Mindful Eating on Fat Tuesday

paczki

It’s just about lunchtime and I’m wondering about how people are fairing on their fare this Fat Tuesday.  Traditionally, Fat Tuesday is the day of feasting before the fast.  Days before Fat Tuesday, food establishments such as restaurants and even grocery stores market to consumers with slogans of indulging in great feasts.  Usually these attempts slide off of me…that is until this year.  Yesterday while perusing my Facebook page, I saw a Fat Tuesday posting from my local Whole Foods; it was a photo of a once familiar Fat Tuesday indulgence…the paczki.

Paczki and Fat Tuesday have special meaning…a special place in my heart…a memory bringing up good feelings.  My father was Polish and every Fat Tuesday he and I would drive to Hamtramck, wait in the long line outside of the Polish Bakery on Joseph Campau, get our box of dozens of paczki with custard, prune, and raspberry fillings, and then eat several at his kitchen table drinking coffee.  We’d talk about which one was our favorite but mostly it was about spending time together…just talking.

Since living in the Twin Cities, I’ve never had a paczki.  I’ve never even seen them here so, to see the Whole Foods picture got me thinking about getting some.  Then the awareness moment occurred.  How was the potential of eating paczki inline with my mindful eating for wellness?  I’ve been eating mindfully for quite some time.  For me, mindful eating includes how I feel while eating, what I’m eating, and why am I eating…I have removed some foods because I don’t feel well after eating them.  I’ve also become aware of eating because of tradition as well as eating a particular food for a few days in a row and then step on the scale and Yowza!  I’m also getting back into running after an injury so, I’m very conscientious about what I eat.

Yet, those round filled delicacies still tugged at me. Buy me, Buy me, just BUY ME! I had an internal dialogue going on, “Deb, you haven’t had one of these in 17 years…come on…just have one!”  But I struggled.  Again, it was all about the why am I wanting to eat one of these?  Did I miss being part of the Fat Tuesday-Everyone-is-Doing-It craze?  No.  Then what was it?  Was it, eating because I’m bored?  No.  Did I want to on some covert level sabotage my fitness program?  No.  Honestly, blowing my eating is inhaling a bag of Finnish or Australian red licorice.  That’s the truth.  Even my kids know this! My awareness…which is being truthful, honest, and accepting in the present moment was all about missing my dad.  True.  So, I decided to buy 2 paczki; one filled with custard, and a second filled with raspberry.  I still wanted to be mindful of my mindful eating and wellness progress, so I cut each into quarters and told myself that if while eating if I didn’t feel well, I’d stop eating and eat no more.

Mindful eating has many components; one is being aware of food immediately after it’s in your mouth.  This paczki had a familiar smell but the texture was off.  As I chewed, the flavors were the same and yes, a flood of memories came to mind.  All happy.  As I ate my second quarter, my stomach started feeling funny.  Whenever I eat something that disagrees with me, my stomach feels strange.  I cannot describe but I recognize the sensation.  So, I stopped eating.  I didn’t finish that last piece.  Another component of mindful eating is being aware of satisfaction; this is the moment of “I’ve had just enough or enough.” It’s the “our amount” that says, I’ve eaten to the point of being satisfied.  Going over this point, people feel “full” or “busting at the seams” when eating. Taking it even further is the awareness moment when a person realizes, “Oh my gosh!  I ate the entire box/bag/thing!” Even further, people can feel physically ill and even have critical thoughts.

It’s been over an hour since I’ve had my pieces of packi and my stomach still feels funny.  I’ve drunk a lot of warm water and in another hour will have lunch.  So, what did I learn from today’s Fat Tuesday mindful eating of a paczki? I learned that tradition, memories, and love have a lot to do with what we eat, why we eat, and how we eat.  It’s the awareness – the authentic awareness of the answers of the what, why and how to ourselves that will keep us on our path of mindful eating and living, or create a detour.  I experienced both.  And what I want to point out is that a detour is temporary.  I know this time next year when seeing paczki, I’ll still think of my dad and those fond memories of Fat Tuesday, but this time I’ll skip eating a paczki as mindful eating is now a way of life.  I’m still exploring what that means but for now, I know it means “no paczki.”  Instead, I’ll stick with what I know makes me feel good – both physically and mentally.

