Sunday, May 14, 2017

Smiling Lessons from My 99-Year-Old-Mom

Happy Mother's Day.

My mom is 99 years old. I'm grateful that she's still with us. And I'd like to think that I celebrate her every day, not just today.

Even at 99, she continues to teach me. Recently I asked her, "Mom, why are you always smiling?"

And she told me, "I always smile when I'm happy. But I'm not always happy when I smile."

I've spent a lot of time with that Mom Koan since. And it's made me more conscious of how I approach the world. Am I leading with my smile, even when I'm not happy?

If you think about it, our smile is a gift we give to someone else. It's not for our benefit, but for theirs. And what I've noticed is that as I've more mindfully led with my smile, that smile is most often returned. Now it's become a smile transaction or better yet, a smile contagion.

I'm not sure if that was Mom's intent when she passed on this recent lesson, but I do know that whenever I see her, she's smiling. And it makes me smile too.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and joy and kindness to all the mothers of the world.

Mom's smile, just one of her many gifts to the world.

Mom and Me.

Her smile makes the sun shine brighter.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Much Time Do I Have?

How much time do I have to tell the stories I want to share?

It's a question I've been thinking about a lot lately. Time is our scarcest resource. For storytellers, time and attention is our most valuable currency.

TimeToTellStories

Are the stories I have to tell outpacing the time I have to tell them? And let's not even work into the equation the stories I want to read, hear and consume.

My advice to myself and all storytellers is this -- Don't wait. Tell your story. Hone your storytelling skills. Nurture and grow your audience. And listen and learn from the many talented storytellers out there.

Because you can make more stories. But you can't make more time.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017 Goals: More of What's Working

I'm not much on resolutions, but big on goal setting and striving. For 2017, my focus will be on doing more and going deeper with what works. What are your goals for 2017?


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How do you get out of the ditch?

I prepared and planned the night before.

Up early the next morning, I set my course and get on the road.

My path is clear.

Then it happens.

Something runs out in front of me or I'm caught unexpectedly from behind. I veer off course. Maybe the shoulder is loose. I spin out and before I know it, I'm stuck in the ditch.

Plans change, often by forces out of our control. Every project manager, small business owner or entrepreneur knows this. But we all deal with it differently.

How do you handle unforeseen changes? Do you let them derail you or do you look for the new opportunities that the unexpected may provide?

I'd love to hear your strategies for dealing with what you weren't expecting. I'd like to learn how you get out of the ditch.

Post a comment below or send me a tweet at @mikebarzacchini.

(Inspired by +Jonathan Barzacchini )

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What new concept, product or service excites you?

We ate at Bar Bici  on Saturday evening. It's a new street Italian food concept with a single location in South Bend, Indiana, in the Eddy Street Commons near the Notre Dame campus.

The food was fresh, fun and tasty, delivered with friendly and efficient service. We enjoyed our experience and hope to see Bar Bici grow throughout northern Indiana, southern Michigan and maybe even to our suburban Chicago neighborhood.

What new concepts, products or services are you excited about? Or if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, what are you planning to launch in 2017.  Let me know in a comment below or send a tweet to @mikebarzacchini. I'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, happy trendhunting!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter roadtrip? Remember to pack your patience and a sense of humor.

We left Chicago on Saturday afternoon for a quick roadtrip to South Bend. The journey was complicated a bit by a snow storm we were driving into and one right on our tail. I made certain to pack extra warm clothes, a flashlight, water and other items to help keep us safe and warm. Then I thought of two other things I wanted to make sure I took with me -- patience and a sense of humor.

No matter what happens on the road ahead, I'll be well served by remembering both. I hope your journeys this week are smooth and joyful.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Remembering the "live-acy" of John Glenn




I grew up in the 1960s, at the height of the space race, in Ohio. Of course, John Glenn was my hero.

I had the honor of meeting him once, when I was a 25-year-old reporter on assignment in DC with a group of western Ohio farmers in town to meet and lobby elected officials. In person, like on TV, he exuded calm, strength and confidence, and with that smile and those sparkling eyes, he instantly engaged you.

I remembered tales of his courageous exploits as a fighter pilot. But until I read the obits today, I’d forgotten about his work to stem nuclear proliferation. Like Dwight Eisenhower and so many Americans who served to keep our country safe, he understood the horrors of war and that peace was something to work for and value at all costs.

