Simba & the Bear

Yesterday during our hike, my youngest dog Simba met a bear. Well, technically me, the guy I’m dating and both of my dogs met a bear but Simba’s reaction is the only one worth mentioning.

Like most things in life, Simba jumped head first into the situation with reckless abandon. My “boyfriend” hid behind a tree, my oldest dog hid behind me and I screamed at the top of my lungs at Simba to “get back over here” while trying not to pee down my leg in complete and utter fear.

See, i had never seen a bear that close. Even in zoo’s they are always so far back there you don’t get a good look. But here we are in a clearing, mile 5 of our 7 mile hike and about 40 yds from us is a bear eating some berries off a tree. Not sure who saw it first, probably Simba since she did not hesitate to bark and charge.

Now, she is apparently not a complete idiot b/c she did stop about 20 yds short of the bear before she barked her head off.  I panicked, Paul & Koiya hid behind a tree.

And the bear? The bear did pretty much nothing. He just ate his berries while we all freaked out then walked slowly away. But, as i sit here and think about all of our reactions, once again I find myself wanting to be more like Simba b/c she faced her fear head on. (and yes, I’m being metaphorical b/c I doubt she had any fear since we’ve already established she is an idiot).

Ice Breakers

I’ve been asked a few times now for a list of team building games I use regularly. And bear with me on the list b/c while some of these may seem crazy or just for fun, i’m actually using them as a learning exercise to teach various skill sets and also to access capabilities of my employees.

  • Two truths & a Lie.  Concept is that everyone in the group writes down 2 things that are true about them and one thing that is a lie. For example my list is as follows:  My brother is a World Champion Skydiver. I love broccoli. I am scared of flying roaches. Now, if you know me, you know the lie is about the broccoli. I HATE broccoli. However the experiment has nothing to do with what they write down. It has everything to do with the brain process to come up with the 3 things and then the delivery of them. You can learn alot about your employees from this simple exercise.
  • Board game Taboo. If you aren’t familiar with the game, you can read more about it here. Awesome, fun game but again, the learning is that it teaches your employees to think differently. THere is more than one way to deliver a message and unless your customers are robots, i highly suggest you train your sales/marketing folks to communicate your message through different channels.
  • Egg drop: Split up into teams of 4-5. Give each team the exact same ingredients which are as follows: an egg, a paper plate, tape, 3 balloons, 2 paper towels, 4 paper clips and 5 pieces of construction paper. Let them know they will have to drop the egg while standing on a chair onto the floor below. The goal is to use the materials to create a way of transportation for the egg that will not allow it to break. Set the time at 20 min. Again, it’s more about the process of how they work in a team. Make sure to watch the dynamics.
  • The Watermelon game. This is one of the best games for sales people i’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, i have no idea how to share it on this blog. But, if you email me i can give you the teachers guide.

Those are 4 of the better ones. Hope they help.

Insignificance

Been in NY for about 5 days now and been trying to think about why this city makes me crazy. There are many things I love about NY which are mainly my friends & food&Central Park.

But there are WAY more things I hate about NY which are mainly plays, pigeons (rats with wings),  all public transportation, & the fact there are so many people here. Like WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE.

However, I think my frustration boils down to a city like NY makes me feel insignificant. I get caught up in the fact that i’m such a small part of my environment and begin to think things like “do these people i encounter as they brush by me on the street or tell my rudely “time for you to get out of the cab now” even know i exist?”.

That I’m an actual person not an object?

And the truth is they probably don’t. And i don’t know why it grinds on me but i have a very “human” desire to matter. Even in a city as big as NY. To be important.

I think everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselve and be passionate about what they do. And everyone wants to belong to a Community.

Have you ever felt this way? Do you struggle with living a life that doesn’t matter? And how do you define what does matter in your life?

Interested to know your thoughts as I’ve been struggling with this all week.

A Celeb, Some BlackJack & Me

Just got back from a 36 hour whirlwind tour in Vegas. Made a post about trying to fit blackjack in and a friend reminded me of my Vegas blackjack story so here it is.

First the facts:                                                                          

  1. I like blackjack. I like it a lot. I’m slightly neurotic about it. I could come to Vegas for 4 days and do nothing but play blackjack and sleep. I can play for hours upon hours which usually makes anyone who comes with me to Vegas hate me a little.
  2. I play blackjack by the rules. That way, there’s very little left up to me to decide. I play by the book. TO. A. TEE.
  3. I give very little leadway to people who don’t play by the book. Now, I’m not unreasonable. If you never hit a 6 that’s ok. I don’t agree but I’ll tolerate you. However, if you do something like split 10s I will walk away. And I will think less of you while doing so.

