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Category: Community

Your True Circle Of Influence

Social media provides a platform for us to extend our circle of influence to people we’ve never met in countries we’ve never been to or sometimes even heard about.

But are we really extending some that hasn’t been perfected at it core?

What’s your relationship like with those in your household and how does your life affect them positively? What about close friends? Daily acquaintances? how do you impact their lives?

Do you give freely? Love freely? Help without expectation of something in return? How well do you know your neighbour(s)? Do you even know your their name?

Your true circle of influence starts at your core. Ground zero. Those closest to you. Social media and other alike tools are an extension of who we already are. It was never intended to be a starting point.

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Tell Your Story Often

Blogs became popular in the late 2000’s because of the innate ability to provide a platform for sharing personal stories.

These stories were often reflective. Individuals detailing unexpected challenges and how they eventually conquered them. Sometimes it was just about being in the challenge and not knowing how to get out of it .

They were (and still are) appealing because they were personal. Relatable. These stories put us at ease because in that monument we realized we weren’t the only ones facing daily challenges.

Personal blogs have been replaced by content marketing strategies. Companies that do this well are good at sharing stories that touch us on a deeper level than just letting us know why their product or service is the one we should buy.

Whether in business or life, telling your story often is more beneficial then not telling it. Sharing the bad as well as the good reminds us all that journey to success is not without times we’d rather forget.

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Purposeful Connections

It’s impossible to believe that every contact we network with will turnout to be a key contact down the road.

Not all good conversations translate into beneficial relationships. Some may be just for a moment, brining enlightenment to the vision you have for your life.

Other connections will be for only a specific amount of time. A week, a month, maybe longer.

And then, there are ones we decide not to follow through on and that’s okay.

We are not built with the capacity to make every connection a long term one. The key is to watch actions, consistent achievements and actions towards others as an indicator beyond just words from a conversation at a networking event.

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You’re Customers Should Love You

About 8 years ago I had a scheduled quarterly business review with a major client from the the company I worked for. The meeting just happened to be on my birthday.

When I arrived at the client’s office and began prepping for the meeting, 2 of the client’s employees who I deal with frequently approached the boardroom where I was located with a cupcake in hand.

A few seconds later they were serenading happy birthday. I blew out the candle and after some pleasantries we eventually continued with the meeting.

Some might think gestures like this should be offered the other way around. Make no mistake we always take care of our customers. But when customers reciprocate in the same way then there’s something you’re doing right in the relationship.

This only happens when you see your customer more than just a transaction to hit monthly revenue goals.

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Leaders of the New School

Over 5-6 years ago my wife and I decided to home school our 4 kids. it was an amazing experience, but one that wasn’t without hard work.

Due to my wife’s business exploding (she was doing most of the schooling and running her business at the same time) we decided to send them back in to public shooling.

Today all of North America is homeschooling their kids. Parents everywhere are challenged with keeping their kids up to date with the school assignments sent remotely by teachers.

But what I loved about home school is it opens up a whole new way of viewing education for our kids. We have the opportunity with our children today to blend the textbook work with practical life work. Teaching them how to be resourceful and learn topics like budgeting, car maintenance, Home repairs, produce gardening, cooking and even mindfulness. All of which hold significant value to their daily lives.

The days of quarantine have shown us life could possibly never be the same again even after this pandemic is over. North American school boards may need to rethink how they conduct the academic year going forward. If they are unwilling to be innovative in how they are teaching our children after this crisis, the percentage of homeschooled kids could rise exponentially over the next decade.

We parents need to start seeing ourselves as the leaders to our children’s educational future and not leave it in the hands of government appointed officials if we ever expect them to be creative free thinkers.

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How Are You Connecting?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to re-evaluate how we socially connect during this period of social distancing.

Casual water cooler conversations at work have been replaced by pre-scheduled Zoom or Skype calls. Catching up with friends has been regulated in the form of playing games on the now popular House Party app.

Those are just two examples. What about our faith-based communities? The church I attend has skillfully set up Zoom and Instagram Live sessions with my teens and the children’s ministry pastor has reached out multiple times to connect to see how we are doing.

We are all tasked with discovering new ways to connect socially. This can seem challenging at times. When that happens we need to remind ourselves that there are many who don’t have a regular circle to connect with and could use a random text, call or Zoom from us.

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Social Responsibility for Underappreciated Workers

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about what’s considered to be an essential service, and what’s considered as non-essential.

One of the most often overlooked positions in our economy is truck drivers. No one would debate whether or not truck drivers are essential. If you brewed your morning coffee in the comfort of your own home this morning you can thank a trucker for getting it to your local grocery store.

It’s always been a thankless job. During this ongoing pandemic, their ability to deliver our daily necessities is what is holding our fragile economy together. Yet there continues to be somewhat of an overreaction to precautionary measures for many shippers and receivers. For example, drivers being denied access to onsite washrooms, etc.