So, on this Fat Tuesday while folks indulge in the feast – give mindful eating a try.  Pay attention and be aware of your what, why, and how.  Authentically answer these questions to yourself.  See what happens.  And remember, you can still enjoy and participate – mindfully!

What do you think about this?  Does mindfully eating make a difference for you – if so, how?  As always, I welcome your comments!

Mindful Eating – You are what you eat

MindfulEating_Aug2013

We know a lot about what to eat (fresh fruits and vegetables) and what not to eat (yeah, the whole bag of potato chips).  But what about the how, what, and why of eating mindfully?

Combining the how we eat, what we eat, why we eat with mindfulness means that we eat with awareness.  It’s not that people don’t already know that eating potato chips or fast and processed foods are not the best sources of nutrition.  People already know these food sources are not good for them.

So, why do we eat this stuff?  Why are we still grabbing the fast, quick, to-go foods?

This is where mindful eating brings “awareness” to what we are eating, why we are eating, and how we can develop a new relationship with food.

For example, when grabbing a handful of candy at the office ask yourself the question “Is this really what I want to eat? Why am I eating this…for a sugar rush because I’m tired?”  People might just find themselves understanding their real reasons and triggers for eating something.  For some, this awareness can be a big “ah ha” moment to make changes with eating habits.

Another example, when eating any meal, become aware of the foods on your plate, how fast you eat, and how the food tastes.  Often, people are in such a rush, eating a pile of food on the plate in record time becomes an automatic way of eating.  Instead, try sitting down at a meal and make the experience different by eating new foods, slowly enjoying a meal and savoring the flavors, or changing the dining environment.  While doing these new things become aware of the changes. You may experience feeling full earlier, notice the food tastes better, decide you no longer like a particular food, or the new surroundings may put you in a better mood.

By becoming aware and practicing mindful eating, people will begin to notice subtle changes emotionally, physically, and energetically; your mood, your body, and overall sense of self.  To further the practice of mindful eating, try keeping notes of your experiences in a journal or electronic tablet.  Review and use your notes of foods that make you feel better as part of foods to include on shopping trips.

Mindful eating is about taking time to enjoy eating, to be aware of what we eat, how we eat, and why we eat that ultimately cares for us in the best way emotionally, physically and energetically.

Please share additional tips in the Comments section or on our twitter feed.

 

Some Facts About Stress

Everyone experiences stress and yet there is a lot of information floating around about stress.  Some of the information is correct while some information is incorrect.  Just yesterday I read an article from a Twitter link that was clearly incorrect.  I thought about responding to the Twitter feed and including a source that would have invalidated the article.  However, I decided to post a blog that shares accurate information.  Also, the situation reaffirmed my commitment to producing sound scientific research in an applied environment, adhering to the ethics and practice of “do no harm,” and to share this information for the betterment and legacy of people, organizations, societies and our planet.

So, here are some facts about stress:

