7 Weeks of Awesome

Baby Cash is growing, grunting and growling his way through life. At 7 weeks he is getting lovely fat rolls on his legs and he’s infatuated with ceiling fans (just like his sister was).

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Lovely baby roll.

I’m starting to get anxious about returning to work. It’s all happening so quickly. Where does time go? Monday morning will be tough.

Husker Lovin Hubby (HLH) and I went out for the first time without baby for a live music fix (White Arrows and The Neighbourhood) last week and I’ve had a few hours without Cash since then. I took him to our sitter so I could get a quick haircut and then he went again today for four hours to start getting him in the groove of being in someone else’s arms.

While he was gone I heard phantom baby cries in the house.

My maternity leave went faster than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t do half of what I set out to do when it started, HLH was baffled that I didn’t get much done around the house since I was home all day (insert eye roll) and my tan is more of a tint…but I did the most important things.

  • I held my baby. I fed my baby. I loved on my baby.
  • I pumped a decent supply of milk. (Ugh!)
  • I enjoyed the heck out of Miss B (who has adapted so well thus far…including starting to use a potty!)
  • I got thank you cards written.
  • I took a shower everyday! Wahoo!

…And I didn’t kill HLH. Lol!

Bravo me!

Pray for me next week as I return to the office. I’m gonna need it.

Until next time…

SJ

 

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Miss B reading to her brother.

Baby Cash Has Perfect Timing

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My baby boy arrived May 20th!  It was a whirlwind birth and he’s perfect (of course)!  Here’s how it went down…on his actual due date (I’m told that isn’t very common).

Monday night I was feeling tired, but good.  I’d had random contractions all weekend and was surprised that baby boy hadn’t arrived yet.  I was growing a little impatient, but thankful that he’d waited this long because I was able to complete most of the important task I’d been hoping to finish at work.  I slept well all night until 5:30 AM Tuesday morning.   I woke up to sharp but not unbearable contractions.  I started to time the intervals while passing the time in social media land, searching Pinterest for labor quotes and blogs and trolling Twitter.  45 minutes later I was having contractions 10-12 minutes apart and I was wondering if this was a false alarm or the start of active labor.

My Husker Lovin Hubby (HLH) woke up at 6:30ish, followed by Miss B., our toddler daughter.  Contractions were getting closer together and I continued to question if this was the real thing.  I took a shower and then my husband did the same.  As he was toweling off, I told him he should probably stay home from work and go with me to my 40 week appointment scheduled at 9:00.  His eyes got big and he asked how close my contractions were now and if the baby was coming.  I giggled about his freaked out face, shrugged my shoulders and continued my morning routine.

By 7:30 I’d reached the “5-1-1” threshold (five minutes apart, for 1 minute, for 1 hour) that my doctor had explained, so I called her office.  I was told my hospital of choice (the place I delivered Miss B.) was on divert and was directed to go to my back-up hospital.  I’d been prepared for this possibility so I wasn’t alarmed…just a little disappointed.

We packed B’s lunch, dropped her off at daycare, grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and checked in at the hospital about an hour later.  Upon arrival I was dilated to a “generous 3…or maybe 4”.  The nurse ordered an epidural and I was relieved.  My worst fear was not making it to the hospital in time to have an epidural.  All was going well!

By 9:00 HLH and I were hanging out in the room preparing for a long day of labor, when I started to have MAJOR contractions.  I suddenly felt like I wet my pants so I asked Chris to go and get the nurse because I was pretty sure my water just broke.  Five minutes later the nurse came and she confirmed it and asked me what color the water was.  SERIOUSLY?  The last thing I did was look to see what color it was.

At this point I was breathing hard through my now gnarly contractions.  I told HLH to put his damn cell phone away because I was annoyed he wasn’t focused on me (even though I didn’t know WHAT I wanted him to do otherwise).

I wondered where the HELL my epidural was and tried to close my eyes and focus on my music.

At 9:30ish and the anesthesiologist FINALLY came into the room.  I was soooooo relieved.  I couldn’t wait for him to get the needle in my back.  I’d had an epi with Miss B. and it was freaking AMAZING!  I’d always thought if God created someone smart enough to invent epidurals, I should have one.  Why suffer more than needed?

As he was getting situated the nurse checked me again and this is when all hell broke loose.  She got an alarmed look on her face and announced that I was dilated to 10 cm and that I wouldn’t be having an epidural after all.  WHAT the @#$&?  I went from 4 to 10 in about an hour!?!!  I swore out loud.

