Friday, August 5, 2016

Social Media

Holy Hashtag!  Social media is a blessing and a curse.

In today's world, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and whatever else I am not cool enough to know about are the way in which many people communicate with friends, family, customers, business owners, celebrities, political nominees, and sometimes even the people who are sitting right beside them in the same room.  It truly is a necessary evil.

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  I love seeing my friends kiddos, their vacations, their successes, and even their "real world" moments done with love and humor, but I get tired of all the negativity, drama, hate, and stupid stuff that often makes me want to delete all my accounts right that instant. 

As a business owner you can live and die by social media.  (Heck...I am posting this message on my FB pages as I type!)  The truth is someone could have one bad experience at my store or get one bad batch of pecans and rip me, my team, my family, and my business to shreds on social media without even letting me know about it or giving me the chance to make it right.  They could also sing my praises and give me five stars in the same manner as well.  All is fair (and unfair) in love, war, and the internet. 

To me social media is like being in high school all over again.  I get to hear a lot of things that I find vitally important, awesome, and totally cool (I graduated in the 90s...give me a break).  I also get to hear a lot of things I don't care about, don't believe to be completely true, and basically just ignore. 

But just like I kept going to class day in and day out for four years of my high school life, I continue to pop in to my social media sites on a daily basis (and sometimes several times a day).  The truth is many schools, children's sports teams, volunteer groups, special events, churches, businesses, and others use social media as a way to communicate and if you are not there to listen then you are often missing out.

The trick is to tune out the stuff that doesn't matter to YOU and tune in to the content that does.  If you love political debates by all means let me hook you up with my uncle Donny.  As a matter of fact if you love pugs he is your man too!  But if that isn't your thing and you are more into seeing some breathtaking Texas morning sunrises then my friend Jerry from Henrietta takes some of the best pictures I have ever seen.  I have friends who are into fitness, fashion, faces, and fur balls of all kinds.  I have friends who love the Cowboys, the Packers, the Rangers, and the Angels.  I have friends who read awesome books, live in amazing places, and have kids that are so stinking cute you would swear they aren't real!  Some of my friends are so hilariously funny I truly believe they should get their own reality tv show!  And some of my friends are fighting battles I could never imagine waging war against...they deal with so much pain and hurt and uncertainty that I think people should line up daily to just hug them.  Some of my friends post pictures of food that make me want to show up at their front doorstep with Tupperware in hand and some of my friends make me feel okay about my cooking skills because they too set off the smoke alarms every time they turn on the stove.

Whatever you want to find on social media the fact is it is out there.  You just have to get through all the other stuff to find it.  But isn't that life in general?  To get what we really want we have to get through all the stuff we don't want.  Of course sometimes the truly amazing happens while we are looking for one thing in particular.  We stumble upon something totally unexpected we never knew existed and it changes our lives forever.  I am always thankful for those friends, pages, groups, and events that I found while scrolling through and who made a huge a difference in my life. 

Whether you like it, love it, laugh at it, or hate it social media is what it is.  Just like most things you have to take the good with the bad.  So keep scrolling...keep hashtagging your heart out...keep liking up a storm.  Then get off the stinking phone, computer or tablet and go live your real life!!! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bitter or Better...

"Jill...A customer wants to talk to the manager."

Translation. 

"Jill...A customer is really mad and they plan on telling you about it."

Ughh. 

I used to want to run and hide when I heard that first line.  I do not like confrontations at all but I especially don't like them when it involves my family business.  My entire family puts our blood, sweat, and tears into producing and selling wonderful goods to consumers so when I get to listen to someone say how terrible my family, staff, or products are I am less than thrilled. 

In the last twelve years since I "officially" became the manager of the Pecan Shed I have been called just about every name in the book.  I have been cussed out, accused of being a thief, threatened to be sued, threatened to be harmed, and even almost run over by a customer's car in the parking lot one night. 

When people tell me how lucky I am to be the "boss" at the Pecan Shed I often want to tell them the truth...but I just smile and nod.  The truth is I am very lucky.

