Succeeding as part of A TEAM!

The other day, sifting through emails, I pressed the “delete button” over and over. I ALMOST deleted this article, “Becoming Interdependent as A TEAM” from the LeadershipNow™ website. As I started reading, my first thought was back to my childhood where my mother taught us (four kids) to work as a team, stop complaining!

This bird photo is perfect in depicting how a team starts out. There were four kids in my family. Do you see how the birds are discussing WHO will DO WHAT. That’s how we were. If any of you have siblings or endured meetings for group projects at school or work, you know how meetings work. Someone always stands out as the leader, and there are one or two people who remain silent. They either want to play to win OR they are extremely lazy, nothing motivates them. They are dead weight.

My mother, tired of our annoying complaining, taught us (four kids) to work like a Navy Seal team. No one complains, everyone pulls their weight, because as children our goal was “getting to the beach.” If my father saw a lot of complaining, he gave us more chores, which meant no beach time. If we worked as a team, happy smiles, strong work ethic, we got to the beach by Noon.

This is where Jason Caldwell’s article comes in. Caldwell shares how he and his crew team, the American Spirit, worked as a team to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to win the 2016 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and set a world record.

What Caldwell says, and I agree with, is that in order to build a successful team, you have to build TRUST and understand what motivates each individual team member. It’s not just about the main goal, you need to care about each person’s individual goal(s) and make sure you are aligned at all times. If you are out of sync, you cannot win.

GREAT ARTICLE!

Let’s find and build a winning team!

Sports and being a successful LEADER

SuccessWe are in the last quarter of the year. If you are like me, you are trying to find that “last bit of motivation” that will catapult you to the next level.

We still have time to make great strides. Here’s an article from Fast Company, “Watching a baseball game taught me more about leadership presence than any self-help book.

If you are looking for some quick motivation, take a few minutes and read this article. While I am not a baseball fan, I know enough about the sport to appreciate the author’s (Anett Grant) clever analogy between baseball and developing strong leadership skills. It’s a mind set, no question about it. Having confidence is “key.”

Here’s to finishing the year strong!

Hard work, trust and faith — we will get there!

Travel – self guided walking tours, TRY GPSmyCITY App

GPSMYWALK AppI’m heading to Munich soon. While I have been there before, I was interested in exploring different areas of the city. As I researched places to see, I came across GPSmyCITY App, which offers self guided city walks.

I haven’t tried this yet, but I thought I would share it with you. It was a brilliant idea. Bypass normal tours and with this APP, do the walk yourself. On their website, they have different tutorials that teach you how to use the App, it seems easy. You can download different walks to use “off-line,” which was great, because my phone drains the battery very quickly and in Europe it is hard to find places to charge your phone.

They also offer articles on each city with the usual, i.e. best restaurants, cafes, museums, historical sites, products to buy, markets to visit, nightlife venues and more. They have self guided tours of 1,000+ locations all over the world.

The reviews for this App are mixed, some people love it, others don’t. Their location is out of Las Vegas. If anyone has heard of and/or used this App, let us know.

Happy touring!

Writing inspiration from a storm…

LightningLast night I heard thunder and saw lightening. As a child, when a storm came over Lake Michigan, we rushed outside the house to clear the leaves out of the drains, so there wouldn’t be a flood.

For a writer, a storm brings creativeness in a different way.  If you write, you know what I mean. We feel the need to hunker down, stay indoors and write whatever comes to mind. A storm allows deep emotions to come out in our characters.

I’m off to write. HOW will my character make it out of the…

You see, there are so many possibilities!

Writing – Choosing a character’s name, go to the “Fantasy Name Generators” site

Fantasy Name Generator 1How do we come up with strong memorable character names for our stories? That’s the dilemma I was facing. Of course, I went to Google. My goal was to come up with a cute sheep name for my children’s book. Finding the right name, not easy.

My first searches were BORING. I pulled up names like “Billy Goat,” already used, “Andy,” not my idea of a cute little sheep name. Wooly, already taken. This wasn’t good. I wasn’t getting anywhere except frustrated, but I couldn’t give up.

