10 ways I’m taking some time out for life.

I’m 5.5 days into this 28 day hiatus between jobs and I’m amazed at what I’ve noticed going on around me. When you are not worried about getting to work on time, meeting deadlines, pleasing others, working the corporate game and running to extracurricular activities, you can sit back, soak it all in and live life for a change. Sounds simple, but most of us don’t do it. I’m extremely fortunate to have a husband who supports me in taking a month off to do a bunch of nothing, as well as a new employer (effective Feb 22) who values time off as much I do right now. Guess that means I’m in for a wild and crazy work ride when I get started 🙂

Lost time is never found again ~Benjamin Franklin

So, how have I been taking some time out for life? Here are just a few things I’ve experienced in the past few days that have tickled my fancy to a whole new level – simply because there is nothing else on my agenda competing with them.

  1. Grapefruit – who has time to prepare this delicacy rushing to get yourself and (2) middle schoolers ready every morning? Glorious Vitamin C rush!
  2. Music – do you sing  the refrain, hum the melody, tap to the tune or really listen to the words? Wow, there are so many songs that have new meaning for me because of the real message that I often miss.
  3. Walking without headphones – we’ve had crisp 33* sunny mornings, but the birds – you’d think it was 73* mid-summer by the way they sing, chant and chirp about the day ahead.
  4. Leisurely lunches with my husband – THE most important person in my life is being rediscovered. At least twice a week, we plan to head out to a new eatery or whip something simple up at home.
  5. Quaint, local shops I never get to – Palmetto Olive Oil, Anne’s Antiques, Moonstruck, Mauldin Furniture. Look out, you’re on my short, but very targeted TO VISIT list.
  6. Pinterest – this website is mind-boggling. I’ve been pinning for weeks, with little time to act. Now, I’m about to get ‘er done on some of my top finds on this craze of a social network.
  7. Getting involved with my 2 kids at school – decorating the Valentine’s bulletin board, weeknight basketball games, NO car line – I actually go in, attending field trips to the orthodontist, praising with them at Chapel Programs. All priceless.
  8. Cooking from my Betty Crocker / Taste of Home cookbooks – I’m’ always throwing dinner together at the last minute,
  9. Chillaxin’ with Safari – she’s my 14-year old golden, basset pound puppy. Still fairly active but slowing down fast. Snuggling by the fireplace is our fave!
  10. Stand in complete silence for 5 minutes somewhere & be thankful – at the grocery, in the shower, looking out the front door, in the bank or the parking lot. Tune everything out and focus on things you are thankful for. Amazing.

And lastly, it’s important, but this one is not about me taking time out for life. It’s about me worrying about others not valuing life enough to wear your seat belt. Again, I’m looking at my surroundings through a different set of eyes. So, while sitting at stop lights, I’ve noticed so many people not wearing seat beats. Mind-boggling! If I could arrest people in the click-it or ticket program, I wouldn’t have to go back to work on February 22 for all the $$$ I’d be making. Stifling. Believe me, there’s no way to take time out for life if that accident takes it away from you first.

 

 

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Don’t Wait, Create!

It was 12:58pm on Wednesday, January 25th. I had just resigned a mere 3.5 hours ago and was celebrating what’s next over a beer with my husband of 17 years. As we were planning and discovering things for me to do in the next 28 days before starting work again, I somehow had the common sense to remember I had bought a ticket to a Dale Carnegie Institute/Jeffrey Gitomer Reslilient Leadership session…which was going to start at 3pm that afternoon. How coincidental??

So, we finished plotting out a grand plan for the next month and beyond, and I rushed home to brush my teeth and head over to the Embassy Suites in Greenville, SC. I’m a fan of Gitomer already – I subscribe to his sales/marketing e-zine and have dabbled in his Ace of Sales email program. What I wasn’t prepared for a was a solid 2.5 hours of atta-girl, motivational inspiration to go conquer my new opportunity. Yes, I had pretty high expectations given my familiarity with his content, but I got totally immersed into his direct Jersey boy why-haven’t-you-bought-an-iPad-yet performance that hit a nerve with me every time he opened his mouth.

So, here are the big idea take-aways from Gitomer’s session. Some are quite practical and simple, a few are merely thought-provoking, while others require action or change. I personally walked away with a rekindled confidence to move on to what’s next – smothered in a notion of Hell Yes!