As I was trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was not going to be medicated during birth, my nurses began discussing who was going to deliver me.  My doctor hadn’t arrived yet, the on call hospital doctor was delivering someone else and the back-up doc was in the O.R.  The nurse timidly assured me that all would be ok.  I could’ve cared less about who was going to deliver me at that point. I just kept thinking that there was no way in hell I could have a baby without drugs.  “I’m not that kind of momma!  I can’t do this!”  was on repeat in my mind.

I was in a panic.

As this was unfolding HLH kept giving me the deer in the headlights look, with HUGE dumb eyes, which made everything worse.  He says Satan talked through me when I demanded that he “Stop giving me the googly eyes!”   

This is when I started the loud labor moans.  I couldn’t help myself.  I’d never made this kind of noise before and I scared myself.  I felt bad for other soon to be moms who may have heard me.

Then in walked my doctor.  FINALLY!  She sprung into action and before I knew it she was telling me to remember how I’d pushed with my little Miss B. and that it was go time!  I wasn’t ready for it but my body was screaming PUSH!  Two nurses and my doctor where telling me to push and I freaked out a little and said “I don’t want to!”  I was in so much pain.  I knew I needed to push, but I needed just a minute more to pull myself together.  At this point my doctor told the nurses that I only needed one voice talking to me and that it would be her.  Normally I like sounds in concert, but not this time.  Bless her for telling the others to back off.

After the next contraction I pulled my shit together and was ready.  After four or five pushes (and a lot of moaning), a few “Oh my gods” while baby was crowning, and the power of nature…I had a son.

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For the next three hours I was in a daze of “OMG I just had a natural birth!”  I couldn’t believe I had just done it…without drugs.  It all went down so fast.  I wondered if it was all real.  Although my mind was spinning, my body felt pretty darn good, considering.  I walked from the labor suite to my room.  I had energy.  I was hungry.  I was nursing baby well and was in love with my new bundle of 7 pound 10 ounce bundle of joy.

A Johnny Cash song was playing a few moments after he was born and then another Cash song came on a few minutes later.  We took this as a sign about which of our two final potential names should be our son’s name.  Cash Joseph fits him perfectly (Joseph is a family name…five generations of Jo’s in my family).

Another cool thing…George Strait’s “I’ve Got a Car” was playing as we drove to the hospital.  If you don’t know why this is cool, listen to the song :-).

I love being a momma and am so blessed.  Welcome to the world little Cashie!

Eating Alone?

I finished the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  I had the opportunity to see Ferrazzi speak at an ASTD conference a few years ago in Atlanta and I was impressed by his messages to be interestED, not interestING and to create your own powerful personal Board of Directors (BODs).

Ferrazzi’s text provided insightful reminders about the importance of strong relationships. Relationships with others provide strength and humor, support and understanding, and new ideas and challenges.  How do you do it?  Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

1) “Disciplined dreamers all have one thing in common: a mission. The mission is often risky, unconventional, and most likely tough as hell to achieve. But it is possible.

2) “These days, I rarely blanch at the chance to introduce topics of conversation that some consider off-limits.  Spirituality, romance, politics—these are some of the issues that make life worth living.”  Fail safe conversation starters at business mixers include “How did you get started in your business?  What do you enjoy most about your profession?  Tell me about some of the challenges of your job?…But safety—whether in conversation, business, or life—generally produces “safe” (read boring) results.”

3) “Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:  “Every man I meet is my superior in some way.  In that, I learn of him.”  Everyone had something to teach him.”

4) “The ability to bridge different worlds, and even different people within the same profession is a key attribute in managers who are paid better and promoted faster.”

5) “We humans beings are social beings.  We come into the world as the result of others’ actions.  We survive here in dependence on others.  Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from other’s activities. For this reason, It is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”  Dalai Lama

I’m studying equine guided education and how horse herd dynamics can teach us about relationships and leadership.  Each horse has its job in the herd and thrives with the support of others.  Put a herd of horses together in a big pasture and you’ll find they’re always within site distance of one another.  They like to be close.  Introduce a new horse to the mix and watch how quickly they get to know each other and establish roles.
Horses can teach us so much about relationships.

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Thinking about my own relationships, I’ve been reviewing my personal BODs and who I’d like to add.  Ferrazzi says to write it down and make it happen!  Think Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!  Hmmmm… I’ve got some big dreams!  How about you?

