What I learned from Taboo?

Here’s a thought for your next meeting. Bring a board game.

For as long as i’ve been managing sales/marketing people I’ve been bringing the game Taboo to my yearly training sessions.

Just in case you haven’t played, here’s how it works. There are cards with words on them. One word is the word you are trying to get your team to guess. The other words are words you can’t say in order to get them to guess. Those words are “taboo”.

Here’s a sample card:

I actually got this card today. I started off by naming tools like hammer, nail, drill, etc. My team named every tool out there. EXCEPT A WRENCH. My first thought was “What is seriously wrong with these people? It’s so obvious”

But, we were competing and I wasn’t going to lose. So, i had to switch gears. And in me switching tactics; therein lies the whole point of the exercise.

Often in business we are so sure that the way we are communicating makes perfect sense and so often, the people we are trying to connect with have no clue what we are trying to say. That’s b/c we assume everything thinks like us and wants to be communicated in the same way we would. 

This game forces you to try another approach. Either that or you get a very annoying buzzer up in your face.

Today, we were just playing a game but what if in business, or in life, people were open to changing their tactics to better help the customer, your spouse, your friend, your family, etc understand what you mean? What if we all realized there is more than just your way of conveying a point?

How different would the results be?

What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know

So, many years ago a boss drew out the following sketch on a piece of paper. To date, it was one of the most eye-opening lessons i’ve ever learned. So simple, yet so profound.

Here’s my version of the drawing:

So, this is representative of my life. To be honest, I’m probably being generous with myself cuz i’m easy like that. I bet the What I Don’t Know, I don’t know part is much more like 80%. But, thats me. You’ll have to figure out what your pie chart looks like on your own.

What I know: This is categories of things I know alot about. For me this includes sports, marketing, sales, the best way to eat muenster cheese, how to pitch a fastpitch softball, &why Florida is the greatest state in the US,  just to name a few.

What I know I don’t know: This includes things like physics, how to follow manuals for putting stuff together, how to speak a foreign language and why anyone in their right mind does yoga.

What I don’t know I don’t know: Right now, i don’t know the answer to this. That’s the whole point. There’s a whole world out there of things I don’t even know exist. In the past, this list included what people eat in Africa (now, i know it’s pretty much the same stuff as here if you are in Capetown & it’s rice if you are in the middle of nowhere outskirts of Kenya), the sport of bullriding (now I know that it’s the coolest sport on earth & how we have the toughest athletes), social media (now I know that it exists & it’s important to business & it’s pretty darn amazing) or how they say goodbye at the end of yoga class (now I know that i don’t know this and really don’t want to know this b/c i hate yoga (see post from yesterday).

Here’s the point: Most of us Don’t know alot more than we do. Which is why learning & growing and gaining new experiences is important. Learning only makes me want to learn more. I just keep trying to carve into that What I Don’t Know I don’t know list so i can put it in one of the other 2 categories.

Personally, my biggest growth comes from travelling. There is a quote that says “Travel & You’ll Realize How Little You’ve Seen”.

That about sums it up. And thank you Mike for showing this chart to me some 8 years ago.

Yoga – The Aftermath

Here’s the thing about yoga. Apparently, it makes you fart. I know that’s not exactly a PC thing to say but it’s true. I’ve been to 2 classes now and by my best estimation about 17% of the class farted both times. Not me, of course.

I’m not a farter. But, apparently all that flexing and breathing makes you lose control and some people fart. Now, i will say this. I was warned. When i first mentioned i was going to yoga, i got lots of advice from friends, co-workers etc but it was best summed up by my employee Bri “If you fart, fart before you go”. At the time, i promptly said “What is seriously wrong with you?” as i thought she must be kidding. But alas, she was not.

Take away the farting and I still hate yoga. Don’t get me wrong, i’m going to go as often as I can for the next 5 weeks b/c i paid for it and I’m not a quitter.

However, here are the reasons i don’t like yoga…

1. It’s too quiet. Tonight I swear i sat in the room and just breathed for over an hour. Sure, there were poses but no one actually talks. I’m not real good with silence and I’m everything but quiet so this is not a good mix. My brain races all the time. Being quiet does not make this stop, it just makes me more acutely aware of my brain racing.

