I watch a supervisor coach a rep, and the person being coached smiles and nods a lot.... often tossing in a little, "Yep.... Uh Huh.... or Oh Okay!" then the coach walks away and the rep goes right back to what they just corrected. It's all because they aren't retaining any of what you're saying because to be honest with you.... they don't care that much. What is important to each of us personally will of course take up more space in our minds than those things that aren't.
So break down that fence between Camp-Work-Too-Much and Happy Town by building a mental bridge between the two. Put what they thought was non-work knowledge to work for them on the job and your reps performance will improve because now they're engaging A LOT more of their mental power-house because it's interesting for them!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Organic Social Media"

While talking today in a meeting with Nate Riggs, the term "Organic Search" kept coming up with the subject being social media. This just kind of got my brain going....

Ask someone what the first thing that comes to mind of when they hear the word "organic" and most people would say something involving farming or food.

But in the context of the internet, organic takes on a whole new meaning.... just another great example of how social media and the internet have taken a word and made it into something altogether different!

Another example of the internets ability to change the context of a word: A few years ago this young kid named Mark Zuckerberg started a movement. He launched a project that started on a white board outside his dorm room in Harvard that we now know as Facebook. On February 4th, 2004 Zuckerberg turned the word "Friend" into a verb..... and I LOVE knowing that we each have the potential to make change happen like this.

Back on topic....
I couldn't help but start to doodle on my notepad in our meeting after hearing that term, "Organic Search" come up again and again. And that doodle turned into the picture featured on this post. I just couldn't get the image out of my mind of a little tree in the forest just off the Information Super Highway that had growing on it, all the magical fruits of the social media realm.

Who knows what we will change about our world next. But if anything is going to impact it.... It's Social Media!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Take Time To Think

I took time to think today. I haven't done it in a while and I really needed a way to convert some brain power into some physical energy.

I never knew how much I would love having the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as my backyard until this weekend. Tonight I loaded up my hiking gear and some fishing gear and headed out to explore. I ended up at Indigo Lake. And for the first time in months I found myself on a body of water where I couldn't find a person to look at other than my own reflection. Dave Matthews said it best in the song we sings with Kenny Chesney, "It's good for the soul when there's not a soul in sight." (Ironically he was talking about being on the water too!)

And even when I got up the top of the hill after a short hike and looked around all I saw was a fence, the lake, and the sunset. My mind was free to let go..... and I just converted a lot of the pent up brain power I'd been hanging onto go, and converted it into physical energy. I haven't hiked like that in a long time.

And when I came back from the lake I found myself smiling.....not just because I had enjoyed my time away from civilization, but because I had naturally worked through a few mental blocks I'd been fighting.
So what I'm saying is go do your thing..... for me it's fishing where no one else can find me. For my fiance it's spending time with the niece and nephew. My little brother would say it's kicking a soccer ball around the yard playing keep-away with Otis (out Westie). Whatever it is, go do it.... Just take some time today and think. You'll be pleasantly surprised what you might come up with when you aren't trying as hard.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's The Point

Lately I've been noticing some really strange signs telling me things that quite frankly, I don't care at all about! It makes me wonder, why even bother..... What's the point?

Why would a company waste time and resources, mainly money in setting up protocols, or "rules" for people to follow if they aren't going to enforce them. Or even worse if they aren't going to serve a purpose!?



This is a great example of what I'm talking about. I saw this one at the end of the row we parked in at the Cleveland Zoo this week. I just don't understand how they ever intended to uphold a policy like this?! What's worse they painted the parking spaces in this row green instead of white. Needless to say, we parked here in a car that I would feel more than safe saying does not meet the required criteria.... And nothing happened!

What I'm getting at here is if you aren't going to uphold the policy you thought up.... don't waste the time putting it into action in the first place! It's a waste.....

And besides that, this is just a goofy concept. Why put the cars which get better fuel mileage in the front section of the parking lot.... it's going to cost them less gas to go park in the back! Do our environment a favor and put up a sign that reads:


If your vehicle sucks gas: Park here, Turn off your engine, And stop killing our environment! You're at a Zoo, seriously!




I'm going to step off my soapbox now..... just keep an eye open for more of these signs....

Monday, June 7, 2010

25 Things My Generation Has Labeled Obsolete

The Milennials have done a great many things since laying claim to the world.... (ok that sounded a little strong....)

But one place we've succeeded in is sending a LONG list of things to the graveyard.
Here's the first 25 things that came to my mind:
1.) The 3 1/2 Inch Floppy Disk
2.) Rotary Telephones (I guarantee someone under the age of 25 will read this and say, "What's that?!")
3.) Cassette Tapes
4.) Adding Machines
5.) Watches (Why own one when my phone tells me the time?!)
6.) Personal Pagers (Unless you're expecting a baby or work in the medical field)
7.) The Fanny Pack
8.) Suspenders
9.) Typewriters
10.) Door to Door Salesmen
11.) Home Encyclopedia Sets
12.) Perforated Printer Paper
13.) Home Phone Lines
14.) The Toaster Oven
15.) (How To Read) A Traditional Map (Google Maps would never lead us wrong would it?! It would never tell us to walk down a highway or anything right!?!)
16.) The Compass
17.) Globes
18.) Dial Up Internet
19.) Non-Digital Cameras
20.) Slide Show Projectors
21.) VHS Technology
22.) Formal Letter Writing
23.) Answering Machines
24.) AM Radio
25.) Myspace :D

So there you have it..... what can we create a better iPhone App for next?!?! Give me something technological to kill.....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

I just want to invite you to take a look back with me and see where we were, and where we are now. Then think about how the heck we got here!
50 or so years ago the Philco was on the cutting edge of personal music technology. It was the best way to take music with you on the go! Now we have the iPod. with the ability to carry thousands of songs in a device the size of credit card..... that's a quantum leap!
Looking at where we are now you might say, "Well it's not that unbelievable..... It's just logical! We were bound to get there someday!"

If my grandfather were alive today and you showed him those two devices pictured above.... he would first of all, smack you.... then tell you to go get your head checked by a doctor. And then he would smash your iPhone and say something along the lines of, "How great can it be? It breaks easy enough!"