I’ve been meaning to read Never Eat Alone forever, and finally got it done on airplanes.  Last month I decided while I’m traveling, I’m going to read.  Not the crazy Sky Mall mags, favorite People or US mags, or things for work (unless it’s a must).  I”m going to read real books!  This “found time” has been wonderful and I’m reading more than ever before!  Never Eat Alone is my second travel book after Water for Elephants…I’m rotating business books with brain candy books.  Have any suggestions for my next good read?

Follow Farazi on twitter @keithferrazzi for great tips on how to start meaningful conversations and intriguing thoughts.

Lessons Learned from Cowboys-Part 1

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Five things I’ve learned from Cowboys (Part 1 of 2)

I love Cowboys.

Always have and always will.

They’re strong, grounded in the simple things and not afraid of hard work.

Here are a few of my favorite lessons I’ve learned from them:

1)      Be careful how you wield thy spur.

Once you jab your spur deep, you can’t take it back.

Be foolish, and you might lose your seat.

Just like in relationships…once hurtful words are hurled, they’re out there for good, and no matter how many “I’m sorry’s” you hear next, you may never again regain proper balance.

There may be times when you’re tempted to say or do something brash, and you press steel beyond what you know is needed, but think wisely about your actions. Spurs are yet tools for communication, and finesse goes a long, looong way…

Push too hard and you better be ready for a wild ride!

Oh and who can forget one of the most important lessons:  Don’t squat with your spurs on! 

2)      You have to work hard, even when the world is being cold and nasty.

This one is easy.
Quit complaining about how hard life is and cowboy up!

Quit thinking “If only… (the weather were better, or the market was hotter)” or “That’s not fair because…(I’ve worked harder than she did…)

Excuses are wasted energy.
When things get dark and twisty, you show up anyway. You have to do it.
The work must be done.

So… “You gonna do somethin’? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?”
(Ten points if you get this movie reference.) 

Make wise decisions and execute!
If the wind is blowing in your face and you feel like it’s going to explode, you can’t stop.  If you decide it’s too cold, the animals will starve.

You can’t think only of yourself first, you have to think of those who depend on you.

You must think globally.
Make the right decision, even if it’s the most uncomfortable or difficult decision.

John Wayne said “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

Take the good with the bad and thank the lord each day you wake up breathing.

Life is full of ups and downs; hang on and enjoy the amazing ride.
If you get bucked off, you have to get back on and ride again!

Even though this one is simple, it’s doesn’t make it easy.

Remind yourself to move out of language of complaint and move into the language of action.

It’s the cowboy way and remember, “Nobody died in his own sweat.”

Check out part two for three more lessons …

Lessons Learned from Cowboys-Part 2

Part 2…

#3-You have to build a strong network of amazing sidekicks 

Doc had Wyatt, Butch Cassidy had the Sundance Kid, Woody had Buzz, Roy Rogers had Trigger, Dale Evans had Buttermilk…I could go on and on listing famous cowboys/cowgirls and their trusted sidekicks.

The lesson here:  To be a success, you’ve got to surround yourself with support. 

Cowboys know running a ranch takes more than two hands, and life is a whole lot better when you’ve got a strong network of hombres to help get the day’s chores done.  Get a group of hard-working cowboys and cowgirls together and watch out…belly laughs and memorable times out in this wild world are soon to come.

Do you have a strong network of sidekicks?

What kind of support do you need most?

Don’t be an island, share yourself with others and receive wonderful blessings.
It makes a life worth living.

 “In every cowboy’s life he gets himself a good horse, a good woman, and a good loop!”  

#4- All serious SOBs own trucks

Trucks Only!  Like a Rock, Built Ford Tough, or yes, even one of those sissy trucks like the Honda Ridgeline I used to drive…trucks are essential.

Cowboys and their trucks are almost as famous as Cowboys and their horses and dogs.  Most will defend their choice in brand to the death and they love being the King of the Road.

Ok, I realize not all households need a truck, nor am I suggesting everyone should consider truck ownership, but my translation is this cowboy lesson:  If you’re going to “ride for the brand,” you’ve gotta have the right tools. 

If you don’t have a reliable way to transport your cattle to market, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best quality beef in town.  Do you have the right tools to be serious in your pursuits?

BTW…my first date with my husband was secured ONLY because I drove a truck…lol!

