You've got to go and get what you want

I talk to people all the time about reaching goals and achieving what you want. The message that rings true time and time again is, you have to go after what you want, it’s not going to come to you. Sure, sometimes good things just happen or fall into place “as they should”. This, however, isn’t a common occurrence with most people.

You need to know what you want first.

Before you can go after anything, you have to have an idea of what is it you want to go after. Seems like this should be common sense, yet think of how often we stumble around trying to find our way. Part of knowing what you want also includes knowing how to get there. If you’ve never been down a specific road, you’re not going to know all the detours and short cuts. yet, you can do your homework and prepare. Talk with people who have already traveled the path. Ask questions and research. Be open minded about what will and won’t work for you – or what you are or are not willing to try. Come up with a plan and then proceed to the next step.

Jump in feet first but start at the shallow end.

It’s very commendable to be willing to jump right into a new project or new direction. If you know what you want and where you want to go and you have goals you want to reach, why not just jump in full force and go get ’em?

Because you need to test the water first and make sure you’re prepared. You may think you have all the pieces and parts you need, but there is always – let me repeat – there is always unexpected things that pop up when we venture into something new. Add this potential for obstacles to your “get ready” list. If you plan some wiggle room for unexpected things to come up, when they hit they won’t usually hurt as much.

Take your time and pay attention to the flow of things when you jump into something new and you can probably avoid some major detours.

Don’t give up on yourself on the first try.

Rarely do people succeed on the first try. Don’t assume your own non-success is a failure or that it’s your fault. Learn from the pitfalls and keep pushing forward. If you want something enough, it really does happen at some point. Keep in mind, what you want and what you get may not look the same, but it’s no less of a success… it’s just a different flavor. Be persistent.

Over the past 2 months I have met so many incredible people. Each with their own talents and strengths and long lists of successes. It’s intimidating to be around them – seeing what greatness that have accomplished. Then I stop to pay attention and realize they think the same of much of what I’ve accomplished or where I’ve been. We need to each stop and appreciate our strengths and our experiences… they make up what greatness we have to give.

Advertising Tax checklist – ideas to help you in the fight

I was thousands of miles away when I first got the call that Colorado legislation was plowing ahead with a new bill that would be recognized in Performance Marketing circles as the Colorado Advertising Tax. I had no other warning let alone preparedness prior to that other than “this is coming, but we don’t know when” and knowledge of similar bills in New York a year or so ago. I had no idea what to do. When someone else is dictating and calling the shots (e.g. legislators) you don’t have time to play around. You just have to jump in and get moving. There really aren’t any rules – other than use common sense, be polite and listen to your gut.

Here are some things I learned along the way that I wish someone had told me ahead of time. I hope they help you if you need to defend your stance with your local government.

The Checklist

Before the bill hits your state:

  1. Find out who your legislators are – do the research ahead of time
  2. Contact your legislators and start some dialog now while you don’t need them for anything
  3. Keep in touch with your legislators – when the time comes you want them to already know you and your story
  4. Reach out to not only your legislators but others in your area that will fight on your side – team work is key
  5. Start a mailing with including specifically those in your area in the industry so you can stay connected when you need each other most.
  6. Know your local resources – who has media connections, you already has close relationships with their legislators, etc.
  7. Work on a game plan ahead of time – who is likely to get involved – also, who in the industry will help from outside of the state.

When the bill is actively being discussed:

  1. Connect with local Affiliates that will be likely to fight with you.
  2. Keep your chatter about tactics to closed communication with only those directly involved – others are always listening, don’t share your game plan with the universe by tweeting and blogging your every move.
  3. Get a hold of information you can share with the legislators – the PMA helped us with this.
  4. Plan a “Visit the capital” field trip day – gather a group of people to go literally door-to-door talking with legislators. If you can, try to plan far enough ahead so you can schedule appointments.  In Colorado, we had zero lead time so we just showed up. We did, however, make sure to be mindful of the legislators’ busy schedules.
  5. Write letters and make phones calls to all legislators.
  6. Repeat 1-5 until the battle is over