2. When people do talk; they whisper. Whispering makes me giggle. I don’t know why i think it’s funny but I do. Situations where you are supposed to be quiet and people whisper at you make me want to act up. This includes school, church, and now yoga.

3. It is hot. They keep that room at like 100 degrees. I asked why. They said to loosen the muscles. I said “How about we just stretch instead”. They just smiled and whispered it was time for me to go inside. Which of course made me giggle.

4. People fart (see opening paragraph). I’ve never liked farting. But combine farts with 100+ degrees and you have reason number 4 as to why i don’t like yoga. Plus, farting makes me laugh which makes the yoga teacher give me the “look”.

5. The positions are ridiculous enough but then they have to name them ridiculous names. Yoga Instructor: Please more to Crescent Moon pose, followed by Lephrecaun Playing Bridge, when done resume “Infant with Umbical Cord Attached pose”. R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S!

Outside of that, here are some random observations about yoga:

1. Men do yoga. My class was 40% men. This shocks me. (Side note: normally i would not consider myself flexible but i was between 2 men that made me look like i was a human pretzel)

2. Speaking of pretzels,  If i had done yoga in the early 12 century, i probably would have developed the pretzel. I’ve always wonder how people invent things and now i know.

I did learn something tonight at yoga so it wasn’t a complete waste. I was in a position that i think she called Praying Mantis Eating a Cucumber in a Trance and i was trying to breathe and simultaneously trying not to fall over. I was not in pain but it was definite discomfort. Then my yoga instructor said the following “There is a difference between pain & discomfort. If you are in pain, get out. If you are in discomfort, hang in there. Only through discomfort can we grow”.

I think she was talking about yoga but in general i thought it was pretty good life advice. Besides, i was desperate to take something away from the class so i wouldn’t have to chalk up the last hour of my life.

I will now say goodbye. I will not say it in the same way they say it in yoga class b/c i can’t pronounce it nor understand them. So, adios!

Yoga

So, here’s the deal. I bought a GroupOn for 5 weeks of Yoga for $40.  I bought it b/c I’m addicted to GroupOn. Online deals only good for 24 hours. I love everything about it. The good deals. The marketing genius of “call to action” combined with “social networking”.  The fact it works and is introducing new customers to businesses all over the US. In fact, the only thing not great about GroupOn is that I didn’t think of it myself.

It was until after I pressed the buy button however, that I realized that i don’t like Yoga. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, i may actually hate yoga.

This is not me

Here are a few adjectives I would use to describe yoga:

Calming

Peaceful

 Quiet

Relaxing

Do you know what opposite means? If so, now think of the opposite of those adjectives. Presto! You have just described my personality. I am not any of those things. I am the opposite. I am loud, borderline hyper, always moving/thinking. I am high energy. I do not like to be still.

i have been to a yoga class once before. I lasted 15 minutes before i was asked to leave. Granted, i was with my friends so i had an audience which must of been the reason i was what the yoga instructer later called “a distraction”

Seriously, how can you not laugh in there? First pose, downward dog and i’m stifiling a laugh. Second pose, praying mantis and i’m giggling. Third pose, raging bear in sleep pose and i’m in full out laughter. Fourth pose Kung fu fighting panda catching a trout and i got asked to leave 🙂

The good news is here in Colorado i do not have an audience as i will not be attending classes with friends. The other good news is that when i make my mind up, come hell or high water i am going to do it. So, tonight i will go to a yoga class. And I will not get kicked out. And i will not laugh.

I’ve chosen Core Yoga 1 primarily based on the fact that the other options of Hot Yoga, Core Power Heated Flow, & Yin Yang Yoga all made me laugh out loud while just reading the names. And since i’m trying not to laugh or get kicked out I decided that was not a good first sign and i should stick with the basics.

So, wish me luck and please God, do not let me laugh during Fighting Tiger on a Tightrope eating an apple Phase 3 pose.

Leadership

Are you a leader?

Before you answer you might want to ask if anyone is voluntarily following you? Lots of people are bosses. I said Leader. That’s right,I mean does anyone want to follow you not b/c you pay them well, not b/c they have nowhere else they could go, but strictly b/c they want to go where you go. Are you worth following?

Here’s what I look for in a Leader:

1. Are they passionate about what they are doing? And what they are asking me to do?

2. Do they care about me & my growth?

3. Do they challenge me? Do they inspire me?

4. Are they part of something bigger than themselves?

5. Do they want to be the best? And in turn make me the best?

6. Do they have a vision for where we are going?

7. Can I trust them?

If you are in charge, ask yourself this: If you were to leave today would anyone want to go with you?