JEFFREY GITOMER: Resilient Leadership Principles

  • open a biz opportunity with ‘before we get started…’ – sets a relaxed, informal, truthful tone from the outset
  • laugh or think in the first minute of new biz opportunity, otherwise you’ll spend the rest of the meeting recovering
  • show pix of your kids whenever you can – create the emotional appeal
  • sales are made emotionally, justified logically
  • substitute television for writing/reading and you win
  • loosen up – today’s Presidential candidates don’t even wear ties
  • always train new employees for attitude first – start with yourself
  • coach the player; lead the team
  • stay coach-able yourself
  • the more you study it, the better you are at teaching it
  • people need to see your believe to become believers themselves
  • don’t lead by example, set the standard
  • react, respond, recover – how you do these as a leader determines your success
  • if you ever SAY you are the boss, you’re probably not
  • if you hire an eagle, they will fly
  • make your social media policy focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t
  • if your people are better at things, you will win
  • have a bad minute, not a bad day
  • replace the word change with opportunity to get a different reaction
  • set earnings expectations & minimums, not quotas
  • strive for loyalty, not satisfaction
  • teach how to earn referrals, not make cold calls
  • teach testimonials, not a sales pitch
  • teach buying motives, not sales skills
  • if someone on your team leaves for a competitor, it’s YOUR fault
  • treat everyone like a one year old – without the baby talk!

 

By changing nothing, nothing changes.

It was eerily surreal as I gathered up the last of my things and headed out the front door. It was a dark, dreary, rainy, early morning in Greenville, SC. I had just resigned for the first time ever.

As I headed from the door to my car in the parking lot it was a bit like time was standing still. One step forward and I was moving toward what was next. One step backward and I was where I was comfortable, had many reliable business associates and was in a place where I made lifelong friends.

The past 8 years at ScanSource, Inc. were immensely valuable to me. I learned so much about the new age of marketing, how to create raving fans out of everyday customers, developing teammates to do more for themselves, and learning how to protect a corporate culture in an ever-competitive global economy. In fact, the lessons I learned there were beyond unteachable in school. It takes real world business to be impacted like I was during those years.

Here’s something I discovered: Sometimes you can be everything the ideal professional is supposed to be and still have challenges that cannot be solved by following what’s supposed to happen. The good news is these are the moments where you really grow up. I had many of those and I am a better leader, mother, friend and person because of them.

By changing nothing, nothing changes.

Sometimes to most appropriately apply your learnings it requires change. For me it was time for change. While I can’t say that I accomplished everything I had hoped at ScanSource, sometimes it takes a reality check to know when you have done all that you can. I had reached that point. Perhaps I was setting the bar too high and expecting too much from myself and others. Or, perhaps I’m just not that good. I know I can always improve and started believing I needed some sort of justification that doing something for myself for a change was the right path to take.

So here I am. With 28 days off ahead of me to focus on what’s important: my glorious children, my ever-supportive husband, my loyal 14-year old golden retriever/basset puppy, a neglected lake house, leading from within to support local charities and taking time to watch the branches blow in the breeze and hear the clock ticking in my kitchen. Honestly, I did that this morning and it was soul-soothing.

Those who know me, know I am passionate about three things. (1) influencing people to be better, (2) strategic, results-driven technology marketing and (3) learning something new every single day.

I’m psyched to open a new chapter in a new company with new endeavors on February 22, 2012. However, I’m not about to forget yesterday. Instead, I’m excited to apply my past to reach an even better tomorrow. That is the stuff that life is made of. For our careers shouldn’t define us, they should enhance us.

I’m eternally grateful for those who challenged me and lifted me up during my time at ScanSource. I may be gone, but you all are never forgotten.

What do confidence, purpose, water, survival, music and honey have in common?

It’s not often that I head out on business travel with an intent to overhaul my perspective on life. But I was fortunate to spend an invaluable week in Nashville a few months ago learning, laughing, crying, searching and believing more than I ever have.

In order of experience, I have listed below the people and things that completely impacted my life in such different, yet compelling ways. It was a trip that absolutely rocked my world and provided me with so many new perspectives on what really matters. I am thrilled to share this information and hope you find them just as worthwhile watching, reading or living! Cheers!

Tim Sanders

Speaker, Consultant, Author. Former Chief Solutions Office at Yahoo. Author of Today We are Rich & Love is the Killer App – he provides perspectives on confidence and cultivating an attitude of gratitude. I did a PR interview with Tim to post on our blog and cross promote his new book. http://www.twar.com

Roy Spence

CEO, GSC&M Idea City. Author of It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For. He was our  ScanSource keynote speaker: defining your purpose in life. This 60-minute video will inspire you to define what really matters to you. http://blogs.scansource.com/video-roy-spence-whats-your-purpose/   ||  http://www.itsnotwhatyousell.com/spence-about.htm