#5-Baling twine and duct tape can save the world

Well, these two farm staples may not be the solution to ALL our earthly problems, but seriously, this cowboy lesson is all about using easy solutions.  We all waste countless hours worrying about issues that can be solved with a few simple ideas and creativity.  The cowboy mantra for the day is:  Keep it simple, stupid!

What lessons have YOU learned from Cowboys?

Please share.

Leadership Lessons Learned Camping

Original post from 2012

Last weekend my Husker loving hubby and I went camping just past the small town of Silverthorne.  The landscape was covered in amazing shades of greens, purples and yellows, truly proving the whole “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” motto you see on the signs when you cross the state lines.  The snow capped mountains in the distance were like the type you see in pictures and the eagles, hawks and birds dotting the skyline gently reminded me to relax and enjoy the moment. 

I’ve realized there are a few leadership lessons that can be gleaned from getting out and enjoying the great outdoors while camping, so here are three to chew on:

1)      Be resourceful and creative to produce memorable results! 

During our camping trip we found ourselves needing to find solutions to meet needs we hadn’t planned for.  For instance after the first day and a half we ran out of plates (note-to-self: buy some actual camping plates that can be reused silly!).  this was a problem at dinner the second night.  It was: eat out of your hand or make plates out of something on hand. 

Our choice?  Tin foil plates!  Not ideal, but functional, and dinner was wonderful!  Others: Vase for wildflower centerpiece = beer koosie.  Entertainment = Brother-in-law scaring the crap out of Husker loving hubby by pretending to be a rabid wolverine in the dark.     

Strong leaders constantly think of creative, new ways to approach business challenges and opportunities.  So many people think they aren’t creative.  I beg to differ!  Everyone has the ability to tap into their imaginations!  Just let go and let the ideas flow, even if they sound a little funny!  You just have to be willing to put yourself out there.  I’m sure we looked silly eating dinner off our foil plates, but it got the job done and it was fun trying to create them!  But I’m also sure inventors and scientists of today’s most amazing technology were viewed as crazy at one point or another too.      

Camp cooking = great opportunity to be resourceful and creative!  Here is one of my favorites called “Omelets in a Bag”:

Large quart or gallon freezer bags that zip

Eggs (2-4 per person)

Shredded cheddar cheese

Your favorite omelet fixings like Ham, Sausage, onion, green pepper, tomatoes, etc.

Salt & Pepper

1) Fill large, fire-safe pot half-way with with water and bring to rolling boil over fire

2) Have each person put their favorite omelets together inside the bag, zipping tightly.   Combine ingredients by squeezing bag several times.  Just remember, the more eggs you use, the longer it will take to cook.  2-3 is ideal. 

3) Place bags in boiling water, trying to avoid sides of pot.  Boil for 15-20 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. 

The eggs will be fluffy and flavorful, but HOT so be careful!

    *Use prep cooked sausage and cut up lunch meat ham to keep things super simple.

    *Try this at home with the kids for a fun breakfast adventure!

 

2)      Leaders who consistently create “thinking time” win more!

I turned off my cell phone when we arrived at camp and didn’t turn it back on again until we left town.  Did the world end since I wasn’t accessible?  Nope, and I didn’t expect it too. 

I just finished reading “Crazy Busy” by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and he speaks about American’s addiction to gadgets and how it’s impacting our lifestyles and thinking patterns.  His assessment is that people get so busy because:  We can be, we want to be, we must be, we imagine that we must be, busy is fun, we let our technology run us instead of running our technology, being busy is a status symbol, we are afraid of being left out or missing something if we slow down, we are afraid that we will not keep up our standard of living unless we are super busy, we can avoid the pain of life, everyone else is busy, we don’t have to feel guilty about doing nothing, you don’t know how to not be busy…and lots, lots, more.  All of these things resonate with me, but at what cost to our well-being and creativity? 

This is a simple lesson.  Put down the gadget once in a while, and give yourself some space to think.  Technology is grand, but it shouldn’t rule your life or get in the way of your next best idea!  Disconnect, enjoy the beauty around you and be open to new possibilities.  By the end of the weekend I was moving with a more grounded pace, my attitude was WAY brighter and had some great new business ideas!  Not having an agenda or a third-arm gadget was SO worth it.  I know I’ve blogged about this before, but I really believe in the power of unplugging.

