Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Early Start & Dead Calm

Today I was up around 5:30 am - really got a jump on the day. I also wanted to share a "shout out" to S. Jimmy Carter. I have had the pleasure of knowing him for 16 years. This month is his birthday month and he has had an amazing life journey. This image used in the blog post is by him and if you want to see more, check him out at http://www.sjcarterphotography.com/
When you are up early, it helps put your day in overdrive. Try to have a reason to get up early and engage in some kind of productive activity for you! This helps motivate and focus your energies to a productive end. Though the image to the right is called "Dead Calm," I find it both haunting and soothing. There is no reason to fear the quiet solitude in the morning or the introspection that some time with yourself enables. Enjoy and remember to focus within to bring results!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Billing - Parking, Business License and more "oh my"

Does money grow on trees? Certainly not! Yet it is something which every year we have to put hundreds in fees, licensing and permits to live in our community. When I add things up, it is remarkable:

  1. Business licences

  2. Parking passes

  3. Sales taxes

  4. Gas taxes

  5. Vehicle license taxes

  6. Phone taxes

  7. Utility taxes

  8. Water / Sewer taxes
When does it end. . .

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend review

"It was a quiet week in Lake Woebegone, my home town." - so says Garrison Keeler, and so I say about Seal Beach. The big news - the Tree Party. What fun! Great tent, nice people and great music to dance to. Hope it was a successful fundraiser!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thus the writing begins. . .

I am embarking on a new journey, to write a book. This is going to be an experiment to see if I have simply the discipline to write one. At 36, I am not getting any younger and if I am going to begin writing, perhaps now is the time. The first book is going to be non-fiction. A satirical look at the nature of beauty, social interaction and how beauty affects us in all the myriad of ways. I am even going to help bring other people's stories to life. In order to facilitate this, I just fired off a letter (via USPS snail mail) to one of my favorite authors to check in and let him know how his work has positively impacted my life. In addition, I am making a commitment to meet with my fellow writer at least once a week to compare notes, add to the book and move forward on the project. One of my clients just finished writing his memiors, and I have to say, I enjoyed quite a bit of it. No reason why I shouldn't try my hand at it, right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Good health & Midsummer

As we move into Summer and the full swing of the season, it is important to consider health and all that means to each of us in business. I love this graphic from CSU Pomona (thanks for sharing it), which reminds us to take care with health in all quadrants. With your employees and team members (including collaborators or consultants) - ask yourself "Are they healthy?"
Reminding yourself of these needs is an important step in ensuring maximum performance from all individuals in your operation. One of my client's fiancee is from Sweden, and one of their largest holidays is at the Summer Solstice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer#Sweden . They connect with family, friends and ensure that life is at its most potent. What have you done to celebrate abundance and good health?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


When evaluating work performance, one of the things business should look at is the consistency of the employees or contractors in the organization. This is particularly true when dealing with small business or small organizations. All too often, I have been involved with a client or an organization when certain members are not consistent. This makes the entire organization move in fits and starts. Disagreement is healthy, but when it moves into areas of explosive anger, deliberate sabotage or subversive hostility, it only decreases the effectiveness of any organization. When people are regularly late, provide feedback more to hear themselves speak rather than solve a problem or those who are more interested in being right rather than being effective, all are signs of inconsistency and sabotage. These people need to understand that their impact on the organization is not helpful and ultimately detrimental. Often, they will move themselves out of position through their own action. Go ahead and give them enough rope and they generally will hang themselves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The power of paper is ponderous. In our lives, we seem to constantly be "gifted" relatively large amounts of paper: bulk mail, advertising, magazines, periodicals, notices, communications (personal & professional), notes, comments and more. It seems as though the amount of paper we accumulate is neverending. I will rise to challenge it!
To this end, I ordered a document shredder for my home office. It is not for security, though it will accomplish that, it is simply to grind up the detritus of paper which sits on my desk. I anticipate that it will be a huge asset to my personal organizational process. Speaking of personal processes, I had a great second session with my life coach / hypnotherapist - Leanne Crawford of Violet Source Healing http://www.violetsourcehealing.com/ which was remarkable. Interestingly enough, my session was in part "Clearing out the Clutter" and this blog entry attests to the efficacy of her (and my subconcious, now concious) suggestion to clear away items of burden in my life. LOVE IT!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


It is great when good things happen to your own family. I know I am very proud of all of my parents - they have all been very successful people in different ways. Interestingly, all are in their own way educators as well - each not only with insights, but in roles which seek to inform people of information, weather in real estate, wine, art, pathology or simply life wisdom! My dad has a website http://www.longviewwinery.com/ and my mom and stepdad just moved to the amazing McMonigle Group in Newport Beach http://www.mcmoniglegroup.com/ and her own blog at http://settingyourtables.blogspot.com/

