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Teachers, Teaching, and Top Traits

Quick – name a teacher who helped shape who you are today. If you’re like most people, and like me, you can name a few.

Mrs. Sharrett, my 4th grade teacher, who made paying attention pay off. She used operant conditioning on her willing subjects, making intentional mistakes and paying the first student to point it out with a piece of candy from a special drawer in her desk.

Mr. Buhn, my high school physics teacher, a man completely grounded in science and yet still fun in the way he taught his passion. He was delighted when his class gave him membership to the Flat Earth Society. He used their monthly newsletter as a springboard for lessons on how things really work.

Miss Gardner, my performing arts teacher and coach, who took raw talent, lit a fire under its container, and created the knowledge and belief that I would be a performer. And I was, for three decades, a very successful major market radio personality. Thank you for believing in me, Miss Gardner!

Teachers...

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How Giving Gets You Far More

What do you have such a passion for that you give up your free time to support it? For some people, that’s a sport they play. For some, it’s a hobby like sewing or gardening. And for some, it’s being part of an organization in some sort of volunteer capacity. And whether you know it or not, the world runs on volunteers.

Scout leader. Children’s sports coach. Race official. Civic organization board member. Blood donor. Adopt-a-road clean-up crew. There are so many ways to give your time and talents to something you’re passionate about.

What is it for you? This week is your week – it’s National Volunteer Week. The word “volunteer” came into use in the 1600’s describing men in France who offered themselves up for military duty. It soon came to describe anyone who did work without expecting payment for it, and President Richard Nixon signed the executive order that recognized the value of volunteerism and volunteers in 1974 by...

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Are You Organized or Dis?

It’s a week before spring officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere, so maybe a little bit early for spring cleaning. It’s a month before tax returns in the US are due to be filed, and if you’re like me, perhaps you’ve found a lot of things to do instead of getting organized for that chore.

Today is designed for us – it’s Organize Your Home Office Day. Do you have a good file system that separates your work and personal finances? Is it up to date? Do you know where your W2s and 1099s are? Cancelled checks? Credit card statements? And has your mouth gone dry and have your palms gone moist, like mine? Today, can you block out some time to make your home office look and feel organized?

There are a lot of systems you can use to whip a home office into shape. The one that works best for me is to have the shredder in the middle of the room, a vertical file folder holder or a hanging file frame ready to put “birds of a feather” together,...

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Wanna Go to a Name Party?

Quick – what’s your name? I bet you know the answer to that question by heart, right? One of the first things parents teach their babies is how to recognize and use names – mama, dada, doggie, and the child’s own name. But what’s in a name and why are they so important that they get an entire week’s celebration?

The first full week in March is Celebrate Your Name Week. It’s one of those oddball holidays that got started because one person became randomly, then endlessly, fascinated by something. In this case, Jerry Hill read a news story about another Jerry Hill who died. That Jerry Hill happened to be from the first Jerry Hill’s hometown, making him wonder if they were related, then begin to start wondering about names. He became so fascinated by names that he created a website, which was so fascinating to others that eventually Public Broadcasting Service wrapped it into their website.

Names matter. Classrooms are organized by name....

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The Many Hats of Leadership

Today let’s talk about leaders, and the leader that lives inside each of us. It’s easy to think about leaders as those who are somehow above our level – the president of your division, the president of your company, the president of the United States – and those are all leaders.

Did you know that you are a leader?

Today, let’s talk about what makes a good leader, and where leaders show up in our lives. Take a look at these examples:

  • Have you ever sat behind someone at a red light and when the light turned green, they started driving? That’s leadership skills right there. A good leader pays attention to the conditions around them and reacts appropriately at the right time. If you don’t believe that taking off when the light turns green is showing leadership, think about how you feel when the person in front of you fails to go when the light turns green. Do you get irritated? Wonder if they’re on their phone? Clearly, they aren’t...
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Patience, Planning, Creativity, and You

Have you ever built a gingerbread house? I’ve admired them, wished I could taste them, and never actually built one. Some of them look wonderfully basic and homey, some can be very elaborate, and I wonder how that gingerbread tastes after sitting around through the holidays. Have you ever had a bite of one? How was it?