But take it back another generation to my great grandfather, show him how you can pull a Christmas tree out of a box, plug it straight into the wall (pre-light tree!), and then turn it on and off with your iPhone. And he would probably accuse you being a magician or the devil..... depends on what his mood would be.

Looking at why: The cell phone didn't exist in his day & age, Christmas trees had to be cut down by hand, they sure didn't come out of the woods pre-light, and somehow you just managed to turn the Christmas tree on and off without touching it!

NONE of those things would seem logical to him. So who's idea was all of this!? And how do I get their job?

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Birth Of A Movement - The "i Factor"

Last week I wrote a post in a hurry late one night about something I could only think of calling the "i Factor" and it turned into something altogether different!

(Back round) At work I am a member of a whole new type of team. We specialize in Social Media and are carving out a brand new methodology in the contact center world. Where we're taking our insane amount of skill, knowledge, creativity, and drive for success is still a bit of a secret! (I mean seriously, I can't just give away all of our secrets!) But one thing's for sure, we will not let anything stand in our way.

(Now moving forward again) Enter Tim..... Tim is what I would call a lead by example power player. He dives straight into a pile of work and doesn't let up until all expectations have been blown out of the water. Tim's become a good friend of mine and he FLIPPED when he read the post I put up about what I just started calling The "i Factor" and what I thought it meant for Incept.
In that one post I managed to turn the tables in a sense and just put out there that not only did we (the Incept Social Media Team) know that we were on the right track, but much more, we weren't afraid to let it show. We found a winning combination and with all the creativity in our team we are going to change the face of our industry.

Now all of that might seem a little bit, well..... arrogant? But that wasn't how I had meant for it to come across. An interesting result is that people latched onto the idea of the "i Factor" and it now has the capacity to become a movement.

That's a completely different purpose than what I had intended my blog post to create. But sometimes you have to know when to go with the flow and play the hands you're dealt when the good cards come up!

So make sure you're staying tuned into the following.....
@InceptSaves on Twitter
@InceptResults on Twitter
and the Incept Page on Facebook

"Ready, Steady, Go" get out of our way or pay the price of being left in our dust. The Millennials are here, and we only know two speeds, stop and FAST FREAKING FORWARD!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The "i Factor" (What Incept Is Doing Right On Social Media)

I just created in my head an equation. It goes a little something like this:

The "i Factor" + (Company Facebook Page + Employees Engaging Company On Their Own Time) + Unique Company Culture = Recipe For Social Media Success

The "i Factor" is what I'm calling the "Incept Factor" which basically means to me the actions we take as social media specialists (or in Incept terms, an Online Conversational Marketing Expert) to make our social media interactions special.

I can't fully explain it, but there's just something about how we interact with our employees and the fans on our facebook page that build a strong relationship! This week alone we've seen a burst of activity on our page from people who literally just started working with us this week. New trainees who only know a dozen or so people in the company (most of them are in the new hire training class with them) are commenting on our facebook page.

It's amazing to see how people are taking their free time to engage in conversations online with us. And even more amazing how quickly people want to feel like they belong to our family.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Post Is Worth 4000 Words (Well Kind Of)

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words..... then that means that this post is worth about 4000 words. I just had this collection of pictures in my phone and had to share them with you guys! Here they are.....

Quaker Steak & Lube bathroom wall poster, read the line on the bottom..... if you can't manage to read because it's too small, it says: "WARNING: ATOMIC WING EATERS SHOULD WASH HANDS BEFORE USING THE RESTROOM" Great idea!

Next up, the "Ghost Market" this one is a true sign of the times. A local grocery store closed because of poor sales stands with it's empty shelves, abandoned checkout lines, and lights on 24-7 (wonder who's flipping the bill for that!?) What's best, there's still jazzy elevator music playing all along the concourse outside all day and all night long! (Great site on a related topic - deadmalls.com)


Now we have the wall in the training room at Incept. I love how the first thing our new trainees see when they walk in their first day of work is what our values are. And therefore, what we stand for! (Three part post from the Incept Blog where I talk about our values in a different light. 1 2 3 )

And to finish off with, the best of the best..... what I am calling, "The Semi-Scare." This one's great, I saw this "coming at me" on the highway one evening. In reality I was driving at it faster than it was moving away from me..... I'll leave this one up to your imagination to figure out just what's happening!

So there it is, four pictures worth a thousand words each! What a post folks, what a post! :D

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where Did You Think You Would Be 5 Years Later?

A few years ago this month I walked across the stage at the Canton Memorial Civic Center as a part of the GlenOak High School 500+ student graduating class of 2005. At the time it seemed like an end to one story and the beginning of the rest of my life. Now I look back and see it as more of an end to the preface of my story......

If you would have asked me where I planned on being in 5 years my response would have been something like, "Graduating from The University of Akron with a degree in Music Education and looking for a teaching job at a local high school." Today I stumbled across my diploma in a box buried in the back of my closet. I thought to myself, "I wonder what that kid all those years ago was thinking?! Was he nuts?!" Because I have checked off none of the above yet.... and I won't be checking them off.... well, ever. I quickly realized that music education wasn't for me, that I wanted to add a high priority item to my goal (getting engaged) and found out what kind of person I really wanted to become.

Now I think to myself, where do I want to be in 5 years? And my answer is kind of complicated..... I want to be married to the love of my life. I want to have a house. I want to start back to school to get a degree in Organizational Communication. I want to continue working for Incept. (hopefully making a huge success of our social media team!) And I want to start a family.

It's strange how a few years can change ones priorities. Maybe, conditions willing I will still be writing on this blog (or some blog for that matter) in 5 years. And when that day comes, I'll make sure to revisit this list before I attend my 10 year class reunion and see just how much my priorities have changed again.

Who knows where a decade can lead you, but I'm right in the middle of that trip. And I don't really know where my "life's GPS unit" is taking me. "How do I get this darn thing to stop giving me directions in French!?!?" :P

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting To Know #8

Over the last year I had an amazing chance to get to be a mentor for a fine young man from Canton, Ohio. He will be graduating from GlenOak High School this month, and was a captain on the varsity soccer team, proudly wearing the number 8 for over a decade.