Fantasy Name Generator 2

I kept scrolling down the search page and a miracle happened. I found a site called, “Fantasy Name Generators.” Now, we were in business. I typed in sheep names. The names this site generated were different, comical, and certainly memorable.

My happiness factor went from zero to over 200. However, as I read the name choices a different direction to my story would start to form in my mind. For example, see the name “Thunder,” I imagined my book taking a whole new direction with that name. My little “Thunder” sheep would be in a storm with an earthquake.

NO, NO, NO – I told myself, stick with the original story, THAT was not the right name, but I liked the strength in “Thunder.” Back to generating a new set of names. I clicked “Get male names,” and “Coffee, Smokey, Rowdy, Rock and Walnut” came up. Super funny. I would NEVER have imagined names like this on my own.

Fantasy Name Generator 3

I scrolled down by accident and found this “Pet / Companion Name Generators” section. NOW WHAT, do I add a pet companion for my little sheep? Again, I am a writer, my mind was all over the place (a bat, a cricket, a goat?). NO, NO, NO… I reminded myself, stick with the original story. No pet companion this time, maybe in the future.

Great site. If you need a character name, give it a try! It’s also good for generating story ideas. I’m still thinking about the name “Thunder,” there has to be a story there.

Designing Dragon stamps & pop-up book… What could be more fun?

854649F9-213F-4961-B2E3-0D8142F26F93I went to buy some stamps at the Post Office. When I got to the counter, the clerk asked me what type of stamp I would like. I asked what she had. She opened her binder display and said, “Flowers, American flag, DRAGONS…”

Dragon stamps, at the post office?

Apparently, at the APS National Summer Convention Stamp Show last year, USPS unveiled these special mythological stamps. There were four designs for the FOREVER stamp.

Greg Breeding, Art Director for the U.S. Post Office designed the stamps. He worked with artist, Don Clark of Invisible Creature studio, who created the digital illustrations.

At first glance, some of the dragons appear hidden; however, as you look more closely, you can see the dragons. Here is a description for each stamp:

  • A purple dragon, orange wings, black armor on its back snaking around a white castle.
  • A green fire-breathing dragon towering over a medieval-inspired castle.
  • A wingless orange dragon weaving its way around a pagoda.
  • A black dragon, green wings/armor on its back swooping past a ship on the sea.

In addition to the stamps, Breeding and Clark also created a pop-up book to be sold at the U.S. Post Office. It’s interesting to read “how” they created the pop-up book.

Thanks to the Dragon stamps, I learned something about our U.S. Post Office. I didn’t realize we had an Art Director on staff. Most people are paying bills online now, so we don’t need many stamps or think about stamp designs anymore.

Glad I had to mail a package,

Dragon Stamps – what a surprise!

Brought me back to “Dungeons & Dragons” days…

Wedgewood looking for apprentices, keep “Made in England” alive

Wedgewood China

For years now, most companies, in all industries, have been going to Asia to produce their products. While I understand the need to cut costs, it’s also been sad to see Italian clothing/purses/table linens being made in China. Same with other products that used to be made in their original countries, everything is being outsourced to save money. In doing this, we’ve seen quality go down. There are pros/cons on each side.

It was with great interest that I read an article in Tableware International, “Wedgewood Investing New Apprentices.” Apparently, there is a demand for products with the “Made in England” label. They are recruiting apprentices and I wanted to pass this news on. The issue right now is an aging workforce and a lack of skilled laborers.

In America, the cost of College leaves students in great debt. We are taught that unless a person has a College degree, they cannot find a job. This means that trade jobs, apprenticeships, etc. are frowned upon. We need to change this mindset, so that young people can pursue jobs that they really enjoy without a stigma attached to it. Not everyone is cut out to be a student. Most students upon graduation end up working in jobs outside of their degree, unless they studied to be a lawyer, doctor, pilot, which is very degree specific.

Would love to see a revival of companies taking pride in their product, going back to the days where “quality” was critical to the brand. I am going to keep my eye on Wedgewood to see how this new apprenticeship program is working. In this tough economy and with College degrees becoming so expensive, young people need options on pursuing careers.