They are all amazing people and this blog is just a shout out to them and their successes. May they all continue to thrive in happiness and abundance. They of all people I know, deserve it!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


What do you think of its impact on business, communication and the network of people it connects you to? Pros? Cons? General thoughts? I am just spending some time exploring it and it is a whole new world of "flattening" and transparency in the Web 2.0 or < world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Winds of Change & Bunnies

It is nice to observe when something "right" happens in town. Monday night, City Council voted 3-2, yes for business. They let a small Japanese sushi restaurant open after months of Planning Commission and City Council hearings. It also seems that there is room for progress in our town. In other news, the City apparently has a bunny problem - seriously. There was two hours of public testimony about rabbit over population in Leisure World and there were residents very concerned about it on both sides. What was interesting was that you got to see the democratic process at work - a concern brought to the fore to government by consistituents. What we all need to remember is that there is a process. If there had been an agenda item, City Council could have taken an action.

So remember with government - get agenzied first! Then have a call to action.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Immigration - How it affects us. . .

As you know Anthony and I have been together 9 years and it has been a constant struggle with immigration throughout that time. When Anthony worked for British Airways he would fly to London from Philadelphia over night, go to work and fly home, so we could be together. He would do this process 4 -5 times a month because of the way immigration laws are at this time. At the moment he cannot get US residence and the right to work here. Now that we are in California and he is nearly finished with his studies, his student visa will be coming to an end again and he will have to go back to the UK and renew it but this process will not always last forever and we are worried that he will eventually be declined. We would ask you all to take a few minutes to support the United American Families Act that Congressman Mike Honda has put together and support us, Anthony and the other 36,000 other binational couples that this bill will help. Just follow this link http://hosted.vresp.com/404947/1f3d6f0ec5/135453617/57f5af7acc/
Thank you for taking the time!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Business and Education

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” So said John F. Kennedy and an era of focused education for all citizens – regardless of ethnicity truly began. The election of President Barak Obama in many ways represents a new watershed moment in the equality this statement. We are however at a time of great challenge, not just for education, but our entire State budget. How does that affect our community, and as President Kennedy implied, our nation?
Two weeks ago, city council members and various other leaders in business and city government received a very flattering invitation from Dr. Greg Franklin, the superintendent of schools for Los Alamitos Unified. He asked if we would be willing to participate in a “Principal for a Day” program on Wednesday May 27th. We all went to one of the ten district (6 elementary, 2 middle and 2 high) schools for the first half of the day to observe the classrooms, student, faculty and staff. Following our visit, we were asked to reconvene and share our observations, thoughts and “ah-ha” moments in an informal luncheon at the district offices.
Some of things which most amazed me at Lee Elementary with Principal Andrew Pulver were:
· The technology in place – from “smartboards” which completely integrated traditional chalkboard writing format with the graphic design elements of a desktop computer. This was a far cry from what I remembered even from my undergraduate level coursework in 1995!
· The new cognitively guided instruction (CGI) which emphasized not only structures of thinking, but truly allowed students the ability to learn and select their own methodologies to analyze as they saw fit mathematical, writing / reading / storytelling skills and even scientific and historic facts. It proved we are teaching students to think, not just the facts anymore.
· The “teach the teacher” focus of enrichment through mentoring and the Cotsen Foundation process of development brings great results to our schools. At least private enterprise and entrepreneurship are successful in bringing new and innovative ideas to our teachers and thus our children. Can we do more?
· Resources are scarce and are becoming less reliable at the California state level. Potentially millions more are going to be removed from the educational budget for 2009 – 2011. Partnership with business, our military bases, cities and other non-profits are the wave of the future.
· Volunteerism is high at the elementary level, but we need more support at the middle and high schools. Can you make time?
· It takes a village of parents, students, teachers, staff and people who simply care about education all coming together to make a California Distinguished School – of which Lee is one. Congratulations to Andrew and his team!
As businesses, we give generously to so many fundraisers for schools with gift certificates, products, services and even our own facilities. This is certainly part of what we can do, but let us consider how we can share resources, training, volunteer our time or offer our talents to our schools. Personally, since my partner and I do not have any children, it was an honor to be part of the visit (in addition to being able to read a story “Two Bad Ants” which was really great fun) and stay connected to our most precious resource in community - children. We can look to our Chambers of Commerce, our BNI, Leads Club, and other “working groups” not just for ourselves but for our future entrepreneurs and visionary leaders. So let’s shop local, get creative in working with schools, take a minute and remember as one of the greatest philosophers of antiquity, Plato stated in 400 BC: “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”