Thursday, May 31, 2012

60 Seconds

The reality that how we present ourselves can make or break an opportunity became clearly evident today when I was asked by a friend to rank 3 professionals she was considering using.  Each had been recommended by a credible third party.  My friend and I arrived independently at the same rank order for these professionals by reviewing their 60 second descriptions of their specializations.

Presentation matters - visual, verbal and written.  We often have only 60 seconds to lead to a meaningful connection.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It Takes Time

As I was enjoying my run this morning, I realized that only by taking the necessary time to heal from an injury was pain-free running possible.  It's hard to be patient in our 24 x 7 x 365 instant gratification world.  But some things just take time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

First View of Circle of Life

Saturday was an emotional day as many of us attended a memorial service at noon and a wedding at eight.  The same minister officiated for both of these life events at the same church.  The bride's father served as an honorary pallbearer for a friend on the same day that he presented their lovely daughter in marriage.  Though I've been to countless weddings and funerals, this was my first time to attend one of each on the same day. 

At the wedding reception, I was stunned to learn from a friend, who graduated from college in 2010, that she had attended both her first wedding and first funeral that day since my slightly younger daughter and son have attended several weddings and funerals.  It reminded me that we often incorrectly assume that others share our experience and perspectives.   It's helpful to remember that the chance to share firsts with others is ever present.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Seizing Moments

Kristin Kaufman's book Is This Seat Taken? beautifully illustrates the life gifts we are given when we seize every opportunity to fully engage and learn from those who cross our daily paths.  Her stories of encounters with cab drivers, young children, manicurists, waiters, grocery baggers and executives are full of lessons and enriched with her thought-provoking questions at the end of each unique chapter.

Kristin shares a valuable perspective on success, "Success is aligning who we really are inside our souls with what we do and how we contribute in the world."

The book is peppered with with examples of everyday people who are making the world better for those in their circle by making the most of what they've been given. 

Kristin's insights reinforce the powers of optimism, empathy, observation, gratitude, resiliency, courage, trust and the joys of embracing love and life's simple pleasures.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Birds Get the First Nibbles

This week it was exciting to connect a dear friend's child with a likely job opportunity.  The job sounds perfect for my young friend, who graduated from college a week ago.  Her potential employer, who learned that day of an opening, is excited that she may be able to fast-track filling an important position.

Our friends, neighbors, family members,work colleagues (current and past), fellow volunteers and friends of friends are all potential connectors for opportunities of every sort.

In my young friend's case, she was the only new graduate who attended this business forum.  Early (or at least present) birds tend to get the worms (first bites at opportunities).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Seats in Seats (Sold Out)

Attending business, charitable or school events supports our chosen organizations, engages our families, lifts our brand and often cements relationships (professional and personal).

"Seats in seats" is the easiest way for businesses to put their best sponsorship face forward and for nonprofits to productively tout their accomplishments.  Nothing beats knowledgeable, enthusiastic, engaged ambassadors actively engaging clients, prospects and referral sources in organization sponsored events.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Making Stuff that Happens Work

Regardless of our perfection aspirations, stuff (that we don't expect, anticipate or hope for) happens.

When we're faced with challenging situations, we have multiple options including seeking alternatives, exploring connections, finding collaborative partners, endorsing another plan, admitting problems and asking for support, plowing ahead, working around the obstacle, abandoning the current path or just taking a break.

It's easy to get discouraged if we don't realize that there are multiple paths to success.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Opportunities and Challenges

Yesterday I had the great privilege to host Comerica Bank's 2nd Quarter Women's Business Symposium Luncheon and moderate a discussion with a stellar panel of powerful, accomplished women.  Anna Babin - President of the United Way of Greater Houston, Catherine Mosbacher - CEO of Center for Houston's Future and Ann Stern - President of Houston Endowment shared their expertise, experience and aspirations regarding the "Opportunities and Challenges Facing Houston". 

Collectively their organizations impact everyone in the region, through innovative planning for the future, leadership development, strengthening families and neighborhoods and supporting and improving education, human services, health, arts and environment.  It's easy to understand the importance, but hard to quantify the impact of the Center for Houston's Future's research, planning and civic engagement.  On the other hand the sheer numbers for the other organizations are incredibly impressive, but only tell part of the story.  Houston Endowment has invested $1.4 billion in improving the region and awarded scholarships to more than 10,000 Jones scholars.  Last year alone, United Way served 790,000 family members.

It was powerful hearing all three leaders independently articulate the same priorities for the vibrancy of our region - improving education and addressing wealth disparity.  And it's not surprising that the two issues are linked.  The more we learn, the more we tend to earn. 

The return on investment for educational gains are remarkable, especially for early childhood education.  And the regional economic impact of increasing completion of 2 and 4 years degrees by only 1% is estimated to be over $4 billion.

Anna, Catherine and Ann agreed that Houston is a remarkable place, strengthened by our diversity and generous spirit.  Through investment, voting and advocacy, volunteer service and collaboration we will continue to be a great place to live, work, learn and play.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's the tude!

Our positive attitude, aptitude, gratitude, latitude, fortitude and servitude make an enormous difference in the way in which we are perceived.

What's your tude?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Going Positively Postal

It's my privilege and obligation to commend the United States Postal Service for their early Mother's Day delivery!  I found a terrific gift for my precious role model Mama on Saturday, and made it to my neighborhood post office before the last pick-up.  I opted for 2 business day delivery since it was a week and a day before Mother's Day.  Much to my delight and surprise, this love-filled package arrived ahead of schedule on Monday. 

It's as easy to commend (and much more gratifying) as it is to complain.  Let's all go positively postal with acknowledgement of those we love and treasure!