FROM THE PRESIDENT

5 Pillars of Small Business Success

It has been a while since I’ve found an article interesting enough to use it as a “guest article” but I get asked very, very often what the keys to a successful business are and this article nailed it!

It was featured on the SBA’s website in January of this year and I’ve been going to share it for a while.  I hope it is interesting and helpful to you!

5 Pillars of Small Businesses Success

By Marco Carbajo, Guest Blogger
Published: January 13, 2015

 

What does it take for a small business to achieve success?Whether you’re already in business, or preparing to start a business, it takes hard work, tenacity and drive to achieve a high level of success. Lori Greiner, star shark of ABC’s Shark Tank says, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”

According to Elizabeth Wilson of Entrepreneur Magazine, while some 40 million businesses are started each year, a paltry 350,000 break out of the pack and begin growing and making money. So how can a small business owner overcome some of the common business pitfalls? Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and star of CNBC’s prime time reality series The Profit, knows all about determining the success or failure of a business. Lemonis says, “Business success is about the three P’s: People, Process and Product.” Here are five pillars that make a small business successful.

1) People

If you want your small business to succeed, you need a fantastic team. Russell Simmons, Entrepreneur and founder or Def Jam Recordings says, “Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you.” A company can accomplish amazing things when it has leadership and a team who is inspired, hardworking and believes in the company’s mission.

2) Plan

“Quality is the best business plan, period,” says John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Pixar and Disney. Just about everyone in the business world agrees that having a plan is important. And that doesn’t mean the big formal business plan document you fear like a term paper. It starts small and may grow in time. At a start-up, implementation is everything. That means it’s essential to establish responsibilities, set goals, and track performance. You will also need to answer key questions, such as:

  • Have you identified your target customers?
  • What problems are you trying to solve for them?
  • What will be the most effective marketing and promotional strategies?

3) Process

Dr. W. Edwards Deming said, “85 percent of the reasons for failure to meet customer expectations are related to deficiencies in systems and processes…rather than the employee.” It’s crucial that you have a full and clear understanding of your company’s processes and have the right systems in place.

4) Product

Does your product solve a problem? Does it exist yet? Is there something that is out there that your product does in a different way? Is there a demand for your product? Success in business requires doing something you’re passionate about that fills a need in the marketplace. Debbi Fields, Founder of Mrs. Fields Bakeries says, “Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

5) Profit

When it comes to measuring a successful business, profitability is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Is the company making money? A critical component of running a successful business is knowing your numbers. “If you want to be successful in business, you need to become proficient at handling certain numbers. You need to be able to read and understand your financial dashboard” says Dawn Fotopulos, Associate Professor of Business at The King’s College in New York.

Starting and running a successful business can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. You as a small business owner should never stop learning, innovating, planning and growing. “Leaders spend five percent of their time on the problem and 95 percent of their time on the solution. Get over it & crush it!” says Tony Robbins.

About the Author:

Marco Carbajo
Marco Carbajo

Guest Blogger

Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, the SBA.gov Community, About.com and All Business.com. His articles and blog; Business Credit Blogger.com, have been featured in ‘Fox Small Business’,’American Express Small Business’, ‘Business Week’, ‘The Washington Post’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘The San Francisco Tribune’, ‘Alltop’, and ‘Entrepreneur Connect’.

Women’s History Month … Seminars & Info For Businesswomen

March is Women’s History Month

 

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

This week’s SBA enews is all about resources for women in business!  See below for links to seminars, webinars and great links to information!

SBA Hosts Online Events for Women Entrepreneurs During Women’s History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, SBA is hosting a series of online events that highlight women in business and we want you to join the conversation! Here’s what’s happening through the rest of March:

> Read more

InnovateHER: Weaving New Stories for Women’s Lives

The topic of this year’s Women’s History Month is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. Erin Andrew, assistant administrator for women’s business ownership, discusses this and InnovateHER, a business challenge in partnership with Microsoft, that is focused on innovative products and services that make women’s lives better.

> Read more

SBA Helping to Boost Women’s Small Business With New Online Learning Tool

SBA’s support to women entrepreneurs continues to grow. We recently launched a partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, leveraging their DreamBuilder online learning program that is designed for women entrepreneurs who want to start or grow a small business.

