Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
The following I wrote Thursday evening:
Monday morning as I drive to work, I'll be taking a different route than I have for the past 8 years and 2 months.
Instead of driving to radio stations ROCK 104, WILD 96.3, 1250 The River & V-102.9; I am taking a much shorter drive to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center complex.
As some of you know, I am starting a different direction in my marketing career, moving from the traditional radio world to the internet centered world.
I made the decision at the end of May, after being pursued by a local company that is doing work on a local, regional and national level, Cirrus ABS.
Last weekend I spent several hours cleaning out my office, which was filled with way too many papers and several personal items.
This is the second time I've walked away from a radio career, but the first time I've done it as a way to further my overall career goals and follow my passion.
That passion, simply stated, is "To help businesses and people make connections by improving their marketing relationships."
And while I will miss the daily relationships with many of my radio co-workers, the friendships with several of them will continue.
It feels like I have been working 2 jobs the past couple of weeks as I have been transitioning, spending several hours at Cirrus ABS last week and this week in addition to doing my radio work.
And Friday (today) is an all radio day with a sales meeting followed by a managers meeting with a conference call to our company president, a pizza lunch as a going away party from my office staff and then a traditional radio event, a live car dealer remote to wrap up the day.
If you're in Fort Wayne, Indiana this evening, feel free to join me and ROCK 104's Doc West at the Kelley Auto Tent Sale on Lima Road. We'll be hanging out from 5 to 7pm.
(Pictures include Big Kess at a WILD 96.3 remote at McDonalds, Doc West during one of our staff meetings, and the ROCK 104 van hanging out in my driveway).
Okay, My Fort Wayne site of the day isn't random. Today I wrap up 8+ years of working in advertising sales and marketing at a fine group of radio stations and starting Monday I officially am a part of the team at today's site of the day. Click on Pic.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Today, an article about something that Kathy and I do regularly, together and on our own that contributes to staying healthy.
Posted: 01 Jun 2011 07:05 AM PDT
We called him Radio Bill. He was an eccentric man who could be seen all over town walking the streets with his Walkman radio attached to headphones on his ears. He was the Forrest Gump of our small town.
For myself and my fellow high school students, there was something unsettling about Radio Bill. He was odd. A misfit. A person living at the edge of society. He was always alone, never participated in any group activities, was a watcher instead of a joiner, and seemed forever lost in his own radio world. When you’re fifteen, an eccentric like Radio Bill, who’s living on the fringe of “normal”, is not to be trusted.
Now, nearly thirty years later, I’ve become my own version of Radio Bill. I wonder if perhaps he was onto something important. Maybe he had wisdom that none of us in high school could have begun to understand or appreciate.
Like Radio Bill, I walk (or run) all over the neighborhood, almost always with my earbuds in my ears and my iPod on my hip. I walk mostly alone - a watcher, rather than a joiner. I can often be seen with my camera, oblivious to the world while I get lost in the simple beauty of a flower or leaf. I’m sure, to the local high school students, I look a little eccentric watching society from the fringes and not always participating in the things that seem “normal” to them.
Thankfully, in the years between high school and now, I’ve learned to care a lot less about what makes me seem normal. I have also learned that there is great wisdom and strength in being a walker. Radio Bill and Forrest Gump definitely knew something that the rest of us forget as we climb into our cars and rush to our next destination.
Walk to improve your health
The most obvious argument for walking is your health. Walking may not get as much buzz as running or yoga or high-intensity workout programs like “The Shred”, but a regular walking routine helps strengthen your heart, alleviate depression, prevent diabetes, and strengthen your bones. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.
Walking helps your brain too. In a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week.
Walk to slow your pace
We live in a fast-paced world. In our schedule-oriented lifestyles, the clock is our greatest master. We have deadlines to follow through on, appointments to attend, expectations to meet, meals to cook, classes to attend, kids to chauffeur to soccer games - you name it. Our brains barely know how to slow down because of the high level of demands placed on them.
Walking forces you to slow down to a more human pace. It gives you breathing space between the appointments and deadlines. It provides badly-needed balance for your body and your brain. It takes you away from the over-stimulation of the wired world and gives you stillness and space for reflection and contemplation.
Maintain life at a fast pace without finding any balance, and you’ll soon face burnout. Learn to slow down through walking, and your body and mind will thank you.
