The Perfect Facebook Family

My wife and I attended a marriage retreat a few years ago. We like to do this from time to time as a commitment to each other and as a sign that the health of our marriage is important to us both. It is often easy to get carried away with work, personal hobbies or the basic survival necessities; $300 trips to Costco, daycare drop-offs, the 8 loads of laundry that need to be completed each weekend and an endless pile of bills. A weekend marriage-minded get-away can be good for the soul.

Through social media we see images posted of what appears to be the perfect family. The Mitchells took a great trip to Florida last week and all of their kids are smiling at Disneyland while the Palmers just ran a family half marathon and joyously went out for ice cream after. It is easy for people looking at those photos to think that a perfect life exists or that their own family is dysfunction by contrast. In the real-world, my Facebook posts would contain images of my son having a meltdown in the backseat of the car or maybe pictures of my over-grown lawn that desperately needs care. Despite what jaded world Facebook may show us, in reality, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” family.

The Perfect Family
Generally, people only show the good aspects of their family on the Internet. Sure, there’s always that one friend who airs their dirty laundry all over social media, but they are the exception, not the rule. People post images of who they want to be rather than who they really are. This faux reality is unhealthy to both the poster and the viewers.

Naturally, people only want others to see good things. While they’re not aiming to deceive others into believing that, in their world, everything is perfect and their families don’t have any negative issues. It’s completely normal to avoid throwing yourself and children under the bus by avoiding posts with negative or embarrassing images . Who wants to be Debbie-Downer? Instead, we are being selective about what we share and selective in a way to frame the perception of happiness.

Social Media Families

Family dynamics are always changing. Nobody on this Earth is perfect, so no family can be perfect, either. Judgement of other families and comparison through social media can be detrimental to overall family health.  I have often thought the Facebook “Like” button should go a little deeper with the level of response it reflects. It could easily be replaced with a short anonymous button entitled, “Nice photo but your family isn’t perfect. I saw your son punch Billy on the playground last week and don’t forget your daughter was the one that shared lice with her entire 3rd grade class”. Just something short and sweet that functions more as a reality check than a sharp jab in the side. Just kidding, of course, but I have had this kind of thought run through my mind once or twice. The structure of Facebook with Likes and comments naturally puts viewers in a position that suggests comparison and competition.

Happy Families Don’t Need to Be Perfect

Never think that anyone else’s family is perfect or even better than your own. At the end of the day, all families have issues. Strive to celebrate the joys of other families as, at some point, your family will also have exciting news, great accomplishments or successes that you will want to share. Never let social media images of “perfection” fool you. All families have flaws and it is all part of being human. Focusing on your own family and happiness is the best way to strengthen the bonds in your family.

Writer, reader, husband, father, triathlete, and clearly I drink too much coffee.

The Foundation Of Success Starts With A Solid Morning

Coffe In The morning To Start The Day

There’s an unfortunate myth out there that you either are or aren’t a “morning person.” You may feel like it’s your destiny to hit the snooze button four times, begrudgingly roll out of bed and rush through everything before barely making it to work or school on time.

Morning RunThe good news is that anyone can be a morning person. It’s all a matter of knowing how to build the right morning routine, putting in the effort and staying disciplined.

A Morning Routine

How can you set up the right morning routine? Your best option is to reverse engineer it. Start by making a list of all the activities you’ll need to do every morning, and that does mean everything. Include an estimate of how long each activity normally takes you.

For example, your morning routine may include getting up and brushing your teeth, putting on sweats, going for a three-mile jog, taking a shower, getting dressed for work, and finally driving to your job while eating a small meal on the way there. Separate all these activities and put a time estimate next to them.

The Clock Is Ticking

Then, subtract that time estimate from when you need to arrive at work or school, and you’ll have the latest time you can wake up every morning. If you need to be at work by 9 a.m. and your routine takes you two hours, then you can’t get up any later than 7 a.m. By giving yourself enough time, you’ll avoid stressful mornings where you’re rushing to get ready.

Sleep Is Critical

To be ready for that morning routine, you need enough sleep, and the optimal amount for most people is around seven to eight hours. Subtract this amount from your wake-up time to figure out when you need to be in bed every night. Using the example above where you need to wake up at 7 a.m., you should make sure you’re in bed by 11 p.m. or midnight every night to avoid feeling groggy when your alarm goes off.

Brekafast to start the day

Reverse engineering your morning routine this way can make a huge difference in the quality of your mornings, but there are still a couple other improvements you can make. One is getting a quality breakfast. When you eat a breakfast full of nutrients, you’ll feel better throughout the day and have more consistent energy levels. Aim for a healthy meal with a nice balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

TV and Radio Can Make Or Break Your Day

Last but not least, pay attention to what you’re watching or listening to as you start your day. Avoid anything that gets you emotional or stressed, because that will carry into the rest of your day. Comedic podcasts or music you enjoy are good choices to start your day with the right mindset.