> Read more

Google Hangout – Women in Small Business: A Conversation with the SBA

If you missed last week’s Google Hangout, not to worry! You can watch the Google Small Business Community’s chat with Erin Andrew, Assistant Administrator from SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, on YouTube now!

> Watch now

Connect With A Women’s Business Center

Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) provide counseling, training and networking opportunities for women across the United States and its territories. With a network of nearly 100 educational centers, women around the country can receive tailored assistance to help them start and grow their small businesses. WBCs seek to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the business world.

> Connect with a Women’s Business Center Today

About Women’s History Month

 

*Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.”  Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.”  In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.”  Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.  Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

*From the Law Library of Congress’ guide to the legislative history of Women’s History Month.

Executive and Legislative Documents

The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Women’s History Month.

 

De Pere High School Transition Program Partnering with Local Businesses

Here at the Chamber we have many issues we are concerned with and we are constantly on the look for potential solutions.  Two of the things on that list are the current & future workforce as well our educational systems.  Recently, Christopher Guilette, Special Education Transition Coordinator at De Pere High School stopped by to tell us about a program he is coordinating and it is innovative and exciting!

At my request, he has written the following article about the program and how it is helping with today’s issues of note.  I hope you find it as interesting and informative as I did and, even more, I hope the program information finds its way to employers in our community where it will have benefit for both the business and the students.

De Pere High School Transition Program Partnering with Local Businesses

 

As a responsible partner with our families and the community, De Pere High School provides an educational edge that prepares all learners to be successful and contributing members in society. As part of that edge, the high school is striving to offer authentic learning opportunities for all students to prepare them for the world of work.

 

The school’s Transition Program is set up to give students with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their abilities and develop employability skills. Through the combined efforts of families, school staff members and business partners, we can truly make a difference in the lives of these young students who will become productive members of our community.

 

How can we be of service to your business? Opportunities that are mutually beneficial for employers and students are needed. For our students, it is developing necessary employability skills in an authentic learning environment. For the employer, this would be the chance to hire a deserving student who desires to learn employment soft skills as well as while meeting the needs of your business. In addition, opportunities for a school-sponsored job coach, support from parents and special funding from various resources may be possible.

 

If you are interested in working with a student employee who will appreciate the opportunity to learn under your guidance, hiring a student from the DPHS Transition Program may be just the opportunity for your business. To discuss the possibilities for partnership, please contact:

 

Chris Guilette

Transition Program Coordinator and Special Education Teacher

De Pere High School

(920) 337-1020 ext. 4621

cguilette@depere.k12.wi.us

1700 Chicago Street, De Pere, WI 54115

Practicing Slowness & Being Present

I set a goal for myself this year to be more present.  To spend less time multi-tasking and more time focused on one-thing-at-a-time.  Yes, I’m still working on that goal! Yes, I still find myself having time for just one more quick thing and rushing through my moments.  But, I’m better than I’ve ever been before.

For today’s healthy living post for the holidays, which will also be my last for 2014 as I take the holidays off to re-charge, re-connect and re-center, I bring you this great guest article from a enews I get from ZenHabits.

I also send you my wishes for peaceful Christmas and New Year’s celebrations full of grace that bring you happiness and joy!

 

Practicing Slowness & Being Present
By Leo Babauta

In our rush to get through the tasks of our day, to complete our errands and answer emails, to look at the next video or link we find … when do we think we’ll find happiness?

If it’s not here right now, when will it come?

Maybe we think it’ll come when we improve our lives, or meet our goals, or succeed at our business, or finish our college degree. Maybe it’ll come when we go on that next trip, or when we find time to relax. Maybe tomorrow.

Or we could try this:

Slow down instead of rushing.
Pause to savor the current moment.
Really notice everything about the moment, and find small things to appreciate.
Be grateful for what there is right here, right now.
Allow the things that are bothering you to just be in your life, without fighting with them, without pushing them away.
Don’t allow little things to offend you. They’re not worth ruining this moment.
Let the beauty of this moment wash over you like a warm foamy wave.

These are all things we already know. But we don’t actually do them. The key here is practice.

If you don’t practice being present, slowing down, enjoying the moment right now, when will you practice? What are you practicing now instead?

Start your practice this moment.