Walk to enhance your creativity
“It is on these walks that my best ideas come to me. It is while walking that difficult clarity emerges.” Julia Cameron, Walking in This World.
When we get too busy with “doing” and don’t dedicate enough time to “thinking”, we lose our creative edges. We start pumping out widgets just like everyone else in the assembly line instead of focusing on the next innovative idea that will replace the widget.
Walking is all about creating space for “thinking” that has nothing to do with “doing”. When you walk, your mind has time to meander down different pathways than the ones it normally gets stuck in during more productivity-oriented activities. Your mind doesn’t have to fill itself with concerns about whether the erratic driver next to you is going to cut you off, or where your next turn-off is. All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other and let your mind wander down paths of its own.
There’s a difference between a rut and a groove. A rut is an old pattern, formed from many, many years of doing things the same way again, and again. When we rely on high speed transportation because that’s the acceptable and fast way to get from destination A to destination B, we get stuck in ruts. A groove, on the other hand, offers us flow and opportunity, like the grooves on an old LP. When we get into a groove, magic happens. Walking gets us out of the ruts and into the grooves.
Walk to gain new perspective on your surroundings
“Nothing brings home the beauty and power of the world that we live in like walking.” Julia Cameron, Walking in This World.
There’s nothing like walking down a street you’ve driven down a thousand times to make you realize what you’ve been missing all of these years. Maybe you missed the quaint little coffee shop tucked in behind the hardware store. Maybe you missed the wild crocuses growing at the edge of the vacant lot. Maybe you missed the poster on the community bulletin board advertising an art show you’d love to visit.
Walking offers us opportunities to savour what we otherwise take for granted. It also helps us see the world differently than most other people do (especially those rushing past in cars). Throughout history, people who offered prophetic wisdom that shifted cultures were often pilgrims and wanderers - people walking different paths than the majority of society. Like Radio Bill, they were the watchers rather than the joiners - the witnesses at the edge of the crowd.
Like the simple wisdom that emerged from Forrest Gump (remember “Life is like a box of chocolates”?), walking may open your mind to new nuggets of wisdom and new perspectives that help you influence the world in positive ways.
Walk to engage with the people around you
Although I normally walk alone, I also cherish the many wonderful conversations I’ve had while out for a stroll. When I go on business trips, for example, I always find myself walking through interesting neighborhoods in the cities I visit. Walking affords me the opportunity to connect with the local people in ways that faster forms of transportation do not. While walking, you can stop to chat with the man tending the flowers in front of his house, or the woman hanging a poster in a shop window. You can learn interesting things about people and about the neighborhood that you’d never learn in your car.
Even in your own neighborhood, walking affords you tremendous advantages that you just won’t get in a car. You’ll get to know the neighbors better if you walk past their houses and stop to say hello. You’ll know more about the local businesses and what they’re offering. You’ll understand the challenges your neighbourhood is facing and you’ll see yourself in the picture more.
It’s easy to separate yourself from your community when your regular routine is to hop into your car and leave the neighborhood for work, shopping, entertainment, etc., but when you walk, you build connections that will benefit both you and your neighbors.
Walk to deepen your spirituality
“It is while walking that I experience a sense of well-being and connection, and it is walking that I live most prayerfully.” Julia Cameron, Walking in this World.
In almost every faith tradition, there is some version of a pilgrimage. Most pilgrimages end in some sort of Mecca or sacred place. In Spain, for example, thousands of pilgrims walk the Camino de Santiago, an 800 kilometer walk that ends at a cathedral built to honor St. James (of Biblical tradition).
Pilgrimage is seen as a way of getting closer to God. There’s something about the contemplative speed of walking that still attracts many people who feel themselves disconnected from their spiritual centers.
You don’t have to go to a foreign country to go on pilgrimage. You just need to walk in a contemplative, mindful way and open yourself up to the spiritual connection that the walking can offer. It may not meet the definition of a traditional pilgrimage, but a walk through your neighborhood park can do a lot to connect you with nature and with God. In some neighborhoods you can find labyrinths that have been designed specially to help you make your walking more contemplative.
The beauty of walking is that you don’t need any special equipment (just a good pair of walking shoes), you don’t need to take any lessons (you’ve been doing this since you were in diapers), and you don’t need to pay for any club memberships. Just tie up your shoelaces and walk.