His name is Bryan, he will be graduating with an award of merit and soon will be attending Malone University in the fall. He will be pursuing a degree in nursing, and has intentions of playing soccer on a collegiate level. I can't think of a more appropriate example of leadership, hard work, and academic achievement.

This fine young man, is in fact, my little brother! And the other night, I stood next to Bryan in the auditorium at GlenOak High School during the class of 2010's Senior Recognition Night. That night I had the great honor of singing with him, what in just a few days, will be our Alma Mater.

It makes me feel proud that he has achieved so much in such a short time. And I have to say that I've been blessed to get to watch him grow up. And all of this was a chance for me to learn, that even though we come from the same parents, the same house, the same back round, that we can become two completely different people. Bryan's an athlete, and a logical thinking student of math and science. I am an artistic, free thinking and creative problem solver. And I love that we now (and never before....) compliment each other so much!

Bryan, congratulations and I am so proud of you! You have more potential than I could ever wish to have!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Transparency Failed - A Strange Example

I know I've blogged about my experience at the Get Motivated Seminar already..... but I had to tell you about a GREAT parallel I noticed during the final speaker of the day. Rudy Giuliani, the man who held New York City together when time stopped on September 11th, was on stage to close out a great day. I was getting really into the presentation but something caught my eye about 3 minuets into his speech.

Standing in front of the stage steps was this HUGE security guard with a nice suit on, shoulders broad and hands crossed in front of his waist. This guy was a monster, he towered over Rudy when he came off stage, but he wasn't alone! On the floor, next to the corner of the stage closest to the pathway the speakers took to the back stage area stood another security guard. I started looking around and I noticed another back by the camera man Rudy was primarily speaking towards. Then another in the main seating section next to the large hallway leading out of the Civic Center. Then there was the trio "guarding" the door leading backstage. I looked up in the rafters and saw three more of these guys..... It clicked right then, these mystery men were either secret service or really expensive private security.

They were trying really hard to be transparent but they failed miserably at it. I'm guessing someone had them worried because they all started "Coughing/Talking Into Their Hands" at the same time. It was just highly entertaining, while they were trying to not exist the truth be told they were drawing away from the show on stage!

The whole thing got me literally laughing out loud because I'm thinking about all the conversations I've had lately with Nate Riggs about companies being transparent online. And here were these security/secret service/whatever guys trying to do just that, but sticking out like a sore thumb. Even in an environment where a good 80% of the people in the audience were wearing suits or business casual dress, they still just jumped out at me!

Oh the irony..... oh the irony.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Experiences: Get Motivated Seminar

Today I spent an entire day at the Get Motivated Seminar down in Canton. All I have to say is, WOW! I have so many ideas after spending a single day soaking up all the knowledge I could. Imagine what you could do with three days, or a week of this kind of exposure.
The event featured a lot of great speakers, but I wanted to outline a few of them that I think made the most impact on me:
-Krish Dhanam
Krish kicked the entire event off with a very literal Jump Start to my day. He was really funny and I LOVED listening to him. But smack in the middle of his segment he said something that struck deep:
"Political correctness will be the death of this great nation!"
Couldn't agree more! Here's a little clip of his speech today.

-Rick Belluzzo
Rick is legendary in his own right. If you haven't heard of him, I've linked his profile from his current position at Quantum for you. Rick said a few things I'd like to share with you.
"Times of change & disruption is where real opportunity exists."
"...to be a strong leader, you need to be hard headed & soft hearted."
"Stay humble!"
I'm going to be honest with this next bit. I really wanted to see Zig Ziglar live, it was a major factor in why I went to the seminar. Sadly, due to an accident, and Zigs old age, he has lost a lot of his memory. And even with his daughter there to help guide him through his speech, he just wasn't completely there..... And it breaks my heart to see a mind with SO MUCH value become a locked treasure chest that can't be opened like it used to be. But none the less, I was overwhelmed to see Zig live!

A lot of other great speakers were at the event, but I think those three made the most impact on me! It was a great day, and I not only met some amazing people, but I gained a head full of cool new ideas. I am definitely going to give the Get Motivated Seminar two thumbs up!

Speakers: Eric Mangini

Today, I spent an entire day soaking up some really great material! There's so much going on in my head, there were so many good speakers that made such an impact at the Get Motivated Seminar. I can barely keep it all straight in my head. Lucky for you, I kept notes ;)

I'd like to dedicate some time here to talking about a speaker who I was expecting little out of, but I was blown away by him, Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns, Eric Mangini. Mangini spoke a lot about motivating a team and leading them to success. He used a lot of quotes that I really liked, I'm just going to throw them all down at once here.
  • "Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling."

  • "Discipline isn't something you do to somebody, it's something you do for somebody."

  • "Every battle is won before it's fought."

  • "Each day you must choose, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret."

  • "The willingness to succeed is nothing without the willingness to prepare."

  • "Everybody has the capacity to lead in their own way."

  • The core values the applies to coaching the Browns: Communication, Focus, Finish, & Trust

  • "...each day they (referring to his players) get to write whats on 'their label'."

I have to say that I was really impressed with Mangini as a speaker, he shared some highly insightful information and I think I walked away from his segment with more information in my notepad than any other speaker!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Experiences: Hope For Children Gala Hosted by Cross International

On Friday I went to work like any other day. But the evening that followed was anything but normal. At 7PM I walked through the doors of the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn and into a world of caring, giving, and hope.

I had walked through the hotel lobby and straight into the 3rd Annual Cross International Hope Gala, "Hope For Children." A charity event put on by Cross International to raise money to open schools in Haiti that were closed because the donors who sponsored them before all left.... they walked away from the children that relied on them and just closed the schools. The goal of the evening, to reopen 10 schools for one year, at a cost of $2000 per school. (To put it in perspective, $2000 will keep the school open, teach the children, give them somewhere safe to go, and feed them one hearty meal a day for a full year!)