  •  For over 9 decades, studies of stress have been gaining popularity within the behavioral, social, and health sciences. The term stress originated from the field of physics to denote how manmade structures must resist deformation caused by external forces. In physics, stress referred to the external pressure or force applied to a structure, while strain denoted the resulting internal distortion of the structure (Hinkle, 1974). Borrowing the term from physics to apply it to the behavioral sciences, Hans Selye (1974) adopted the term stress and changed its usage to mean circumstances that place physical or psychological demands on an individual. Historically, the three main theorists of stress are physiologist Walter Cannon, endocrinologist Hans Selye, and psychologist Richard Lazarus.
  • Stress means different things to different people; therefore, there are several definitions of the term.  Stress researcher Hans Selye (1974) defined stress as “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it” (p. 14).  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defined job stress as “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker” National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], 1999, p. 7).
  • Stress at work leads to a variety of consequences for both the employee and the organization.  In a 2011 study conducted by The American Psychological Association, 70% of Americans indicated that work was a significant source of their stress: a consistent finding of the past 5 years (American Psychological Association [APA], 2011). Another study conducted by NIOSH (1999) showed that 40% of employees indicated their jobs were very or extremely stressful.
  • Just as in the United States, workplace stress is a common problem worldwide. In a 2011 study conducted by The American Psychological Association, 70% of Americans indicated that work was a significant source of their stress: a consistent finding of the past 5 years (American Psychological Association [APA], 2011). Another study conducted by NIOSH (1999) showed that 40% of employees indicated their jobs were very or extremely stressful. While the United States and the Netherlands place more work demands on employees requiring longer working hours (Kenny & Cooper, 2003), countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom are finding that stress is a major contributor to employee disease, depression, and injury, and lowered company productivity (Price, 2004; Ryan & Watson, 2004).
  • The financial impact of workplace stress also affects businesses all around the globe. Workplace stress is estimated to cost United States organizations more than $300 billion dollars every year in lost productivity, absenteeism, turnover, and medical, legal, and insurance costs (Rosch, 2001). In Canada, the issue of workplace stress costs 6 billion Canadian dollars annually (Price, 2004). Further, the United Kingdom reports that an estimated 200 million working days each year are lost due to illnesses caused by workplace stress (Ryan & Watson, 2004). Additional financial effects include employee lawsuits for workplace stress with monetary awards (Rosch, 2001), an increase in workers’ compensation, and an increase in disability claims (NIOSH, 1999). These and other reports suggest that workplace stress is a growing global epidemic.
  • To address workplace stress, many organizations have responded by integrating stress management interventions (SMIs) such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) and relaxation techniques such as breathing practices, meditation, guided imagery, and yoga (Feldman, Greeson & Senville, 2010; Schure, Christopher & Christopher, 2008). The purpose of these programs is to improve the workplace environment and reduce employee stress. Although they have been proven effective and continue to gain interest, these programs are not part of current standard business practices. One proposed reason for this is that executives require interventions to be effective and inexpensive, and require low time investment with an immediate change (Applebaum, 1975; Burke, 2008; Kotter, 1996). Secondly, in order to measure effectiveness, today’s researchers, clinicians, human resource professionals, and OD consultants use traditional quantitative surveys and questionnaires that were developed and validated 15-25 years ago (Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961; Brantley, Waggoner, Jones & Rappaport, 1987; Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelstein, 1983; Maslach & Jackson, 1981; Rosenberg, 1965; Vitaliano, 1985). While they are practical to use within business environments, these survey measurements are outdated and do not represent today’s workforce, organization, and global economy.

So, what can we do about this? Well, for starters this is one of the reasons why I built a company founded from my doctoral research.  Our continued applied research is scientifically sound, practical, and uses an innovative device for stress measurement.  Our proprietary processes are proven to reduce employee stress and increase employee well-being as well as increase performance and productivity. To find out more or request a complementary consultation, contact us at info@debralindh.com.

References:

American Psychological Association. (2011). Stress in America: Our health at risk. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2011/final-2011.pdf

Applebaum, S. (1975). Management development and organizational development: An integrative approach, Business and Society, 16(1), 25-30. doi:10.1177/ 000765037501600104

Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561-571. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710120031004

Brantley, P. J., Waggoner, C. D., Jones, G. N., & Rappaport, N. B. (1987). A daily stress inventory: Development, reliability, and validity. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 10(1), 61-73.

Burke, W. (2008). Organization change: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24(4), 385-396.

Feldman, G., Greenson, J., & Senville, J. (2010). Differential effects of mindful breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and loving-kindness meditation on decentering and negative reactions to repetitive thoughts, Behavior Research and Therapy, 48, 1002-1011. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2010.06.006

Hinkle, L. E. (1974). The concept of “stress” in the biological and social sciences. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 5(4), 335-357. doi:10.2190/91DK-NKAD-1XP0-Y4RG

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, NY: Bantam Dell.

Kotter, J. (1996). Leading change. Boston, MA: Harvard Review Press.

Kenny, D. T., & Cooper, C. L. (2003). Introduction: Occupational stress and its management. International Journal of Stress Management, 4, 275-279. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.10.4.275

Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1981). Maslach Burnout Inventory: MBI.–. Consulting psychologists press.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (1999). Stress at work. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/pdfs/99-101.pdf

Price, C. (2004). Workplace stress costs billions. Benefits Canada, 28(12), 83.

Rosch, P. J. (Ed.). (2001, March). The quandary of job stress compensation. Health and Stress, 3, 1-4.

Rosenberg, M. (1965). Rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSE). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Measures Package, 61.

Ryan, D., & Watson, R. (2004). A healthier future. Occupational Health, 56, 20-21.

Schure, M., Christopher, J., & Christopher, S. (2008). Mind-body medicine and the art of self-care: Teaching mindfulness to counseling students through yoga, meditation, and qigong, Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 47-56. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2008.tb00625.x

Selye, H. (1974). Stress without distress. London, England: Transworld.