You probably won’t walk across the country like Forrest Gump, but you might soon find that you’re healthier, happier, and more connected with your neighbors and your own spiritual center.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Heading Out on Your Own: A Young Man’s Guide to Health Insurance
- Did I get sick a lot last year? Do I have any conditions that require me to visit a doctor more than a few times during the year? If so, you might consider a higher premium plan so you can visit the doctor more often without having to pay a lot out-of-pocket for your deductible. If you’re healthy and don’t visit the doctor all that often, a higher deductible plan with lower monthly premiums might be a better option.
- Do I want to be able to go directly to a specialist without seeing a PCP? If so, avoid HMOs and POSs and opt for a PPO or EPO.
- Is my current doctor in my plan’s network? If he’s not, you won’t be able to use him if you have an HMO. Even if you go with a PPO, you’ll have to pay extra to visit your out-of-network doc. You’ll have to decide if the extra cost is worth it and if you’re willing to switch doctors.
- Am I getting married soon? How easy is it to add a spouse to my plan?
- Am I planning on becoming a dad soon? Many plans require that you pay for maternity coverage for an entire year before your wife gets pregnant. If you don’t, they might not cover the costs of maternity check-ups or even delivery. Check with your insurance company before you and the Mrs. decide to start making babies.
I can distinctly remember the day I had to sign up for my own health insurance plan. Kate and I were getting married which meant I would be kicked off my parents’ plan. I sat down at my bachelor’s thrift store kitchen table and looked through the paperwork. I felt like a grown man. I was cutting the strings from my parents and becoming self-reliant.
But I also remember feeling super confused by the crazy terms and acronyms before me. Which plan was right for me? How much was this going to cost? Why don’t they teach this crap in school? It took me a couple of weeks, but I was finally able to adequately wrap my 22 year old head around the health insurance labyrinth and pick a plan that was right for us.
This will only hurt for a second.
Sure, health insurance isn’t a very sexy topic, but learning those life skills basics is part of growing up, and if you’re like me, no one ever sat you down and explained how this stuff works. So to help those young men out there who are about to enter into the grown-up world of health insurance, I offer this primer in hopes of them avoiding my state of utter confusion. Of course, this post is aimed at American men; other countries have their own systems (although this post is not the place to debate them!).
Why It’s Important to Have Health Insurance
According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, young people ages 18-24 are less likely to be insured than any other demographic. In fact, only 1 in 3 young people ages 18-24 are insured.
Many young men forego insurance because they feel like it’s an expense they simply don’t need. Men in these demographics are typically healthy and probably haven’t visited a doctor in a few years. They think they’re invincible and that nothing bad will ever happen to them.
While I understand the cocksure attitude, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re one of those young guns who doesn’t think he needs insurance, here are a few reasons you might reconsider:
Unpaid medical bills lead to debt and bankruptcy. I worked at the U.S. Trustees office a few years ago. They’re the agency that manages bankruptcy cases in the U.S. Most of the people who filed for bankruptcy did so because they couldn’t afford to pay their medical bills.
Health insurance can’t always save you from astronomical debt if something catastrophic happens to you, but it can sometimes keep you from falling into that hole or at least mitigate the debt. Health insurance plus a fully funded emergency fund can go a long way to keeping you out of financial disasters. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Healthcare is cheaper with health insurance. Health insurance companies negotiate with healthcare providers to lower the costs of healthcare. So for example, a doctor might charge $250 to cast an arm. The health insurance company will look at that price and tell the doctor, “Make that $100 and you got yourself a deal.” The health insurance company will then pay its portion of the $100, and the doctor will bill you for the rest.
If you didn’t have health insurance, you’d have to pay the entire $250 or negotiate for a lower price on your own. Because health insurance companies are so big, they have a lot of leverage in haggling, which often means you can get a better deal.
You miss out on preventative care and screenings. It’s much cheaper to prevent medical conditions than it is to cure them. Yearly physicals can catch health issues before they become full blown problems. Many health insurance plans offer these screenings for free.
Health Insurance Lingo You Need to Know
To navigate health insurance, you need to know the lingo. Here are three key terms you’ll see thrown around as you try to pick your insurance plan.
Premium: a fixed monthly rate you pay to have insurance. How much you pay for your premium each month depends on your health insurance plan.