I saw generosity I would never have expected. When the auctioneer asked, "Who wants to sponsor a school for a year?" A gentlemen in the front row raised his hand and said, "I'll cover three of them...."

I've never seen such generosity out of a group of people so far disconnected from the children they were supporting. All the miles between our little corner of Ohio and Haiti melted down to nothing because these people were willing to open their hearts, lives, and wallets up and let the generosity flow. It was amazing, and it changed my perspective on a lot of things.

Next up on my event list is the Get Motivated Seminar on Weds, May 12th. I have a funny feeling that the "push" I get from that event is going to work reversely and help me find a way to make an impact on the mission Cross International is working on. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Work Hard Play Harder

I'm a firm believer in the saying that heads up this post. I work hard, so I can play harder!

To me that means giving everything I have at work, so I know the job's done right, then taking the time to just relax and let life show me what wonders it has hiding away at the lake, or on the hiking trail, or in the parking lot at a DCI show. Whatever it might be that I'm doing to unwind, I make sure I go full throttle. No other way to really enjoy it!

By far, my favorite two activities to unwind are fishing, and going to University of Akron football games! And I realized there's a lot of things about both of these that ties into the workplace.
Fishing- Trial & Error, Problem Solving, Creative/Abstract Thinking, Free Thinking, Determination

Football- Teamwork, Loyalty(fan loyalty that is), Strategic Planning, Leadership Skills, Hard Work & Practice, Determination

So when I'm relaxing, I'm actually working?! Wait a second.......... I thought work stayed at work, home stayed at home. I've realized that that will never happen. My friend Nate Riggs was just telling me before a meeting we had, "I have to turn it off when I'm with my kid." Referring to trying to unplug the work mind and plug in the family mind. Not that easy, so I've just started letting the two carefully compliment each other. I like to use the time when I'm down at the lake fishing to work through problems in my head, to think about new concepts or solutions.... to "Reboot" by solving every variable not accounted for while I was on the clock while I relax.

It's a careful balance, but it works. I catch a few fish, but solve a lot of problems and develop a ton of new ideas all at the same time. Hooray for multitasking.

Perspective

Perspective. It's all about perspective.... that's what my supervisor and good friend Adam tells me...... I took to a bad perspective the other day. And I wish I wouldn't have opened my mouth.....


I learned a lesson today, my words pack a lot of punch..... a lot more than I thought they did to be honest. (I had no idea how much influence I had on my co-workers) I didn't like something, I let my emotions really get in the way of my judgement. And it didn't end well..... I took some time to clear my head today, and I realized that it's all about perspective. Just like Adam said.



Next time your in a situation where you feel like there is no way out. When you feel like that rat in your head is gnawing through its cage and threatening to let the panic out.... let the situation blow over a little, then look back with some clarity. And see how a fresh perspective can change it all!



What a way to start a week..... mental storm clouds followed by bright perspective and a chance of creative breakthrough late in the day on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Power Of Misinformation

Just the other day at work, I took an inbound blood bank call..... it was a nice young girl who was literally FREAKING OUT because as she stepped off of the donor coach at a blood drive her employer was hosting a friend yelled at her. They told her, "You shouldn't donate in the 'blood bus' because they sell your blood!!!!!"

This poor girl was having an emotional breakdown because she was afraid her blood was going to be sold off on some black market to the highest bidder for some freaky experiment or something! Bottom line is that the blood given at these drives is put right into the community supply just like it should be. (Here, have a look at one of my favorite blood centers blood supply, does it look like they can afford to just sell it off! These centers really need those units of blood!) But this guy had been told some very incorrect information, or he was just being a jerk and trying to scare this girl senseless. (If it was the later of the two he succeeded!)

What I'm getting at here is the power of being misinformed is huge! People will believe just about anything, including the wrong thing. If at all possible, when you find yourself in a tight spot, and some bad intel has been leaked, try to stamp it out before it snowballs. But in my opinion the best way to deal with these types of situations is to have a good public interaction team who can fix the problem. LIKE ME and the team at Incept! :D Have a good team of customer service reps available to interact with your clients and be there to make them feel safe and secure! A soothing voice can go along way....

Misinformation is a deadly monster that spreads like wildfire. And you have to get a handle on it before it gets the handle on you!

Picture Of The Week

So here it is. I found this one on an old memory card in the digital camera. It is from behind the Guzzetta Hall Dance Extension at the University Of Akron. There was originally a parking lot here.... but they plowed it under and built onto the perf. arts building where I spent most of my time while I was a student.... I just think this pictures awesome. The sign is standing firmly in the middle of a grass field...... bordering a cement walkway...... and I LOVED how it looked just standing there, spreading its word of parking forewarning to no one at all. Even though it's time had long since past to be torn down..... Great picture, lots of memory and history to that old sign.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Surreal Feeling Of Blogging On The Job

It's a really surreal feeling to get paid to do something you love, especially when that something really doesn't feel like work! The company I work for, Incept, recently launched a social media team that I'm one of the core members of. And we've taken off..... and quick! I've been blogging for them in combination with a whole team of our staff members. But it's really surreal reading my work on a blog that isn't my own. It's awesome!

But I have to admit.... it makes me feel kind of humbled... soooo much more exposure on the Incept blog then on mine. But hey, you take what you can get right?!
I love working in collaboration with the people on my team, Rebecca, Tim, Sam, Dave, Billie, & Julia. Everyone shares thoughts and the stuff we're cooking up at Incept is growing to pave the way for the Conversational Marketing industry.
And on the front lines of everything we do is our blog.... and there I am... being published and getting paid to do something I'm really passionate about! It's awesome!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Finding The Best Fit For Your Team Members

Not every one's cut out for the top.....

That's a phrase many people would disagree with. Not me..... I think it's true.... but only if you also accept the fact that apparently you, as the leader of your team, have misplaced whoever it is that phrase is referring to! As the team leader, it's your job to make sure you've placed everyone in the right role where they can succeed, and reach not only their highest potential, but also allow you to maximize your teams goal reaching potential!