General food for thought

  1. Have a unified message among your whole group
  2. Keep in touch with each other – communication is a key to a successful game plan
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  4. If you have some skill or knowledge that can benefit everyone, share. You’re in this together, so fight together.
  5. for a little  more insight on this perspective, read Things I Learned from battling the government

Remember, these are real people you are talking to. You need to be mindful not to completely wear out your welcome in the sense that if you bombard too much, people will stop listening. But make sure not to give in the first week just because things aren’t looking good. By all means, when they ask you to stop because their inbox is too full, really think about that before you stop sending messages… maybe their inbox is too full because there are so many of you that have written – the legislators work for you, they know it, they need to listen to you when you have a real issue.

In the end, remember to say thank you.

Special thanks to those who helped me along the way while I was sorting out this learning curve! You know who you are, yes, there’s brownies in it somewhere.

Another great read: The Power of Grassroots Affiliate Efforts

I can't hear the success – It's too noisy in here

Last night as I headed to bed, I realized every room in the house had a radio on.. a different station for each person. My room had the TV on as my husband was dozing off to sleep listening to FOX news. This is the most quiet time of day in my house and yet, it’s still not all that quiet.

During waking hours, we have at least one TV on and usually 2 computers (my husband and I both work from home). If all the kids are home we potentially have 4 computers on at once as each person is also listening to their own music or videos at the same time they’re either working, doing homework or playing a game. Between video games, ipods, TVs, toys with buttons and buttons on toys… the noise is constant.

The noisy just gets crazier from there… on my screen alone I have Tweetdeck and Twhirl and Facebook and email all buzzing in the background (and now “buzz” from Google egging me on) while popping up notices to let me know I should notice something. I usually have at least 10 other programs running as I update websites, create graphics, chat on 4 platforms at once (luckily Adium exists)… I don’t even have the volume on – it’s always on mute, but the visual noise can be so overwhelming. It’s a wonder I get anything accomplished. How did I let it get this bad? How do I continue to function? It’s like I’ve become desensitized to the stimuli of a “normal” day.

This needs to stop.

There’s too much noise and not enough focus. There’s too many conversations and too many ideas and thoughts and reminders and dings and blings and clicks and blips. There is no way I can jump back into being creative with all this chitter chatter clattering going on. It’s like too much bad coffee without even a hint of fabulous aroma – blech!

What would happen if there were no sound for 30 minutes?

I’d surely fall asleep. Now wouldn’t that be lovely?

How are we all surviving, let alone thriving with so much noise around us? No wonder our children have attention issues and a lack of concentration – as a society. I think it would do me some good to watch the sunset, listen to a water fountain or just sit and enjoy the sound of sleeping kids. Starting today I’m going to make a daily goal of sitting in the quiet a little more – unclutter my computer screen… the world will not stop moving if I’m not watching, but I don’t think what I miss will end the world either.

When was the last time you stopped to listen to quiet?

Things I learned from battling the government

I am usually not one to get involved in politics. In all honesty, November 2008 was the first time I set foot in a voter booth. My entire career has revolved around the design and message behind marketing and advertising and to me, politics always seemed like one more big ad campaign.

So when the topic of getting involved in the battle against the Advertising Tax came up, my game plan included letting those that knew what they were doing… do it. Really, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it – heck I didn’t even know where to find out how to get started. So, I really had no intention of getting involved although I did offer “let me know how I can help”.

For months local networking groups would casually bring up the topic “start talking with your reps”. I never did. I had no idea how that worked. What would I say? How could I interrupt this seemingly important person in the middle of their busy day to talk about a hypothetical? I’m just one me and I really don’t know all that much.

That was prior to last week.

Yesterday, after a mindbogglingly fast week of blindly battling for affiliates to keep their jobs in Colorado, I realized how much we did and how little it really took.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t overnight. The easy part was common sense. I had previously over thought the process and over complicated my involvement, however when one has to think on the fly… it’s amazing how many of the complexities disappear. It’s that fight or flight mentality – we only see what’s necessary.