As understandable as these protocols are for health and safety, it just adds another layer to why many young professions pass on the idea of getting into trucking. The trucking industry was and is already dealing with the high average age of drivers before the coronavirus outbreak started.

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s revealed there’s a high number of under-appreciated roles in our society today, and how critical these roles are to preserving our way of life.

Tim Horton’s just announced it will open over 400 locations along Canadian highways to truck drivers, providing access to front counter service for food and drinks and access to washrooms that will be sanitized every 15 minutes. The company is also in the early stages of rolling out a new curb-side mobile ordering system to support them.

It’s a small gesture, but one that will show front line supply chain workers the appreciation they deserve.

There have been similar stories like the New England Patriots using their team plane to fly in 1.2 N95 masks from China, with the majority going to frontline medical workers. Other major corporations have followed suit in other ways.

Cashiers, garbage collectors, package handlers all can’t stay in quarantine like the rest of us. It’s our social responsibility to support them during this time. Even a small gesture goes a long way in making that happen.

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The Innovation We Need Now

I always loved the Dyson vacuum commercials growing up.

They changed the game on how cleaning your home should be, focusing on making it more intuitive to how we move and where we actually need to clean.

It was innovative. They set themselves apart from their competitors with their design and high price point. They knew their market and never shifted from it.

Today, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve switched gears to provide help in light of the shortage in medical equipment.

In just 10 days Dyson has designed a unique ventilator specifically for COVID-19 patients. Here are the details from Inc.com:

“According to a letter from the company’s founder to its employees, James Dyson says the company’s goal was “to design and build an entirely new ventilator, The CoVent. This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently, and at volume. It is designed to address the specific clinical needs of Covid-19 patients, and it is suited to a variety of clinical settings.

Working with The Technology Partnership, the company says it is working on how to quickly produce the ventilators once they are approved by the U.K. government. Dyson also says it will donate an additional 5,000 units to different countries. Those ventilators will come in handy in places that are quickly running out of beds. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a life and death effort, as hospitals have become crowded with Covid-19 patients.

Dyson has caught on to what real innovation looks like. They saw a need and utilized their creative genius to create not just a cool product, but one that can save thousands of lives. And can be produced quickly!

It can be a piece of equipment that can save lives. Updating supply chains to get vital supplies to the most vulnerable. Improving communication technology to expedite the flow of critical health information.

Real innovation focuses on the human needs of the moment. Because what’s more important than the ‘quality of life’ of those around us.

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Practice Being Fully Present

Life as we know it has slowed down. Some have said for the better. Others have balked at that notion saying it shouldn’t take a pandemic to get society to stop and smell the roses.

But the reality is we have no excuse to be fully present to our spouses, our kids, our friends, our neighbours, or anyone who could use a listening ear.

This isn’t an assumption that all of us are in the same situation regarding extra time. Some still work on the front lines and are working additonal hours, like our healthcare professionals. Supply chain positions like truck drivers could possibly working overtime as they are essential to the economy.

There are however a lot of us who no longer have to catch a bus for work. Social gatherings have been all but eliminated. Our weekly schedules have been reduced to only necessary trips to the grocery store. In others words, we now have time to authentically listen.

Deeper conversations could become more common place. Fact is they should have been all along. I’m guilty as anyone else to block out what someone is saying during a conversation only to think about what I’m going to say next.

This won’t be easy, but we’ll discover spending authentic time with those around us will actually help us heal through this outbreak.

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Creative Connecting

A few days ago I wrote about thanking the individual unique content creators around the web for keep us entertained during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Social media has always been a hub for actors, filmmakers, musicians, speakers and comedians to make their mark and share their gifts with the world. Gifts often rejected by large production companies or taken for granted by those closest to them.

But in light of recent events, creativity of online content is evolving. Maybe even maturing.

The global social distancing directive has opened doors for more creative connecting between us. We’ve gone from merely consuming content to now using it as a means to connect with each other in a deeper way online.

Yes connecting over social media content is nothing new, but the spirit in which we are connecting is new found territory.

Just tagging each other on content to consume has been replaced by daring or in-listing each other to participate in different quarantine challenges.

Women have been challenging other women to post headshots of themselves representing strength, beauty and resilience. Not surprisingly Men have regulated each other to the more primal endeavour of a ‘Push Up Challenge’.

Having multiple gigs canceled, musicians have come together to challenge each other to cover their songs through online posts. And of course teenagers have come up with some unique challenge that only their generation would understand.

Through all of this there’s a sense of beauty to what’s actually happening online. Social media has finally become the place to truly be social. We are posting less about what we have or what we’ve accomplished. Connecting relationally has become our priority.

The Coronavirus has pushed our humanity into reset mode. We just might find that the world ahead of us might be better than the one we leave behind.

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