‘When you live completely in each moment, without expecting anything, you have no idea of time.’ ~Shunryu Suzuki

2014 Christmas & New Year’s Weeks Schedule

holiday_hours

 

To allow our staff and volunteers to enjoy the holidays with their families, the De Pere Area Chamber will have the following holiday hours during the weeks of Christmas and New Year.

Monday & Tuesday 12/22 & 12/23 – Office open regular hours (9am-4pm)

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Day after Christmas 12/24-12/26/14 – Office will be closed

Monday & Tuesday 12/29 & 12/30 Office will have shortened hours (9am-3pm)

New Year’s Eve, Wednesday 12/31 Office will have shortened hours (9am-Noon)

New Year’s Day, Thursday 1/1/2015!  Happy New Year!  Office will be closed

Friday 1/2/2015 – Office will have shortened hours (9am-3pm)

Our website is *always* open as is our mobile website

You can also find us and 200 other chambers of commerce via MyChamberApp:

AppStore link   —  Android store linkBlackberry World link

See you in 2015!

Stressed? What??? Me! Why would you think that???

holidaystress

I love the holidays.  I do.  Really.  No, I’m not kidding.

holidaystresshat

My holidays are admittedly a lot less stressful now that my kids are out of school and on their own.  The stress of shopping for them, their friends & teachers (and keeping things hidden and don’t even get me started on St. Nick’s Day!), plus school commitments, holiday parties & events in addition to our own family obligations and my work ones was, well, often a lot!  I’m not telling those of you living those days anything you don’t know, but it can be managed.

babystressholiday

Here are 7 tips for managing stress and anxiety this time of year:

  • Do just a few things well.  There is a lot of stress this time of year to make it “the most wonderful time of year.”  For example:
    • I love to decorate for the holidays and my dining room is my favorite spot to decorate though I do spread it around the house.  However, I do *very* little outside.  I have multiple wreaths and a few things that hang in pre-placed hanging spots, but other than those, no.  If it isn’t your thing, just do one room, or your tree, or the top of the toilet tank and feel really good about it!
    • What about holiday cards?  Do you like to sit down and send them or do you do so out of obligation. If it is obligation, borrow my rule for Christmas cards. It is my same rule as invitations for major family events – if I have neither seen nor spoken (even electronically) to you in the last 15 months (last year’s card not included) – no card for you!  I mean really?  The time, the cost, the stress, the point??  Just no.
    • Do you bake & decorate cookies with your kids?  Cool!  If you are stressing about not having time to make them and you haven’t discovered pre-made dough then I have a Christmas miracle for you!!  All kids care about is cutting out and decorating them anyway.  Save the hour for those cards you feel obligated to send to Great Aunt what’s-her-name who used to be married to Mom’s Uncle Cliff!
  • Attending parties that stress you and you attend because you are obligated.  I’m not talking about extended family get-togethers which is a whole Oprah having coffee with Dr. Phil episode!  I mean that party a certain someone “hosts” every year and everyone seems to go to.  The one that requires you to dress in some unusual fashion, bring a sports related gift to swap, bake 6 dozen cookies to exchange, and bring a bottle of wine and homemade appetizer?  That one where you have a crick in your neck before you go, get a monster headache while you are there and snap at your spouse on the way home?  Yup, that one. Just.say.no.  Along with any other party that isn’t actually fun, they are supposed to be FUN (caveat inserted about extended family …)
  • We all want to give back and express both our gratitude as well as our Christmas spirit, we post about it here often.  BUT — Don’t over-commit. Commit to ONE *extra* activity.  Find one thing during the holidays that you are passionate about and touches your heart.  Otherwise, you will end up resentful not grateful!
  • Don’t make a major change in your life right now.  If it was something that bothered you before, chances are it is driving you to distraction right now.  Don’t get a buzz or pixie cut.  Don’t remodel the kitchen or suddenly quit your job.  Make sure whatever big thing you might do now is because the timing is right for that change, not because you feel like things are out of control.  If it is a good idea, it will still be a good idea in 16 days.
  • Get some “You” time.  The grocery store or gift shopping doesn’t count.  Find a place where you have no obligation to get something done, all by yourself for at least an hour.  (Unless that some place is the gym … see next item!)
  • Exercise and sleep.  Yes. You must do both.  Running around like a crazy person getting things done is *not* exercise.    At least 20 minutes 3 times a week do something to work out that stress.  Sleep, this is number two on the list (after exercise) that gets sacrificed this time of year.  Don’t do it!  You must sleep. The laundry to be folded and dishes to be done will be there in the morning (the cleaning elves went on holiday in 1966 and have never returned, trust me, it will be there) – but that is okay!  No one will become ill because the towels didn’t get folded and put away or the last 5 dishes washed.  Sleep and exercise are CRUCIAL.
  • Try to turn a sad moment into a warm memory.  It is very easy this time of year to think about those are no longer with us and become overwhelmed with missing them. Death, divorce, relocation, or just one of those things. No matter how this is affecting you this year, try to pull out a memory and sit warmly with it for a few moments.  Remembering something happy and moving forward is the best way to stop feeling sad.

