Monday, March 23, 2015

whats in a name?

I love a good brand story.  I love a consistent brand.  I love a positive experience.  And, I love when a brand mistake is made and resolved.
what's in a name | when your dreams and every day align | personal brand @bigpittstop 
I volunteer with Junior Achievement and the last session we cover with the students is “personal brand”.  It’s a funny topic to cover with 9th graders who are literally trying to figure themselves out.  But, I love talking to them as 15 year-olds about what they can do to set themselves up for personal brand success.  And, I love using the stories of failed brands to remind them how to protect theirs.  I also know, living in Northwest Arkansas that many of them will be a “brand rep” for one of the bajillion products you see on a Wal-mart shelf.  It’s the world we live in.  It’s the place we live in.  We represent a brand.  

But, more importantly, the brands we represent, represent us.

I read a great article today on the Steve Graves blog by guest blogger, Jason Locy.  It’s one of those pieces that I would usually “mark unread” or snooze throughout my day and finally stop and read before I head home.  I’m so glad I stopped and read it this morning to kick off my week.  I only had ½ a cup of coffee in me before I started thinking…that’s scary!

But, it tells the story of Uber, yes the one that is your new best friend!  (I can’t wait to ask for an ice cream cone this summer and see what I get!) It tells the story of the personal interaction a customer has and then it tells the story of what it’s like to work for Uber.  It’s not my story to share, so I’ll let you read the article.  But, it’s one that gets you thinking.

Right now at work, we are in the middle of our planning time.  We dream for 5 years out, we think for 2 years out and we plan for 1.  It’s a really cool process and I’m enjoying a new way of doing something that I’ve been doing most of my life.  But, what I really love is that the challenge woven throughout is to say "what your personal mission/vision" - "does it align with us"?  

Have you stopped and looked at that?  Whether you run a business, a blog, an online marketplace or are an everyday person…you exude some kind of brand.  What are you about?  What makes you tick?  What makes you thrive?  Dare I ask, what makes you flourish?

I’ve talked a lot recently about #sweetspot.  I think #sweetspot is when your personal mission/vision for life starts aligning with the places you serve every day.  Are you living out your personal mission/vision at work?  Are the relationships in your life moving you closer to the dreams you have set before you?  Are you living our life in the margins because life is aligning and giving your every day some freedom?

It’s Spring!  It might be time to clean up your personal brand.  Might be time to figure out who you are.  Might be time to do a pulse check.  What is your personal mission/vision?  Are you living every day toward the alignment? 

Friday, March 20, 2015

sparkles from the week | march 20

A few gems from the week...just things to get you thinking:
Sparkles from the Week-March 20 | A few gems I've run inspired and live a little!
How in the world are we already to a new season? Anything fun planned for Spring Break?  I've had a big itch to travel...I'm begging my sister for a girls weekend...where should we go?!?!?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

glass slipper wishes

To the girl in the row behind me.

You celebrated your birthday tonight the best way I know how….surrounded by your girlfriends. 

I heard you snicker and whisper when the dress began to unfold from the fairy godmother's wand. 

I felt the air leave the room when he turned around with the glass slipper in his hand and dissipate as he walked toward her.
You experienced tonight the dream of every lady; young and old, rich or poor.
You see, that’s the beautiful thing about dreams, we all have them.  There comes a moment in each of our lives where we experience something, whether real or make believe that transforms us.  It takes us to a place that makes our hearts soar, our souls fulfilled and if but for a moment….we are experiencing a dream. And, we are loved (rag-tag dress and all).
That’s what happened to you tonight.  You experienced the fairy tale.  Yes, there was a fairy godmother.  There was a set of mice that became beautiful white stags.  There was a ball.  There was the experience of perfection (seriously the swing in a secret garden!), and then the deeply felt illusion that it all disappeared.
Tonight was a right of passage.  A place on your journey to womanhood where you caught a glimpse of what could be.
Don’t loose it. 
Glass Slipper Wishes | May you always remember you are enough.@bigpittstopAlways remember this moment.  The feeling you have, right now, in the backseat of a minivan as your mom drives you home.  The giddy conversation that will ensue as the clock is now striking midnight and you are still bundled up in a blanket fort eating oreos and potato chips without a care in the world. Tonight you will fall asleep on your super-soft, overly-washed Hello Kitty pillow case with  a big smile on your face.  Because you experienced it.
The dream.  The hurt.  The love.  The reality of being chosen.
You will spend the next 10 years of your life chasing it.  Wondering if it's true.  If it's real.  If it's only for some girls and not for you.  You will be heart broken, and fall in love again.  You will cry and laugh and discover.  After all that’s what adolescents is all about.
But, don’t forget what you really heard tonight.
You choose you.
You are ENOUGH just as you are.  With just what you bring to the ball.  Yes, even as a peasant girl, with nothing special to offer, but ALL that you are.  That will always be enough.
Don’t forget to be courageous.  Don’t forget to be kind.  And, forgiveness always wins.  

