Monday, September 20, 2010

What's Your Family hiSTORY?

Over the weekend I heard some wonderful family stories. . . each one bringing the black and white photographs of family members, long since passed, to life.

The starts and stops and facial expressions of an 83 year old matriarch keeping great, great grand stories alive entertained us for hours. It was a magical way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

These amazing family recollections got me to thinking about who will keep these stories alive? How will they be passed on to future generations if we don't capture them?

Often these stories start spontaneously and there is no thought of recording it. . . and you are just so captivated to hear about Granny Clark's quick temper, Uncle Wayne's adventures or how Paw Paw was such a prankster to even think to preserve it.

This morning over coffee I realized that I'm not alone. There are so many of us who need a gentle nudge to Pass on Life Lessons Through Family Stories.

As a Hatfield, I can say some of my fondest memories growing up was helping my Father research our family ancestry (yes, I am one of those Hatfields). . . and with October being Family History Month, I figured this would be a great opportunity to help others.

Here are a few great resources to help you get started ::

10 Ways to Celebrate Family History Month

I found this great little website that has great questions to help you collect your family stories. . . it's not fancy but there are some questions to ask of/answer for your family.

StoryCorps has some interesting questions for getting a conversation going!

PBS : Circle of Stories has a curriculum for Educators or families to use to record their family history.

If all of this seems a bit intimidating to you . . . consider starting a Journal Jar to record family memories.

:: For Geneology Buffs ::

Ancestry :: The world’s largest online resource for family history documents and family trees

My Heritage :: MyHeritage offers free family history, genealogy, and family history search.

Family Search :: Free Family History, Family Tree, and Genealogy - Records and Resources from Around the World

What is your family doing to preserve/research your family heritage?

What is one of your favorite family stories?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Web Design Ledger : Tips, Tools and Tutorials for the Web Designer

I love discovering a website where you can go to and stay for hours because of sheer volume of resources.

Web Design Ledger does not disappoint.

Today they posted 10 Free EBooks for Web Designers. A fantastic list of "ten books contain a wide variety of valuable information for web designers, ranging from HTML5 to a guide for managing your time."

Take some time to look at the Tutorials they provide like 15 Fresh and Useful Photoshop Tutorials or 15 Useful HTML5 Tutorials and Cheat Sheets.

They also offer great tips like 3 Simple Ways to Get Paid More by Clients, A Beginner’s Guide To Website Copywriting and 13 Useful Code Snippets for WordPress Development.

You're starting to get the picture right? These guys rock.

With tool ups like 11 Excellent Solutions for Making Your Website Mobile Friendly and Useful Tools for Testing Cross Browser Compatibility you can see why I say you could spend hours on this site alone.

What sites have helped you with your Web Design?

What is your favorite place on the web to go for tool ups and tutorials?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blog Inspiration: How to Spark the Post

Okay - so I am no Seth Godin. But I read him on my iphone.

Does that help be become a better blogger. Yes and No. I admire that he posts everyday . . . and THAT is what intimidated me.

My personal list of favorite bloggers inspire me - educate me and challenge me to be myself. They encourage me to comment on the posts I read and write posts more often.

When it comes down to actually writing . . . the over all question that always comes up is - "what the hell could I write about everyday that would be of any interest to anyone other than myself."

Many clients ask this when encouraged to blog. And my advice has always been - write about what you are passionate about.

But what happens when you are passionate about SO many things. Where do you start? What should your focus be? How do you keep it going?

Here is what I have learned so far ::

You have to Spark the Post.

Get inspired. - Go for a walk, play a game, read a book . . . step outside of your schedule to think about what you can write about TODAY! One of my favorite things to do is to read magazines. Look at the headlines - what words/images they use to grab your attention?

Keep a blog idea log. - I keep 4x6 note cards to flesh out ideas and doodle. Old school, I know - but its helpful to me to write. it. out. See it on paper, scribble - rewrite and rethink. You can't get that from a computer.

Read more blogs. -Look at the blog articles you are drawn to. What topic interests you the most? Read more from that author and learn by their example. Often you will be inspired by a comment left by another reader or by the author themselves.

Schedule time to write. - Make an appointment to sit down everyday for an hour to write. If you want to see more activity on your blog - you have to be consistent. This may seem hard at first - but it gets easier, I promise. It's kind of like the first day of a diet. . . hurts like hell, but you are doing the right thing.

Gather Tools. - Your best tools for blogging inspiration are the resources you use. Make a list of the people, newspapers, magazines, blogs etc. that you refer to on a daily basis. These resources are where you gather information that shapes your world, both personally and professionally.


:: visit SETH GODIN







What inspires you to write blog posts?

How many times do you post a week?

Who is your favorite blogger?

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Helping Others Deal with Grief

Oftentimes when someone you love loses a family or friend it is difficult to know what to say besides "I'm sorry" or "what can I do to help?"