3)      The proper bait is important, but good bait doesn’t guarantee success.

I’m not much of a fisherman at this point in my life, but I enjoyed casually watching the fam fish over the weekend while I read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.  Over the hours of fishing, no fish were caught for our camp.  One guy standing right next to us put in one cast and boom, he caught a fish.  His young sons caught fish.  People across the river were catching fish.  Cast after cast yielded a few bites, and one close call for Team Bohnenkamp, but at the end of the day, nothing came to pass for our camp.  We even asked those who were “winning” for bait advice, but it still didn’t help. 

My guess on this one:  It was the technique and the energy, not the bait, that kept the fish away. 

The boys were so focused on catching a fish right away, that they didn’t seem to be enjoying the moment or the process.  I’m quite sure the fish could sense the forced nature behind each cast and as a result they threw up a big the middle finger. 

There is a new country song out by Trace Adkins that I love and it talks about going fishing.  He takes his daughter out and while they’re dropping a line in the water she tells him all about her days, her kittens, etc.  “She thinks they’re just fishing,” but to dad, this time together, enjoying nature and each other was the real good stuff. Check out the video here.
 
The point here is that good leaders are completely present in the moment with their staff and enjoy the ride.  Your company might offer the right type of “bait” to attract high quality employees, but that doesn’t guarantee success.  Employees have to feel safe, supported, and valued and leader’s actions will greatly influence these feelings.  As a leader, how do you show that you’re present and human?  Sometimes the need to produce results can blind us. Strike a balance.   
 
That’s all for now.  What leadership lessons have you learned from camping?  Please share and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Leadership Lessons Learned from Dutch Bros Coffee

Dedicated to the famous and amazing Dutchie, Branson!  The best barista EVER! RIP my friend!

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Coffee isn’t something I used to drink.  I just didn’t like it.  My hometown didn’t have a Starbucks (until just a few years ago) and my morning routine never included a cup.   My coffee cravings changed dramatically when I moved to Arizona.  This is when I discovered the joys of a designer, drive-thru coffee!  I immediately feel in love with the tremendous variety of coffee concoctions and the convenience of getting a caffinated beverage at one of the 100 coffee stops along the way to work!  And over the past seven years, coffee has been my friend…through many trials and tribulations of management and a few extreme projects which begged extra hours and brain-cells.

Today I love finding reasons to enjoy iced, non-fat, yummies with caramel or macadamia nut (and Yes! I know I could have probably paid off something with the small fortune I’ve spent, but it’s been worth every penny!).

My affection for a good cup of Joe isn’t the topic of today’s blog.  Rather it is linked to my affection for the service and leadership lessons learned during my coffee consuming EXPERIENCES!  Although Starbucks has written books about their brand of service (and I’ve hired their past employees because they rock), today my vote for service excellence is for Dutch Bros Coffee!

Most would agree that world-class service (and leadership) is all about creating an “experience.”  People want to feel something warm and gooey as they pony up their dough for your goods (or pour their heart and soul into your big project).  Dutch Bros. has the secret sauce and here’s what I’ve learned from them:

1.  People:  Hire the Smile, Train the Skill!  (I heard this phrase at a service workshop about ten years ago and loved it!)

No news flash here.  People are the most valuable assets.  NEVER EVER settle when hiring.  Pick good ones and develop them.  Great PEOPLE make the Dutch Bros. experience worth writing home (or a blogging) about.

I’m certain the job interview at Dutch Bros. isn’t weighted heavily on the key techniques for making the best espresso.  Rather it’s likely geared toward finding rock stars who can describe or show you how to engage people in fun conversation and deal effectively with high-pressure situations.   You can teach most people how to make coffee (or how to run a teller window, sell an insurance policy, build a widget, etc.), but you CAN’T train an outgoing personality or attitude of servitude.  Look for the four People “Ps” (these can be applied to good leaders too!).  People who are:  Proactive, Professional, Positive and Phun (ok, I realize I’m trying really hard on this one…lol!).  I miss my Arizona Dutchies not just because they were fast, accurate, and made great coffee.  It’s because they are fun PEOPLE who shared positive, fun experiences with me.

2.  FUN:  Have as much of it as possible.  (You can see I’m on the fun kick today…)

This one echoes the FISH! philosophy… make work PLAY!  I’d always leave Dutch Brothers with a big smile along with my Iced, Non-fat, Annihilator.  Why?  Staff would be focused on their coffee making tasks AND joking and laughing, while jamming to upbeat music.  It always looked like fun to work at Dutch Bros. and it spilled out of the drive-thru window, even when the line was 10 cars deep.