Don’t buy into the myth that you’re not a morning person. If you set up your morning routine properly, eat a good meal and find the right content to start your day, you’ll improve your productivity and be in a better mood.

Writer, reader, husband, father, triathlete, and clearly I drink too much coffee.

Meditate to Motivate: Getting More Done With The Power of Meditation

Meditation For Increased Productivity

Relaxing To Do More

In the current cutthroat business world, increasing productivity can help workers keep and thrive in their jobs. However, striving to improve output sometimes leads to heightened stress, ultimately bringing on a decrease in productiveness and even a hatred of the work itself! Many productive employees keep their minds clear and calm by meditating or using yoga.

Meditating, which Merriam-Webster defines as engaging “in mental exercise… for the purpose of reaching a heightened state of spiritual awareness”, involves clearing the mind and focusing solely on breath or a mantra. It helps reduce tension and increase clarity.

Meditation at the office

The Promise of Productivity

Studies show that calm and composed minds, like those achieved through meditation, operate most efficiently. The creative right half of the brain lights up after meditation, allowing its practicers to come up with inventive concepts for their work. Devoting only a few daily minutes to meditation can dramatically improve the quality and quantity of work produced.

Perks of meditating include an increased ability to re=energize, greater memory, improved circulation in the brain, boosted planning competence, lessened stress, and augmented creativity– and, best of all, it’s free!

Meditating once a day has been shown to improve focus, leading to better productivity over time. Practicers of the exercise can expect to get more work done in less time.

Focused meditation

Beginning Is Easy

Wondering how to start? Simply sit upright on a level surface and concentrate on naturally inhaling and exhaling. It may take more than one try to keep focused for an extended period of time, so be patient and don’t be afraid to start again after losing concentration. As time goes on, maintaining this attention to breath becomes easier.

Guided meditation may be the best option for beginners who continue to struggle with independent focus. Search online for a meditation audio guide or look up the nearest meditation center in order to find help. Before long, the focus and satisfaction in meditating will come more easily. To experience the most benefits, fuse the meditation practice with pranayama yoga.

Key Personal Benefits of Meditation

By giving full attention to the breath and eliminating thoughts from the mind, those who meditate can connect to their sense of power, stamina, and inner harmony. Importantly, remember to always let the breath come and go naturally; forcing things will not lead to the best results.

Try meditating to experience increased energy, creativity, and productivity. Many workers have discovered meditation improves general health as well as concentration. Give it a try and see the changes!

Writer, reader, husband, father, triathlete, and clearly I drink too much coffee.

Is Cold Calling Dead? Fingers Crossed.

Annoying Phone Calls

From the 1950s onward, media pundits have predicted the death of radio. Broadcast television soon followed as a medium about to enter obsolescence. The hard copy book was supposed to be extinct by now. What the future may hold is open for debate but these forms of communication are still hanging on. The business world is likewise confronted with new modes of sales and marketing. Will they supplant current methods or simply complement them? In no area of exchange is this question more significant than it is with the practice of cold calling. Is it still an effective tool of salesmanship?

Neither Loved Nor Mourned

The truth is that few sales professionals would weep over the passing of cold calling. Even the most extroverted and successful would rather gather prospects by other means. It is what many managers would consider a necessary evil, a talent for which they look when assembling a sales and marketing team. Should this tried-and-true practice give way to the technological superiority of e-commerce, the profile of a sales force could change substantially.

Cold Calling

That forecast may indeed come to fruition. For years, cold calling was the only game in town, the single best way to find new customers. In a sense, the advent of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system renders cold calling superfluous. In the CRM model, the company has multiple ways in which to familiarize a prospective consumer with the product or service offered. By integrating individual prospect data with that of current customers, along with analytics and business forecasts, CRM systems convey optimal strategies for attracting and retaining new clients. Much of the interaction is online.

Almost Dead

CRM systems get prospects comfortable with a business before any personal contact is initiated. By contrast, a cold call is often the first impression a prospect will have about a given enterprise. While the best callers can put their subjects at ease, even they understand that the sales pressure is at its most naked over the phone. At the same time, a large number of prospective purchasers appreciate talking to a live person about their product as opposed to emailing questions or filling out contact forms. These facts beg the question: should cold calling continue with certain modifications?

Under a CRM regime, cold calling can conceivably find a place. In prior decades, the wide-net strategy was employed with some success, e.g. call 100 people to get to the one who says yes. This is no longer profitable: it consumes valuable time and that yes is not inevitable anymore. Futhermore, caller ID filters out unwanted (or, at least, unanticipated) incoming calls. Adopting CRM information to target only the most likely customers provides greater efficiency and less discouragement to sales callers.

The great length information technology professionals will go to eliminate “bots” from their contact lists demonstrates the desire for authentic human interaction. This indicates the long-term viability of cold calling as a sales and marketing channel. That said, those utilizing this measure do well to adapt to new technologies and cultural expectations.

Writer, reader, husband, father, triathlete, and clearly I drink too much coffee.