Since I work in a pretty complex, multi program/multi level team at Incept, it would be difficult to explain it in terms of how we do things at work. So instead, I'll simplify it down to the dynamics of our 'old school' sales team. There were a lot of levels to that team: Lead Generation Reps, Sales Reps, As Needed Sales Supervisors (who are also sales reps), Sales Team Supervisors, Support Staff, And Management Staff.

The pay gets better the higher up you move.... but does that mean your going to make more money?! NO! Bonuses are given for reaching goals set for you. And If you aren't the right fit for the job, you're not going to get to those goals! I've worked with sales supervisors who were HORRIBLE sales reps. And sales reps who should have stayed doing lead generation..... I was great in lead gen. but didn't reach my full potential in the sales rep position..... but I am striving to reach a support staff position! Because that's where my fit is. I lose bonus potential, at either level above or beyond a sales rep, but it's where I can be the best fit!

Bottom line. You have to identify the set of skills and personality traits that best fit every position in your team and make sure that you have the right person in the right spot! Without that fit..... your teams like a rowing team with all jocks on the left oars, and the 'math club' guys on the right oars..... you're going nowhere!

Get it!? FIND THE FIT!
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Required reading on this subject: First Break All The Rules What the world's greatest managers do differently

Friday, April 23, 2010

What Really Motivates Employees?

As of late I've been thinking..... what really motivates me to do my job at the best of my ability? I brainstormed on this for a while, and I came up with a list of things that I think might be motivating the people I work around. And the list of things (when narrowed down considerably to find the core concepts) came down to the following:

  • Money- Bonuses, Raises, Commisions, Ect
  • "Work Perks"- Use of company car/property, Special parking, Ect
  • Promotions- More responsibility, More authority, Bigger office, Ect
  • Recognition- Simply being recognized for a job well done

I know my limited business expierence means I'm probably missing things, but this is my blog.

My favorite of those four bullet points is the last one, recognition. Followed closely by promotions, money, and work perks. Give me an employee of the month parking space but don't tell me how great of a job I did on that last project and I'm likely to be not looking forward to our next assignment together.....

Maybe it's just the way I am, but I'd rather know that I'm part of a team where I'm truly appreciated than one that feels they have to give me things to keep me doing quality work. "Buying great work from great workers only works until someone comes along with a bigger bank book and buys them away from you. Inspiring great workers to do great work will inspire them to help take your team to the next level." Quote me on it. And remember that you heard it here first..... ok maybe not first. But still, work with me here, it's the truth! Learn to live by it, or fail the first time someone comes along and offers slightly greener pastures than you can.

Picture Of The Week

Wait just a second, this seems weird to me...... I don't claim to be the brightest knife in the drawer, or crayon in the box..... whatever!!!
But this puzzles me! I'll let you decide for yourself!

In case you can't see what that says...... The Header reads, "Open Until Midnight Or Later" then it says, under the drive thru close time on everyday of the week..... 11:00PM did I miss something here?! or is it now possible to be two different times at once in the same place?!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Like A Laser Guided Gazelle"

Every office (or group, or team) has one of those inside jokes or phrases that either inspires us all or launches everyone into laughter. Today my good friend and supervisor, Adam hit me with a great one, he said, "Steve, get in there and attack like a laser guided gazelle!"
Before that incredibly awkward moment of silence after he said that, those words had no particular meaning to me. But now just thinking of it makes me smile. Adam succeeded in creating a Catalyst For Change that turned my attitude and perspective around using just five words:

-Like-A-Laser-Guided-Gazelle-

Any time Adam notices I'm feeling down, frustrated, or just seem to not have that 'happy to serve the customer' look to me, he just has to say those five magically strange words and BAM there's a smile on my face, and a new perspective and attitude in my head!

Anything can be a catalyst, a phrase, word, picture, or even a sound. For Marines it's hearing "Semper Fi." For race drag racers it's seeing that green light. And for my Drum Corps friends, it's either hearing the word, "SET" on the practice field, or hearing the announcer at a competition say, "Bluecoats, you may take the field for competition...."

The concept is basic, create a catalyst that you can activate whenever your team is looking down..... and keep it at the ready!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------~Y~
This post is dedicated to an old friend, who I wish I could have had the time to get to know better,
Kristina Smith, 11/29/88 - 4/18/10
"Life has a funny way of pulling people apart, then shoving them back together again when and where you least expect it. I hope those days in between were filled with smiles and good memories. And I hope that the days to come will be filled with happy memories of times gone past for those who loved you. And for those of us who will miss you."
I'll miss you Kris. With all my heart. ~Stephen~


"She sees a million stars like holes in the sky. All gods tears for her they cry. And I am in her rain....." The Offspring, Fix You.


Finding The Will To Press On

This is a "darker" post than my normal. But I'm in a darker mood. I found out today that an old friend, someone I knew through high school and until this week, I lived in the aprtment above of, has passed away this weekend.

I don't feel in the "motivated" mood, not enough to get excited about posting on my blog..... but I wrote this great post today on a piece of notebook paper that I think right now, is more realivant than ever before. So I'm going to put it down here on my blog. And dedicate it to someone I wish I could have known better...... the following post is what I'm talking about.....

here goes nothing.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fight For What You Believe In

Sometimes in life things don't come together exactly how you planned them. Sometimes the chance to take a shortcut will present itself, it might not lead to exactly where you wanted the trail to go.... but you figure, "Hey.... why not? It's close enough right?!" WRONG!

I'm a firm believer that you have to fight for what you believe in..... (and of course you have to fight, for your right to party.....) I've been quoted time and time again saying, "Find something in this life you believe in and fight for it, with everything you have!"


Your dreams are just that, your dreams, go make them reality! For me, my dream is to go back to school and get my degree, find a nice place to call home for Beth & I, and then start a family. so everyday I work hard to chip away at that mountain....


Whatever your dream is I hope you reach it. If your dream is to flip burgers, fight for it! If your dream is to fly the space shuttle, fight for it! Why not? Life's too short to not be passionate about your dreams and ambitions!


