Coloring Outside the Lines

You never know where a Facebook status update will lead!   Last week, I posted “Warning! Today I am coloring OUTSIDE the lines ;)The likes and the posts started flowing which tells me I struck a nerve, in a positive manner!  The screen shot below is  only a portion of what people had to say on the post, and a week later, I am still getting likes and comments.After laughing about it for a while, I got excited about what this said to me about life!  We do not like to be told we must color inside the lines!!  Remember as children, when we were taught how to color, we were told to color inside the lines; to heck with that!  Why not do what we feel like we should or could do?  Why not make our own lines and color where WE want to color?  No one wants to be told how to act, whether in coloring, or in life!We were all created as unique human beings with no two people alike!  No fingerprints are the same, no DNA is the same, we are all different!  So why “Color Inside the Lines” like everyone else?I say be yourself! Be different, be unique….take your crayons and Color OUTSIDE the Lines!!

Changes

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I must admit to you, my readers, that I have been remiss in putting out frequent blog posts lately.  I accept full responsibility for that.  Business and life has been busy, but that is no excuse!This post is to let you know that, while life is great, and getting better every day, I am making some changes in my professional and personal life that will enable to me to connect more and communicate more with each of you! As the saying goes, “it’s all good.”So, thank you for reading and stay tuned; the best is yet to come!  I appreciate you sticking with me as I revamp my site too; the support you provide to me is amazing!

Expecting the Best: Online and Offline

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I believe that for the most part, we all expect the good in others. Whether we meet someone in real life (IRL) or in a virtual environment; we expect them to be honest, forthright and professional. We expect these actions without thinking about them; it’s just what we expect. We expect trust, doing the right thing and not hurting the other person.Unfortunately this is not always the case with our relationships. People hurt us, take advantage of us, do hurtful things; it is a sad fact of life, that in some ways, is becoming more common place.IRL when someone treats us this way, we have choices: confront the person, turn and walk away, or do nothing but maybe distance ourselves from that person. What have you done in these situations?Today, more business and personal relationships start online or in a virtual environment. I believe the same rules and thought processes take place with these relationships: we expect the best out of those we meet online. We believe what we are told, we develop a friendship, a relationship or seek out opportunities to work with these individuals. At times though, these relationships are revealed to be less than wholesome, meaning the other person has mislead us, lied to us, or they have been using our expertise and business relationships for their own gain. We must ask ourselves the same question though; how do we handle it? Do we confront the person online? Do we call them out? What have you done or what would you do?I know friends that have been hurt through virtual relationships. This is as unfortunate as being hurt IRL because it is life. True these relationships are virtual in as much as we do not see these people face-to-face, but we are humans being hurt by other humans. How do we correct this? How do we deal with it when others treat us this way?  My thoughts:  call them out.  What do you say?The virtual environment, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. is a little like the Wild West. While you will find plenty of material written about the right and wrong way to conduct yourself; there are no rules. People are free to do what they want. Is this good or is this bad?  How can you make a pinky promise in a virtual relationship?I believe in people and trust others until they give me a reason not to. I am far from perfect and have made my own mistakes in relationships, friendships and in business. However, I do believe most people we meet, IRL or online are honest and trustworthy.What do you think?

How Do You See The World?

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One of the reasons I love visiting Walt Disney World is to see the looks on children’s faces when they see everything before them!  Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey Mouse, thrill rides and their favorite characters right before their eyes!  The eyes wide open, jaw dropped look is priceless!  This is how children approach most days, with wonder, amazement and excited to see what will happen!My question to you is this: How Do You See The World?  Think about it; each and every day we are given has this same amazement and wonder to us as adults….if we only adjust our thinking to see what is before us.  Amazing friends, new connections, opportunities to help others; these are just basic examples of what is in  front of us each day! Business opportunities are in front of us at every step, every single day; but only if we open our eyes to see what is in front of us!How Do You See The World?Unfortunately, as adults too many of us see the world and each day as a chore….we must get up, we must go to work, we must meet quota, we must do this and do that!  Wake up!  Each day is a gift given to you and you are NOT guaranteed tomorrow!  Greet each day as a child does entering Walt Disney World:  ready to see it all, do it all and experience it all!How Do You See The World?

