Tag Archives: life

Find Your Why to Boost Your Success

Book Cover Find Your Why and question marks

To boost your success, you must find your why. Previously I wrote a blog post about Simon Sinek’s bestselling book Start With Why. This post will discuss his companion book, co-written with David Mead and Peter Docker, called Find Your Why. Simon explains that this book provides the steps to show people exactly how to find their why.

 

Sinek explains it is not what you do that keep you fulfilled, but why you do what you do. Everyone has a why, their deep-seated purpose, a cause or belief, that is the source of your passion and inspiration. Fulfillment comes when what we do connects directly to our why.

Once you understand your why, you will be able to clearly express what makes you fulfilled. Knowing the why helps us set a vision to inspire others and guides us to act with purpose, on purpose.

WHY statements are always:

  • simple
  • clear
  • actionable
  • focused on the effect you will have on others

 

TO ___________ SO THAT ____________.

 

  • The first blank is the contribution you make to the lives of others.
  • The second blank is the impact of your contribution.
  • Your why must be relevant in both your personal and professional life.
  • Your why is a statement of value. It’s who you truly are.

The book advises that you choose a partner (someone who knows you, but not so much that they can finish your stories). Tell them at least five or six meaningful stories from your past. Each story must be a specific time, place, or moment and share it in detail.

Find Your Why suggests two different methods. The first method, “Peaks and Valleys” is where you think of both happy memories and memories you would not want to relive but have shaped who you are today. The second method, “Memory Prompt” is where you answer questions like:

  • Who has helped make you who you are today?
  • What was a pivotal moment in your life?
  • What happened that changed the way you think about your world and your role in it?
  • What have you accomplished in your life that you are really proud of?

Have the person you are telling your stories make notes of the facts in one column and the meaning or feelings in the column next to it. The stories you tell can be those that shed light on who you are at your best as well as specific experiences and people that have shaped who you are today.

Later both of you will look for recurring themes, words, phrases, and ideas. Once you tell stories and identify themes, you are ready to draft your WHY statement. As mentioned, your why statement should read, to _______ so that _________. It should be expressed in affirmative language that resonates with you.

Perhaps, as an innkeeper, your why has to do with serving your guests. It may be about providing them with friendly hospitality and luxurious accommodations that allow them to relax and strengthen their relationships.

Your WHY statement should be something that you agree with completely. It should not be written for your guests, but written for you as a guide to help you make decisions in life. Knowing your WHY statement will provide you with direction and boost your success.

 

40 Thoughts on Life Now That I Am 40

40 Thoughts on Life...Now That I am 40

 

Now that I have turned 40 years old, I am writing to reflect on 40 things I have learned in my lifetime.  These thoughts are not in any order of importance nor are they meant to cover every aspect of life.  I’m sure every adult has at least 40 of their own thoughts on life.

 

Life is short and long at the same time.  Sometimes things seem to take forever while other times you want moments to last forever.

The older you are, the faster time goes by.  As a child, it seemed like it took forever for your birthday and Christmas to come.  Now, birthdays are a reminder to me that we will not live forever.

Life can change in an instant.  Health challenges, car accidents, and other tragic events can drastically change your entire life.

You can either grow stronger or grow bitter after enduring the challenges of life.  I choose to grow stronger each day.  I am not referring to physical strength, but of growth in character and integrity as a person.

Our life is meant to be a blessing to others.  Look around you.  There is always someone less fortunate than you.

Sometimes your own time is the best gift you can give someone.  Time with the ones you love and care for.

Take time to celebrate life.  It is a gift to live every day in the PRESENT.  We cannot change the past and if we only live for the future, we can’t enjoy today.

Surprise yourself or someone else in your life.  Let someone know what they mean to you by giving them a hug or telling them in words specific things you appreciate about them.

As you spread love, it comes back to you.  It may not come from the same person, but you will be rewarded for your kind words and deeds.

Be grateful for the little things every day.  Thank God for things that we may take for granted.  That the sun is shining (providing us heat) or that it is raining (watering our plants and farmers’ crops).

