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Choosing a one word resolution

Did you start this year off by making new year’s resolutions? Like most people, they were probably about quitting smoking, losing weight, spending more time with family, or improving some quality about yourself and your life.

But did you know that 9 out of 10 people will fail in keeping their resolutions? 50% of people don’t even make it to the end of January…

I say that not to depress you, but to offer you an alternative.

The bestselling author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon - someone I look to for inspiration - is challenging his followers to pick one word to define their year, and not specific or complicated resolutions that you might not keep.

His words over the past several years - Purpose, Surrender, Serve, Pray, rise, forgive, still and connected.

Those mean different things to different people, but the idea is pick a guiding principle that you want to live by that year, and stick to it. Maybe you’ll lose weight, maybe you wont, but if you live your life with purpose, or you live to serve - that’s something you can do every single day.

Gordon says most years, he doesn’t choose the word - it chooses him… Something in his journey leading into the new year becomes obvious to him, and that’s how he arrives at the word.

So think back on 2018, and look forward to 2019 — what one word will you choose to guide you through this year?

I’d love to hear the word you picked in the comments below, and as soon as I pick mine, I’ll make sure to share it with all of you.

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Santa is an inspiring leader

It’s the holiday season, so I thought it would be fun to take a slight detour this week, and talk about Santa Clause… Yep, the jolly fat one with the white beard and the reindeer!

I never gave Santa a lot of thought, but Jon Gordon, an author and motivational speaker who inspires me posted this on twitter — 7 reasons why Santa Clause is a good leader.

So let’s go through them…

First, he spreads laughter and cheer… other than the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge, who doesn’t like being happy?

Santa also encourages his reindeer… Ya know, on dasher, on dancer… That kinda thing.

He rewards good behavior, and doesn’t tolerate the bad behavior, just like a good leader.

He also empowers his workforce - the elves - because if he doesn’t who’s going to make all of those toys before the big night?

He’s humble and hungry… I mean.. I can put down a lot of cookies and milk, but at some point, I’d hit a wall.

And most importantly, he inspires all of us, young and old, to believe.

Aren’t all of these qualities that a good leader demonstrates?

So in that spirit, thanks Santa Clause for being such a positive example, and thank you for checking out this week’s episode.

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Avoiding the Holiday Stress

The holidays are upon us, and in addition to turkey and stuffing, you’re probably also thinking about the stress of having family members over.

Here are just a couple ways to help keep the holiday stress to a minimum.

First, don’t gorge yourself on holiday foods.

Sure, we all love deviled eggs, and sweet potato casserole, and those amazing pies, but the more you eat, the more sluggish you’ll feel, and that can make you more irritable.

A better choice — eat all of those foods, but maybe not all at one time.

If you insist on eating all of it - let’s be honest, I probably will — try and take a walk afterwards.

This helps you not only work off a few of those thousands of calories you just ate, but it also helps get you away from the chaos for a few minutes.

You don’t have to be rude, just say you have to walk the dog… and if you don’t have a dog, well…. just tell your family you’re watching the neighbors dog while they’re away!

Finally, do your best to let it go…

Sure, Aunt Millie drives your crazy… Your parents will probably ask you to help setup their new tv, and your kids are climbing up the walls… but family is family, and the holidays are just a few days out of the year when everybody gets together, so keep it light, and leave the big drama for another time.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

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Black Friday Tips Abound

This week we’re talking about Black Friday deals. I have a few tips to share from consumer expert Clark Howard on how to get the best deals, and beat the crowds.

First, figure out what you really want.

All of the Black Friday sales flyers come out a week or two ahead of time, so think about what you really want, and make a plan to get it — even if that means shopping at 2 in the morning.

And figure out which things you really HAVE to have… Sure, that slow cooker may be $2 cheaper on Black Friday, but unless you’re willing to fight somebody for it, spend the extra two bucks and get it later.

Look for things that have HUGE savings, and aim for those.

If you want even more discounts going into Black Friday, check out sites like, which sell discounted gift cards to the stores you’re shopping anyway. Cards for stores like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart can be bought at a discount ahead of time, and will help save you even more cash on Black Friday.

Next up — if you’re not getting heavy stuff, skip the shopping cart. Navigating carts around crowded stores with small aisles is tough on a good day… on Black Friday, it can be nearly impossible.

And finally, have backup plans… If the item you want is already sold out, either have a backup store online where you can get it, or have a backup gift idea in mind.

Nothing is more frustrating that watching the guy in front of you get the last cheap TV, so don’t let it break your heart.

And finally, a personal tip from Clark’s mom — don’t wear red to Target on Black Friday… You’re probably going to get a few questions about where the discounted microwaves are.

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Just be kind!

In the age of social media, it’s easy to look at peoples’ carefully curated lives online, and believe that their lives are going amazingly well, but it’s always important to remember that everyone is struggling with something.

Maybe they have family members who are ill, maybe they dislike their jobs, or maybe their marriage isn’t as rosy at it seems.

I say this not to bring you down but to ask you to remember to be kind to other people.

If somebody snaps at you too quickly, is quick to judge, or just isn’t very friendly, ask yourself what may be going on in their lives that causes them to be that way… And if that person is a colleague, a friend or a partner — ask if you can help.

And if the grumpy one is you, take a hard look at why, and if you can, make changes in your life that help you be happier.

The author Jon Gordon, somebody I look to for inspiration, recently announced he was suffering from some medical issues. His point in telling his readers about it was not to complain, but to underline this point: While we may not be able to control our circumstances, we can control our response to them.

It’s an important lesson to remember, and one I hope you carry with you this week.

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Making your home smarter

This week we’re talking about travel gadgets… And specifically, Smart Home tech that helps you stay connected while you’re on the road.

One of my favorite new types of gadgets is the connected doorbell. The most popular ones are the Ring Video Doorbell, and the Nest Hello.

Both of these little gadgets replace your current doorbell, which does nothing but ring inside your house!

These video doorbells send you an alert on your smartphone when somebody rings the bell, allows you to see video of who’s out there, and even talk back to them if you’re not home.

They both run about 200-bucks, and the Nest Hello connects to your existing doorbell wiring. The Ring Video Doorbell makes both hard-wired and battery powered options…

Next up, the connected thermostats. The most popular is also made by Nest, and allows you to control both your heat and A/C from afar. It also learns your habits, and automatically adjusts the temperature when you’re not home to save on energy costs.

If you’re on your way back from a trip, log on once your flight lands, and start cooling the house down… or heating it up…. It’ll be nice and ready by the time you get home.

The Nest Thermostat starts at 169 bucks, and is compatible with most existing thermostat wiring.

Finally this week, smart switches.

There are lots of different brands out there — Belkin WeMo, TP Link, Lutron — but they all do the same thing. Allow you to turn on and off lights, and other plugin devices remotely.

This is handy if you’re across the room, or across the globe… allowing you to turn lights on and off to make it look like you’re home, turning the radio on for your dogs, or just turning on the fan before you go to sleep.

Most of these smart switches are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa system and Google Home, which makes them even more convenient. Control your lights and appliances with your voice, simply by talking into your smart speaker.

We’ve come along way from The Clapper, haven’t we?

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