Go get whatever it is you want from the world.... get going! Now, get up, and GO! Seriously! The world isn't going to wait for you! Get to work on your future! It's in no one else's hands but your own!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unlike Any Other Job

I'm very proud of the work I do at Incept. I hold the title of Conversational Marketing Expert. And I specialize in the field of blood donor recruiting.

Everyday I make phone calls for top level blood centers all over the country. The work we do affects lives from California to New Jersey and everywhere in between. On a daily basis I talk to hundreds of donors, and I schedule as many of them as I can to come in and donate blood at their local blood center.

Every time a donor goes through with at least a whole blood donation (we'll just call that a "normal" donation) the blood that goes onto the shelves of their donor center can save up to three lives. I ran my numbers for last week today. At a minimum (assuming everyone showed up for their appointments) I saved 213 lives in one week of work. That's 1/4 of my friends list on facebook......


My fiance is a nurse, specializing in cardiac care. She maintains between 4-7 patients health on a daily basis. But only has to "save" the lives of maybe 1 or 2 in a really bad week. (of course the goal at a hospital is to not let them get to that point)

So literally, I save more lives than she does each week, hundreds of times over! Where else do you get to do that?! What other job gives you that kind of opportunity?! I've never heard of one. I LOVE the feeling of accomplishment my job gives me at the end of a good days work.

Do you get that feeling from your job? If not..... maybe you should think about making a change? If you believe in what you do everyday it makes those dreaded hours of 9am Monday morning, and 4pm Friday afternoon a lot more bearable. Think about it.

"Find something in your life worth fighting for and never let go of it!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Other Sides

Obviously, if you're reading my blog you have a pretty sound idea of what I do in my time at work, and at home when I'm thinking about work. I'd like to take a few minutes to share what else I do..... my "other sides."

I find inspiration in the hard work and dedication of the young men and women that march every summer in Drum Corps across the country. I have too many favorites to list, but the place I find the most inspiring is a group called the Cavaliers. "The Green Machine." These guys (they are an all male Corps) are absolute machines, they work harder and longer than anyone I've ever met. Here's a clip from one of my favorite shows of theirs, The Cavaliers, 2006-The Machine (Part 2)

I used to march snare drum at the University of Akron, and you can still find me at InfoCision Stadium on any given Saturday during the fall cheering on my Zips and proudly sporting my "Akron Zips Drum line" hat. That's something I'm proud of!

I find peace and relaxation in fishing. I spend as much time as possible Bass fishing. If I can catch a bass in a body of water, no matter what the conditions or time of day, you can bet I'll be out there with a rod & reel chasing little green fish around the lake! Yes, I'm obsessed.....

spend most of my time with my lovely fiance, Beth. Planning our wedding and watching movies, just doing whatever we can together. I've had her at my side since we were both 12 years old and I don't know anyone else I can trust to help keep my happy than her.

I found my moral code and a lot of the rules I live by from my time in Tau Beta Sigma. I am a proud alumni member of the Epsilon Iota chapter at the University of Akron. The code we live by is something I take a great deal of pride in. And I love to spend time with these people any chance I get.

If possible, I find time to just slow my life down and go back home to Canton, Ohio to see my family. But the real reason I'm there is to see my mutt, Otis. He's my West Highland White Terrier who I miss everyday. Great pup!

And besides that, I just spend time working on becoming a better person by surrounding myself with the great team of people at work. Incept! It's gotten to the point where I don't really consider it "work" anymore. It's someplace I want to spend my time constructively accomplishing great things....

So there you have it. A long post, with very little content, but more insight into how I work..... my brain is a strange thing, but it's worth looking into it once and a while. Thanks again for always reading.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Changing Of The Guard

It's come to my attention that the tides have shifted, a new order has begun to form, and there's something just under the surface waiting to break into the spotlight at Incept. It's time for a changing of the guard, it's time for a group of talented young thinkers to make their mark.

I love the company I work for, I love it most because "it" has a personality. And Incept is growing up. Moving into the next stage of it's life. And driving that move forward is a talented group of young people, focused only on producing results beyond any ones highest expectations.

Yesterday I watched as our company held its monthly Employee Of The Month ceremony..... a veteran CME of many years was awarded the title of Most Improved. And then a young lady named Allison was honored to receive the title of Employee Of The Month & also win our "Life Saver Award." Allison has been with the company for only a fraction of her life, but she's already made a huge impact. In under a year, she's earned a place in Incept history and accomplished a first..... and I wish I could work with her more.

I look around while I'm at work, and see enough potential in such a small group of young people that I KNOW we can change not only the way that our company works, but the world. For no other reason but to give them credit, Chris, Tim, Allison, Jason, and again back to TIM!

We may be a some of the youngest employees at our company, but we are the next in line to make the difference.
The moral of the story, work hard, play harder, fight for what you believe in.
Now for the fair warning......
The Milennials are here...... and we're going to change the world. So either catch up, or move over! Because our generation won't be slowed down, much less stopped!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Break The Rules


One simple rule to live by. Break All The Rules!


If you haven't read this book, Id HIGHLY recommend it! http://ow.ly/1yF5D
It talks about how to do things differently. Why conform to the rules of days gone by? Look where those rules got us, our economy's bleeding to death..... my generation - the milennials -have one of the highest unemployment rates of any generation in recent history, health care - don't even get me started on that one. To be frank, the rules suck! They have proven time and time again to only limit our potential at the "top of the bell curve...." Once your strategy has maxed out, its time to change the rules!
So why not change them constantly, who says that just because no one else in your position at work has asked for a raise that you shouldn't!? Change the rules by proving that you are worthy of being the exception to the rule......presto, NEW RULES, NEW GAME!
There's no playing field you can level- change the game. No mountain you can't overcome- if you can't go over, tunnel under. Nothing can stop you if you chose to break the rules that hold you back from your full potential.
"The best way to see the future is to create it." well in times like today, the best way to still be a part of the future is to invent you place in it!
Short, sweet, & to the point!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Learning To Follow To Lead Series - It's Good To Be The Right Hand Man

This is the second in a series of posts that will discuss a topic that's been growing in mind for years. The idea of learning to follow, in order to lead.