So here are a few things I learned through it all, and maybe in my seat of my pants flying, you might be more prepared if and when a similar bill hits your front door.

Legislators are people too – they also have families and lives outside the government. They bleed, they get hungry, they even have to pee from time to time. Remember this when you talk to them. Talk to them on a people level not a fancy schmancy business level. Their job is to help the people they represent, remember them you are one of those people.

Don’t be afraid to speak up – the people you need to talk to are really just human and the worst thing they can do is ignore you. If they really do tune you out, who cares? They weren’t listening to you before you started talking anyway.

Don’t sit on the side lines – watching it all happen because you aren’t sure where you can help does nothing for the cause. Also, just because you aren’t directly affected, doesn’t mean your voice isn’t valued, important or better yet helpful. Get involved at some level. Reach out to others that can help guide you in a direction you can do some good… even people that aren’t locally affected might have advice you can use. Jump in because the more that voice the same message, the louder that message becomes.

Find a unified voice – it’s fantastic for every single person to get involved, however if every single person is shouting something different, no one is heard. Try to find a single connector or message or central point and help spread the message among all those involved to join that angle.

Too many chiefs are bad – no chiefs is worse – If too many people are trying to take a lead, find one that moves forward… don’t try to fight to become a leader yourself. These kinds of battles are no time to argue amongst yourselves or be soft skinned due to opinion differences. Look for the leaders in the group and jump in with whatever you have to help. If you find no one is truly leading, grab the reins and push forward. Sometimes you’ll find a few groups unified amongst themselves but not talking/working directly with each other… this might be a good place to jump in and connect the dots.

If you are feeling burnt out ask for encouragement – don’t sit and wait for something to pump you up but do try to recognize that you are losing sight of the positive goal. Build up a support group where you help each other stay on task and focused on the outcome you want and don’t let the frustrations cloud your view. I often found myself talking to out-of-state collegues for extra support. Although those that were literally standing side by side were great to have near, the out of the direct line of fire friends were invaluable to my remembering our potential.

We all have knowledge and expertise. I’ve heard it from others but didn’t really believe it myself until this past week. I was in a state of turmoil and distress (to a certain degree) and I didn’t have time to stop and second guess myself. Every day should be a day we don’t second guess ourselves. We really do know what is best for us and we really do need to listen to that little voice inside our heads… even if it does like to hum funny little ditties when we’re trying to be serious. Believe in yourself – you should be your biggest fan and you’re the only you that you have.

Starting the year with a little geek – free books!

We’re starting off with a little geek this year… or egghead as the doodle below implies.

Over the last few days we (my husband and despite their resistance, children) have been cleaning out nooks and crannies of the house. I am a wanna-be serial packrat so every cranny and nook and nook’s cranny has some kind of “stuff” stashed because I’m sure I can recycle it into something fabulous.

Well with 2010, I’m changing my perspective. If I really have no intention of using for anything ever again and it really reallllly won’t make some fantastic new art piece someone else might want to purchase for their own coffee table, then I am getting rid of it. This is an extremely difficult task for me as I’m also a craft-o-holic (in my free time) so really just about anything can be turned into something else. The key in the new and improved thought process is “that someone else would buy”. It doesn’t mean everything I create is only for the purpose of selling. It does, however, mean that is no one else on the planet would dare want the thing I just made, then it’s probably not that swell and I shouldn’t dream of spending time making it.

Don’t critique the logic… it’s working for me today and my husband will be sorely disappointed if you convince me into keeping the following books because they’ll make great gift wrap!

So today’s give away is… ta dah: old code books.

Yes, that’s right, I’m giving away free code books.
I love to code, it’s actually rather relaxing for me to be able to shut off the giggles of coloring and think logic and rational variables. Over the years I have purchased these books to help me along the way. I now tend to use some favorite resource sites more and the books are only collecting dust and using bookshelf space that could be more handy for things like my Leonardo Da Vinci coffee table books when they need to be out of reach of the neighborhood preschoolers.