For every mean and nasty customer, vendor, or random person I have had to deal with over the years there are at least one hundred wonderful, amazing, sweet, and loyal customers who make my job a joy to go to every day.  The difficult part is remembering where to focus. 

So often we let ourselves focus on the little bit of bad that happens to us and we let it overshadow all the good.  If I am not careful I can let the small percentage of negativity I deal with at work make my job seem hard when it reality it isn't.  The truth is I am told many more times how good my products and team members are than I am ever told anything negative. 

I believe many times in life God will give us opportunities to face difficult events, situations, and people in an effort to mold us.  We can either allow these challenges to make us bitter or make us better. 

Now when I get the pleasure of talking to someone who is unhappy with a product or service we provide I take it as an chance to see if there really is room for improvement or at the very least I use the moment to educate the person who is upset as well as let them know that they have been heard.  Sometimes that is all people want in life is to be heard. 

When the truly hateful individuals show up, as they still do on rare occasions, I simply encourage them to shop elsewhere and remind my team we should all be glad we don't have to sit by that particular person at holiday meals.  Some people in life will never be happy and that is okay.  However I will not let them turn me bitter.  I will be better for having learned how to show them the door with grace, kindness, and possibly a little bit of humor thrown in for good measure. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Leaders Are Readers...

If you listen to Dave Ramsey much when he talks about leadership in any type of organization you will often hear him say "Leaders are readers."  With that in mind here are a few of the most recent books I just LOVE and would highly recommend anyone read whether you are the CEO running a multibillion dollar business on Wall street or the MOM running a family from home.

EntreLeadership - Dave Ramsey - This book made me believe in great businesses again and made me want to become the leader of such a business. 

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question - John G. Miller - Wow!  You will never look at things the same after you read this book.  Personal accountability is severely lacking in today's world but this little quick read helps to shed light on how we all can make the shift to ask the be better question.

The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant - Terry Feblber - Great story about how making money can be your calling and how you can use your skills in the marketplace to be part of your ministry. 

Who Moved My Cheese - Spencer Johnson M.D. - I could only find this book on audio cd and I am actually glad I did.  I found myself laughing out loud not only at the story but at how I was exactly like the characters at different points in my life.  Everyone can get something out of this book whether your cheese got moved at work, with your spouse, with your kids, in your circle of friends, at your church...I promise you at some point your cheese has moved and now you need to go find new cheese. 

Basic Black - Catherine Black - If you are a woman I highly recommend you read this.  If you have a wife, daughter, or mother who is working in today's work force buy it for her.  If you work with women you might want to read it too! 

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - I loved this book when I read it.  I loved it so much I bought five more copies and handed them out to friends.  You should get it too. 

You Are a Badass:  How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life - Jen Sincero - Okay...if you can get past the curse words which I will say is hard for me at times this is a really amazing book!  I have read it and listened to it on audio at least ten times.  I use almost every principle she talks about and I promise you...THEY WORK!!!  Just ignore the F bombs. 

Books I have not read yet but are sitting on my nightstand or on loan to friends...

The Search for God and Guinness:  A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World - Stephen Mansfield

The Power of the Other:  The Startling Effect Other People Have on You, from the Boardroom to the Bedroom and Beyond-and What to Do About It - Dr. Henry Cloud

Rhinoceros Success: The Secret to Charging Full Speed Toward Every Opportunity - Scott Alexander

These are just a few but I hope if you are looking for something to read that is not your typical romance novel or summer thriller you will check out one of these I have mentioned.  No doubt many of you have heard of some of these or perhaps all of them.  They are good books and well worth the cost to add to your personal libraries. 

Happy Reading!! 

 

Monday, August 1, 2016

DISC

Recently I had each member of my leadership team take a DISC assessment test.  For those of you not familiar with the DISC it is a behavioral test to see what a person's tendencies are mainly in regards to how they process information, communicate with others, and interact with others in general.  Each letter in DISC represents a different dominant personality style.  Often people will even assign animals to each personality style.  While I have heard a few variations of what each letter stands for, the one I got during the EntreLeadership Summit is as follows...