-It's Good To Be The Right Hand Man-
Over the last few years I've worked with all sorts of different types of people, who each had their own leadership style. I've had the distinct pleasure to work with a few of those people where I was in a position to get to pick their brains and be there whenever they needed someone to be the "go-getter."

If there's anyone thing I learned from the best of the people I've worked with it is this, "It's good to be the right hand man to the boss." I've made it a point to align myself with people that I feel are worthy and deserving of loyalty and respect. (A trait I picked up during my years in Tau Beta Sigma) I stick to the philosophy that if you earn a place on the right hand of a strong leader and mentor, when they move to the top, they'll be happy to have you along for the ride.

And when that day comes that you're ready to venture out from under the safety of your mentors wing...... they'll be there to help you along in your own adventures. Building that relationship of trust, dependability, and strength can be the ticket to success. Prove yourself to the people who are above you, and (if you've aligned yourself with good people) they'll be likely to help you blaze your own trail when the time comes.

I'm of course not saying you should hide in someones shadow and not be a leader. But you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. And the best way to learn to walk when you're ready is with a steady, experienced, guiding hand there to help you. And as every parent knows, once they can walk, they'll run..... blazing their own trail!

So, life's good on the right hand of the boss..... network, learn, build, test ideas, and get your walking legs ready for the rest of the world. And then go, RUN and don't stop until you reach your goals, and one day you look down and find there's someone there on your right hand waiting for their turn.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Trip To Gorge Metro Park

Today I took a trip to Gorge Metro Park here in summit county. http://ow.ly/1xd2u It was a refreshing dose of nature smack in the middle of my busy world. For those of you unfamiliar with "The Gorge" it's a deep canyon carved out by the Cuyahoga River. There's hiking, fishing in the small reservoir above the waterfall, lots of small rock formations to free climb, and some cool caves. But most of all, it was just beautiful.... for an hour or two I got to escape the city and just enjoy nature.
I started off by checking out the fishing pier above the falls, I met a nice gentleman there named Dave, who I taught a thing or two about fishing with his dads old tackle box full of goodies I was really wishing I could make a cash offer for. I talked to him for about 30mins, and I was repayed by him getting a little weird on me and giving me "Repent before the end" reading material (Side note, according to Dave, the world is going to end on..... you'd think I'd tell you the whole Nostradamus 2012 things.... but no, the world will end on May 21, 2011 exactly 1 week after me & Beth are set to get married) Weirded out a little, I just let it go, and thanked Dave for the conversation and said goodbye.

Started hiking the trail system, walked down the big wooden steps, and stared for a few minutes at the waterfall and then explored the trails along the river. Forty minutes later I turned the half way marker and decided to double my pace for a workout. I climbed rocks, I jumped ledges, I had fun! And the entire time, I never once thought about the fact that a few hundred feet above me on either side of the gorge walls was the bustling cities of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.

It was escape! Not only is it a great place to take in the sights, but a great workout environment. I'm starting to exercise more, and today I found a few great spots. The trail is rough, but can be managed at a quick jog as long as there's minimal traffic in your way. The steps are plenty and step. And the rock formations are awesome! I can't wait to free climb them after a brisk jog later this spring. All this, in the middle of the city where you'd least expect it if you didn't know to look.
Amazing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Turnabout: Refusal

I had a thought today. I know it's a dangerous concept, me thinking.....
As someone in the direct marketing field, I tend to view the word "refusal" brings up a gut instinct to rebuttal. But I think a kind of turnabout is in order. Refusing to do something isn't always a bad thing.

Refusing to take the easy way out. Refusing to lie to a customer. Refusing to make a quick buck. Refusing to take advantage of someone. Refusing to do the wrong kind of business. These are all good reasons to refuse.

Refuse to do sub standard work. Refuse to give up. Refuse to be average. Refuse refuse refuse.....

Refuse to settle for anything less than your dreams. You owe it to yourself to say no!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Something Called Pride

As a former member of the University of Akron Marching Band(also known as Ohio's Pride) I remember clearly watching a video my first year member, Something Called Pride. The videos kinda lengthy and I don't want to link it here but feel free to google it. The idea, that pride is one of the most powerful tools to an organization like the marching band. But it has a new role in the world we're building from the ground up right now, as we speak, as you read my blog..... the age of social media. To steal from Set Godin, the age of social tribes.

I didn't want to focus on Ohio's Pride today, that's a subject for another time. I wanted to talk about a student organization called the AK-Rowdies. They are the official student fan section for the University of Akron Teams. They are a notoriously strong spirited bunch who's motto last year(during the opening season at their new football stadium) was, "New Stadium, New Rules, Get In, Stand Up, Cheer Loud, All Game, Every Game."
The thing that inspires me about this group, besides their obnoxious use of face paint and how loudly they scream, is their relentless loyalty to their team. They're proud of their team.... no matter what the score. Last year, my beloved Zips finished their football season with a crumby record of 3 & 9. But the Rowdies were there every game, no matter what.

These kids don't back down to larger schools, to bad weather, to a losing score, they're proud of their team and they stand by them time and time again. A saying they stick to, "I Bleed Blue & Gold." And it makes me wonder, do you stand by your team? No matter what the cost, are you proud of what you're doing? These kids are, I know I am. Pride can be viewed as a fatal flaw depending on who's telling the story. I think it works equally as a strength and a value to be smiled upon.
Are you proud of your "team?" Think about it....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Ultimate Brainstorming Tool

I was reading Chris Brogans blog post today about what goes into redrawing, http://ow.ly/1wKhG and I realized that my most trusted tool is sitting on my desk, right next to my keyboard. Here's the thoughts that passed through my head moments later.

When ever I'm faced with a problem, I mean a real problem, something that I'm just not sure how to tackle, I reach for my trusty tool, not an IPad, not my laptop, not my smart phone(none of which I have) but a yellow legal pad and a ballpoint pen.