John Glenn lived with no limits, even going into space at age 77. A man of service. A man of war. A man of peace. A man who touched the stars. A man for the ages. And now, eternally, a man of the heavens. Thank you, bless you, John Glenn.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Baby, it's cold outside. Stay warm. Work on your goals.

In Chicago, we've made a rapid plunge from a long, golden fall and warm early winter into the depths of #Chiberia. The windchill was 2 degrees F this morning, with more cold and snow coming. The weather provides a great excuse to brew tea, stay close to the fire and work on your goals -- those you need to close out for 2016 and the ones that will quickly launch a successful 2017.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

How was your #smallbusinesssaturday?

How was your #smallbusinesssaturday? We shopped small businesses in Carpentersville and East Dundee, Illinois. Some great promotions, sales and energy (the almost 50-degree weather and sunshine helped!). I hope if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur or if you shopped small today, you had an amazing and rewarding day. #shopsmall


Friday, November 25, 2016

#BlackFridayReal: Focusing on What Matters Most

Will I shop today, Black Friday? OK. Sure, I admit, I will. A little. But I'm going to try to stay focused on the things that matter most to me: Family, friends, community.
That's why I've declared this my own personal #BlackFridayReal. Among all the coupon codes, exclusive deals and doorbusters, I'm going to try to find my flow by:
  • Writing to an old friend.
  • Bagging up winter clothes and canned goods for a couple of local donation drives.
  • Hunkering down with a good book
  • Taking the big dog on a long walk. 
Wishing you a safe, sane and fulfilling #blackfriday. Whatever you do, may you keep it real.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

How Not to SPAM Your Customers

Great time today talking email marketing at the Palatine Public Library with a group of small business owners. A couple of times the topic of SPAM regulations came up. Here are
resources to help you learn more about SPAM and more importantly, how not to do it.




Starting an Email Newsletter For Your Small Business (Slides)

Slides from today's presentation at the Palatine Public Library on small business email marketing and starting an email newsletter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Social Media for Writers: Tools, Tips and Resources

I can't believe it's been three years (October 7, 2013) since I last spoke to Heather Hutchins' writing class about social media for writers. Looking forward to tonight's presentation. Check out the slides below and here's my deck from 2013.




PDF of the presentation.

Monday, September 26, 2016

See You in San Diego for CASE #CCCA2016

Looking forward to participating in the CASE Conference for Community College Advancement next week in San Diego. I'm presenting on content marketing, participating on one panel and moderating another.  Promises to be a busy, fun and enriching week. Hope to see you in San Diego!



Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

#RebootFriday: How will you reboot today?


Yes, here in the States, we're on the cusp of an extended holiday weekend, but today we're also celebrating a #RebootFriday, and you can join us.

It's easy. Catch that frog you've been avoiding and take a big bite:

Get to the office an hour early.
Make that client call you've been putting off. 
File those completed project documents. 
Issue an overdue contact report. 
Send a new business proposal. 
 Watch a recording of the webinar you missed last week. 
Clean your desk. 
Finish one project before it's due.
Take a new client to lunch. 
Take an old client to lunch. 
Send a handwritten note to three contacts you've made during the past year. 
Update your LinkedIn profile. 
Clean out the bots and inactive accounts from your Twitter followers list. 

The best thing about #RebootFriday is that you choose the celebration that will make the biggest difference to your business or your life.

And while may think the Friday before a long weekend is a horrible day to reboot. It's actually the best time. Email and phone call volume will be down as everyone scurries from the office for an early start to their long weekend.

Without those interruptions, you have more opportunities to get to what matters. Focus on those one to three things that you can finish today, the things that will make the most difference. Then celebrate this #RebootFriday with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. And don't be afraid to brag. Tweet out your accomplishment, your breakthrough, your victory with the hashtag #RebootFriday.

PS: The second-best thing about #RebootFriday, is it happens more than once a year. Stay tuned for future #RebootFriday tips, ideas and inspirations. 

PSS: Thanks to my spouse and partner Susan for being the inspiration behind the first of what I hope are many #RebootFriday celebrations. #TGIM

Related: How to Reboot a Bad Day in 10 Minutes or Less (Fast Company)