May you always wear glass slippers and enjoy bedtime whispers.
May your heart be full and your days be light.
May love be your banner each and every night.
May your dreams be big and your realities be rich.
For you my dear, that is my wish.


Friday, March 13, 2015

sparkles from the week | march 13

A few gems from my week - at least the things my mind has been pondering about:
Sparkles from the Week-March 13 | A few gems I've run inspired and live a little!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

on being a grown up: time planning

Advice to a College Senior | Time & Planning

Do you remember your mom getting on to you about not getting your chores done on time?  Or, maybe you had the dad who worked so much and when he got home wanted to just sit and watch tv or "veg out" as he might have called it!  Maybe you were like me and one of your favorite things to do was come home after the first day of school and get your planner setup.  (we've already established that I was "that kid")

Whatever your method, we learned, good or bad, our method for planning and not planning from
those who raised us.  These skills could have been influenced by our teachers, or parents, a friend or a bad experience.  And whether they work for us now or will be changed and vetted over time they are what they are. 

As you adjust to your new life of working, you will be more tired.  You don't get those college afternoon naps any more!  Plus, using your brain is hard work...

But, there are some things that you could try to see if they will help you adjust to your grown-up schedule:

  • Go grocery shopping on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon.  Look ahead at what meals you need to be ready for, what nights are you eating out and what nights will you be home?  Where do leftovers come in?  Get everything for the week.  Prep your food and have lunches ready and it will take less time in the mornings.
  • Find ways to multi-task.  Saturday mornings are a great time to do this.  Get up and get laundry started.  Then, while you are cleaning other areas or enjoying a morning cup of coffee, you are getting things done. 
  • Set a daily "chore" chart or cleaning schedule.  Mondays - dusting, Tuesdays - deep clean kitchen, Wednesdays - bathrooms, Thursdays - Living Room/Community space, Friday - something simple, Saturday - laundry, file, bills, Sunday - rest and restart.  Pinterest has some great ideas under "cleaning schedule".  Develop your method, stick to it and a "spring cleaning" wont seem so daunting.  
  • Another tip is to just tidy as you go.  Finish each night with dishes out of the sink and the living room "picked up".  You will feel more relaxed when you come home from work each day. 
  • Carve out a consistent time each week to get your personal stuff done.  From time to time you will have personal projects to work on, volunteer work, social media, etc.  Focus and you will get more done instead of just dabbling in it at different parts through the week. 
  • Set aside a consistent time each month to do your bills.  Getting on top of paying your bills from the beginning will help build good habits and you will always be able to trust that your bills are handled.
  • Take time for you.  Make sure in the midst of being busy, being social and just doing life, that you make time for yourself to a book, watch a movie or do your favorite hobby.
I'll also throw in a bonus that says to "say yes", when someone new invites you to do something with them.  Of course I'm keeping all safety precautions in tact here, but when someone asks you to join a group for dinner, say yes.  When someone new asks to meet you for coffee and get to know you, say yes.  Its amazing how these first few years "in the real world" will help you forge and build lifelong relationships.

Don't get overwhelmed.  Try something.  If it doesn't work, try something else and keep adjusting until you figure out what works for your and your new grown up life!


Monday, March 9, 2015

a penny for your thoughts

Sometimes beautiful moments in life happen.  Really beautiful moments when you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

After a weekend of having my heart exposed all I wanted to do last night was lick my wounds.  And while being around people and doing something social is my usual go-to last night I pushed myself to my comfort zone and I'm ever so grateful. 

a penny for your thoughts | Bentonville Sessions in #NWArk bring hope and a big blessing #bigpittstop
Sweet Jenny Marrs offered an opportunity for the NWA Bloggers gals to join her and her gigantic family of amazing, friends, and supporters to join her at the Bentonville Sessions.  This monthly gathering exposes, well Bentonville peeps, to local musicians.  Its the perfect NWA thing to do.  Because in the midst of gathering in beautiful places and hearing talented musicians, lives are restored and hearts are mended and I'm not just talking about the bellies that Feed Their Tummies is able to feed through these events.