To get a visual, think of the famous line from Jerry McGuire  when he is leaving, fish bowl & all ( “these fish have manners”) & Dorothy says “I will go with you”. You all know the scene.

Now, i’m not recommending that kind of exit but are you the type of Leader that people want to follow even when the future circumstances are unknown?

I hope i am.

Fear of the Dog (or Lack Thereof)

So, last night i took my pups on a run. Afterwards, I let them swim in the river.

It was interesting to watch them approach the deep part of the river. My older dog, was much more cautious (i like to think she actually has some brains up there). Koiya has always been like that. Stable, predictable, loyal, cautious.

Rapids: 1. Simba: 0
My youngest lab, Simba just dove right in. She was bounding up and down the river and got caught up in the rapids. She went down them like she was river rafting. She sailed down a waterfall, dunked under and then resurfaced 100 yards down stream. I swear she popped up laughing.

At no point did she show fear. Which might prove she has no brain. She should have been scared to death.

The funny thing is b/c i know her, it never crossed my mind to be scared for her.

My dog Simba is the following: Carefree, Fun & All Heart

And I want to be more like her.

The Unexpected Good

So, i’ve been thinking it really is the little things in life that get me. The unexpected.

Like the other day, someone out of the blue wrote a rec for me on Linked In. I had no idea the person would recommend me if i had asked let alone go out of their way to write something that nice. Or like, when my 6 yr old niece called me yesterday and said “i love you Auntie Lynn. That is all” and then hung up the phone before I could get another word in.  Both were unexpected and both were good. And both are things I will probably forget in a week but I have a stronger appreciation for the people involved because of it.

When I write, I first write things out in my head. I think about them. I may even say them out loud to whoever is around me just to feel how it sounds and get a reaction. Originally, this post was called “The Unexpected”. But then i started thinking about all the bad things that are unexpected like cancer, or death, or that boyfriend that liked “surprise visits” in college.

Not all unexpected is good. So, for this post,  i’m focusing on the Unexpected Good & how you can use it in business.

Let me clarify. I’m not talking about a WOW experience. I think most buisnesses have a game plan for WOW. WOW is BIG. It’s so over the top, people will probably be talking about it for weeks. I’ve been a part of many marketing strategies that aim for WOW. And i think that’s great.

But, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking Unexpected Good. You aren’t dealing with the masses. Just one or a few people that get more than what they expecting.

Here’s 2 examples from our event in Tulsa. One cost me nothing; the other $7.

Example 1:

Met a new family who had been coming to the PBR for awhile now. We had put flyers up on the “nose-bleed” seats to tell people they could buy better seats for next year onsite only this weekend. This family was sitting way up top and came to the booth to join our Fan Club & buy seats for next year. We gave them the same treatment we give everyone.  However, the next day I saw them in the pre VIP dirt access area and i just randomly said “Hey, let me grab JB Mauney & get your family pic taken & I’ll twitter it” There response “Really? NO WAY”  And then “How do I see it on Twitter? :-)And it really was not a big deal at all for me. But today, i got an email from them. For them, it was Unexpected Good.

Example 2:

I was stalking the Pioneer Woman on her Twitter during our show (she was tweeting live) and I was laughing as she wrote “Too bad this place doesn’t have Pinot Grigio” (i mean we were at a bullriding but if you know her story she likes things a little upclass 🙂 I just happened to be reading it outloud to some co-workers who said “We have wine, go bring her some” And so, I did. When i handed it to her she looked shocked, then said “you must be some kind of angel”. Then later, she tweeted “@lynnwitt, thank you for the you-know-what”. Unexpected Good. Hard Cost $7.

My point is, both of these things almost slipped my mind to do. There was no master plan. It would have been just as easy to not do it. It’s not like they were expecting it. And its important to note, neither of them was a “Wow” experience. But they were both Unexpected Good.

Sometimes, it really is the little things.

So, What can you do in your business to deliver some unexpected Good today?

Behind the Scenes w/The Pioneer Woman

So, here’s how this came about. I work for the Professional Bullriders & oversee Marketing/PR. One of our initiatives is to get new people to come see our Sport. I have been hammering into my PR people that I want bloggers in addition to traditional media. Sometimes my employees listen to me (and sometimes the planets align) and it is a beautiful thing.