This time of year (especially the next 8 days) can be over-the-top stressful, but if you take a breath and limit yourself while taking care of yourself, you CAN enjoy the holidays.  Really.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for managing stress and life this time of year!

 

Most wonderful time of the year, except for …

I love the holidays.  I love the decorating, seeing the holiday lights, finding the perfect gift and annual ornament for each family member, watching seasonal movies ~ Miracle on 34th Street with Dylan McDermott and Richard Attenborough and A Christmas Carol with Jean Luc Picard, err… Patrick Stewart are my preferred versions and nothing beats Jimmy Stewart’s “George Bailey” in the original It’s a Wonderful Life ~ and spending time with friends and family, as well as cooking and eating.

Holiday eating, or as I call it “the brown sugar, butter & cinnamon time of year,” is particularly hard on the waistline and hips!  I have pretty much zero willpower, though if I look at the calories on something and then calculate how much time I will be working out to burn off that goodie, it does dampen my enthusiasm for it a bit! However, I still indulge more than I *want* to and then I feel guilty for having such low willpower. However, I read an interesting excerpt from a book recently that made me realize it isn’t just my low willpower to blame for the sugar binging; there is another reason!    It isn’t a magic wand and doesn’t eliminate the need to be responsible about my eating choices nor does it give me a pass to skip my workouts, but, it was very interesting.  Plus, it reminds me why I need to limit my sugar intake in general.

Enjoy!

Excerpt from:  Salt, Sugar, fat by Michael Moss. Sugar was a rare for centuries, but is now abundant. And eating sugar makes us crave still more sugar:

“The first thing to know about sugar is this: Our bodies are hard-wired for sweets.
The myth of the tongue map; that 1 tastes bitter, 2 tastes sour, 3 tastes salt, and 4 tastes sweet.

“Forget what we learned in school from that old diagram called the tongue map, the one that says our five main tastes are detected by five distinct parts of the tongue. That the back has a big zone for blasts of bitter, the sides grab the sour and the salty, and the tip of the tongue has that one single spot for sweet. The tongue map is wrong. As researchers would discover in the 1970s, its creators misinterpreted the work of a German graduate student that was published in 1901; his experiments showed only that we might taste a little more sweetness on the tip of the tongue. In truth, the entire mouth goes crazy for sugar, including the upper reaches known as the palate. There are special receptors for sweetness in everyone of the mouth’s ten thousand taste buds, and they are all hooked up, one way or another, to the parts of the brain known as the pleasure zones, where we get rewarded for stoking our bodies with energy. But our zeal doesn’t stop there. Scientists are now finding taste receptors that light up for sugar all the way down our esophagus to our stomach and pancreas, and they appear to be intricately tied to our appetites.

“The second thing to know about sugar: Food manufacturers are well aware of the tongue map folly, along with a whole lot more about why we crave sweets. They have on staff cadres of scientists who specialize in the senses, and the companies use their knowledge to put sugar to work for them in countless ways. Sugar not only makes the taste of food and drink irresistible. The industry has learned that it can also be used to pull off a string of manufacturing miracles, from donuts that fry up bigger to bread that won’t go stale to cereal that is toasty-brown and fluffy. All of this has made sugar a go-to ingredient in processed foods. On average, we consume 71 pounds of caloric sweeteners each year. That’s 22 teaspoons of sugar, per person, per day. The amount is almost equally split three ways, with the sugar derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and the group of corn sweeteners that includes high-fructose corn syrup (with a little honey and syrup thrown into the mix).