Keep a gratitude jar with scraps of paper noting one thing each day that you are grateful for or something you heard that made you smile.  Read it aloud with family and friends on New Year’s Eve.

Life is an adventure.  Routines can help you achieve great things, but even for people that like to plan out every minute of their lives, you need to challenge yourself to do something different every day.  Drive the scenic route.  Smile at a stranger on the street.  Post something inspiring on social media.

Don’t be superstitious.  Thirteen can be a good number.  Maybe you were born on the 13th or the number 13 has another positive meaning for you.  Don’t bother with reading horoscopes or visiting psychics. Life is what you make it.

In all things, lean on God.  He’s got your back if you earnestly seek Him and ask Him to help you.  He loves you and wants you to live the best life possible.  He may allow challenges in your life, but He will never allow you to experience something greater than you can handle.

Appreciate what others have done for you. There is no way you would be where you are in life today where it not for the help of other people.  Take time to thank them personally.

If you are struggling financially to make ends meet, don’t be afraid to let others know.  Maybe some time in the future you can repay the favor to another person in need.

People need to know that you care.  There are people you probably know that may suffer from anxiety and depression as well as those who may be dying or in the process of recovering from a major surgery or even a stroke.  Reach out to them and listen.  Your presence in their life may be the motivation they need to live another day.

It is impossible to know everything about anything.  There is always something new to learn.  Even the most accomplished people in life, continue to practice their gifts.  Surgeons learn new procedures and artists learn new techniques. You can always grow in your abilities to do something–even in areas where you are considered an expert!

Everyone has their own opinions about a variety of issues.  Be less concerned about being “right” and be more concerned with how you treat others.  Kindness goes a long way.

Be a good sport when you lose at something.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be something athletic.  Whenever someone does something better than you, be thankful that they proved it possible to achieve.  There will always be people more talented than us.  What matters more is your character than your abilities.

Be a good sport when you win at something.  Recognize others for their achievements and thank them for participating.  You may be a role model or mentor to them.  It is important to help make other people feel important.

People tend to respect those that show them respect. Every person deserves respect.  Wealth, prestige, and fame are what the world values.  I believe it is more important to value someone for their character.

Your character is who you are when you think no one is looking.  If you do and say what you do only to impress others, in time it will become obvious that is your motivation.  However, if you are truly being YOU, then you may inspire those around you.

Look after those who cannot defend themselves.  Abuse (in all its forms) of other humans and abuse of animals must be stopped.  The sick and elderly also need looking after.  How you treat others reflects on who you are as a person.

People can change.  It is possible for people to improve their character and their life habits.  Be open to giving someone another chance.

Look for others around you that could benefit from your wisdom.  Even young people know things that older people may not.

Eat things that will fuel your body to function at its best.  The old saying is “garbage in, garbage out.”  I gave up the sugary (but oh so tasty) Chic-Fil-A frosted coffees to make my own healthy protein shakes at home.

Exercise regularly.  I need to do more than just walk my dog outside.  It may help for me to get an accountability partner to discuss my health and fitness goals.  I do know that working with weights helps build muscle tone and burn fat.  I think the more consistently I do something like exercise, the easier it will be for me to make it a good life habit.

Write down your goals in life.  Break them into smaller steps (a daily to-do list) that you can work on each day.  They say that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.

Allow yourself to have fun.  Sometimes we can be so goal-oriented that we don’t reserve a little time each day to do something we enjoy.  For me, this includes spending time with family, watching movies, reading, and solving crossword puzzles.

Volunteer some of your time each week to help a person or a cause.  This gives your life more purpose.  You are contributing to something you feel is worthy of your time.  You are using your unique skill set (there is only one person exactly like you) to achieve things.

It is easier to keep things clean than to have things become messy all over again.  For example, I don’t keep many things in my car so that my car stays clean.  However, I need more discipline when it comes to my house.  I love how I feel when I just finished organizing a closet!

