Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Nobody is Too Busy; It's a Matter of Priority

We all have the time we need. We always have. We simply have to decide how we want to use it. I decided last fall that I wanted a new challenge for 2018. I wanted to transform my 43 year old post baby body. My daugher would be turning three in April, and I would be turning 44 in August. No time like the present!  As someone who already worked out four-five days a week, stayed active playing sports, ate relatively healthy, and meal prepped, I knew that I'd have to make drastic changes. I hired a coach. Not just a coach. I hired a seasoned figure competitor who has competed in over 13 competitions starting when she was 40.

On January 8, 2018 with 14 weeks out, I started an intense training program that put me in the gym twice a day: one session of cardio for 30-60 minutes a day, plus one 60+ minute weight lifting session a day. I also followed a very strict meal plan --weighing to the ounce my foods. I get bored fast with food, so this was a challenge. (There are only so many different spices for chicken, fish, and eggs.) I continued to meal plan and prep, cooking everything from scratch for myself and my two year old daughter. We only ate whole foods: fresh veggies and berries, bananas, egg white omelettes, chicken, fish, quinoa, brown rice, and once a week early on, I was allowed one RX Bar... the only pre-packaged food I ate (although they are 100% whole food protein). Towards the end, however, the carbs were cut, the fruit was cut. I was left with canned tuna fish--which actually excited me. 
What did I need to give up for this to happen?
Work/Personal Travel. (except for one short biz trip to NYC)
Eating out. (except on a few rare occasions, see above)
I continued to go out with friends, but I didn't eat or drink. It's a challenge to eat out when on a strict meal plan. All the money that I normally spent on eating out went towards protein shakes, supplements, vitamins, and grocery shopping. I was at the grocery store and fish market almost daily.
The result? After 14* weeks of training, I competed in my first National Figure Committee competition, dropping over 20 pounds, and losing 8% body fat -- without compromising other aspects of my life.

Oh, did I mention that during this time I was a single Mom, and an entrepreneur running a successful business?  Since all my family lives back on the East Coast, I had no help. *And for nearly two of those 14 weeks I was in bed (yes, actually in bed for 20 hours a day) with the flu--only up to take my daughter to/from school. 
So next time you say you're "too busy to make your own chocolate cake," remember this: We all have the same number of hours in the day. How do you choose to use yours?

"Every once in awhile we need to challenge ourselves; set crazy goals, and fulfill them. When you say you don’t have time to make a cake— I say we all have the same amount of time. What you chose to do in that time, is up to YOU". -- A.Cannistraci

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Employee Spotlights: A Marketing Strategy for Effectively Engaging and Connecting (Part 1/5)


Do you love your job? We spend 40+ hours working every week, it’s important to not only love what you do, but enjoy who you do it with. Collaboration with co-workers is crucial to drive business results. And when you have a good relationship with your co-workers, life—and work—is better.

If you work for a company that has over 50 employees, you might not know every person, because you may only interact with a few people. And, if you work for a distributed company, you don’t even have the option of “bumping into co-workers at the water cooler.”  You probably need that interaction the most. There are several strategies for effectively engaging and connecting employees, even if remote:

1.            Company Retreats
2.            All Company Meetings
3.            Social Hours
4.            Group Meals
5.            Employee Spotlights

Employee spotlights are engaging and a simple way to connect people at your company. People always want to hear about other people. It’s human nature. andgreat recently implemented a
monthly employee spotlight with one of our distributed clients. Each month, a different team member is chosen. The key is to not choose the people everyone is already familiar—but to choose people that are newer to the company, or work in a department or areas that are not afforded much interaction.

Questions. Some of the questions can be light-hearted and fun, and others can relate back to the company and their specific role. This should be a fun exercise for the employee. A good number of questions is 8-10, as a few questions may be “passed” by the employee. Here are a few sample questions from which you can pull:

Are you messy or organized?
What is your role at the company?
Where is your favorite place to eat?
Where do you go to unplug?
Where did you work previous?

Interview. Conduct an in-person/video interview so you can get hear real time answers with more detail. We use the caricature headshots as the featured image. It’s fun to have a visual of who you are reading and it lends to a more consistent look over the Blog as well.

Publish. Publish the Spotlight on your company blog and promote via social media. Key: Don’t forget to promote to the internal team, i.e., the entire company. They too should be sharing it on social media, re-tweeting, liking, etc. Employees should be your biggest fans.

Repeat. Be sure you are asking employees to comment internally on Spotlights. Slack is a great tool for that. It’s important to release Spotlights on a regular schedule so you create a culture of anticipation and recognition. The first of the month is a good time.

We’ll dig deeper into the other above strategies in future posts, so check back often. We’d love to hear what are you doing to engage and connect employees.