Ever wonder if you are crazy? It might be just me, but to some extent I think it might apply to all Christ Followers. The whole world goes one way, and we go the other way. It feels so uncomfortable, so lonely, so different, that a person is left feeling like they are the one with “mental issues.” There have been times in my life when I’ve actually been called crazy. “You are starting a Counseling Center for people that can’t afford counseling? That’s crazy.” For people cursed with the desire to read, ‘crazy’ takes on even more layers. If you ever read anything about business, or military leaders of the past, or artists, there is a whole lot of crazy.
Hey lets lead an army, complete with war elephants, over treacherous mountains! – Crazy Hannibal
Hey, let’s mass produce a vehicle that runs on the decayed carcasses of plants and animals – Crazy Henry Ford
Hey, I think I’ll lay on my back, hundreds of feet in the air painting a ceiling for months! — Crazy Michelangelo
. . . and the list goes on and on. ..
Any time you are going in an obvious different direction than everyone else, that would be the Brad Washburn definition of how it feels to be crazy.
God has similar ways to describe this craziness:
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
It’s a statement of fact throughout the Bible, that Christ followers will do things differently than the rest of the world. The result is that the people who aren’t Christians, think what we do is odd, or foolish; or crazy. Read More→
With all the competition out there facing small business owners, how do you stand out? How do you attract people to you rather than chasing them?
By finding your perfect identity.
An identity encapsulates the essence of who you are as a business. It is your brand personality. It is your Unique Selling Proposition communicated in an image and it is the culture of your business.
Why is it important?
These days with the Internet, your potential customers have to wade through a lot of junk. Companies that are selling hype and have no substance are creating noise and making prospects hesitant to decide on business transactions.
But you can change that by having an authentic identity.
Because an authentic identity is based on this principle:
Perception = reality.
Your prospects and customers perceive you in a certain way. This can be positive or negative, it can be correct or incorrect. If the perception of your prospects does not meet with the reality of what you really offer and who you are as a business, you will have problems. Customers will not be attracted to you. They will think your promises are a bunch of hype. Read More→
The basically simple act of posting on your blog or other blogs can do powerful things for your business. But your action might not be so effective if you don’t utilize certain ideas. There are many things to consider when writing content but the tips below will give you a good start to getting the maximum response from your post.
1. Visual Content – Statistics say that if your post contains visual content, it will grab 94% more visits and engagement than those without. That is reason enough to start including videos and other visual content in your posts. The brain is automatically drawn more to images than to text.
2. Short Paragraphs – The amount of videos and other visuals used in marketing today is one of the reasons you need to keep your paragraphs short. You need plenty of white space to avoid long drawn out paragraphs. Large blocks of text will not draw much attention to your post.
3. Keywords – One of the most responsive ways to use keywords is adding them to your post title. Do not go crazy with the keywords. Use just a couple of keyword phrases throughout your post without sacrificing readability. Use the phrases in the very beginning, a couple of times throughout and then again at the end. Be sure to read up on keyword stuffing to prevent being penalized.
4. Subscription Forms Available – Having a subscription form available after every post will increase the chances of a person taking that action and subscribing to your list. Once you capture that person’s email, the chances of retaining them as a customer is greatly increased. Read More→
One of my grandchildren asked me quite a penetrating question this week. “Grandpa, how old are you?”
Before I was married, I had no problem about always telling the truth. I always got in trouble if I did not tell the truth and so my practice has been to always tell the truth, no matter how difficult it might be and no matter who it might hurt.
After being married for several years, I was presented with a question I was in no way prepared for. We were going to a banquet and just before leaving the house, my wife looked at me and said, “Does this dress make me look too fat?”
After I got over being stunned by this question posed to me by my wife, a wonderful thought hit me. I looked at her and simply said, “I don’t know about that, but your hair looks beautiful.”
“Oh,” she said with a smile dancing all over her face, “thank you.”
How old am I, really? Read More→
Are you guessing what I was going to write? If you guessed “what a difference a day makes” you’d be somewhat close, in a longitudinal sort of way. I also have an alternative title, which is: “New England Clam Chowder, 20 years later”…you know, like some movies have alternative endings? No? Well, okay then. Anyway, here’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
In the early years of my marriage, I was very vocal in my displeasure whenever my husband would do something I didn’t like. I wouldn’t say totally that ‘I let him have it,’ although maybe he would (hang on a second, I’ll ask him….nope, I’m good) but I’m sure I wasn’t nice or kind about it. I was critical of him of how he did things or when he did or didn’t do things and it wasn’t pretty. Nor was I pretty. Pretty much the opposite, I’m so sorry to say.
The reason I’m sharing all this is what happened tonight when driving home. I was running late and he called and asked me if I would like some soup. I said yes, if it was New England Clam Chowder. So, imagine my surprise when I came home and he announced it was ready and I looked at it quizzically, because it just didn’t look right.
Me: so, you made the soup?
Him: yes, added water to it. why?
Me: (laughing) you add a can of milk to New England Clam Chowder, not water!
Him: Doggone It! You always add water to Campbell’s don’t you?
Me: (still laughing) No, and you said that 20 years ago too!
Him: I did?
Me: (and yes, still laughing!) however, I clearly remember NOT laughing 20 years ago. I recall me being quite annoyed with you.
Him: (looking like he remembers)
Me: I think I know why God “made you add water”.
Me: I now know what I’m going to write for my blog this week!
I hugged and kissed him, thanking him for trying (again) to make me New England Clam Chowder soup.
It’s amazing what God can and does through a willing woman, who is now a much more humble wife than ever before (I don’t think anyone who knew me in my 20 or 30’s would use that adjective on me!) and a mother of two terrific sons! What a difference 20 years can make, wouldn’t you agree? So, this week, these are some of the ‘things’ I’m thankful for: Read More→
In the age of 144 characters, Instagram, and OMG, BFF and LOL, authentic communication has taken a back seat to brevity and expediency, often at the expense of clarity and accuracy. From my research, I believe we want leaders whom we can readily connect with, trust their words, and believe in their commitment to a build a better future for more than the ‘chosen” and/or special interests. I do believe there is a secret code – because if it wasn’t secret, we’d see more leaders using these straight-forward communication concepts.
1. Use real language over ad copy. Real language consists of unpolished phrases, hesitations, and vernacular. Real language is passionate and personal. Corporate speak goes out the window when the CEO sits on the stage, legs dangling and then talks upfront and personal with the rank and file. Or consider Martin Luther King’s speech in which he used everyday language to paint a picture of a dream.
2. Use symbols instead of spreadsheets. Numbers on a page and banners on a wall have no emotional buy-in. Look at the current dramatic increase in donations to ALS because of the Ice Bucket Challenge. The horrific data behind ALS has not shifted but rather, when 29 year-old Pete Frates, BC grad and former college baseball player announced he had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), he prompted a scheme to raise awareness and raise research money. Freeze out the disease for which death is the only outcome. (To be fair… social media has spread this symbol and generated a massive response. But without the symbol, social media would not have had such success.)
3. Share wisdom instead of data. Data points, calculations, and statistical bar charts and graphs might look good but what do they all mean? As a former debater, I can tell you there are many ways to slant data to reinforce the point you want to make. What we seek is wisdom from the data. A great leader also invites others to dissect what data “might” mean, not seeking absolutes but trends, insights, and innovations. From wonder comes wisdom. Read More→