My all-time favorite Dutchie, was Branson.  He was the best at letting the fun roll out of the drive-thru window and into my truck.  I’ll never forget the day he attempted to “Teach me how to Dougie!” while ringing up my order. He often shared hilarious stories about pranking his co-workers and shared outrageous hiking and biking adventures and he always had a great big toothy smile on his face.   His passion for living and sharing a vivacious life rubbed off on others and he helped to create a world-class service experience at Dutch Brothers.  Why did I take extra time each day to drive out of my way to pay more for coffee?  I needed a little sunshine to start my day and I knew Dutch Brothers would always deliver.  Consistent fun and great coffee!  A perfect combo!

Don’t silence the child within too much leaders!  It’s a fatal mistake.  I challenge you to peg your fun meter!

3.  Love Loyalty:  provide added value to those who are devoted. 

Dutch Bros. shows the Dutchie love all the time.  They have a coffee punch card.  Every time you buy coffee, get a punch (go on Tuesday and get two punches).  When you fill the card, get free coffee!  Added value baby!   Sign up for their texts or like them on Facebook and get special deals for coffee discounts!  Show them the love and they will do the same!

There were many times Kelsey and the gang showed me the Dutchie love.  Sometimes it would be an awesome Dutch Bros. sticker (my fav has a horseshoe on it!) and other days my drink would be waiting for me when I pulled up (I LOVED this!).  Other days it was more unexpected like the day my Husker loving hubby and I left for Kauai to get married.  We stopped by to grab some Joe before heading to the airport and the gang wouldn’t let us pay.  When we left AZ for the Colorado Rockies, Dutch Bros. was our last stop out of town.  They bid us goodbye, and again wouldn’t let us pay.

Consumers have so many choices today for where to spend their dollar and it is nice to be recognized and rewarded for loyalty.   Employees feels the same way, right?  Many say it’s hard to find a job in today’s market, great employees rarely find it challenging to find new positions.  As a leader, what have you done to recognize and reward your hard-working, loyal employees?  Do they like coffee?  A small gesture can go a long way and can add up to big rewards.

As we drove away from Dutch Bros. the day we left AZ, I had tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t believe I was sad to be leaving a coffee house!  I was even a little embarrassed!  Coffee?  Making me all teary eyed??  What the…I guess being surrounded by good people, who are fun and aren’t afraid to show the love fit my needs just right.

It was quite an EXPERIENCE being a customer of Arizona Dutch Bros. and I wait (not so patiently) for the day they come to Denver.  For now I will just have to take trips to the Springs when I need a Dutch Bros. fix. (and YES!  The people there are awesome too!)

DutchMafia

What are you doing to create extraordinary experiences with your customers and teams?  Leave a comment and share YOUR secret sauce.

Thanks for stopping by!

100 Things-Part 1

My Husker Loving Hubby suggested I make a list of a 100 things I love about living in Colorado.  This was his solution to the overall lack of enthusiasm that I’ve expressed about our new home state. It’s not that I don’t like it here, it’s just that I’m not yet in LOVE. 

I was having one of those days when all you feel like doing is focusing on the things you don’t have and all the things that are wrong. His simple list making suggestion was a gentle reminder to get over myself and start focusing on all of the gifts in my life.  

It will take time to complete my list of 100, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts about what I love about living in Colorado as a reminder to look for the small things in your life that bring you joy and embrace what is in front of you!  Here it goes:   

1.  Colorado sunsets are amazing.  The pinks, purples, oranges, blues and yellows against the pale blue sky and rugged front range…stunning. 

2.  Cool mountain air.  Being able to open the windows on summer nights for a cool breeze is pure heaven. 

3.  Tiny pine cones. 

4.  Camping and campfires are just a short trip up the mountain!

5.  Wild strawberries.

6.  I’m singing in Colorado clubs with a new band. I’m learning new tunes, playing new venues, sharing music with new audiences, and I’m bringing a little country to the band’s rock style!

7.  I can wear Wranglers and boots to work without any weird looks because I’m in Cowboy country!  In fact there is a Wrangler store a few blocks from my office!   