Deductible. Your deductible is the pre-determined amount YOU have to pay out-of-pocket on health services before the insurance company starts to pony up. So for example, let’s say you have a plan with a $1,000 deductible. That means you’ll need to pay $1,000 with your own money in a given year before your insurance will start picking up the bill.
Plans with high deductibles will have lower premiums, i.e., the more you pay out-of-pocket, the less you have to pay on a monthly basis to be covered.
One caveat with deductibles: Many health plans allow you to use services like a trip to the emergency room or a routine doctor’s visit without meeting the deductible first. Your insurance will cover part of the cost upfront for those sorts of things before you’ve paid your deductible. You’ll get a bill from the doctor a few weeks later for the costs that weren’t covered.
Co-Payment. Many plans require you to pay a co-payment for doctor’s visits or for medications. A co-payment is a fixed payment required by an insurer as a cost sharing arrangement. For instance, you can pay $20 for an office visit and $10 for a prescription. After that initial co-payment from you, your health plan covers the rest.
Now you might be asking yourself, do your co-payments count towards your deductible? Depends on the plan, but for most plans, co-pays don’t count. Drat!
Different Kinds of Plans
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Under an HMO, your insurer gives you a list of primary care physicians (PCP) you can choose from. You can only choose from that list. If the doctor you’ve been visiting since you were a wee lad isn’t on the list, you can’t see him. Sorry. After you choose your PCP, you must visit him/her for any medical issues. The PCP then decides whether your ailment is bad enough to warrant a visit to a specialist. But again, your HMO dictates what specialists you can see.
In short, HMOs put restrictions on services a patient can receive and make going to see a specialist rather inconvenient. However, the lack of choices keeps premiums low, thus making HMOs an affordable option.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). PPOs give patients a bit more choice in their healthcare than HMOs. You can go to any doctor you want, but visits are more affordable if you stay within the network of physicians that work with the PPO healthcare plan. PPOs will cover visits to out-of-network doctors and hospitals, but not as much as if you had used a pre-approved doctor. Another benefit is you don’t have to get a referral from a primary care physician before seeing a specialist. However, if you visit a specialist outside your network of physicians, expect to pay more. The increased flexibility often results in higher premiums and co-pays.
Point of Service (POS). POS plans are a hybrid of HMOs and PPOs. Like an HMO, patients are required to get referrals from a primary care physician before seeing a specialist. Like a PPO, patients have more flexibility on who they pick as their PCP.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO). EPOs are similar to PPOs in that patients don’t need to visit a primary care physician before visiting a specialist. As long as a doctor is in your plan’s network, an EPO will cover the service. Unlike PPOs, EPOs do not cover visits to out-of-network doctors at all. You can visit an out-of-network doctor if you want, but you’ll be stuck covering all of the doctor’s bill.
High Deductible Plan+Health Savings Account. An affordable healthcare option for healthy individuals is a high deductible health plan along with a health savings account (HSA). In exchange for having a higher deductible, you pay a lower monthly premium. Most PPOs and EPOs provide high deductible options. After you sign-up with a high deductible plan, you’re eligible to open an HSA.
HSAs have some pretty awesome tax advantages. If you have a family, you can deposit up to $5,950 a year tax free ($3,000 if you’re single). You’ll get a debit card with your HSA. Anytime you need to pay for qualified medical expenses (co-pays, drugs, bandages), you use your debit card. Basically, when you put money into an HSA, you don’t have to pay income tax on it. You can write off contributions at tax time.
A nice feature with HSAs is that any money left over in your account at the end of the year rolls over to the following year. It’s not like Flex Savings Accounts (see below) where you have to spend your contributions by the end of the year or you lose it.
High Deductible Plan+Flex Savings Account. Works pretty much the same way as an HSA. Employees can contribute a part of their paycheck to an FSA that can be used for qualified medical expenses. The big difference between FSAs and HSAs is that with FSAs, if you don’t spend your contributions by the end of the year, you forfeit the money to your employer. It’s called the “use it or lose it” rule. Personally, I think HSAs are much better than FSAs.
Which Plan Is Right for You?
Deciding which plan is right for you can be a daunting task. With so many choices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Be sure to read all the materials on different plans and work through the different worksheets that many health insurance companies provide to help you determine which plan is right for you.