So, back in 2001, I’m in Vegas with 2 of my friends Brent & Eric. We spend 3 days there working and are finally free on the 4th day. I want to gamble,  they want to sight see. This makes them less of a man in my eyes. I normally like going to Vegas with the boys b/c in general they like to gamble more (as opposed to girlie things like shopping and shows). So, they were really ticking me off with this whole let’s go check out the new Bellagio idea.  But then we get there and I come up with the perfect solution.

“Boys, I will be right here in the BlackJack pit. Take your time. Sightsee all you want. In fact, don’t come back for hours. I’m good.”

So, I sit down at a table by myself. Usually, I have to choose this option as I can’t find tables with people that know how to play (see fact 2 & 3) And yes, I watch the tables BEFORE sitting down. So there I am, sitting by myself and I am on a hot streak. A guy sits down at the 3rd base seat and starts playing. I pay little attention to him b/c I am on a roll. Soon, a small crowd starts to gather which of course, I think is to watch me play. I mean, that is how well I’m doing. I’m crushing it. Every card is falling for me.

I can tell the guy at the end is borderline an idiot. He is not playing by the rules. I don’t even think he knows what he is doing. He starts to make back to back mistakes but I try to overlook it b/c quite frankly we now have a very large crowd watching us and I’m still doing very well.

Soon, my friends Eric & Brent are back. They have to actually fight the crowd up to get behind me. They are unusally excited about something.

I’m trying to remain calm but the guy on the end is really getting to me. He has Aces & decides not to split them. Since I’m not exactly shy I say outloud “your not gonna split those buddy?”. However, I can’t finish the sentence before I can feel Brent pinch the back of my arm. You know where it actually really hurts.  Like REALLY hurts. Like your grandma used to pinch you.  And he whispers in my ear “SHUT UP. Do you know who that is?”.

At the time I’m should have realized he meant someone famous but really I didn’t care b/c at that moment the IDIOT at the end of the table was splitting 10s. SPLITTING 10s. SPLITTING TENS.

OH NO HE DIDN’T.

He passes up Aces which EVERYONE in America splits but decides to split up 10s against a 20?  This is literally too much for me to take. So, I say LOUDLY “Buddy, are you seriously splitting 10’s right now?”. 

The entire crowd behind us GASPS. Like an audible intake of breath. I can feel the air being sucked out of the room. It all happens in slow motion though b/c even though I realize that it’s happening I’m giving the guy at the table a serious STARE DOWN. Think if looks could kill here.

He apparently didn’t like that look and so he got up and left.

And I’m thinking FINALLY and about to do a Happy Dance when the entire crowd starts to boo me. And I think someone actually through something at my head.Brent & Eric say something along the lines of “You Disgust me” and walk away.

The dealer looks at me and says “Congrats, you may be the only person in history who told Coach K off at a blackjack table. I thought the crowd was gonna lynch you”

And honestly, do this day I could care less. Coach K may know a thing or two about basketball but he can’t play blackjack.

Internships & How to Use them

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the bad interns I’ve seen. Today, I was on a call with some people in sports and realized it’s not just me. Apparently, there are ALOT of bad interns out there.

Really, I don’t understand it. If you are going to do an internship, why not do your very best job? I mean most of them aren’t even paid so why do it if you aren’t interested in getting a job in that field?

That’s the problem. I actually think that YOU are interested in a job you just don’t want to do the work.  No, this isn’t a library. You can’t use our computers to be on FaceBook all day. Here’s a novel concept. If you get an assignment and you finish it, get up and ask for another. 

Awhile back, I posted on Entitlement and how it’s displayed in this next generation. And while I do think our culture has helped foster this, I think it’s also a personal choice. So chose not to be entitled. Most of you interning for the first time are between the ages of 18-22. You aren’t actually owed anything yet. Hate to break it to you but graduating college doesn’t entitle you to a job or a certain level of respect.

Working in sports is a SMALL WORLD. Everyone knows everyone. So, If you want a job in sports I recommend interning. It’s your best way in. However, don’t do it unless you really want to work. And be impressive. Trust me, most people in sports have such low expectations for interns that being impressive won’t take much.