Vitaliano, P. P., Russo, J., Carr, J. E., Maiuro, R. D., & Becker, J. (1985). The ways of coping checklist: Revision and psychometric properties. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 20(1), 3-26.

 

 

Change…

wordcloud_change

Change.  Looking up the word ‘change’ generated over 2 million search hits on Google.  It’s time for change.  Over the next few weeks and even months, the Dr. Debra Lindh website will be going through, well, change.  Yes, this is true.  Change is often difficult to embrace.  Some people do embrace change, while others shy away and even some completely avoid change.  I’m fully embracing this change.  Thinking of change, these quotes came to mind, “when one door closes, another opens,” “a chapter ends, and another begins,” and “things do not change, we change.”   At the same time, thinking of change has brought these songs to mind:  Don’t Go Changing by Billy Joel, Roll With the Changes by REO Speedwagon, and Changes by David Bowie.

I found it interesting that as I planned for change, I noticed that change was already happening.  Everything from planning out the changes, the details, meeting with people to discuss ideas, and putting into place some of the ‘doing’ items.  So, what exactly is changing with the website, what does it look like, and what does it mean for you?  Here are some of the answers:

  1. Stress.  The Dr. Debra Lindh website is a resource for stress research and consulting; particularly in the areas of occupational stress and employee wellness at the individual, group, and organization levels. This means that sharing of current research, case studies, and publications as well as other resources.
  2. AIR.  This is an acronym for the process known as AIRwhich means: Assess, Integrate, Results.  This is the type of work I provide: to assess stress, integrate a stress reduction intervention, and measure results.  Why integrate and not implement? I recently said to someone, “Implement means to do.  Integrate means to become.” Thus, people learn a new still that becomes part of them which then reduces stress.
  3. Quantum OD.  Quantum ODinvolves the application of integrating energy-based practices rooted in quantum physics and cultural traditions from Asia, Europe, and the United States to promote transformation and development for individuals, groups, and organizations.  Quantum ODworks with subtle energies associated with intuition, consciousness, and energetic levels.  These energy-based practices are recognized and practiced by colleagues in organization development as well as psychology and recognized by professional associations such as the American Psychological Association and the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology.

Other changes and additions are part of the planning. The above list is a few details with more to come.  Of course, on Twitter I continue to share “Mindfulness Monday” and “Mindfulness Tip” postings as well as supporting images on Pinterest.

Commitment

During this time of flux, commitment is in the forefront. The question to ponder, reflect, and ultimately answer is: Are we willing to do whatever it takes?

This is different than hooking on details, history, past decisions, mistakes, goals, etc. When making this decision, we can no longer hold on to what prevents us from moving forward. It doesn’t mean we forget, it means we keep the memory without being bound and stuck in the emotion.

It is about the present. Right now. This moment.

The choice is the answer. And the answer will manifest the future.

8 Ways to Live Mindfully

Mindful or Mind Full?

As Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. (1990) states, “mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness” (p. 11) where we pay attention to the things of ordinary life giving us new insights to our lives through relaxation, awareness, being present, and through insight.

Perhaps your mind is full with endless to-do lists, resolutions, and other stuff like shown in the drawing.  How would your life be different if you stopped living with a full mind and instead lived mindfully?  Today, make a stand to mindfully live moment-to-moment.  Don’t worry about getting off track.  As Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) says, “If the mind wanders 1,000 times, you simply bring it back 1,000 times.”

Here are 8 ways to live mindfully:

  1. Be present.  Have you ever driven your car only to not remember actually driving to wherever you were going?  This happens to a lot of people and it’s called living a life on auto-pilot. Our minds are so filled with stuff, the to-do’s and obligations of life that we go through the motions and sometimes zone out.  Living in the present means to be fully aware; mind and thoughts, physical and body – so, how we feel, how we think, and respond – moment-to-moment.  Sure, we will experience distractions and with regular practice, we are aware of living in the presence of each moment, each experience; all experiences one moment at a time.
  2. Wisely choose words.  Living mindfully also involves cultivating an ability to pay attention in the present moment.  What words do we use as a means of communicating? Words are powerful; they have vibrations of positive and negative energies, and combine emotion with information.  So, living mindfully – what words do we choose to use in our daily lives?  Do we tend to lean toward negative or positive words?  For example, do you workout or exercise?  The word “workout” denotes working our bodies and has 3 definitions; one of which is about resolving a problem.  On the other hand, “exercise” has 5 definitions ranging from the act of carrying out an agreement to regular use.  The two words by social definitions mean the same; however, they are very different when living mindfully.  So, be mindful of the words you choose and aware of the differences you experience.
  3. Just breathe.  Ah….breathing.  If we don’t breathe, well – we’re not alive.  Yet when we experience stress or in conflict situations, one thing people tend to do is hold their breath.  Holding the breath or breathing in short, shallow breaths only adds to the stress.  Living mindfully means paying attention to our breath, experiencing the air flowing through the nose, filling up our belly and releasing; to sit with the breath, observe it, and stay with it…moment-to-moment.
  4. Unplug.  Moments of non-doing? Yes!  In today’s world we are connected like the Borg.  Think about it.  Our cell phones, computers, social media outlets; we’re connected to the world 24/7.  Our whole lives are driven by doing and doing many things at the same time.  How can a multitasking person be present, aware, and mindful?  Recent studies show that multitasking is a performance hindrance.  In moments when we are aware that we are not being our best, simply unplug.  The act of non-doing restores some balance and perspective; by returning our attention to being present and focusing on the breath, we allow ourselves to return to the familiar place of being mindful.
  5. Stretch and rest.  Exercise the mind, the body, the energetic self.  Examples of stretch and rest come in many forms.  Whether this is through meditation, yoga, or a combination of both. For some, it may mean taking a walk, sitting in a park on a bench, or doing the hokey pokey with kids.  Stretch and rest is a way for your mind, body, and energetic self to switch from the doing to the being mode.  By giving ourselves permission to be, we learn to practice awareness with patience; cultivating a level of gentleness toward oneself.
  6. Consume nourishment.  The old saying “you are what you eat” is taking on a meaning today associated with our relationship to food.  The practice of mindfulness comes naturally when we start paying attention to the domain of food, our preparation of food, and our eating of food.  Great efforts go into buying food, preparing food, serving food, eating food, the environment where we eat, and the cleanup afterward.  Being mindful about food involves being aware of how much we eat, how frequently we eat, the quality of the food we are eating, when, where, and how we feel after we eat.  Do we feel well after a meal or eating certain foods?  How do we feel when eating rushed as compared to a leisurely meal?  What are our eating habits?  What are our family’s eating habits? All of these variables come into focus when bringing mindfulness to the foods we eat. Eating mindfully means being present and being aware of what your food looks like, tastes like, and makes you feel as you are eating it as well as afterward.
  7. Do a do-over.  Practicing mindfulness requires us to be aware of our own experiences, paying attention to the constant stream of reactions and judgments of life.  A wonderful gift mindfulness brings is do-overs as we transform from the habitual categorizing or labeling things  “good” or “bad” or “neutral” and move to acceptance, patience,  non-judging, and letting go.  Living mindfully, we pay attention to our intention, awareness, and our purpose.  For example, living mindfully we may become aware of our reactions to life and through awareness we identify our patience, understanding, and purpose.  Practicing mindfulness allows us to recognize our intention for being and purpose for doing.
  8. Make a commitment.  Living mindfully won’t happen by itself or because a person decides it’s a good idea.  Living mindfully requires a strong commitment to working on self and enough self-discipline to persevere in developing practices.  Through regular practice, the momentum of practice helps a person to live mindfully.

References:

Kabat-Zinn. J. (1994). Sitting mediations. Series 2. [CD]: Louisville, CO: Sounds True Publishing.

Kabat-Zinn. J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Bantam Dell.

 

Hobby Turned Business Turned Hobby?

One of my recent blog postings was about turning a hobby into a business.  Many people have successfully taken action to turn their hobby into a dream company and career.  These people get to do what they love.  As a hobby turned business matures, often times these people begin to enjoy a flexible schedule and may even consider a reduced work week.  However, what happens when a hobby turned business starts being run again like a hobby? How does this impact the business, person, and customers? What are the overall consequences and how will the person and business sustain?  Another question to ask is, how do I know if this is already happening?