I always love spending time with these ladies.  I love how they get me.  I love how I can walk up all unassuming and know the empty chair at their table has my name on it.  I know we always have a topic to discuss.  I love that there is not judgment.  I love that we are connected even if its been months since we've seen each other.  It was a beautiful reminder that I do have community.  That I do have people and that even though I wanted to walk in and revel in anonymity...what I really needed most was to be loved.

a penny for your thoughts | Bentonville Sessions in #NWArk bring hope and a big blessing #bigpittstopSo, we did what we do, we sat and we chatted.  We laughed. We challenged. We brainstormed.  We forged new connections and we just were. And, we all sat with our phones out and no one judged or thought the other was rude!

The whole point of the gathering was to hear Penny and Sparrow (yes, I realize in all my social media posts I said "marrow" instead...maybe its because I felt the effects of their music in my bones).  They were here as a stop on their tour and they did not disappoint.  I had never heard their music, but my soul was satisfied.  We were in the great hall at the 21C hotel in Bentonville.  Surrounded by beauty with melodies ricocheting off the metal remnants of a beautiful windstorm.  It is one of my favorite places in NWA.

Somewhere about halfway through the night, I looked over to my left and saw this.

a penny for your thoughts | Bentonville Sessions in #NWArk bring hope and a big blessing #bigpittstopa penny for your thoughts | Bentonville Sessions in #NWArk bring hope and a big blessing #bigpittstop

These 2 beautiful ebony maidens.  Their eyes danced in the candlelight.  And their heads were turned upwards.  Most nobly unplanned, they were facing the stage; as if almost basking in the beauty of the evening.  An evening for them. 

An evening that would feed their tummies; 3 times a day, everyday.

An evening that was filling our hearts.  Song by song.  Banter and binging. 

It was beautiful.

a penny for your thoughts | Bentonville Sessions in #NWArk bring hope and a big blessing #bigpittstop

Friday, March 6, 2015

sparkles from the week | march 6

A few gems from my week (the kinds of things that make me smile):
Sparkles from the Week: March 6 | A few gems I've run inspired and live a little!
  • I love living in American where everyone can chase a dream! Well done partner! "Nobody owes you nothin', life is what you make it!"
  • 6 Mistakes People Make in Leading High Performers
  • Where Entrepreneurial Guts can take you (the story of Paul Mitchell) 
  • What do you think about the thought - "Pay attention to the vital few and ignore the trivial."  Paul Mitchell shared this in the link above...specifically referring to not having email.  I don't know that I fully agree, but I'm marinating on the concept.  I'm not at his level so I can't "ignore", but I do need to learn to cut the fluff.  What do you think?
  • Lego is killing at on social.  Seriously they have some super creative someone sitting on their social team and I'd love to figure out who.  First, the Oscars (seriously the only product I'm still thinking about a couple weeks later) and then this. (yes, #dressgate) SO, SO timely...Oreo used to be my story..they are my new go-to!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Advice About Being a Grown up

I mean, there are worst things in life than having to be a grown up right?  If you can name one, please tell me! 

I remember that I couldn't wait to grow up.  I thought grown ups were cool because they could make important decisions.  They could drive.  They had money and could buy things and they didn't have homework.  The good thing is the grown ups in my life made it look easy.  I knew there had to be something hard about life, but I just couldn't figure it out.

Advice to a college senior about being a grown up | Be captivated by the moments!
Then I went to high school and I couldn't wait to be in college.  Then I went to college and I couldn't wait to be out.  And then I got out and wanted to go back!  Its how we are after all.  The realities in front of us aren't always as fun as we dreamt them to be.  The good is good, but the bad is sometimes unmanageable.  I learned that we have to capture the moments.  Or better yet, let moments capture us!

I love to have "big sister" chats with college students or those who have just graduated. I love to share with them some of the realities I've had to learn the hard way and maybe some of the advice I wish someone would have given me a head ups up

These next 8 minutes could change a lot of perspective for you...just watch it.  Its worth the break in your day!

Today launches a new series...I've got a list of topics.  If you have one you want me to tackle, let me know and I'll put it in the mix or stop back by the neighborhood and let's see what we can uncover.