Friday, January 30, 2009


After spending three weeks in Europe over the holidays, I came home and started pouring it on for my career. Since I enjoy it so much, I worked every day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday. My mind was clear and there seems to be so many ideas that needed to be implemented now.

The ideas flowed faster than I could put them into place. My bulletin board started to become covered with sticky notes with ideas. While out and about, my little notebook was the recipient of still more ideas.

Since Twitter was now part of my regular routine, that needed attention. Oh yes, then there was Facebook and LinkedIn. It is amazing what you learn when you click on the links people are providing, particularly on Twitter. With LinkedIn I keep up with my professional colleagues with whom I have something in common and Facebook, while much more casual, one still learns a great deal what is happening in our world.

By the end of the day, I had little energy and I was exercising. Clearly I was burning myself out and it was time for a break. Time to take day off without phones and emails.

Yesterday, I lounged in bed until I was ready to get up. Looked out and it was very foggy. Longing to see sun, I trusted that the weatherman was right and it would burn off. Picked up the house, got myself dressed in slacks and sweater I enjoyed and went out to the car. There was no plan.

While crossing the Columbia River the fog grew thicker. Finally decided to turn west and took “the road less traveled”. As the elevation increased, the fog lessened and there was sun. I drove around stopping and sometimes window-shopping wherever I wanted. There were no real great new discoveries during the course of the day. Roamed through a Powell’s Bookstore that I had not seen in Beaverton area.

Drove back into Vancouver, Washington and the fog was still thick – apparently, the sun never surfaced during the day. Came home and put in a pizza in the oven, sat back and watched a good movie. Went to bed early.

This morning the world looks so much brighter (even though we still have fog). Ideas are flowing again – yet, this time I have more energy to implement them.


Do you have white boards that are stained in your office?

Turns out plain old rubbing alcohol will clean them up quickly.

Don’t forget to sign up for my “Weekly Wisdom” on my website.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Before I left on my trip to Europe to visit my daughter, I read an article in “The Oregonian” by Shawn Donley. The title was “Upstage email, send a postcard”. He said, “A postcard, especially one that didn’t have to be shared was a big deal and made us each feel special”.

The article struck a chord with me. My daughter has always been good at sending me a postcard when she is on her journeys. This article reminded me how much a postcard from her brought a smile to my face when I opened my mailbox. I would read her note, and then look at the picture for I knew she had a reason for sending that particular card to me.

On a recent trip to Portugal, I decided to send some special people a postcard. First, there was the purchase of the “right” card to reflect an accurate picture of my journey. Then there was the matter of finding the correct postage. Often the store where you buy the postcard has postage in the drawer. You have to ask if they have postage available for it is never advertised.

Okay now you have the card with the stamp. Now where do you mail it? Not as easy as one might think. Each country has a different color for its mailboxes and they are not in what we would consider logical locations. In Portugal, I was told go by the butcher shop on the corner, turn right and the mailbox is there on the side of the building.

I was home for week and I got an email thanking me for the postcard. When I stopped in to deliver a special gift to a friend, she said with a smile “Thank you for the postcard”. No question the sending of postcards is becoming rare since you can email people from any place in the world. Yet, this little experiment proved to me Shawn was right….postcards do make one feel special.


When you are writing on your blog, write it in Word first. Then cut and paste it into your blog format. You will be very glad you did if you have ever experienced writing something for twenty minutes then losing it at the last minute.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Do you ask for help when you need it?

Just got done reading about a blogger who was frustrated with Twitter’s lack of response when he had an issue---a glitch prevented him from writing tweets to his followers. It wasn’t until he asked a man who was well- known in the Twitter Circle to help him that his issue got resolved.

There is nothing better than being able to help a person. We go about our days handling our own business and do not have a clue someone might need help. There are mind readers, yet, most of us do not happen to have such a talent.

This week I had the opportunity to have a couple of one-on-one coffee dates. My goal was to connect. As we talked, ideas started flowing and opportunities surfaced on both sides for cooperation and growth. I walked away from these meetings smiling for my energy was high and was pleased to take away new learnings.

Back in my office, I wrote down some of the “good ideas”. I sent off a note to one of people I had met with this week. I asked for help in clarifying something I was considering putting into a new seminar. Soon there was a reply and the sentence, “Kathy, thanks for asking me to help”.

Instead of thinking you are infringing on people by asking for help, think of it as a way of honoring another person. You are honoring them by seeking their advice, counsel, or physical help. My bet is that will be more than happy to help you out……just ask.


Working on your taxes? Here is a link that will help you determine the value of goods you have donated.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


As the nation gets ready for the oath of office of our new President, I cannot help but think of when my family and I attended both President Carter’s and President Reagan’s inaugurations. Since I couldn’t remember the dates, I Googled the dates this morning and realized that Reagan’s was twenty years ago.

At the time, we lived about 60 miles out of Washington DC in the lovely college community of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The town was three miles from the famous Antietam Battlefield – considered the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

Our tickets, which seated us in front of the Capitol, were obtained from Senator Byrd the Senator of our State of West Virginia. All we had to do was ask for tickets.

For Carter’s Inauguration it was cold, like today in Washington, D.C. We took the train in and armed ourselves with thermos bottle of hot chocolate and every warm piece of clothing we could muster up in this normally temperate climate.