I have people ask me daily how to get a job in sports. And honestly, 90% of the time you have to intern or know someone. When you are young you work like a dog and get paid like a stray cat. But, it’s one of the most rewarding careers you can have if you are willing to work at it. So, find an internship & get started.

And if you impress me, I’ll help you get a job. But, if you don’t, somewhere down the line someone I know will ask me about you and i will be forced to tell them the truth.

Getting Jiggy With It

Since my previous post about requesting Back that Ass Up was such a hit, I’ve decided to share my other great story involving rap music.  It’s 1997 and I’m living in Hermosa Beach.  A friend was visiting me for the weekend so we decided to drive up Highway 1 to Santa Barbara. Great idea except we got caught in a real life rock slide. And by rock slide I mean a 100lb boulder landed square on my roof dead in the center of the car so I couldn’t even see him in the drivers seat. Plus, a million little rocks blew out the back windows.

By some miracle of God, we weren’t hurt. Just shaken but the car was toast.

Or so I thought. Insurance actually said it was “fixable” so I was forced to drive a rental car for about 2 months while they worked on repairs.

Now, at the time my favorite song was Getting Jiggy With It by my boy the Fresh Prince. I loved that song. I just know that Will Smith wrote it specifically for me. So, like any song I’m into, I wore it out. It was the 90s so I bought a cassette tape. You know the kind. It was those “preview type tapes” just 1 song on each side of the cassette.

Side One: Getting Jiggy With It.

Side Two: It takes Two.

However, one day we had a problem. The tape got jammed inside the car and wouldn’t come out. So, now whenever you got in my car and turned on the engine you got a music medley mix of just those 2 songs. Over. And Over. And Over.

Now, this was not a problem for me at all. Like I said, I loved it. I had no problem what-so-ever with the fact my only music for 2 months was these 2 songs in constant rotation.

But apparently, a lot of people did not feel the same way I did about the Fresh Prince.

It would literally drive my friends nuts. They grew to hate it and hate my car and refused to ride with me b/c they could not escape the song(s).

For about 2 months I was a leper amongst my friends in LA. But don’t you worry, I had my boy the Fresh Prince. And amazingly, he was ENOUGH.

In fact, I’m gonna go play Getting Jiggy With It right now. For old times sake.

Travel Tips

Travel Tips:

So, I travel. A LOT. In the last 8 years, I’ve flown 1.4 Million miles. And that’s just on American. So, yes, I consider myself some kind of travel expert. Scary thing is, I know A LOT of people that have flown more miles than me. So, this post is NOT for them.

This is for anyone that flys occasionally. Learn from my mistakes. Trust me it will make your life easier.

1.Plan on delays. Pack accordingly. Your flight will get delayed. You will sit on a runway for over an hour. You will miss your connection or you will wait on parts. It’s better just to expect it. Bring a book. Your computer. Bring your chargers. Bring snacks. Be prepared for a lot of time waiting.  Then you won’t feel stressed when it happens. Make a list of things you would do if you had more time and then look at it as a chance to get some of those things done.

    If you don’t have any major things to accomplish explore the airport. Most of them have some pretty cool areas to hang out in and people watch or get a taste of local flavor if you just look.

    2. Know the rules. For instance, you can’t currently bring liquids over 2 oz through security. Yes, this means your $100 bottle of eye cream or your lotions. Don’t try it. They don’t make exceptions to the rules and you will lose your purchases.

    3. Don’t ever yell at an airline employee. Yes, I know they sometimes deserve it. And yes, some of them are jerks. But the majority of them are just people like you and me, trying to do a job. Besides, it never, ever helps your situation.

    4. If you fly semi regularly, try to pick one airline and one hotel and sign up for their frequent flyer program. It makes all the difference in the world when you travel if you have status. Trust me.

      That’s it. Do those 4 things and I can guarantee a much happier travel experience.

      Why I love a Sellout?

      First, what’s not to love right? I mean anyone in live events should love a sell out.

      However, here’s the thing about a sellout? It’s really a lesson in demand. A sellout done right means you perfectly scaled, marketed and sold your event. It was the right price at the right time for the right audience. There is nothing better.

      The first step to a sellout is Creating A Groundswell. If you are in live events, the best thing you can do is commit people to attend early.

      1. Find your core fans and give them incentives to come.

      2. Give them a reason to tell others to come.

      3. If 1+2 doesn’t get you your numbers, then go find a new audience. This can be done through new media, digital, social, whatever. Just get people in there to test your product.