Here’s how the convo went:

Sara (in a really excited voice): Lynn, the Pioneer Woman is coming to Tulsa.

Me: Great! Who is the Pioneer Woman?

Now, i will assume that half of you reading this will no EXACTLY who she is. Her stats alone are what impressed me. 500k unique web impressions/month, a best selling cookbook, 100k FB/Twitter fans, a movie in the works.

The other half of you will say what I said.  “Who is the Pioneer Woman?”

So, here’s her real quick story. Oklahoma born & bred girl wanted to get AWAY as soon as she could. Moved to LA. Living the LA life. Going out, sushi & martinis, gets a job in Chicago. On way across country, stops in her hometown. Meets Marlboro Man. Falls in love. Moves out to a ranch. Has to learn “Cowboy way”. Shares “Cowboy way” with others through a website (www.thepioneerwoman.com). Teaches woman across world to cook, take photos, homeschool, etc. Gains mass following.

Now if I was a fan (which i have since become), this entire blog would be about Ree herself. After all, she is pretty amazing. Amazing in the fact that she is completely normal.

(side note: just so you all know; i’ve met celebrities. i had dinner at Garth Brooks house for the love of all. but nothing, i mean nothing compared to the response I got from friends when i FB that I was meeting the Pioneer Woman. People were excited. I said “i think she’s kinda a big deal”. People responded “Kinda”.  Good friends said they were completely jealous. Apparently, the Pioneer Woman is a BIG HIT with people just like me)

So, I met her. And guess what?

Me and The Pioneer Woman
Me and The Pioneer Woman

She’s all the things you would hope for after reading her blog. She funny (hilarious actually, but you know that if you read what she writes), she is genuinely nice (was gracious in taking pics & meeting fans but you could tell she was humble & really hated getting her pic taken), seems like the real deal (the Marlboro Man & her kids & relatives all came with her and i loved watching them interact; yes, i was borderline stalking them to see if they enjoyed the PBR).

But, here’s the thing and the real take-away for this blog. She’s just like YOU & ME. My point of this blog is actually a point as to why everyone should have a blog.  YOU are a brand. YOU are unique. God made you so there is no one else like YOU. If you just be yourself, you will be amazed how many people are in the same community of things you like/struggle with, etc.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be real with yourself. But, here is the Pioneer Woman, just a normal girl, whose situation changed and she decided to make the best of it. She shares her experiences out on the farm, good & bad. And most of the time you laugh with her along the way.

The point of my blog is that we live in a world where thanks to technology we have access to people and communities we would have never known existed a decade ago. I can guarantee you that you are important. That you have a place in this world. And that there are others that want to be in community with you. You can be an encouragement, a resource, a source of inspiration to others by doing nothing more than being yourself.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the Pioneer Woman.

PS – she got some great photos from our show

http://thepioneerwoman.com/confessions/

Why I Twitter & Why You Should Too!

So, I come from a long line of “worry-ers”. I’m not sure where it started but my grandma definitely handed it down to my mother. They both worry about EVERYTHING. And my mom, she is horrible. In high school if I was 10 min past curfew she would have called the police. Not because (Lord forbid) I was out, and might have forgotten about the time but rather because she was sure I was dead somewhere or stolen. Yes, I said stolen. She was convinced somewhere out there would “steal me”.

One time when I was 23, she actually called the front desk of the LA Kings and had me paged because I hadn’t returned her call in 24 hours. Yep, that was fun.

How cool is it when you are paged at your first official job in the middle of all your co-workers over the loudspeaker that your mom is looking for you and to please pick up line 3?

NOT COOL.

So, what does this have to do with Twitter? Bear with me.

I then went to college where my mom was replaced with my roommate Heather. She loved to know where I was at all times and since in general I’m not really a rule follower nor was I a regular class attender, this proved difficult for her. In fact, her favorite quote was “I wish I could put a lowjack on you”. And she really meant it.

So, what does this have to do with Twitter? Patience people!

More recently, a boss/mentor named Mary has this same quality. She wants to know what all her people are doing all the time. And I’m thankfully, one of her peeps.

Twitter = Community

It’s a way to connect about the little things in a world that seems hell bent on driving us apart and alone. And it’s a great way for me to keep the people that LOVE me updated and vice versa.