Be your own person. Don’t try to impress others by being someone other than yourself.  Be authentic to who you are!

Always be considerate of others around you.  You may not know everything they are going through.  Some people don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal challenges with others and they may even keep it bottled up inside.  If someone (in your opinion) overreacts to something, there may be more to the story.  Be there to listen, but don’t force them to tell you everything on their mind.

Not everyone is confident in their abilities to do specific things.  There are plenty of things I’m not yet confident in my abilities to do.  I have spoken on a few webinars, but I don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of others who can see me as I am speaking.  With the webinars I’ve done, no one could look at me.  However, if you stuck me in a room full of people looking at me, I would be more nervous.  Even people who appear confident may be faking it.  Fake it until you make it!

Do your best to avoid negativity.  Speak only positive words!  Replace “I can’t” with “I can”!  Swap “I don’t know how we will get this done” to “I know we will get this done.”  I don’t mean for you to be unrealistic, but belief in yourself and other people goes a long way towards achieving great things.

Take deep breaths and five-minute breaks throughout your day.  Those who work nonstop are LESS productive than those who take breaks.  It is more effective to study in twenty-minute bursts followed by ten-minute breaks than it is to study without taking a break.  Your brain and your body need time to accomplish what you are learning and doing.

Better to eat and stay hydrated throughout your day than to eat one big meal each day especially late at night.  Your metabolism does not need the shock!

Do a little bit each day towards your specific and measurable goals.  Don’t wait until the last minute to do something.  That just makes it tougher on yourself (and probably the people around you).

How much time any of us has is unknown.  People are more important than money or things.  Be loving and generous towards others.  Make the most of every day!

Katie Couric: The Best Advice I Ever Got

the best advice I ever got

 

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric is full of practical information for people from all walks of life. Each chapter features a famous person who gives us a sneak peak into what they have learned from their own experiences. At the end of this post is a YouTube video of Katie talking about how she wrote the book and which celebrities contributed their stories.

Comedian and Actor George Lopez: “If you quit, you’ll never find out what could have happened.”

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Mario Batali: “As you cook up your own life, never let anyone else’s recipe for success intimidate you…”

 

Emmy Award-Winning Television and Radio Host Larry King: “Learn how to listen.  You don’t learn anything when you are talking.”

Emmy Award-Winning Television Broadcaster, Journalist, and Co-Host of Good Morning America Robin Roberts: “Be patient and persistent.  Life is not so much about what you accomplish as what you overcome.”

Professional Football Player Drew Brees: “What is meant to be will happen for me, and all I should concern myself with is the things I can control.”

Figure-skating Champion Michelle Kwan: “Your finest moments in life aren’t necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know you simply gave your best–when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back.”

Co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone: “Think about what is valuable before thinking about what is profitable and know that there’s compound interest in helping others–start early!”

Professional Psychologist, Bestselling Author, and Television Host “Dr. Phil” McGraw: “Instead of ignoring these dreams and hoping you can get around to them later on, you have to be committed to developing an action plan, to creating a “life script” with measurable goals, and to building a core of supporters around you to keep you going in the right direction.”

Grammy Award-Winning Artist, Musician, Entrepreneur, Actress, and Activist Alicia Keys: “When you make a decision because you really love what you’re doing, because you’re really passionate about it, believe in it, and because you’d do it no matter what the outcome–that’s when you become most successful.”

Bestselling Cookbook Author and Television Host Ina Garten: “You can’t figure out what you want to do from the sidelines.  You need to jump into the pond and splash around to see what the water feels like.  You might like that pond or it might lead to another pond, but you need to figure it out in the pond.”

Sixty-sixth United States Secretary of State and Stanford University Professor Condoleeza Rice: “The point is that life is full of surprises and serendipity.  Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success.  If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns.”

Four-Star General and Sixty-Fifth United States Secretary of State Colin Powell: “So it doesn’t matter where you start in life but where you finish and, along the way, whether you do something that you love and enjoy doing.  Never settle for anything less than what you love doing and do well.”

Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno: “It’s not really about the destination, but about what it took to get you there.”

Taking Larry King’s advice to learn how to listen, identify at least 3 people who have achieved success and ask them to share their thoughts.  Possible questions could be:

  • What was your greatest challenge?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you know now that you wish you could have known earlier in life?
  • Was there anyone who mentored you?
  • How did you become so successful?
  • Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
  • What are you most excited about for your future?

Essentially, informally interview them (much like Katie Couric interviewed these people) to gain more insight.  If the person you are interviewing knows you well, they will be able to relate this to your goals.

While we each need to do something that aligns with our own personal interests, passions, and goals; we can benefit by the wisdom and experience of the successful people around us.  In addition, we should all be open to sharing the lessons we have learned with those who come to us for advice.

Here is a YouTube video of Katie Couric talking about how she wrote this book!

Bed and Breakfast Patriotic Holiday Celebrations

patriotic holiday celebrations

 

Bed and breakfast patriotic holiday celebrations in the United States of America occur on special days like Flag Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.  It is during these times that we can honor our country as well as the men and women who serve in the military, our nation’s veterans, and those who sacrificed their lives while fighting to protect our freedoms.

 

Bed and breakfasts across the country can take the lead by decorating their B&B inside and out, hosting events on site, informing guests of local events in the community, offering holiday specials to attract guests to their inn, and cooking festive looking and fabulous tasting foods.  First, did you ever wonder about the history behind this patriotic holidays?  Here is an up close look:

 

  • Memorial Day, May 30 (traditionally), is a sacred day to all war veterans. America’s citizens are reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice. They came from all walks of life and regions of the country, but they all had one thing in common: love of and loyalty to country.

 

  • Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the official symbol for the United States: our Stars and Stripes. Flag Day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777. The colors used in the flag give special meaning to the flag: red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue for reverence and loyalty. When you are looking at the American flag, you are looking at the magnificent history of all Americans who have lived before us and the most enduring nation of free people that has ever existed.

 

  • Fourth of July is a day when Americans celebrate the pivotal moment in history on July 4, 1776, when the signers of the Declaration of Independence boldly asserted that all are “created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” With these words, our forefathers formed a new nation and put forth a vision of liberty and democracy that would forever alter history. This set into motion the development of a land of freedom and opportunity without equal in the world.

 

  • Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans. Formally the holiday was called Armistice Day through a congressional action in America. If World War I had been “the war to end all wars,” November 11 might be still called Armistice Day. Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.

 

Decorating your bed and breakfast is a patriotic expression of our thankfulness to be citizens of our free country.  You can add unique displays of red, white, and blue with American flags, banners, decorative crepe paper, table centerpieces, fireplace mantel decorations, and even displaying your very own fireworks show at night!

 

While hosting an event to celebrate a patriotic holiday at your bed and breakfast, your inn could have some of those actively serving our country or military veterans as guests.  Reach out to your local community and invite a guest speaker to give a speech. You can serve tasty treats at your event and hand out patriotic goodie bags so visitors can remember their visit to your inn.

 

Letting guests know about local events in the community such as parades or public nighttime firework displays allows you to promote your area.  There may be some local museums that allow your bed and breakfast guests to get a closer look at America’s military history.

 

Offering guests attractive holiday specials at your bed and breakfast will likely bring more business.  You may gain some first time guests to your inn.  This could be from a patriotic discount to American guests or a military discount to military families and veterans during these specific holidays.

 

patriotic holiday celebrations Lastly, creating patriotic breakfast dishes adds to the experiences of your guests.  In particular, using strawberries, bananas, and blueberries (to represent red, white, and blue) innkeepers could make a mixed fruit dish, add the berries to French toast, or even make a berry fruit smoothie.  Only limited by your own creativity, you will think of something amazing that your bed and breakfast guests will be delighted to eat!

 

Images by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

5 Reasons to Never Give Up!

reasons to never give up

 

 

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” Whatever your dream is, there are at least five reasons to never give up!