D - Decisive - This is characterized by the lion.  D personalities are very focused on "when" something is going to happen.  They are drivers, very result-oriented, often overlook details, and can have a tendency to hurt others feelings without intending to.  They are very task-oriented and quick to act.

I - Interactive - The otter is portrayed with this group.  I personalities are more concerned with the "who" part of any project or activity.  They are very people-oriented and often are also quick to act.  They are expressive, impulsive, persuasive, and can tend to lose focus on tasks easily.  This group needs to be around people to be happy.

S - Stabilizing - A golden retriever is used to represent this group.  While S personalities are very people-oriented they are slower to act.  Those who fall in the S group are concerned with the "why".  They dislike conflict, are often great team players, and are usually very understanding and amiable. 

C - Cautious - The beaver is used for this group.  Cs are very task-oriented but are also slow to act.  They want to know the "how" when it comes to things.  Sometimes people in this group can seem rigid and resistant to change.  Those in this category usually love details and are very analytical. 

Before my leadership team took their tests most of us could guess pretty well what each one's strongest characteristic was or at least what would be in the top two.  Some of us were surprised though how we fell into each of the categories in general. 

The best thing we all took away from these tests were it gave us each a better understanding of why we all behave the way we do and hopefully it will help us to communicate and work better with each other in the future.  It also was eye opening to us to realize the rest of our team will have various spectrums of the DISC as well as our customers.

Communication and work environments cannot be created with cookie cutters.  Each team member and customer will hear, process, and express information differently.  The trick is not to communicate and work with others only in the way you prefer but to find out what personality you are dealing with and communicate and work with them in a way they can best understand and utilize the information. 

My leadership team and I were able to laugh a lot looking back on some of our past communication efforts.  I am a high S so when I need to talk with my high Ds they tend to go crazy because they just want a decision and I want to take more time and see how everyone will be affected.  My high Is drive my Cs nuts because my Cs just want the details and my Is might not even know what the details are but they know what happened with each employee on Friday night. 

Once we knew what our strengths were we were also able see where our weaknesses were and we can all now work on those aspects.  Personally I need to pull the trigger a little faster on some decisions but I have a pretty good feeling I will never be a huge lion in our group.  I don't worry too much though.  I have several on my team who roar loud enough!  :) 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nothing Changes...

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes.

I read that yesterday and it made me think.

One side of my brain went...Well duh!!!

The other side of my brain went...This is life changing news people!!!!

My brain often does that.  It is like a bad reality tv show going on up there pretty much 24/7.

The part of my brain that was less than impressed knows this simple statement is so obvious a two year old could figure it out.  However the other part of my brain that was utterly amazed by the deepness and complexity of this one thought was sure it took Franciscan Monks years of silence and holy communion with God to come up with such a life altering view.

Isn't that how most things go? 

Often our greatest Oprah "ah-ha" moments end up being the most simplistic ideas.  They were things and ideas we have intrinsically known all along but when someone else says them to us or puts them on Facebook with clouds and a sunrise as the background we are blown away by this seemingly "new" knowledge. 

Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Wow!!!  Still it gets me! 

So often in life I want things to change but I personally resist changing.  So often I want people to change but I don't change my views of them, how I treat them, how I react to them, or even change my stance and just accept them for who they are.  So often I want my past to change but I stay stuck in my same old habits.  This then means my future will be no different from my past.  I could change my ways and thus change what happens in the future (which will someday be the past) but I refuse to most of the time. 

Change is hard.  Change is scary.  Change can hurt. 

Not changing is hard.  Not changing is scary.  Not changing can hurt.

Nothing changes if nothing changes might not be earth shattering information but it is definitely worth putting on a sticky note and sticking it to my bathroom mirror.  And posting it on Dotty's mirror.  And putting it on the dash of my car.  And using it as a tag line for all my emails from this point forward. 

Things do change whether we want them to or not.  We age.  We get grey hair.  We get wrinkles.  We slow down.  We get more grey hair even though we paid good money to color the ones we got last time.  We forget things.  We get aches and pains.  We get more grey hair...dang it. 