And I’ve heard all the naysayers about who has that much time or who cares? And to be honest, sometimes I agree with you. So, don’t log on. That’s the great thing about Twitter. It’s whatever you make of it.

I came to this conclusion about Twitter being good for community AFTER I decided to start twittering. And my reasons to start were completely selfish and self serving.

The community thing is true but it’s only 1 reason I tweet. In case, you haven’t noticed; Twitter is a BIG DEAL. It’s featured almost daily in the USA Today. Most major celebs and athletes are talking about it. And let’s face it, I like to be “cutting edge”. I did discover John Mayer before he became big and now, I’m in front of the curve on Twitter. HA!

twitterTruly, I started tweeting because I think it will help me with my job. I really think that this is the wave of the future for businesses. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to use it to market the PBR but I’m going to use it. For now, I’m just trying to get as many followers as possible through any means I can think of. And as a bonus, I’m becoming a much better writer. Twitter limits you to 140 characters so it forces you to constantly edit yourself and say whatever you have to say as concisely as possible and still get across your “hook”. If you work for a product or a company that has a brand people are interested in, then you should be twittering. Period.

All that being said, I realize that some of you will not Twitter. And for some of you that are my FaceBook friends, you are annoyed by the amount of “status updates” I’m doing. In fact, a good friend of mine that we’ll call Basketball Dave because that’s his name, left me a message last night. To sum, he is considering “defriending me on FaceBook” and I haven’t called him recently. And apparently, reading about my life doesn’t cut it. He wants a call back. And I’m hogging up his “feed” on FaceBook whatever that means. And he’s worried about how much time I spend here. Honestly, it’s less than an hour a day. So, relax BBall Dave, I’ll call you Unfortunately, Dave is not alone. I’ve gotten lots of comments on my current craze of frequent status updates. And it’s because I had it connected to FB.

So…

As of now, I’ve officially disconnected my automatic feed from Twitter to FaceBook. What that means is you’ll see a lot less of me here on FaceBook so if you like the constant “Lynn” you’ll need to go on Twitter and follow me at lynnwitt. Believe me, it’s worth it (well, sometimes)

Don’t worry, I’ll still put some stuff on FaceBook. After all, I actually know everyone on my FB page whereas on Twitter there are a lot of people I don’t know. So, I still be back here. But, Twitter is so easy and fun and I can do it in like 2.5 seconds so I’ll be spending most of my time there. It’s my new love. FaceBook is SO 2008. Twitter is the future.

I guess that’s it. I hope you decide to follow me on Twitter. If not, I’ll miss you

PS – If you do get on twitter. Do me a favor and follow teampbr as well.

Bike Blog – Day 8: Release Papers

I got my release papers today at 9:16am. Only 34 miles of biking. We are D-O-N-E. “These people” cut off my ID badge, took back my spandex and I was able to recollect my original clothing. However, unlike some prison time I did not receive any cash to help with my transition back into society. Bummer.

As far as I can tell there are only a few visible signs of my time served:
1. bruise shaped like my handlebars across right thigh
2. Very bad bikers tan
3. 1st place ribbon from last night’s talent show (I remember no details so do not ask)
4. Overall award for most mishaps as a family (I’m letting “these people” fight over who keeps this one)

There are alot of other signs not visible to the naked eye but things that might scar me for life.
1. Recurring nightmares about:
A. Being thrown over handlebars and landing on Dan
B. “These People”
C. Matching jerseys and spandex
D. Hills, rain and bikes in general
E. Song that is not to be mentioned
F. Syracuse
2. Can most likely no longer procreate
3. Soreness in every part of body known to mankind but specifically my ass.

Overall, I will say it’s been a great trip. I guess these blogs have been a little “dramatic” which I’m sure is a shock to most of you. What? Me? Dramatic?

I fly home tommorrow. For those of you in Dallas, there is a 4 letter word you are never to mention in my presence. It’s starts with a B and ends with and E and rhymes with my brothers name.

WOO HOO! I finished. Can you believe I actually did it. I don’t think I have biked 20 miles in the past 10 years and we just finished 500 miles in 8 days. If you don’t hear from me for a week or so, it’s b/c I’m asleep or can’t get out of bed.

Seriously, thanks for tuning in. Peace Out