“That we love, and crave, sugar is hardly news. … Cane and beets [were] the two main sources of sugar until the 1970s, when rising prices spurred the invention of high-fructose corn syrup, which had two attributes that were attractive to the soda industry. One, it was cheap, effectively subsidized by the federal price supports for corn; and two, it was liquid, which meant that it could be pumped directly into food and drink. Over the next thirty years, our consumption of sugar-sweetened soda more than doubled to 40 gallons a year per person, and while this has tapered off since then, hitting 32 gallons in 2011, there has been a commensurate surge in other sweet drinks, like teas, sportsades, vitamin waters, and energy drinks. Their yearly consumption has nearly doubled in the past decade to 14 gallons a person.

“Far less well known than the history of sugar, however, is the intense research that scientists have conducted into its allure, the biology and psychology of why we find it so irresistible.

“For the longest time, the people who spent their careers studying nutrition could only guess at the extent to which people are attracted to sugar. They had a sense, but no proof, that sugar was so powerful it could compel us to eat more than we should and thus do harm to our health. That all changed in the late 1960s, when some lab rats in upstate New York got ahold of Froot Loops, the supersweet cereal made by Kellogg. The rats were fed the cereal by a graduate student named Anthony Sclafani who, at first, was just being nice to the animals in his care. But when Sclafani noticed how fast they gobbled it up, he decided to concoct a test to measure their zeal. Rats hate open spaces; even in cages, they tend to stick to the shadowy corners and sides. So Sclafani put a little of the cereal in the brightly lit, open center of their cages — normally an area to be avoided — to see what would happen. Sure enough, the rats overcame their instinctual fears and ran out in the open to gorge.

“Their predilection for sweets became scientifically significant a few years later when Sclafani — who’d become an assistant professor of psychology at Brooklyn College — was trying to fatten some rats for a study. Their standard Purina Dog Chow wasn’t doing the trick, even when Sclafani added lots of fats to the mix. The rats wouldn’t eat enough to gain significant weight. So Sclafani, remembering the Froot Loops experiment, sent a graduate student out to a supermarket on Flatbush Avenue to buy some cookies and candies and other sugar-laden products. And the rats went bananas, they couldn’t resist. They were particularly fond of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate bars. They ate so much over the course of a few weeks that they grew obese.



“‘Everyone who owns pet rats knows if you give them a cookie they will like that, but no one experimentally had given them all they want,’ Sclafani told me when I met him at his lab in Brooklyn, where he continues to use rodents in studying the psychology and brain mechanisms that underlie the desire for high-fat and high-sugar foods. When he did just that, when he gave his rats all they wanted, he saw their appetite for sugar in a new light. They loved it, and this craving completely overrode the biological brakes that should have been saying: Stop.

“The details of Sclafani’s experiment went into a 1976 paper that is revered by researchers as one of the first experimental proofs of food cravings. Since its publication, a whole body of research has been undertaken to link sugar to compulsive overeating. In Florida, researchers have conditioned rats to expect an electrical shock when they eat cheesecake, and still they lunge for it. Scientists at Princeton found that rats taken off a sugary diet will exhibit signs of withdrawal, such as chattering teeth.”

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Author: Michael Moss
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Copyright 2013 by Michael Moss
Pages 3-6


If you wish to read further: Buy Now

 

If you use the above link to purchase a book, delanceyplace proceeds from your purchase will benefit a children’s literacy project. All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity.
Back to Cheryl – I get daily snippets of non-fiction books from DelanceyPlace via email.  They are about the length of the one above and since I don’t normally read non-fiction (unless to do with something for work or school) are a nice size for me to decide if I want to get the book and read more.  Even if I don’t take that step, I’ve likely learned something I didn’t know – which I love to do.

I made us late!

Hi all!  So sorry the Live Healthy Brown County newsletter is late coming to you this week.  My fault!  😳 I lost track of what day of the week it was!