I can't permanently change what I see in the mirror because Mother Nature is always going to be there to show me who is in charge, but I can make a big change to what I can't see in the mirror.  I can change my mind, my heart, my attitude, my feelings, my soul...I can change my world. 

We decide if nothing changes.  We decide if we stay where we are or if we move forward or backward.  We decide when and how we change. 

Nothing changes if nothing changes. 

This is life changing news people...duh!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Why??? Why Not!!!

Sometimes the question is....Why???
Sometimes the answer is....Why not!!!

During a church service I attended this weekend the pastor pointed out that fear is often one of the main reasons we never take a risk.  We fear the known but mostly the unknown.  We fear failure and we can even fear success. 

We are scared to ask someone out, enroll in a college course, start our own business, leave the job we hate, apply for the job we always wanted, write the book, write the first chapter, write the first word, ask the girl to marry us, break up with the boy who we know is bad for us, tell our kids no, tell our kids yes, tell our kids we have no clue, paint a masterpiece, paint a picture, paint by numbers, get the dog, get the next dog, get the cat, get the fish, get the whole zoo!!! 

We usually know the why.  What we are looking for is the answer to the why.  We look for all the possible reasons, outcomes, pitfalls, and possibilities.  And sometimes the only good answer is...why not! 



Friday, July 22, 2016

You Can Have It All...Just Not All Today...

As I roll out of bed and head to the kitchen I see my "to do" list on the counter.  It reads...

5am - workout
5:30 - read Bible and meditate
6am - get ready for work - look fabulous!
6:30 - wake up Dotty
7am - fix a healthy breakfast and have meaningful conversation with Dotty
7:30 - head to school/work
8am - check and respond to all email
8:30 - team meeting about day's events along with daily devotional and team celebrations
9am - store opens, greet customers with baked goods I made fresh the night before
10am - write four to five chapters of my recent book
11am - create new product along with entire marketing campaign
12am - lunch with friends where we share recipes, class party tips, and solve the world peace problem
1pm - record my daily web show where I tell everyone how they can do it all and not go nuts!
2pm - review all the company's financials and discuss in detail with my CPA
3pm - pick up Dotty at school with a healthy snack I packed from home
4pm - all homework is done and both of us have read an additional 20 minutes
5pm - practice (softball, dance, cheerleading, or golf...depending on the day)
6pm - home cooked dinner with lighthearted banter and lots of love
7pm - bath time using soap I made from scratch
7:30 - meditation for both of us
8pm - lights out for Dotty
8:30 - all laundry and housework are done and make fresh baked goods for the following day
9pm - lights out for me

Anyone see a problem with this list????

Well for starters if any of you know a woman who can get ready in 30 minutes and look "fabulous" after a workout then I want to meet her.  I also sort of hate her because it takes me a good hour to get my look to the point where people won't ask me if I feel bad all day long. 

Another laughable note is who has ever responded to ALL their email???  I have at least 20 in my inbox at all times and based on what I hear from friends that is on the low end of the spectrum.  Also, for those of you who know me well you know my skills in the kitchen are down right scary so anything baked by me would need to be consumed with caution. 

Pretty much every item on this "list" was meant to make you all laugh out loud.  However the truth is I really do wish I could do everything on this list every day.

Could I do a lot of it?  Yes.  Do I?  No.  Could I do some of it?  Yes.  Do I?  Sometimes. 

I want to have it all...I want to be a great mom, Christian, manager, writer, innovator, baker, homemaker, friend, motivator, and sleeper (man do I want to be a great sleeper!!!)...but some days I am only a few of these...and some days I don't feel like I am any of them. 

What I know for sure is I can never be all of them at once.  Depending on the moment I am in I have to choose what I want to be great at or not so great at.  At some point in time I can be great at all those things...I just can't be great at all of them today.  But being great at just one or two of them a day isn't all that bad in the grand scheme of things.

Today my goal is to be a great sleeper.  So if you stop by the store and I am napping just know that I am working on my personal goal for today and don't wake me up.  :)