Fresh Baked Ideas…

It amazes me how connections can turn into incredible partnerships, friendships and opportunities to promote one another, even when its unexpected.If you follow me on Twitter, thank you;  if its been a while since we spoke, drop me an @ reply or a DM, I would love to hear from you.   Followers on Twitter know that each morning, the #PositivePosse gets things going on the East Coast early, normally 5:00 or 5:30 am.  We are a group of friends that support each other and try to keep the positive energy flowing through our conversations on Twitter.One participant in the #PositivePosse is my friend Vincent Hunt; (@VincentHuntCo) the Captain of our group.

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Vincent is the owner of the Vincent Hunt Co.; their main goal, making cool things happen. Essentially his specialization is Design and as he puts it, Design Thinking.Vincent sent me a DM yesterday asking me for my email address because he had ” a fresh baked idea from his design kitchen” for me.  Just knowing the caliber of this man, I was very excited! After sending my email address, I received a series of emails back with several Fresh Baked Ideas; many of which you will see in this space in the coming days.  I was blown away.  If you want a preview, check out my Twitter profile page @JohnLusher.Vincent is amazing; with incredible talent and creativity.  Do you need fresh ideas for your brand or business?  Do you need to rebrand?  If the answer is yes, I encourage you to talk to Vincent.Thank you Captain; we have many more things to work on.  You are amazing!

Build Your Alliance: Online & Offline

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I believe most of us have confidence and faith in our own abilities.  We believe we can accomplish quite a bit on our own, and traditionally, we don’t like to ask for help.  In life, as well as in the business world; we need to get past this outdated way of thinking and build an alliance. This alliance can and should consist of both online connections and offline, or real life connections.

More simply stated, we cannot do it alone.  It takes the help and support of others to reach our goals in business, in life, in everything we strive to accomplish.  I admit that I need help in certain areas and thankfully I am part incredible alliances that I have built over the years.My network is strong and it is growing each day; but make no mistake, it takes time, energy and effort to build and maintain these alliances.  How do you build an alliance?  Here are some simple steps:

Online

  • Consistently Connect – the proliferation of social media profiles and platforms have made this easier than ever.  Whether your preference is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others, you must consistently connect and provide valuable content for your alliance members.
  • Promote Others – spend considerable time online promoting others in your alliance or network.  Open up your network to the people that you trust, respect and recommend.  We all have different alliances & networks and promoting others to your alliance is beneficial to all.
  • Respect Your Alliance –  if your alliance doesn’t want to promote someone you believe in, respect their wishes.  If they do not want to take part in a project you are involved with, it’s okay. It just  may not be for them or their network; so respect your alliance and do not take advantage of them!

Offline

  • Meet Regularly –  this can be accomplished by meeting for coffee, lunch or a business meeting at their place of business.  This will enable you to see their environment and what is important to them. For valuable members of your alliance, scheduled regular meetings;  do not leave this to chance!
  • Make Connections – much like promoting others, you can work to make connections for your alliance members.  Who do they need to meet? What itch of theirs can you scratch by making introductions?
  • Never Assume – just as your time is valuable, so is the time for your alliance members.  Never assume that they have time to just chat by stopping by their office.  Respect their time and what they do and never assume!

Notice how the tips are similar for both online and offline?  That’s because they apply to any type of relationship, alliance or professional partnership.  In building an alliance of people that will help you, you must FIRST help them. If you approach building an alliance by seeing who you can help; you will have one of the strongest alliances possible.Those are my thoughts; what say you?  