As you browse through the different plans, here’s a short list of questions you might consider to help you narrow in on a plan that fits your needs:
Getting Health Insurance Through Work
Congratulations! You landed your first adult job with a salary and health benefits. *Firm handshake, slap on the back*
Now for your first assignment: picking your health insurance coverage. Some companies only give their employees one crappy option while others provide a Chili’s-length menu of different plans. It can be pretty intimidating to pick which plan is right for you, so don’t be afraid to ask your co-workers or an HR person for some advice.
Just because you have a job, health insurance isn’t free. Big companies can buy insurance for less than individuals because their size gives them greater bargaining power and discounts. But a big misconception that many young employees have about health insurance from work is that it’s entirely free. Unless you’re working for some super generous company that covers all your healthcare costs without docking your pay, you’re still going to have to pay a monthly premium. While not free, many companies do pay part of your health insurance plan, and the part that you pay is deducted from your paychecks.
What coverage you go with will affect how large of a premium you pay, and consequently, how much your paycheck will be. If you pick the plan with all the bells and whistles, expect a smaller paycheck than you would get if you had picked a more bare bones plan.
Once you pick a plan, you’re usually stuck for a year. When choosing your plan, choose wisely because you’re going to be stuck with it for awhile. Most companies only allow employees to make changes to their health benefits one time a year during a period called open-enrollment. There are a few exceptions to this rule for things like getting married or having a kid.
What to Do If You’re Unemployed or Self-Employed
If you’ve recently graduated from college and still haven’t landed a job or if you’ve decided to be your own boss, it might seem like getting affordable health insurance is out of your reach. Never fear. You do have some options.
Buy individual coverage. Believe it or not, most health insurance companies offer pretty affordable individual and family coverage. When Kate and I were first married and in school, we bought a plan directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma. Today, now that we’re self-employed we’re buying our healthcare coverage directly from BCBS again.
Because Kate, Gus, and I are healthy and don’t have any major problems, we have a high deductible plan with a health savings account. Despite being a high deductible plan, I haven’t had to pay much out-of-pocket for routine visits or medication. Our plan actually covers a great deal of those costs up front without me having to pay a deductible first. For coverage for all us, including dental and maternity coverage (in case Kate gets pregnant again) we’re paying $426 a month. And I make sure to set aside as much money as I can each month in our tax free health savings account. The plan comes with free yearly physicals and free immunizations.
To find a plan right for you, check out ehealthinsurance.com. You just enter your zip code and you’ll get quotes from insurance companies in your area.
Stay on your parents’ plan. It used to be as soon as you turned 19, stopped going to school full-time, or got hitched, you got kicked off your parents’ health insurance (that’s what happened to me when I got married). Under the new healthcare legislation, adult children can stay enrolled on their parents health insurance plan until age 26. If buying your own health insurance isn’t an option, ask your parents if you can stay on their plan. Offer to contribute some money every month to help offset the cost of covering you. There are some caveats with this law. For example, while you can remain on your parents’ plan even if you’re married, your spouse and kids won’t be covered. For more details on staying on your parents’ plan, check out healthcare.gov.
Get a job flipping burgers. Or making coffee. Or folding clothes. The job market is tough right now for recent college grads. While you’re waiting to get your first big 9 to 5 job, get a stopgap job in retail or food service. Many of those sorts of jobs offer group health insurance plans you can take advantage of.
Short-term health insurance. Short-term plans are a low cost way to get coverage while you’re in-between jobs. Short-term health insurance plans have low monthly premiums, but a very high deductible, and they only cover you for a limited amount of time–usually 30 to 120 days. These are great plans for healthy people who want to avoid the crippling debt that can come with a major medical emergency. For more info about short-term health plans, check out gradguard.com and ehealthinsurance.com.
I hope this short little primer on health insurance was useful for you gents new to the game.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:53 AM PDT
A few months ago, I received a business pitch. It was from an acquaintance I was on good terms with, and the pitch was based on something we verbally discussed and agreed on in the past. However, sometime had passed since our last conversation, and things had changed.
I was no longer keen on the opportunity, but didn't quite know how to put it across to him. I didn't want to jeopardize our relationship and any potential future working opportunities because of this.
So I procrastinated in replying to the mail. I put it into a "reply later" folder and got on to other stuff. Every few days when I check my folder, it'd be there, and I'd think "Ah I'll reply this later". I wondered if he would be angry knowing that I had changed my stance. At times I contemplated not replying at all, but I thought it wouldn't be appropriate, especially since we knew each other and we had a common friend too.