      If you have a good product then a sellout just feeds the Groundswell. Besides, there is no better fan experience than a sold out venue. Recently I attended an Aerosmith concert and the feeling of a sellout was indescribable. I’m not even a huge Aerosmith fan but something changes when you are a part of something that is larger than life and sellouts normally are.

      Your marketing plan if done correctly should get you to a sellout. In my opinion, anything else is a failure.

      So, here’s to more sellouts!

      22 Times in a BridesMaid Dress

      Yes, I’ve been a bridesmaid 22 times. I’m the real life version of 27 Dresses only i swear it happened to me first.

      Today, I was reminded of this fact as I went to a luncheon for a co-worker who is getting married next weekend. It reminded me of a story I haven’t told in awhile and this blog has been a little too serious lately so i’m gonna lighten things up.

      We were talking about playlists and what songs would and would not make the cut at her wedding next weekend.

      Now, everyone come with me for a little ride back to something i like to call the year 2000. My best friend from college, Heather is getting married.

      Here are some things you need to know:

      1. I was really close to Heather’s family. They were like my second parents. Since i was from Chicago living in Tallahassee, Orlando was a lot closer so we’d go home to her house often. I think they considered me a 3rd daughter and I was happy to be so. Point is, they knew me well.

      2. I love rap music. I have since i was a teen. I love it more at weddings.

      2. At the time, I was really into the song “Back that Ass Up”. Like I could wear that song out. I could listen to it repeatedly and like it more every time. I especially liked to dance to that song. I especially liked to dance to it at weddings.

      Alpha Chi Sorority Composite Photo 1994
      Now, for the record, here is what i looked like in 1994 when I graduated college.

      I show you this picture for one reason only. This is the exact picture that Heather Dad gave to the DJ. Yep, you read that right the DJ had this photo of me with him at all times during the wedding.

       Of course, I didn’t know this at the time but apparently, her father did not think Back that Ass Up was an appropriate song for dancing at her wedding.

      What i do know is this. It’s late night at the reception. I’ve been good all night. Trying to get the grandma’s off the dance floor before we break out the real moves. 

      I turn to my friends and say “It’s time”.

      I approach the DJ booth. 

      However, before I can even get a word out the DJ just starts shaking his head and says “No requests”. He then pulls out the above picture of me and says “Is this or isn’t this You? B/C this girl is not allowed to request any songs”.

      Now at the time, i wasn’t sure who had gotten to him but I was absolutely sure I was getting that song played. I immediately go into my sales/persuasion mode b/c let’s face it I usually get what i want. And I thought my best chance was to request the G rated version called Back that Thang Up. Hey, I CAN compromise 🙂

       However, at that point he pulls out a note handwritten by Heather’s father which read something like “No matter what she tries to say or do, do not let her request any songs or you won’t get paid”.

      So, that’s it. I was SHUT DOWN big time and today I remembered that story and am honored to share it with you!

      Positivity

      I like positive people. Always have. Negativity of any kind makes me crazy. I hate being around it. I really, truly do not want to hear why something can’t be done. Rather, tell me what needs to happen for it TO be done.

      Things happen all the time by people who had no idea that what they were trying to do is IMPOSSIBLE.

      So, why is Positivity is important in the workplace?

      AND PLEASE NOTE: I’m not talking about faking it. Being genuine is important. I don’t want people to tell me something is ok when it’s not or try to sugarcoat a situation. And I don’t want to underestimate our failures in our department. If something needs to be changed, we need to act not sit around and make excuses.

      Overall, I believe in being positive. I believe in looking at the bright side.

      Anytime i hear negativity in the workplace, i ask myself “Why do they work here, they obviously hate it?” Life is way too short to be miserable.

      So fix your attitude or get a new job. It really is that simple. REALLY.

      Here’s a few upsides to being positive:

      1. People will want to be around you. Trust me on this. As much as they say “Misery loves company”, people want to be around positive, inspiring people.

      2. It will make you less stressed. There’s 2 sides to every coin and most often 2 ways to look at every situation so just try looking on the bright side every once in awhile. Focus on the positive and head in that direction.

      Keep working on what’s working.

      3. You’ll accomplish more. I promise you’ll be more successful and i’m no doctor but it might even add years to your life 🙂

      That’s it. Let’s all put on our positive pants and have a great day!