Guest Post: Sending My Baby Off To War

This post is from my friend Ann Marie – @WorkingMoms on Twitter. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to pause and be thankful for those that fight for our freedom and remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. Why present a post about this topic on a site that talks about social media, connecting and our digital world?  Because all of these things we talk about is dealing with the human connection.  This post is as human as you can get.  Ann Marie’s post is from the heart as she sends her baby off to war. Ann Marie and her baby, Taneah are in my prayers. I have had a rough week to say the least……One time in my life when I need to be strong… a pillar for my babies….instead I’m struggling with every ounce of me not to cry…..to be able to breath….not panic with fear…I have been through a lot in my life….all which holds nothing to what I’m feeling about sending my baby off to a war zone…Many of you don’t know but my middle child…child #4…. “aka” short bus (nickname given to her because she is 5ft 1and gives me piggyback rides… I tease that she is so short my butt hits the floor)…T-birder(another nickname)…Taneah is in her last 9 days of training/holding before she is being deployed …….Up until last Tuesday….it didn’t bother me…because I decided to go with denial…my other daughter said mom she wont go….they will probably cancel her orders….I went with that….denial……it was working for me…up until she packed her gear at my house…then it hit me…my baby…my short bus really is going to a war zone and I can’t do anything to stop her from going…to protect her….I looked at her and said you really are going….She said yeah, mom I’m…I said but NaTasha said you wouldn’t be going….she said they would probably cancel your orders…she was wrong…I watched her pack her gear…thank goodness the rat that came to visit which took my mind off her going….The next day….we said our goodbyes…..I thought saying goodbye to my babies that got stationed in Alaska was hard…well, was I WRONG….totally wrong…sending your baby to war….is a feeling that I can’t explain….so many emotions but no words really capturing the way I feel…..When I said goodbye…it was like saying goodbye knowing that I never get to see her again….that the person I’m saying goodbye to will not be the same person I will see when she gets back….it will be someone new….A person I never met before…. Will I ever see her again….she may not come back……over the last couple of weeks we talked about her wishes in case that happens…again I used denial and jokes….thinking she wouldn’t go…yep, worked then…but not now…..reality hits…She left me her car to use…every time I get in it….I can’t describe how I feel….Thankful her letting me use her car while she is gone…but knowing why I have the luxury/honor of using her car…hard to handle at times…but what a sweet baby….I had a parent say to me who does not have a child in the military…as parents we prepare our kids to go out and take care of themselves in the world that’s all you can do…as if she thought this was comforting to me….I looked at her for a moment….and replied yes, we do….but we do not prepare them for war…..not the same I said…thinking to myself….shes not moving away….she is going to protect us in a country that really is not fond of Americans…where bombs go off and guns are shot…forgot to prepare her for that…..I have also struggled with the fact that my son-in-law….child #10…one of my gifts…went to war but I did not get this upset….I love Bryon as much as I do my own….. worried bout him the first time he left…I did cry and was scared for him..the next time…I put it out of my mind and knew he would be ok still scared for him….but with Taneah….why am I a basket case….I feel bad….like I was letting Bryon down…I immediately called my daughter NaTasha and apologized for not being as upset/scared when Bryon was deployed…… I didn’t want Bryon ever to think that I loved him less….She said mom he doesn’t think that….we both think kids should be older when they go to war….and Taneah is blood mom…but I said that should not matter….I think it’s because she is a girl…and Bryon can take care of himself….yes, I was sexist for a moment….one of them is very capable of taking care of themselves… the other…is not so capable….immature… really young….lacking life experiences…I have a new understanding for parents who have gone or are going through the same thing as I’m….Not an easy thing….we can not protect our loved ones…..put them in a bubble…send notes telling people who want to kill them to play nice…and learn to get along…..we loose control of being able to protect them what so ever….not easy…extremely hard thing to do as a parent…To all the families that have sent their loved ones to a war zone….My thoughts and prayers are with you….and always have been….Words cannot express what I feel for your pain or what you are feeling….Thank you to all the service men for your sacrifices that you have given…..to protect us….

Do We Overshare?