Reagan’s Inauguration was marked by brilliant sunshine. The mood was filled with excitement as we were waiting to hear if the hostages had been released. Right after Reagan took the oath, the hostages were freed. Yellow balloons were released and the crowd cheered.

As I watch activities on television today, I feel so honored that my family has had the opportunity to experience this amazing tradition. No question this is a historic day. There is already a little lump in my throat. It is wonderful so many people can experience this day in person. Even if this day didn’t include all kinds of firsts, it will forever be etched in peoples’ minds of the people who made the journey to witness this time in history.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The suitcases are unpacked. Most of the Belgium chocolate delivered to grateful friends. Groceries have been brought in and the house is cleaned. Time to get the focus on plans for 2009.

Before I left on my three-week journey, I took twelve folders and wrote each month on them. Things that I absolutely want to do, have found their way into one of the folders. When I opened up January, I smiled for there were reminders of things to do that I might have forgotten. Looks like this is going to work great for me.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I have opened a whole new world by getting active in "social networking". As one Tweeter said "information overload." So obviously one of the keys to productivity this year is managing my time. Social networking is addictive -- and you are never done.

Starting to work on my networking book and have already decided not to write much about "social networking". Technology is changing rapidly. The book would be outdated before it is even printed.

The handwritten thank you note waiting for me in my mail brought a smile to my face--nothing like the personal note.


If you want new business tips that works, read a book written by Og Mandino. Delightful way to learn "little things" that make a difference.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Trading in 90,000 miles for a roundtrip first-class ticket to Europe was worth every mile. This was the first time I have ever gone to Europe in first-class. Talk about making it easier on one. I am writing this 32,000 miles up in the sky.

I learned from my daughter that the first course is not starter or appetizer as we call it in the States. An entrĂ©e is the first thing served. In first class, smoked salmon, delicious fish compote, fresh dark roll, and a glass of wine were served. I won’t even go into what ate for the meal. Let’s just say I am not hungry.

I have consumed more champagne/wine already this year than I normally drink in six months. Okay I bought into the European idea that red wine is good for your health.

Family time revolves around meals. It is not unusual to have four courses for large gatherings. Sprinkle that with LOTS of French and you get the idea that for a non-French speaker the evening can seem quite long.

Motorways --- a smog alert can trigger 90 kmh (not sure that is right—our equivalent of mph) speed limits. Locals are convinced it is a way the police find a way to pick up extra revenue because few people actually obey the speed limit and speeding tickets are common during a smog alert.

Haven’t figured out why European showers have the showers that fit into a clip at the top and you have the coil to deal with. Even worse, it flips out of your hand ending up in a newly cleansed bathroom.

Kitchen appliances have directions written in French. You thought different microwaves were complicated in the United States---you haven’t seen anything until you try to warm something in a French or Portuguese kitchen.

People are truly kind and are anxious to show off their country to visitors. Even though I have traveled to visit my daughter in Belgium many times, it is always an adventure—this trip was no exception.

By the way, my suitcase is loaded with Belgium chocolate. I’m thinking people will be happy to see me for the next few days.


This trip reminded me about the importance of learning another language. I mentioned it before, yet, going to give you the site again
I will be learning French this year. My daughter was impressed when I pronounced something correctly. Livemocha has gotten me started on the right track.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


It is an adventure going to the grocery store, here on the southern shores of Portugal. In the United States, we may have 40 different kinds of dishwashing soap. In the stores here, maybe 10 different kinds at the most.

On the other hand, if you are looking for wine, the choices are overwhelming. Imagine an isle in a large American supermarket running the full length of the store. Well, here I saw different kinds of Portuguese wine indicated by region the entire length of the aisle. Various Port wines lined half the next.

My daughter and I finally resorted to choosing wine based on the looks of its label. It then became a contest to see who could find the better wine. The first two bottles, she won—it seems she knew that in Europe that the years 2005 and 2007 were good years for wine. Unfortunately, for me I didn’t know that and chose a bottle from 2006.

Like cheese? Well this is the place to come. Again, the deli is piled with cheeses from all over Europe. Our evening meal normally consists of wine, cheese, and hard salami that is sliced very thin.

Now for the truly outstanding treat. In December and January, the trees are covered with ripe oranges and lemons. Families pick their fruit and bag them in ten-pound bags. As soon you leave the city proper, you can start seeing piles of fresh oranges at the end of driveways waiting for someone like me to stop and make a purchase. The bag with at least 30 oranges costs two Euro or almost $3. Now if you really want to start your morning out right, have a glass of Portugal’s freshly squeezed orange juice.


If you travel a great deal, start a file system where you can put restaurant cards, articles and attraction ideas. Since I live in the United States, I have broken up the country into regions. When I am heading to a specific region, I pull out the file.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Have you written your goals for the year yet?

We write our goals on a slip of paper and toss it into our “important drawer or important file”. If the sheet doesn’t find its way to one of these two places, it is often buried beneath the stacks on our desk.

Chris Brogan is one of the prolific writers on Twitter. He has provided a useful and easy way to remember goals. Check out his blog at

My three words for the year are: Believe, Build and Write.


Make sure when you are out-and-about you write down your great ideas. Even when you say it to yourself three times, a great idea can escape your mind. The more you open your mind to what is going on around you, the quicker great ideas flow to you.