FREE code books from JGoode's bookshelf

Some of these books are still valid, some are good for theory but are outdated, and a few are just plain old but maybe you want to make gift wrap. If you would like one or all of these books, or know someone else who would enjoy them, give me a holler. First come first served is how this will work. Plus, you must be willing to pay for shipping as I am only giving away the books, not my postage stamps.

I would greatly appreciate your taking in this matter as it’s easier for me to get rid of things knowing it’s not going in the trash but rather going to good use.

Specifics: These are books only, no CDs. Most all the books are in like new condition with a few exceptions. These are also books I highly recommend, so if you really just want a code reading list, here’s one to start with.

By the way, because there is an image I made I’m counting this as my image for the day… pretend it’s interesting.

Places I've been

Over the years I’ve traveled around the country quite a bit. As a kid our family moved from Colorado to California and back to Colorado and later from Colorado to Virginia and back again traveling by car every time. We took a lot of road trips so I learned early to appreciate seeing the sites along the way. As an adult I’ve continued the road trip adventures. before I had kids I would hop in the car and just drive until I got tired… stop and rest and drive back. I love the feeling of exploring when we’re traveling to new places, I always try to jam pack as much into the trip as possible yet leave a little room for those spontaneous “gotta stop and look” moments.

visited 40 states (80%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

My favorite thing about traveling is experience of being someplace new. There is no one specific thing, some places I love the food, some I love the people. Sometimes I’m just driving through but the drive itself is fantastic. Some of the best memories of traveling are little moments scattered from place to place, not anything grand of photo worthy.. just a great moment in some place new.

Some of my favorite locations:

  • Colorado – even living here there are places I only get to visit
  • Stowe, Vermont
  • Pismo Beach, California
  • The Red Wood trees along the West coast, California/Oregon
  • Swan Valley and the Titans, Idaho
  • The Carolina Coast
  • Tennessee in the spring – the air is amazingly sweet!

I haven’t had the opportunity to travel to any other countries as an adult, I think that is what I have to look forward to in retirement.

What’s your favorite place?

Happiness is a cupcake

flaming-cupcakeThis past weekend we celebrated my son’s 14th birthday and with the festivities came 3 days of cupcakes. I made them myself… from a box, and despite their non-perfectness, they were quite delicious. We had funfetti (aka rainbow chip) and chocolate with a choice of frostings and added sprinkles. I didn’t do any fancy decorating as teenage boys don’t care what they look like, they just want the sugar, so I let them decorate however they wanted. I think half the frosting went straight from the can to their bellies.

I don’t know why my cupcakes never turn out as perfect as the store bought. Is my oven not as magically inclined at the professional variety?

Cupcakes are always a sure way to bring a smile into a room. I’m not positive what the exact ray of sunshine is that a cupcake brings to the day, maybe it’s the decorating with bright colors and happy sprinkles on top, the swirly-ness of icing on yummy gooey cake, or maybe it’s just the thought of a handful of sweetness we don’t have to share. Whatever it is, I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t smile at the thought of a cupcake.

Nomelie cupcakesLast weekend I visited Nomelie, an adorable cupcake boutique in Parker, Colorado.  I was visiting as a participant in a tasting with the Denver Tastcasters. We sampled 4 different flavors of mini cupcakes that were absolutely wonderful! The venue is decorated in a lovely semi-victoria theme, a nice casual atmosphere with a hint of pretty girly flare. I thought it was the perfect environment to have a cup of tea and sampling of heaven in a bite size yumminess.

The staff was fabulously friendly and I even had the opportunity to chat with the owner, Selah Davenport for a bit. I was excited to meet someone else with a love for the cupcake. Between Selah’s warm welcoming personality and the tasty cupcakes, Nomelie was a wonderful place to spend some time enjoying conversations with friends. I told her I would stop by some time with some of my own cupcake doodles… although we can’t eat them, I like to think we need to share a little cupcake happiness however we can.

Cupcake by JGoodeWhat’s our favorite cupcake flavor?