Saturday, May 26, 2012

Networking is Getting to Be a Lot of FUN!

I've been attending various networking meetings lately, learning new things and meeting some truly terrific people.

I started visiting a networking group (very tentatively) back in October or November. Back then, I simply put my toe in and watched for a while,except when required to stand and say what I offer as a businesswoman.

I'm not a gregarious person by nature (or if I am, it was trained out of me at an early age--those of you who have been reading my blog for years know all about that!)so deciding to start networking was traumatic and scary at first. I read BOOK YOURSELF SOLID by Michael Port before setting out so I'd be going in for all the right reasons and so I'd know what to do and how to behave when I got there.

Now (after several months) I feel a lot more comfortable and can be myself, for the most part, and contribute at these things. And because I am, I'm actually forging some great strategic partnerships and an extended referral network that is beginning to mutually bless us in several ways.

I've had the big tree in our front yard trimmed back by Rafael Contreras (R&S Construction in Federal Way) after hearing a testimonial about his integrity and diligence from Phyllis Kaplan (Stimulate Your Economy). He did a fantastic job and I feel completely comfortable recommending him to anyone else who needs a great contractor. Everyone else who has ever used him in the networking group gives him similar high marks. To hear us tell it, the man walks on water... He really is a terrific man to have taking care of your contracting needs. (Tree trimming is a sideline service. He's usually busy building and remodeling homes, erecting gazebos, and doing other outstanding work.)

Phyllis Kaplan (Stimulate Your Economy) is a vivacious, engaging individual who appears at trade shows, county fairs and other large public forums as the "face" of various companies. She also offers relational training to individuals and companies whose employees need to interact with their customers and clients face-to-face. She always wanted to be an actress, so she's completely in her element when she's meeting and greeting people and demonstrating wares, techniques, or anything else. She even teaches canvassing, cold-calling, and how to transform gatekeepers into allies. She's worth her weight in gold to the companies she serves and advises. Her tagline ("Face-to-face matters, because you can't shake hands with a screen)" perfectly mirrors what she offers. She offers quality representation and representational training.

And this week I took a 90 minute class with Joyce Singleton (Referral Institute, Tacoma) that covered the differences between a lead and a referral, and much, much more! I want to take some of her other classes, too. She is a wealth of valuable insights and knowledge.

Another Joyce--Joyce Joneschiet of Aging in Place--helps Baby Boomers and their parents stay in their homes longer by showing them how to adapt their residences to make them elder-friendly, safe and accessible. She loves what she does and adores older folks, so she is living out her passion, too.

And there are others, too numerous to mention in a single blog entry. Perhaps I'll throw a spotlight on more of them as the weeks pass.

All of these people are passionate about what they do; as passionate as I am about what I do. Having 1-on-1's with each of them and getting to know them better makes all the difference in the world. And hearing other peoples' "shout outs" about what others in the networking group have done for their own businesses helps us feel good about referring our own friends, family and neighbors to them. (A referral is someone you're willing recommend to others; your own integrity is on the line when you make a referral. A lead doesn't always meet that standard.)

It's just after midnight on Saturday morning. I haven't made much money this week, but I have had a truly successful week in a lot of other ways. The money will come as a result of it.

I'm just days away from presenting at Casey's school (Hunt Elementary in Puyallup). I'm creating a mental outline so I remember what I need to say to encourage the young writers in her class. Wendy will videotape the event so I can use it later. (I mentioned this in an earlier log entry, I think.) Looking forward to it... but I'd sure like to find an appropriate, good-looking, writer-type outfit to wear that day that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I think I'll visit a thrift store and see if I can find something "artsy" or avant garde that will still be "me"...

Got any ideas? Let me know. Wanna take me shopping (if you're local) and dress me? I could really use a wardrobe consultant right about now!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confirmed: I'll Be Talking About Writing and the Writing Life with Casey's Class


Wendy just called to say I'll be talking to Casey's class about writing and the writing life early in June. That's ENORMOUSLY exciting to me. I'm really looking forward to it. There is so much more need for writers now than there was when I was a kid... today's kids who love to write won't have to worry about IF they'll be able to find work, as long as they work hard to get really, really good at it; there will be plenty of opportunities out there.

I wish my newest book would be out by then, but Casey can take it later on and share it with the kids who show a real interest. It'll be helpful to them.

In Other News:

I'm reading C. Hope Clark's new book,LOW COUNTRY BRIBE, and freaking out because I haven't been able to finish it in one sitting. Deadlines have interfered. I usually don't read fiction, but in this case, I'm delighted I am. It's a real page turner. I told Hope I might have a stroke before it's all over. Just when you think the main character will get some relief, something else happens. I can see this as a movie. It probably will be someday! Yes, I encourage you to get it and read it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Weekend Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

I'm going to take in a movie and a meal with a good friend this weekend. It's time to get out and stretch my legs a little! I've been sitting on this chair at this desk for what seems like "forever!" That's not true, though. I've been out and about, off an on, all week long, making business connections... a few minutes hour there... I come and go like a leaf in the wind--but it's all bearing fruit.

My publisher and I are reaching out to well-known pastors (as mentioned in my last blog entry) to see if any of them are willing to endorse SETTLE FOR BEST: SATISFY THE WINNER YOU WERE BORN TO BE. I already have five endorsements from other folks (*sigh*)and expect a few more before the book goes to press. We were thinking of releasing it June 1st but now we're holding off to make sure the pastors and other folks have a chance to weigh in and possibly get into the book via endorsement...

In Other News:

Sometime in June, Laverne and Shirley (my two goats) will be joined by two Nigerian Dwarf Goats, two wethers. Jackie and I have a friend who needs to find new homes for them. We've been looking for--and wanting--goats that are small enough to be petted by the wee ones who visit us regularly on weekends and some evenings. Laverne and Shirley weigh close to 200 pounds each now, and they can get TOO playful and rowdy--goats tend to bounce sideways almost as often as they bounce forward, which can inadvertently hurt even an adult, so we're happy to take in some goats that will remain short and sweet. Our friend assures us these two neutered boys will be fine with small children--and I've read up on the breed and seen written confirmation: Nigerian Dwarf Goats are often taken to hospitals as therapy animals. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Casey's class is beginning a series on writing, illustrating, editing and publishing. (Casey is my grandniece--Phil and Wendy's oldest daughter, 12). She has invited me to speak to her class sometime soon. This is going to be a hoot! I did the same thing once before, years ago, when Amber White invited me to her class to talk about writing, and we had a very good time.

Casey herself is quite the writer. She's also a voracious reader, which should go with the territory--but all too often doesn't. I have never understood how people think they can become good or great writers without reading good and great writing. It blows me away! Without investing time reading (even if only for the sheer joy of reading), it's the equivalent of expecting a brain surgeon to be able to pick up a scalpel and dive right into the first available brain without serious repercussions! Malcolm Gladwell writes in THE TIPPING POINT that to become an expert in any realm you have to invest 10,000 hours reading about it, studying it and doing it. I agree! I passed that milestone decades ago and I'm STILL learning things about writing(to my complete and utter joy)...

Thursday, May 17, 2012