8.  Snowboarding!  I’ve missed you old friend.

9.  My 4-Wheel drive truck has a true purpose now, even if it is a “sissy truck” (according to Husker Loving Hubby).

10.  Water skippers. 

11.  Wild flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Hot pink is my favorite.

12.  Bunnies everywhere!  I know they cause havoc on yards, but they are so stinking adorable. 

13.  Downtown Denver is rad!  Random pianos to play on the streets, roller coasters, places where you can flip a coin for your dinner (yes, I won the flip and got free pizza and wings for my band!)…overall the vibe is relaxed but electric.

14.  There are trails everywhere!  Great for walking Izzy and I’ve even started jogging a bit.

15.  Brewery Bar.  WARNING:  HOT green chile.  (But eat it anyway!)

16.  Curvy Colorado roads.  My drive to work every morning is a blast!  Sometimes I think the people who designed the road systems in Colorado were drunk.  I wonder what they’ll be like with snow…

17.  There is a big white horse on the top of the Bronco’s football stadium, a giant horse greets you at the airport, and the kid’s chairs at the Park Meadows mall are saddles.     

That’s all for now.  I will continue building my list of Colorado affections and share a few more shortly.  What’s something small you love about your current hometown? 

Here’s my sunset view driving home last week…
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Original Post 7.26.12

Messages from a Monk

I read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma.  This book is a fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny and was recommended to me by a friend.  The title alone intrigued me. 

As I began to read, I was entertained by the story of a hot-shot lawyer turned Monk, his faithful mentee and the lessons of leading a happy life.  But as the story unfolded I sensed a strong connection to concepts from another book that has been a major influence on my life: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  As I went through each chapter I honestly began to think the Monk’s story was a total rip-off of Covey’s work…I mean it even used some of the exact same language and stories!   

But I’ve lost my critical view.  Why I am I reading, if not to learn and be challenged? 

Today’s leadership lesson:  stories with the same end in mind can be told in millions of different ways and one approach is never “better” or more “right” than another.  Imagination and creativity are two of the most powerful virtues we have and the freedom to tell a story “your” way is our birth-right.  Your story might share the same virtues as others, but the unique way YOU tell it might connect with one audience better than mine (and visa-versa).  Abundance vs. Scarcity Mentality Sarah! It’s all about the learning!

All conversations about the intense value of spending time each and every day taking care of “you,” mind, body and soul, are needed in today’s busy and technology filled world.  Drained workers across the nation need to hear many different stories sending the same message:  Slow down.  Take time to think, take time to take care of you and be of service to others.  Stop living the quarter life and move on to the whole life experience.  This book sends a TREMENDOUS message. 

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One of the most brilliant pieces of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is its structure.  It uses the power of conversation and story-telling throughout, and at the end of each lesson, provides “Wisdom in a Nutshell,” which ties in a visual symbol for the lesson, 2-3 key pieces of wisdom & techniques, and a “quotable quote.”  

Here is a quick summary of symbols and virtues learned from the Monk Who Sold his Ferrari:

1)      Magnificent Garden = Master (cultivate) Your Mind

2)      The Towering Lighthouse = Follow Your Purpose

3)      Sumo Wrestler = Practice Kaizen (continuous self-improvement and doing things you fear)

4)      Pink Wire Cable = Live With Discipline 

5)      Gold Stop Watch = Respect Your Time (courage to say no and simplify)

6)      Fragrant Roses = Selflessly Serve Others (relationships and giving)

7)      Path of Diamonds = Embrace the Present

All of these symbols are included in the fable presented by Sharma.  It’s creative and a quick read.  I’ve been thinking about the story a LOT…a sign of a GREAT read. 

Some of my favorite quips from the book include;

 -Your can is more important than your IQ.

-I’ve had dreams and I’ve had nightmares.  I overcame the nightmares because of my dreams.

-The very fact that you have a desire or a dream means that you have the corresponding capacity to realize it. 

-Whenever a negative slide comes up on the screen (of your mind), take swift action to replace it with a positive one.

-Imagination is more important than knowledge (I love this one from Einstein)

-Only those who seek, shall find.

-We have 60,000+ thoughts per day and most are repeats.

-The secret of happiness is simple:  find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it.  Once you do this, abundance flows in your life and all your desires are filled with ease and grace. 

-Wage War against the weaker thoughts that have crept into the palace of your mind.  They will see that they are unwanted and leave like unwelcome visitors. 

I’m going to go and cultivate my garden now…thanks for stopping by!