To determine if this is already happening, here are some questions worth answering.  Keep in mind, being honest with self is key to understanding the awareness and reality of a current situation.  So, take time to process these questions.
1.    What did my hobby look like when I first started and how did it change after it became my business and career?
2.    How does it look today?  Operational changes have occurred?
3.    Have I lost clients?  Have new clients turned into repeat customers or infrequent visitors?
4.    Do I work full-time, part-time, seasonally?  How do I communicate the business structure of open for business hours to my customers?
5.    If I was a customer, would I do business with my company?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

The biggest question to ask is: Do I still enjoy doing what I do?  If the answer is yes, then think about the above questions again and look for patterns or areas of improvement.  If the answer is no, then think about why and how to bring passion back into the business.  If you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself “what’s my gut instinct telling me?”

The reality is when a business turns back into a hobby it means something more is going on.  Whether it’s time to bring on an associate to support the need to keep the business open full-time and give the flexibility to the owner, decide which days are permanent operational business days, or perhaps transition the business back into a hobby; assessing the reality of the business situation might just turn out to be the need to rediscover the joy of the hobby and the reasons why it turned into a business.

All the best,

Deb

Happy Birthday – 35 to NASA’s Voyager 1

September 5, 1977…NASA launched Voyager 1 to explore the outer planets of our solar system.  Today Voyager 1 is about 11.3 billion miles from the Sun.  I read that it takes data about 17 hours to transmit back to Earth where a handful of scientists analyze the information. The quote I find most interesting about Voyager 1 is, “Each Voyager probe carries a golden record with a collection of sights and sounds from Earth, just in case the spacecraft are discovered by intelligent beings in interstellar space.

My first thought is: “How cool is THAT?!?”  My second thought is: “What do you mean IF?” Then my third thought is: “How would people react….would humans be ready for this?”

All of my thoughts drift to a conversation I had with my dad back in 1982.  I clearly remember the year because in school we were introduced to Orson Welles and “War of the Worlds.” I remember the panic of people and how they reacted.  There was mass chaos.  I asked my dad if he remembered the radio show…and he did.  He shared with me that although he knew it was a radio show and not an actual event, what took place illuminated the development and current state of mankind.  One thing I miss about my dad is the type of conversations we had…we talked about a lot of different topics.  This one in particular got me interested in exploring – mainly the cosmos and ancient philosophy.

I hold a belief and position that humans are evolving.  We’ve experienced life through an industrial age, a technology age, and moving into a new age; sometimes I label this new age as consciousness age, while other times I label it quantum-something.  I’m not sure how to label it, but I do believe that this is where we, as a species, are headed.  I also believe that the 1977 launch of Voyager 1 & 2 (along with their 117 images of Earth, greetings in 54 languages, plus other Earthly artifacts) supports that one day Voyager will reach beyond the outer edge and we will experience something as a species that can only be imagined.

Personally, I think this is a great time to be alive. I wonder what I will experience throughout my lifetime.  I can only imagine what my children, grand children and great-grand children will experience.

I’ve often wondered about putting together a personal time capsule which I would reopen at a designated time in the future (like when I’m a really old lady) or collect for a keepsake for my children…with the inspiration from the folks at NASA and to celebrate Voyager 1…I’m off to do just that!

All the best,

Deb

 

Hobby Turned Business

Labor Day.  What did you do on this holiday?  Some people worked.  Some spent time with their families and friends to celebrate the last weekend of Summer.  The day for me was filled with a blend of preparing for back-to-school, time with family, and reflection; reflection of what Labor Day means with recent awareness and conversations; primarily asking the questions: Is your job a job or is it something you love to do?  Is there something you love to do that you wish could turn into a business?

Reading articles about employee satisfaction and engagement, job satisfaction, and social media postings about people’s thoughts about their jobs often times the revealed information is that most people find a job just a job and not very fulfilling. Which means that most people aren’t really doing what they want to do or enjoy doing.  Of course, there are many reasons why, however, there’s always another way to do things.

Ask people about their hobbies and they’ll share interests from custom making bbq sauces, competitive bbq cooking, canning, custom auto-motorcycle painting, woodworking, cake decorating, knitting, singing, photography, fashion blogging…the lists go on.  The one consistent factor about all of these conversations is how the person’s tone of voice and excitement levels increase when talking about their hobbies. Their enjoyment of loving the hobby is very apparent as they talk at lengths about their loved interest.  So, here’s my question:  Can you turn your hobby into a business?