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the word of the year for 2010 is Overshare.  Here is their definition:Overshare (verb): to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval.In preparation for an article in the Roanoke Times on Facebook etiquette, one of the areas that I was compelled to address is how much information we share. This specific article is more for high school and college age students that will enter the job market; but I believe we can all learn to NOT overshare our information. Citing multiple survey’s for the article, the lessons learned included being cautious in what you share because executives and hiring managers are making decisions based upon what they find out about you online.The rise and popularity of social media has lead to the smallest, most mundane details of our lives being published for the world!  Do we do this because we believe people want to know what we are doing, every moment of the day?  Do we overshare so that we can gain approval from our friends or soon to be friends; or, are we changing how we communicate and feel like we have to share these details?  How many times have you read an update from a friend or follower and thought, “why are they sharing that” with me and the world?I believe there is a saturation point; a point where we can share too much information.  However, I like knowing what my friends are doing, and I have actually met friends for lunch or coffee unexpectedly due to both of us checking in on Foursquare.  Sharing can be good and can lead to opportunities you may not have realized. Oversharing can cause problems or potentially lead to situations that could have been avoided just by using discretion.Social media and everything it includes should be approached with two simple words: common sense.  Those are my thoughts; what say you?

Roanoke 4Square Day

Join us TODAY for the Roanoke 4Square Day!  This is a great way to promote Roanoke and a local business while networking and relaxing!

What is it??  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to “check in” on National Foursquare Day at the same location as 50+ other people.The date?Friday, April 16, 2010The location?Fork In The City at 6th and Marshall – http://www.forkinthecity.com/The time?5p-7pAnd the rewards?Drink Specials… They’ve created a drink, the “swarm” just for us…Food Specials… check in and receive 20% off your food purchaseSomething special for the Mayor of Fork In the City… a free appetizer!and?The opportunity to win the coveted “swarm” badge.oh and bragging rights, since there’s now a swarm challenge between Richmond and Roanoke… so let’s bring it…We’ll see you there!(Not sure about foursquare? Come anyway! We’ll be there to help you get set up, talk to you about it and answer any questions that we can!)

More Info: http://www.roanoketweetup.com/…

An Apology to Bev Wallace and Crafters with Love

Since August 2009, I have been fortunate enough to have an incredible friendship and relationship with Bev Wallace as well as a working relationship with her charity, Crafters with Love (CWL).  I also had the good fortune to work with the Board members for CWL.Unfortunately, I failed Bev and her incredible charity as well as let down the Board and the people that CWL serves.  This post is an attempt to apologize for that.In working with CWL, I served as President of the Board and then later as a social media advisor and fundraising director. I failed to deliver in these rolls within the charity, and in doing so I let Bev and the Board down and damaged her charity.  I apologize for doing that.My behavior style  requires accountability; I have learned this about myself after years of experience.  Sometimes I can hold my self accountable, but most of the time I require others to hold me accountable.   Bev placed the confidence in me to do what I said I was going to do, and I didn’t.  I did not hold myself accountable enough, and failed to deliver what I promised. I made commitments and promises, both personal and professional to Bev, as well as to CWL, and quite simply I failed to keep them.  Worse than that, I tried to cover my mistakes so I wouldn’t look bad to Bev and to others.  That was wrong.In leveraging my social network to be an ardent supporter and promoter of CWL, people started associating me with CWL and gave me credit for the charity and its work.  I tried to make it clear that I was only a worker for CWL and that it was Bev’s hard work and the dedication of the other Board members that fueled CWL, but I did not make it clear enough; by not making that point clear to others, I actually took credit for the charity. That was wrong as well.You reach a point in your life and maturity level as a human being that you know when you need to accept responsibility for your actions, that is what I am doing with this apology.  These were my mistakes and I am sorry for the mistakes I made, for not delivering what I promised and for trying to cover myself so that I wouldn’t look bad.To Bev, CWL, the Board Members and the supporters of Crafters with Love; I am sorry and I sincerely apologize.If you chose to not do business with me, if you chose to unfollow or unfriend me because of this, I understand.