Finally one day, I decided to get on with it and reply to the mail. I typed out the mail, and crafted it a few words at a time. In it, I apologized for my delayed reply, and at the same time truthfully explained my situation and that I had no plans to take up the opportunity anymore. After reading it through, I clicked "Send" and hoped for the best.
Within 10 minutes of sending the mail, I got a reply, much to my surprise. It was early in the morning (8ish) and I didn't think that he would be in the office. The reply was very amiable. He said there was no worries at all, and he wished me a great year ahead in the meantime. Just like that. And it was done.
Have you ever had to say no before and feel conflicted about doing so? Many times we make a big deal out of saying "no", afraid that we will be committing a hideous crime by saying. In our minds, we are scared that the other people will be angry, that we will be loathed on, that we'll be deemed as making things difficult for others.
The thing is, many of these thoughts are self-created, and not real. Saying no really is a prerogative, and shouldn't be as difficult as we make it out to be. It's about learning how to do so. Here are 6 simple tips how you can learn to say no:
- Realize it's okay to say no
No matter who you are speaking to and what the situation is, you have the right to say no. The only reason why you feel you don't have that right is because you choose to relinquish it to others. Rather than think that we can't say no, it's about learning how to say it and put it across in a manner that the other party can understand and accept.
Even if it's your boss or someone of higher seniority that you're dealing with, and you don't feel that you can say no, realize that it's your choice to say yes because you're unwilling to deal with the consequences of saying no. Ultimately everything in life boils down to us and the choices we make.
- Know your priorities
What are your biggest goals this year? Would you prefer to spend time on these goals or on this new commitment? Knowing your goals reinforces your reasons for saying no. For example since a while back, I decided to stop taking pro-bono speaking/workshop requests, because each commitment takes up considerable time and effort and it just isn't worth the effort to do them for free anymore. I've also decided to say no to local engagements, as these require me to be situated in Singapore, and my plans for the year ahead involve traveling overseas. Knowing my vision and plans has made it much easier to say no.
- Write everything down first
If you're not sure how to start, dump out everything on your mind first in the email, without intending to send it out right away. It can be gibberish. It can be thoughts of frustration. Treat it as writing a draft reply. The process of doing this helps sort out your thoughts. After you finish dumping out your thoughts, you'll find it much easier to craft your actual reply from there. This works for me every time.
- Keep it simple
There's no need to over-explain yourself. Simply say no, and give the key reason why. Some people may run into the mistake of writing a lengthy explanation letter/email, and it's unnecessary. Not only does it bog down the other party with details, it also weakens your position. In my rejection mails, I usually keep them to 3 paragraphs - first paragraph as a greeting, and the second paragraph with my rejection and short explanation why. In the last paragraph, I provide a couple of alternative options he/she can seek out (see tip #5).
- Provide an alternative
This is not necessary, but if you feel bad about saying no, you can provide an alternative option to cushion out the effect. For example, if the person wants to work on a project with you but you cannot commit to it, you can recommend a few leads to him/her who can do equally good job as you. That way, the person won't be left hanging and he/she can seek out these options instead. Usually in my rejections, I'll provide a couple of quick leads/options out of courtesy.
- Just say no
Sometimes I wonder about how to say no, and in the end I just go with a straightforward "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I can't take it up" answer. Surprisingly, the other parties take to it very readily like the example above, making me realize that a lot of conflicts I have with saying no are more my own illusions than anything else! As long as you're earnest, candid and respectful of the other party in the reply, there shouldn't be any reason why there would be an issue.
|Written on 6/10/2011 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at The Personal Excellence Blog, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.||Photo Credit: fotogail|
Monday, June 13, 2011
I quit my job because of the constant stream of CC: emails from my co-workers at the radio station.
Well, no, that's not why but they were guilty of it, as was I at times.
And click here for the real reason I quit: http://www.sclohosocialmediaadventure.com/2011/06/power-of-social-media-in-my-life.html
This is from Seth Godin last week:
Three years ago this week, I posted this checklist, in the naive hope that it would eliminate (or perhaps merely reduce) the ridiculous CC-to-all emails about the carpool, the fake-charity forwards, the ALL CAPS yelling and the stupid PR spam.
A guy can hope, can't he?