Now before you say “ah, yeah – no!” let’s think about some known people who did turn their hobby into a business.  The first person that comes to mind is the late Paul Newman with Newman’s Own salad dressings and other food items.  The story of how his hobby-turned-business is well known and an example of making a love of labor into a reality.

Another hobby-turned-business is Mrs. Field’s Cookies.  The story of Debbi Fields is inspiring to those with a skill they love to do and wish it could transform into a business.

Now while both of these examples are related to food many people posses a skill that’s their hobby which they love to do!

In these days of uncertainty, what skills or hobbies do you have?  Is there something that you love to do and wonder how to turn it into a business?  Think about it.  If the answer is yes, then learn from those who’ve done it!  Read up on their stories, learn from their successes/mistakes and put together a plan.  Who knows, the next inspiring hobby-turned-business story could be yours!

All the best,

Deb

 

 

 

Branding….You. Yes, YOU!

Branding.  How many articles are there about branding.  A lot.  Just do a search for the word “branding” and almost 200 million hits appear.  When thinking of branding, what comes to mind is product branding or company branding.  But what about branding you – yes, self branding? What does this mean?  How do I go about branding myself?

In a recent presentation, I talked with the participants about branding of self.  One participant shared she thought self-branding was about what she looked like, her clothes, and how she networked.  And she’s right – partially.

One of the key elements to self-branding is a great professional photograph.  Why?  First, at some point you’re going to need to submit a photograph to a workshop, media release, or for your website. And this photograph needs to show you at your best, reflect your essence, and be compatible with your self-branding – which is (should be already) part of your overall strategy.

I cringe when I see  workshops or conference guides and the keynote speaker’s photo was cropped from an obvious casual group photo.  Again, is this good self-branding?  Another place where people plug in personal photos is on the professional social network site LinkedIn.  We can do better.

But how do we find a photographer to take that professional photograph?  Who should we go to? I’ve had many photos taken.  I remember being out at the Golden Globes and seeing my photos from different photographers and knew that one day, I’d have a celebrity photographer take my professional photo!  The difference in how they capture a person is like going from deer-in-the-headlights to Wow!-is-that reeeeally ME?!.

In the Twin Cities, we are really lucky to have celebrity photographer, Brent Dundore, of BD Portraits part of our must-go-to for pictures.  Brent used to live in L.A. and has worked with many celebrities.  Now living back in the Twin Cities, I was able to schedule a meeting with him.  But before our shoot, Brent sent me a list of ideas, clothing and make up tips, as well as things that I didn’t even think about to know before our shoot.  Again, you don’t know what you don’t know but soon find out when working with an A-Lister photographer like Brent. Priceless!

The day of my shoot I had all my outfits and was ready to work.  At Brent’s south Minneapolis studio he greeted me like we were longtime friends, a cup of Mexican style coffee (yum!), and then I met Tress…his beautiful dog.

With the music going, Brent put my so serious side to ease and before I knew it I was laughing and dancing the whole shoot.  Brent would occasionally pause to look at his camera and show me real-time photos and I couldn’t believe how fabulous I looked!  His eye for capturing the essence of a person to support their goal of self-brand is beyond words.  Actually, I was so impressed with his skill and talents I had a very difficult time choosing which photos to buy.  Brent was great giving me feedback on how to categorize the photos for each purpose; amazing.

My second shoot (yes, he’s THAT fabulous) was with my family.  The last time my family had our photos taken was for my son’s baptism…that was over 5 years ago.  So, we were overdue.  Seeing Brent work with my kids – he’s like the pediatric photographer!  The kids love him!  He captured the softer side of my oh, so serious chess champion daughter…and the sweet side of my comical-go-lucky son.  Then is was time for all of us together…my husband and I were thrilled with our family pictures and again, faced which ones do we pick. Brent to the rescue…what’s our goals?  Well, to send to family living in Europe.  So, we have a set for us of particular pix and then another group to our family abroad.  Again, priceless!

If you are within the Twin Cities, I strongly suggest taking a peek at Brent’s work at BD Portraits as well as on his Facebook page and having a professional (let him know you read my blog…and no, he does not know I’m blogging about him – yet!).  Why do this?  Because in this world of branding and self-branding you need to work with someone who understands business, goals of self-branding, and who best to do that with than a celebrity photographer?

All the best,

Deb