I've always found a legal pad is the most trusted tool in my arsenal, simply because it gives me more versatility than any "tech tool." If i want to type an outline, or a recommendation I'll jump on the computer, but if I want to brainstorm or really dig into a topic and work out a problem I reach for a piece of paper. The notepad lets me put everything down, mash all my ideas together but still keep them separate, and i can add "images" (meaning anything from stars, circles, little doodles, stick figures, anything!) that help me track my thought process, which as many of my coworkers know can be all over the place once my mental engine starts heating up.

So just humor me here, next time you need to brainstorm, or just get around to rethinking something, anything..... don't pull out your IPhone, IPad, Laptop, or anything requiring batteries. Dig into the top drawer and grab one of those legal pads you ordered with your company logo on it. The ones that seemed like such a great idea at the time, but you can't even manage to give away..... put it to good use. The trees will thank you for it and who knows, you might be able to let your brain run with a little more freedom, and a little less of the "font and format" restrictions of a word doc.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fishing & A Reminder To Always Keep Networking!

Today was Easter, obviously. And I spent my morning in church, then at Beths moms house for a nice Easter dinner. We put together her brand new(& huge) Kingsford grill, and I helped Beths brother install cable in his room. Its was a nice, simple day. And then I decided the afternoon was too incredible to waste not being at the lake!

So I jumped into the car, drove home and hiked it down to the lake! I put the line in the water, and for almost an hour, didn't catch a thing. But, I switched spots, switched my frame of mind, and landed not only my first bass of 2010, and my first bass at my new home lake, but one of my best bass yet. 17.5 Inches & what a fight.


I enjoyed my day ALOT. And then something hit me, the urge to go exploring. Off into the woods at the end of the property I went, following a barely marked trail. It went on for a while, and then I found exactly what I was looking for, "the end of the lake." What I mean by that is the dam at the far southern end of the lake, and that's where I found two things.

1. Bass Paradise! A HUGE tree in 4-7 feet of water, with big chunks sticking out, and within casting distance from shore...... Amazing. and....

2. A constant reminder to network with people!

As I approached this new super secret fishing spot. I saw it wasn't so secret..... there was a young man fishing there. I introduced myself, turns out the young man, Vance, lives one the first floor of my 12 unit apartment building. In a complex of over 40 buildings, and two large towers with a few hundred apartments (not to mention the three smaller complexes on the lake) this guy lived in my building! And here he was, fishing in this new spot I'd found! Turns out, it was his second day fishing (ever) and he was delighted to have someone like me to keep him from cutting his hand open on the bluegill he kept catching.

Just a reminder to open up and talk to people no matter what the occasion, you never know who you'll run into, or how you're already connected to them. If I would have left him alone to his fishing, not said anything, or just walked away, I never would have made a new friend in my building.

Have you networked with anyone today?

If you ask me, it isn't difficult to connect with someone daily. Whether it be a customer at work, a coworker you haven't talked to before, or just the guy next to you on the train/bus ride to work. Just say hello, strike up a gentle conversation. Whats the worst that can happen, they either ignore you, or ask you to leave them alone. No harm done! The pay off, you never know what you'll get out of the interaction you might start!

Friday, April 2, 2010

This Knot Feels Like It'll Never Get Tied!


So over the past few weeks I've been busy helping my fiance Beth plan our wedding. Now here's where it gets interesting. The wedding isn't until May 2011. Everyone keeps saying to me, "....but you have more than 12 months! Stop worrying, stop stressing! It's plenty of time!"


Well, here's the truth to the tale. Beth is a RN (Nurse) at the Cleveland Clinic. And she works one month of day shift, then one month on nights. The night shift months, we barely get to talk for more than an hour.

Here's a typical day during one of those months:

8:00- I wake up & get ready for work, Beth leaves work and starts the drive home

8:45- I leave for work and pass Beth on the way out the door

9:30- I get to work, Beth goes to bed

6:00- I get off work and call Beth to wake her up

6:45- I get home, and cook dinner for the two of us while Beth takes a bath

7:45- Beth goes back to bed after dinner, I do whatever....

9:00- Beth wakes up and leaves for work

12:00- I go to bed, Beth calls when she can to say good night


So, needless to say, we don't get anything done during those months.


But in the last two weeks, Ive checked the following things off:

Bought my tux, Secured a Photographer(& talked down the price!), Secured a DJ, Secured a Pianist, Semi-secured a Chapel, (as of ten mins ago) Secured a wedding Coordinator, Started the first batch of mock ups for the wedding invitations, Restructured my guest list. We've had the reception hall locked up for a while now.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with the cake people..... and hopefully the invitations will be mocked up by Sunday.


It feels like it will never get done! AH!

So truth be told, we have about 6 months left because every other month will be the chaos I listed above! Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sharks Find A Way To Catch Their Prey

I had a conversation with Sam Falletta, the President and Chief Results Officer for Incept, the company I work for sometime last week. (Having productive conversations is what we do best ;-) at Incept) The basis of the conversation was me asking for help with a communication problem I was having. Long story made short, I had a problem with how to approach someone above me in the company with a problem I foresaw and how I felt to best approach it. (I'm a firm believer in always having an idea of how to fix something before you start complaining about it.)

I told Sam something along the lines of how I'm a "Shark personality type." Meaning if you put me in a situation where I can get things done, be sure to get out of my way, or I'll work straight around you to get to the best results possible! I thrive on clearing things off of my to do list at work. Put simply, I attack things in front of me to get to the best results I can. (I should note that this isn't always the best way to do things. Often times I need Sam, or someone else above me to wrangle me a little and make sure I'm doing things the best way possible, logistically that is.)

What Sam told me took a few days to really sink all the way in. But I absorbed the bulk of it pretty quickly. He looked me square in the eyes and said, "Sharks always find a way to catch their prey Steve."

Think about it for the next ten seconds as I did standing there in his office, mute & blinking at him. [count to 10 slowly then continue!] He smiled a wide grin and I walked out of his office. A few days latter I dove straight into the fish tank, attacked my prey head on, and the results were WAY more than I ever could have wished for.

So I ask you this, do you dive straight into the tank when life throws prey faster than you are into your path? Or do you give up, and go in search of an easier meal? I know which one I'd do.... (I don't like giving up.....)

And by the way, TGIF!
Signing off for the work week....

~Stephen~