Feel free to send this to those that need to read it:
Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list, just to be sure:
- Is it going to just one person? (If yes, jump to #10)
- Since it's going to a group, have I thought about who is on my list?
- Are they blind copied?
- Did every person on the list really and truly opt in? Not like sort of, but really ask for it?
- So that means that if I didn't send it to them, they'd complain about not getting it?
- See #5. If they wouldn't complain, take them off!
- That means, for example, that sending bulk email to a list of bloggers just cause they have blogs is not okay.
- Aside: the definition of permission marketing: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages delivered to people who actually want to get them. Nowhere does it say anything about you and your needs as a sender. Probably none of my business, but I'm just letting you know how I feel. (And how your prospects feel).
- Is the email from a real person? If it is, will hitting reply get a note back to that person? (if not, change it please).
- Have I corresponded with this person before?
- Really? They've written back? (if no, reconsider email).
- If it is a cold-call email, and I'm sure it's welcome, and I'm sure it's not spam, then don't apologize. If I need to apologize, then yes, it's spam, and I'll get the brand-hurt I deserve.
- Am I angry? (If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour).
- Could I do this note better with a phone call?
- Am I blind-ccing my boss? If so, what will happen if the recipient finds out?
- Is there anything in this email I don't want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete).
- Is any portion of the email in all caps? (If so, consider changing it.)
- Is it in black type at a normal size?
- Do I have my contact info at the bottom? (If not, consider adding it).
- Have I included the line, "Please save the planet. Don't print this email"? (If so, please delete the line and consider a job as a forest ranger or flight attendant).
- Could this email be shorter?
- Is there anyone copied on this email who could be left off the list?
- Have I attached any files that are very big? (If so, google something like 'send big files' and consider your options.)
- Have I attached any files that would work better in PDF format?
- Are there any :-) or other emoticons involved? (If so, reconsider).
- Am I forwarding someone else's mail? (If so, will they be happy when they find out?)
- Am I forwarding something about religion (mine or someone else's)? (If so, delete).
- Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax? (If so, visit snopes and check to see if it's 'actually true).
- Did I hit 'reply all'? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?
- Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way? (Sending an email that says, in its entirety, "yes," is not helpful).
- If this email is to someone like Seth, did I check to make sure I know the difference between its and it's? Just wondering.
- If this is a press release, am I really sure that the recipient is going to be delighted to get it? Or am I taking advantage of the asymmetrical nature of email--free to send, expensive investment of time to read or delete?
- Are there any little animated creatures in the footer of this email? Adorable kittens? Endangered species of any kind?
- Bonus: Is there a long legal disclaimer at the bottom of my email? Why?
- Bonus: Does the subject line make it easy to understand what's to come and likely it will get filed properly?
- If I had to pay 42 cents to send this email, would I?
Chris Anderson has come up with his own list as well.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I'm a Christian.
I don't hide it, I just do my best to live it.
And for your information, Christians are just like the rest of the human race. We do wrong things, we don't do the right things and we understand that we can't earn a spot in heaven by being good enough.
So what makes Christians different?
Faith... a belief in Jesus Christ, born as the Son of God the Father, who lived a sinless life and died on the cross as talked about in the Bible. Because of this belief and faith, our lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit and our sins are forgiven.
Ask me if you want more info, but I prefer to try and live by example and not just words. Which isn't always easy, and that's where prayer comes in.
But this article isn't about what I just wrote, that's just the background about what's next.
When I was 49 years old my doctor said once I turned 50 he wanted me to have a colonoscopy. I ignored him but earlier this year he mentioned it again, now that I'm 51.
Wednesday June 8th I took the day off and had it done. Afterwards I took a nap and saw a note on Twitter that a friend had died.
This friend was from our church, Holy Cross Lutheran in Fort Wayne. We got to know Dave Widenhofer & his wife Mary when we were in a small group Bible study a few years ago. Dave was in remission from Colon cancer when we met, and the first thing he said to me 7 years ago was to get screened.
I didn't think much about it back then, but when I was scheduling my appointment, Dave was on my mind. His cancer has returned and there was nothing else that the doctors could do.
Thus the Irony.
The day I have my first Colonoscopy, which screens for cancer, is the day my friend passes away from Colon Cancer earlier in the day.
I have a feeling that Dave was sitting with God looking down on me with approval Tuesday.