Christmas Eve is just 3 weeks from today.  I know, right?!  Late Thanksgiving makes Christmas appear at warp speed.  I’m sure you are busy with your plans for family, friends and work celebrations as well as holiday meal planning, gift shopping and wrapping as well as trying to b-r-e-a-t-h to enjoy it all.  I’m going to add to your plate. (you’re welcome!  😉 )

I *really* urge you to find the spirit of the season by helping someone(s) outside of your own family – plus?  If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, helping someone in need will bring the blessings in your life into sharp focus immediately!  There are so many people in need in our community and if we all do just a little, we can do huge things.  As Margaret Mead said, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Here is a list of what is happening now and over the next few weeks in our community that need volunteers:

  • The Salvation Army of Brown County needs Bell Ringers.  Sign up at this quick link http://bit.ly/BecomeABellRinger or you can call the Bell Office at 920-884-3077. You can also email them at bells_greenbay@usc.salvationarmy.org
  • Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary, Inc. is a truly No-Kill animal sanctuary right here in Wisconsin. Their original location is located in peaceful Marion, Wisconsin; however, they now also have a convenient Green Bay location near Lambeau Field and the Resch Center. If you’re in the market to adopt a furry friend you’d do well to stop there for a meet and greet. If you’re looking to work with animals but can’t take one home, well find out more about volunteering for HEA at either location. And if you really want to help out, but you simply don’t have the time or you suffer from animal allergies you can do great things by donating items from their wishlist. Follow them on Facebook, check out their website at www.happilyeverafterinfo.org
  • St. Vincent de Paul needs 2-4 people on Saturday Dec 6th and Dec 13th from 1-4p  help with moving fixtures (shelves) & furniture at the Weise Street location to shine the floor If you can help please contact Jody Kasten at 920-435-4040 ext. 107 or email jodyk@svdpgb.org.  Their website is www.svdpgb.org
  • Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity ReStore is accepting any and all holiday lights! Doesn’t matter if they’re working or not, if you don’t need them, want them, or are just tired of untangling them every year they would love to take them off your hands!  You can drop them at 984 9th Street, the Volunteer Center of Brown County.
  • Speaking of the Volunteer Center, they are in search of helping hands to shovel snow for seniors or people with disabilities this winter (bonus here .. exercise!!)  http://www.volunteergb.org/#!neighborhood-volunteer-connection/c1f3i

  • Toys for Tots is collecting!  Drop off a new unwrapped toy at De Pere Auto Center, 705 George Stree by next Monday and they will deliver!
  • Donate NEW, unwrapped, unmarked books that are fun for babies, children or young adults up to age 18 by December 10. New, unwrapped books can be brought to any Brown County Library (the Kress Family Library is on North Broadway) and Nicolet National Bank has many area locations including on North Broadway and 1610 Lawrence Drive.

Our community is a warm and wonderful place because we care about one another!

Those are but a *few* of the things happening in our community to let you give back a little or a lot! I’d love to hear of others and hear what you and/or your company are doing.

 

 

Not as expected, I’m sure …

You are probably expecting me to blog about healthy eating or remind you to make healthy choices, not over-indulge or get some exercise this week.  But, I’m going to disappoint you.  Today I’m going to talk about heart health.  If the fullness of one’s heart can be a measure of the health of one’s heart, then I’m certain my heart will never be more healthy than it is today.

gratitude-300x274

This last week has been a tremendous reminder of the blessings in my life and of the wonderful life I am living.  It has been a renewal of my faith in people.  It has also reminded me that sometimes well-meaning organizations get bogged down in policies and forget their mission to HELP others while doing so with respect and compassion.   That will be a cause to come, but not today.

Today, I express my most heart-felt gratitude specifically to Jennifer Naze (Ramada Plaza, Green Bay who are SO lucky to have her!!!), Bob Detrick, Colleen Radtke (St. Mark Lutheran Church – their food pantry will welcome donations), Nancy Hougard, Sarah Anstaett (U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office), the principal and staff at West De Pere Middle School, First Assembly of God Church  (who would welcome donations for their Thanksgiving Day dinner where all in need are welcome & none turned away), Pat Olejniczak and the Kress Inn, Gail Garrity-Reed and Debbie Murphy, plus all of the individuals on Facebook who shared, liked, commented and jumped up to help over the last week.

As I shared a few weeks ago, for me November is a month of gratitude that begins with thanks to those who make my birthday special and ends with me expressing thanks for the blessings in my life.  This November has brought home for me that Thanksgiving is a compound word holiday … to those I specifically mentioned above, to the others in the “catch-all” group above from Facebook and to all of you who quietly reach out to help others in any and every way you can …

thanks for giving.

Have a blessed, peaceful and safe Thanksgiving everyone, I hope your heart is full and healthy too!