 

 

  • You are closer than you think!  Even if you are just getting started, one new idea might really take off.  You never know until you try.  Think how one great idea spurs on several more after that.
  • You never want to wonder “what if?” Live a life of no regrets.  No one knows how much time they have left on earth, so live in the moment and do something now!
  • It is never too late to make a difference.  Everyone has something they can do to positively affect another life.  Even if it is just listening and showing you care.  That could be the best thing you can do for someone.
  • Others will help if you just ask them.  No one achieves anything of value alone.  Have you ever sat in the theater at the end of a movie, to read the credits naming everyone who helped make the movie possible? The right people would love to help you.  They do not know you need their help unless you ask!
  • Believe in yourself!  Everyone is capable of making significant accomplishments.  Remind yourself of what you do well each day.  Positive thinking only!

Think of all the world leaders, explorers, inventors, artists, musicians, athletes, and business leaders that have shaped the world around us for the good.  They never gave up!  Think of the everyday people in your life, who are not famous, but who have made an incredibly positive impact on your life and others around them.  Be the kind of person you want someone to be to you!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Do you live in a Downton Abbey?

do you live in a Downton Abbey

Do you live in a Downton Abbey? Even if your bed and breakfast is historical, it may not have all the drama that comes with the television show called Downton Abbey.  One of the most talked about shows on television is the highest rated drama that PBS has ever had.

The show was set in Highclere Castle, where people may have lived as long as 1300 years ago. The structural work on the interior of the Castle was finally completed in 1878. Once built, the Castle became a center of political life during the late Victorian era.

In many ways Highclere Castle epitomized the confidence and glamour of the Edwardian period in the first few years of the twentieth century. Visitor books record the house parties full of politicians, technological innovators, Egyptologists, aviators and soldiers.

During the First World War, Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, transformed the Castle into a hospital, and patients began to arrive from Flanders in September 1914. She became an adept nurse and a skilled healer and hundreds of letters from patients and their families bear testament to her untiring work and spirit of generosity.

The Castle returned to a private home and in 1922 the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, the first global world media event.

Following the death of the 5th Earl, his son, who then became the 6th Earl, returned to Highclere where he lived until 1986. During the Second World War, the Castle briefly became a home for evacuee children from north London.

The current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live partly in the Castle and partly nearby but remain closely involved in the Castle’s day to day life and future.  If you live in a historical bed and breakfast, your guests would love to hear about its history–including the drama! Then you can answer the question, “Do you live in a Downton Abbey?”

Do You Live In A Downton Abbey

 

 

Downton Abbey aired for 6 straight seasons on PBS.  Although there are no plans in place, there are strong rumors of a future film adaptation.  If the movie is made, do you think that some of the actors from the TV show will play their same characters for the movie version?

 

 

 

 

 

If You Own a Historic Bed and Breakfast

If you own a historic bed and breakfast, do you emphasize its history to your guests?  Many Bed and Breakfasts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Up to 90% of Bed and Breakfasts occupy historic buildings that have been lovingly restored.  Some of them have received rewards from a Preservation Society.  

You can give tours of your historic home and talk about the people who formerly lived there.  If you know their names, talk about them.  Feel free to share any stories you know to be true. If they are rumors, then let your guests know that the information can not be confirmed.  Your guests will feel as though you are giving them a window into the life of those who once lived in your home.

If you have antique pictures of family members, hang them on your walls. Bed and breakfast owners, you can display precious momentos from your historic home.  If they are valuable and/or fragile, consider putting them in a locked glass display case for your guests to view.

You could even put together a scrapbook of old photos of your bed and breakfast and the people who formerly lived in your home.  If you put that scrapbook in a common area of the house, guests will be able to enjoy looking at the pages to get a sense of the history of the place they are staying in.

Guests love staying in places that have a fascinating history. Perhaps someone famous owned (or stayed at) your historic bed and breakfast.  You can mention that on your website and you can refer to that in a blog post.  Highlight the things that make your bed and breakfast unique and you will attract more visitors!

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