The patience, planning, and creativity involved in making gingerbread houses translates to real life, too. Accomplishing most work-related events uses those three skills. Ever been tasked with organizing a large meeting? A marketing push? A spay surgery on a very large dog? Each of those requires planning, creativity, and patience as you watch your creation begin to unfold. While they don’t result in a deliciously beautiful sculpture, they do result in the same feelings of accomplishment and pride. And sometimes the tasks you perform feel uphill, blocking your creativity, your ability to plan, and get on your very last nerve. That’s where the...

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Tackling a Touchy Topic Today

Today is the day for an observance you probably don’t know about. By the end of this newsletter, I hope you’ll be planning ways to make this day a better one for you and those you love before October 10th 2024. Today’s observance is all about something I work with veterinary teams to improve – mental wellbeing. Welcome to World Mental Health Day 2023.

First observed in 1992, there’s been a great need in our society for decades longer than that to eliminate the stigma around mental illness. When most of us were growing up, those with different mental abilities were considered “slow” or “nuts” or just plain “weird.” We’ve made a lot of progress as research has identified different mental diseases and conditions, instead of lumping everyone into the same category and “slow learner” classes in school.

Around the world, one in 8 people suffers some sort of mental illness or condition that sets them apart...

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What Dogs Teach You About Leadership

Do you have a dog? Two? More? Are you dogless and get your dog love from friends’ dogs? Or maybe you’re someone who just doesn’t see the appeal of dogs?

If you love dogs, you’ll probably love this article. If not, read on anyway because there’s probably something here for you despite your distaste for this nearly-perfect being. (Oops…my bias is showing!)

In the early part of the 20th century, Will Judy, the editor of Dog World Magazine, who was a WW1 veteran and an ordained minister, devoted his life to helping people understand what he saw as a spiritual bond between humans and dogs. Of dogs, Will Judy wrote, “The most loyal thing in the world is your dog. Whether you come home from Congress or from jail, whether you have lost your fortune or made a million, whether you return home dressed in fashion’s heights or in rags, whether you have been hailed as a hero or condemned as a criminal, your dog is waiting for you with a welcome...

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Are You a Praise-Worthy Leader?

Whenever leaders get together to talk about what’s working in their businesses, staff recognition is always high on the list. As a matter of fact, on nearly every list of the top ways to reduce turnover and increase employee engagement, recognition and/or encouragement make the list.

Happy National Day of Encouragement. If you’re a leader and aren’t already in the habit of looking for ways to praise, recognize, and encourage your team, use today as your reason to get started. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results you can achieve with a zero-dollar perk that pays great dividends. You can’t always allow flexible work schedules, grant promotions, or give raises – you can always give praise, and in all the ways that count, that’s a huge benefit to your company, your team, and your individual employees.

Encouragement boosts morale, builds relationships, and is contagious. What kind of recognition/praise/encouragement can you give to your...

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Leadership Lessons from Jimmy Buffett

When the word “leader” is bandied about, most people don’t think of recording artists. They usually think of world leaders, prominent business leaders, religious leaders – not famous musical performers.

That’s a mistake because much can be learned from them. As an illustration, let’s look at the life and leadership of Jimmy Buffett, a man who led millions of Parrotheads while building an impressive fortune. In possession of a shiny new history degree after a rocky college career, he went to New Orleans in 1969 and played music on Decatur Street while tourists dropped change in his guitar case. He moved to Nashville in 1970, and two years in Nashville saw Jimmy Buffett rejected by nearly every record company in town, many of them two and three times. Two years later, in an interview, he said, “Got depressed, got pissed off, got divorced and left. Best move I ever made.”

The move was to Key West, where he worked on an...

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