 

Healthy living through gratitude

The Executive Edge Challenge is over for 2014.  I didn’t hit my goals – yet – but it was a just push for me!  I’m about mid-way through the Metabolic Meltdown Challenge I mentioned and wow, I’m definitely melting and building tone & muscle.  Today though, I thought I’d switch gears a bit.

I have always loved November.  First of all .. the first is my birthday.  Second, I prefer cool weather to hot and I adore snuggling in soft, cozy clothes.  Third, having a reason to have a fire going is awesome.   Fourth, it is a month that begins with me saying “Thank You” for gifts and best wishes and ends in thankfulness.   I am thankful for memories & gratitude.

By nature, I’m a pretty positive person who looks for the silver lining in every cloud.  Sometimes I really, really have to squint to see it, but I nearly always find it.  I’ve been told I have a “sweet spirit” because I see the best in people and find it difficult (and not a little distasteful) to speak ill of people.  Before I’d heard of karma, I had the sense talking negatively about others would bounce back to me in some way.   One of the really good things my Mom always used to say was, “If they will talk badly to you about someone else, know they are very probably talking badly about you to the next person.”  I’ve always tried to keep those words in mind and not gossip about others.  I tried to pass it on to my children.  Time will tell how I did as well.

As part of my overall positive nature, I try to live with an “attitude of gratitude,” as I think it makes me feel happier.  Research supports that sense. One study from the University of Pennsylvania found that people who wrote and delivered a heartfelt thank-you letter actually felt happier for a full month after, and the same researchers discovered that writing down three positive events each day for a week kept happiness levels high for up to six months.

According to researchers at Eastern Washington University, there are four primary characteristics of grateful people, and these are the ones that thank-you notes and a gratitude journal can help tap, strengthen, and invigorate. People who experience the most gratitude (and therefore the positive effects) tend to:

  • Feel a sense of abundance in their lives
  • Appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being
  • Recognize and enjoy life’s small pleasures
  • Acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude

And, according to “The Greater Good” at Berkeley University, there are physical, psychological and social benefits as well:

Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

As part of #NaBloPoMo month, I’ve started a 21 days of gratitude challenge.  The bloggers I’ve seen doing it started on November 1st, but I started it the 7th so my 21st day is on Thanksgiving.  For as long as my daughter can remember, at Thanksgiving dinner we have always gone around the table taking turns saying what we are grateful for.  They have always rolled their eyes at me and both my son and son-in-law each year say they hope I will forget about it, but I secretly think they like it too.  Join me if you’d like!  The challenge I’m doing is from a Facebook page challenge in May that I saw, but I found the author’s website as well.  I didn’t do it then because I wanted it for now!  Week one I’ll look to ordinary things in my life and find the magic in them. Week two, I’ll focus on past and present experiences and I’ll spend the final week being grateful for the people in my life.

I found another one if you want to do the challenge as a family or as more of a parent perspective.   Here are the prompts for the one I’m doing:

Gratitude Challenge

You can blog about these, put them on social media, keep a journal or just stop and think about them for yourself.  There is no magic formula, just do it!
Day 1: Notice the things that bring you JOY
Day 2: Take a moment to think about the things that make your life easier
Day 3: Be grateful for something beautiful in your life.
Day 4:  Today is all about food! Treat yourself to something delicious today. Be present in the moment and grateful for that experience.
Day 5:  Today’s gratitude challenge is all about your favorite color
Day 6: Today we’ll focus our gratitude on something we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) want to live without
Day 7: Fill in the …  “Today I am Grateful For …”
Day 8: A place you are grateful for.
Day 9- Focus your gratitude on stories that you have read or seen. (i.e. can book film or play)
Day 10: The calming experience or serenity in you day
Day 11: Your mom or mother-figure
Day 12: A first experience that you were/are grateful for
Day 13: Today’s gratitude is for those moments that make you laugh until your stomach hurts
Day 14: No, not algebra, no need to solve, just fill in the “x” and “y” – “I am grateful for (x) because (x)”
Day 15: Say thank you to someone. And really mean it!!
Day 16: The people/person in your life who inspire(s) you.
Day 17: Friendships, both near and far, new and old.
Day 18: The teachers you have had
Day 19: Your miraculous body
Day 20: All the love in your life. All the people you love and who love you in return.
Day 21:  Fill in the … “Today I am grateful for …”