Doc Hendley

President, Wine to Water Non-profit Organization. Raised in Greenville, SC and now lives in Boone, NC. Our ScanSource keynote speaker: pursuing your passion and making a difference in the world. Doc launched a book on January 5, 2012 – add it to your Amazon wish list now! His 60-minute video will bring you to tears – extremely compelling mission. http://blogs.scansource.com/video-doc-hendley-wine-to-water/  ||  http://winetowater.org

Kendall Truitt

One of (2) survivors in the 1989 Explosion aboard the USS Iowa battleship that killed 47 shipmates. Kendall is a customer in Raleigh, NC. It wasn’t until I told him that I am a San Diego Navy Brat, that we started talking maritime shop. This ‘love for all things water’ connection led him to tell me his ultra-compelling story of disaster, conflict, courage & truth. His most compelling statement is that he now has no more bad days.  http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/CRASH/TWA/IOWA.html

Lucas Hoge

Singer, songwriter – host of Animal Planet cable television show Last Chance Highway. He was playing acoustic guitar in the Jack Daniel’s Saloon at the Gaylord Opryland during my stay. He made table rounds during his breaks along with Jeff Dayton and hung out with all us guests. He asked for song requests and I willingly offered up Keith Urban, which he played instantly. He is on a mission to deliver wholesome, kick-back country music with a Christian flare and unique soothing sound. http://lucashoge.com/

Jack Daniels Honey

When in Tennessee, how can you pass up a whiskey tasting? I never considered myself a brown liquor kind of girl, but the smooth, sweet sensation of JD Honey is a new found favorite! I highly recommend this chillaxin’ new cocktail which will forever bring back memories that changed my life during this compelling week in Nashville! This has to be the Navy Brat in me!! http://www.facebook.com/jackdanielshoney?sk=app_108407892579394

 

Providing a Sense of Independence

Although this is not typical of my Navy Brat attitude thoughts, this is something that I shared with Greenville, SC diabetics and caregivers in preparation for a 3-year diabetes awareness campaign in our community. Definitely worth sharing with friends in other places!

I’m taking a moment to give any of you associated with juvenile diabetes an insight into the ADA Camp Independence for kids ages 6-12. http://main.diabetes.org/site/Calendar/1834271383?view=Detail&id=4382. Emily Wilson flawlessly coordinates the entire event and her comments/recap of this year’s camp are noted below. Thanks to Lori Church for the opportunity to share our story. Greenville is very fortunate to have this event in our area – it’s definitely something worth looking into.

My husband Greg and I are the super proud parents of Type 1 pumper/sensor Griffin, age 6 and Type 3 princess Morgan, age 5. Shortly after Griffin’s diagnosis on February 15, 2008, we made the decision to not be sorry, but to be hopeful…to not be fearful, but to be knowledgeable…and to not hold back, but to let Griffin be all that he can be. So the research began; and it still continues today.

It wasn’t long into our search for support groups, resource libraries, educators, website tools and such that we discovered Camp Independence. We took Griffin when he was 5 for an hour-long visit to the 2009 event at Camp Buckhead on Paris Mountain. He immediately saw glucose monitors, pumps, OmniPods and kids who were ‘like him’ playing in the pond, jumping in the air castle, learning about healthy eating choices and having a ball in a completely diabetes friendly environment. As it brought tears to my eyes, it brought a song to Griffin’s heart – this was something he couldn’t wait to do when he turned 6! So we waited 12 months.

June 28- July 1, 2010 couldn’t come soon enough! In May, we told Griffin he could bring anyone he wanted to Camp Independence as a way to show him this camp is all about his choices not ours. His best friend, (and the girl he wants to marry, so he tells us 🙂 Type 3 Sidney, was chosen without hesitation. Then, when Griffin learned it was at Furman University this year, he was ecstatic. This was way more than High School Musical – he was going to be in college!

Day 1 drop off was way harder for me than it was for Griffin and Sidney. This was definitely an extremely bittersweet moment – since it’s all about independence, right? They instantly forgot who I was and the fact that I was there as they entered an energetic conference room filled with 35+ kids, camp counselors, educators and medical assistants. So they were whisked away to create a name tag, write their name on their new water bottle, find a seat around the huge circle of tables and begin an art project. I drove off of the glamorous Furman campus knowing this was one of the best decisions Greg and I had ever made to enable Griffin on the path to diabetes self-management.

They had (2) swim days. They ate on campus and learned that pizza and burgers are a choice, but chicken, salads or pasta portions are a better choice. They got cool, free stuff. They walked a lot – so Griffin says. They laughed about everything. They brought home diabetes information for mom and dad. They checked BGs without someone asking ‘what are doing?’. At home, Griffin showed true interest in doing things himself or without hesitation if we asked him to do it. All his friends and counselors signed his t-shirt on the last day. And we heard for weeks following the camp, how many more days until we can go again? Priceless!