You may try to provide some stability by carrying on with 'business as usual' without realizing they need to stop, and so do you.

You may even empathize with their grief and have a better understanding of the range of emotions relating to their loss than most . . . But that doesn't mean you know how your loved one will need you.

Often it's not the things that are said - but the things that aren't.

It's the gentle touch, the careful concern and quiet comfort that allows them the space to grieve.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Tribal Society

Take a look around next time you are out at a baseball game, at a networking lunch or having conversations online - We all form tribes. At work, online and throughout our various community organizations.

After watching David Logan's presentation on Tribal Leadership I am now aware of the 5 tribal stages.

1. "life sucks"
2. "MY life sucks"
3. "I'm great and your not"
4. "We are great"
5. "Life is great"

Take 20 minutes and learn more about our tribal society. . . then ask yourself : What stage are you at? Will your tribe change the world?

About this talk

At TEDxUSC, David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form -- in schools, workplaces, even the driver's license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.

About David Logan

David Logan is a USC faculty member, best-selling author, and management consultant. Full bio and more links

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quiet Reflection :: Unplugged

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." -Peter F. Drucker

Do you "unplug" completely without once relapsing into technology?

Do you take time to discover your thoughts at the tip of a pen?

Turn off, unplug and tune into your own thoughts today.

It's amazing what you will discover without the constant barrage of social information, advertisements and the latest breaking news.

How often do you allow yourself time to reflect on your day or week? What activity helps you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

REWORKing my brain

Last week Wayne Sutton made a recommendation for me to read Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson's latest book REWORK after a tweet I posted about going into #vampiremode to get a few things done for Experience Farm.

This morning I finished it, highlighter in hand.

The pages of my new favorite book are marked with a bright neon yellow Sharpie - carefully highlighting plain ole common sense advice that smacks you on the ass, and sends you off to think about what you've been doing wrong.
REWORK is on my desk. And I have already opened it 5 or six times to remind me of what I need to rework in my brain.


Working 16+ hours a day is a common practice. Seriously. What the hell am I thinking.

"Working more doesn't mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more." p.25

"If all you do is work, you're unlikely to have sound judgments. - You stop being able to decide what's worth the extra effort and what's not." p. 26


No one is a machine.


"If I'd listened to customers, I'd have given them a faster horse." Henry Ford

God bless him. Can you imagine the resistance poor ol' Henry faced when tinkering with that damn contraption?

Well, Henry learned how to say NO and if he can do it, than I can too dammit.

"Use the power of no to get your priorities straight." p. 153

"People avoid saying no because confrontation makes them uncomfortable." p.153

It's true. How many times have you said yes to something that you regretted down the road?

I have gotten better at saying no.

You know that gut instinct? Trust it. Say no and explain why. If the person doesn't respect your decision and tries to bully you into doing something you don't believe in, walk away.

You of all people have to believe in what you do.


How many meetings do you have a week?

And I don't mean meeting a friend for lunch or coffee. . . I mean business meetings?

This little golden nugget hit me like a ton of bricks "The worst interruption of all are meetings." p.109

This really got me thinking about how much time *WE* waste on unproductive "chase your tail" kind of meetings.

How much time would YOU spend on just a 1 hour meeting?

Scheduling ::

Preparation ::

Travel Time ::

Transitioning Back into Work Mode ::

Follow Up ::

X number of people in the meeting

I am not saying all meetings are bad - and neither are they. The meetings you do have should be productive with a clear agenda. Everyone's time is valuable.

Often meetings can be avoided by simply asking more questions before you say yes.

Why do you want to meet? What are the goals?

If the proposed meeting is a referral from a peer - then be sure to carefully consider why your peer did not want to work with that person.

I will reconsider the next time someone wants to meet me for coffee to "pick my brain" or discuss the possibility of maybe having a project they think my company might be a good fit for or because someone else referred them.

Example :: regretful meeting experience :: 2.5 hours later my partner and I had NO CLUE what this person really wanted except of course to sell us on their services, vent and gossip about the owner of the company that referred them. No thanks.


"An audience returns often - on its own - to see that you have to say."

I know this. You know this. So why is it so damn hard to sit down and write?

Many clients tell us they have no time. . . Hell, *I* say that about my own damn company blog which has yet to be launched because "it's not quite ready."

After reading REWORK . . . I call bullshit. When you say you don't have time to build your audience, what you're really saying is "there are more important things to do over here".

What kind of message is that sending to the people who may value your opinion or appreciate the knowledge that you share?

One person pointed out to me recently that they enjoyed my 'Danielleisms'. Thanks. I'm not for everyone, but I try very hard to do what I think is right.


REWORK offers simple advice in BIG BROAD strokes of genius.


What book have you read recently that has changed the way you are doing business?

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