It all sounds so simple, but the short-term impact is profound and the long-term implications are yet to be discovered. If your Type 1 is age 6-12 by June 2011, you really need to ask more about this, consider it, pray that your child will be excited about it and then DO IT. You will note in Emily’s recap there is room for more and a need for medical staff – just another way you can get involved and support diabetic independence at a very early age!

Have a great weekend!
Mary Ellen

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Emily Wilson

To: Mary Ellen Grom

Sent: Fri, July 9, 2010 12:57:52 PM
Subject: Re: Greenville Camp Independence

Hi Mary Ellen,

The things that we really tried to work on at camp this year were regular blood glucose testing and make nutritious and balanced food choices. Every day at lunch, the campers were accompanied by nutrition interns who helped them pick lunch. This was a challenge because the Furman dining hall has pizza, cheeseburgers, and ice cream just to name a few not-so-healthy choices. So, we really encouraged the kids to choose some vegetables in every meal. They also sometimes had to choose whether to, say, have a 2nd bowl of spaghetti or desert (which was sugar free). So, we tried to work with them on really thinking about what they were putting in their bodies and making good decisions.

We also are very regular about blood sugar testing. So, we had them check when they arrived every morning, before lunch, before afternoon snack, and before they left every day. Then, if we were doing something that was a high activity level (like swimming) we would have them check before and after that. Then, of course if anyone feels low we check right then. We do this for a couple of reasons: 1. to keep them safe at camp and 2. to get them in the habit of regularly checking. All of our kids are pretty good about this in their lives anyway, but it’s always good to think about other factors that could contribute to high or low blood sugars and do some preventative testing for that.

I think that camp this year went really well. It was a definitely adjustment being at Furman, but I think everyone really liked it. We had about the same number of kids who’ve been coming in the past years, but this year we had more kids with diabetes than before. I would love to see our camper numbers get back to about 50. One area where we struggle a little is getting the proper amount of medical staff in. So, if you know of any nurses, MDs, or PAs in the area who might be interested in attending, please pass along my contact information.

The kids really seemed to like most of our activities and participated really well in those. There are some activities that we’ll probably adjust for next year (no kids yoga and more swim time). Furman has a lot to offer us as a host camp, so I think we will keep Camp Independence there and continue to explore all of the activities that they offer.

Emily Wilson
Associate Manager, Programs
Central North Carolina
American Diabetes Association

A week full of firsts

What a whirlwind week. I’ve been to Vegas and back in 2 1/2 days. A bit much actually. On my 4 hour plane ride yesterday I was reflecting on all the things that I have encountered, realized and done for the first time just this week alone.

1. Stayed at my first Hard Rock Hotel.

2. My kids had 2 field trips in one week during Wild Wild West summer camp.

3. Business trip to InfoComm2o1o. What a spectacular event!

4. Lounged in the Vegas Playboy members only nightclub at the Palms. Quite an experience.

5. My husband bought a new water toy for lake fun this summer – a 2-man tube with no seats. Wild ride!

6. I watched the Discovery Channel “Disaster in the Gulf” documentary. My opinion has changed.

7. Spent $210 CASH on taxi cabs because so many of them don’t take credit cards. What?

8. Enjoyed quality time with several co-workers who I don’t often see or have time to get to know.

9. Witnessed a rooftop open to the moon and stars  at 53 stories high. Bone-chilling!

10. Felt bones and muscles in my legs and back that I never knew I had after hours working a tradeshow booth.

The world is so full of opportunities to experience new things and become a better, more well-rounded person because of them.

What’s on your list of firsts this week?

It’s been one of those weeks…

Frick and Frack

It’s just been one of those weeks. Even though it was a short one, things have just been spiraling out of control.

1. new routines at Summer Camp

2. child #1 diabetic roller coaster ride with BGs from 60 – 469

3. child #2 ear infection requiring antibiotics

4. total thunderstorms, hail, rain damage all week

5. 14 year old dog on heart monitors with 2 sets of blood work

6. can’t get ahead of anything at work and I’m traveling next week

Yes, I could go on.  But in the grand scheme of things, these are not life threatening. Sometimes it’s just nice to vent, list these all out in an open forum and then begin to realize how lucky I really am. This week:

1. I was able to watch a cool Netflix streaming video with my husband called Play the Game with Andy Griffith. Great life message.

2. I haven’t had to go to the grocery store once for something I forgot.

3. My kids told me I looked like Hannah Montanna this morning before work.

4. My mom and dad are considering getting an iPad and they still use a VCR and do not use the ATM!

5. #1 child’s best friend agreed to attend the American Diabetes Association Camp Independence at the end of June.

Thanks. I feel better already.