Thursday, February 26, 2009

Response to Facebook eNewsletter

I received a number of emails about my last eNewsletter "Why I Am on Facebook" and thought you all might enjoy, and maybe agree with, these responses.

An accountant in his 40's writes:

"Good article but I have a question. What do you think about adults socializing on Face Book with women communicating with men friends or vice versa? Do you think this could opens doors for affairs to get started? Just like we warn our kids not to talk with strangers etc. I don't use face book but saw this over the holidays with a family member. A wife who's involved in her kids school, soccer coach communicating with men parents. In this case it was noticeable that this could be something that innocently enough could turn into something more. Another example would be class reunions when people communicate by email and FB. I certainly wouldn't want my wife communicating with an old boyfriend!!! I am not meaning to be overly protective but on the other hand I don't need any more distractions in my life but more down time. I looked around at one point during the holiday and everyone in the room had either a laptop opened to FB or I-pods. The kids even played a Chess game and an I-pod in one hand, multi tasking taken to another level. Not for me!! "

Another person who was in the audience when I spoke at the annual meeting for the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) in Austin this month writes:

"You know I always thought I would never have time for that and I am no where near being someone as famous and busy as I would think you would be. I have a brother who lives in Houston and makes tons of money and he recently sent me his facebook invite, and I was amazed that he at 58 would have that. We have it blocked at our school and recently received the following as a concern.

The Attorney General has posted a brief video concerning Social Networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. It might be good 'food for thought' for parents in your districts. The video can be viewed at or by clicking this link. The number of sex offenders posting on these sites is staggering and poses a great threat to our children.

Also in the news is a new term, 'sexting.' Children are taking x-rated pictures of themselves and sending them via their cell phones. Click here to read more about this on CBS news. I also googled and found other articles.

Of course that is for mainly young people that need guidance on how to make sure they know not to get involved with strange identities."

What do you think?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why I Am on Facebook

I was resistant. How do I have time to get on that site and isn't that for kids and college students? Then we went on vacation this summer and we were watching our friends check their Facebook pages and I got curious. They didn't fit the profile I had drummed up in my head as the type of people who would be social networking. As we talked about it, they set up a page for me in what seemed like just a few seconds. Soon I had a profile picture, was listing my favorite books and began searching for people I was curious to find. I'm hooked. I am the face of Facebook, or as some call it, FB.

This is my current profile picture. My 13 year old son took it while we were in the car at the carpool line.

Social networking used to mean going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and then it got real fancy with targeted opportunities like organized weekly networking groups. With online social networking, now you can stay in your PJs and network. I don't even have to do my hair! There are currently 39,911,920 people active on FB. When I looked to see how many people in the U.S. ages 35 and up were on FB, I found out there are 9,823,660. And I'm one of them!

Here is how being on Facebook and social networking keeps you in the Smart Zone.

  • Stress Management: I believe everyone has a bucket inside of them that gets full when they feel aggravated or frustrated. We need things in our lives that empty our bucket so it doesn't get full. When it gets full, we have what I call an exaggerated response. While I don't always have my FB up throughout the day, I do get on it sometimes between patients, at the end of the day, and when I am hanging out in the airport waiting for my flight. It empties my bucket and I enjoy some of what my FB friends post. Here is a video that came recently from one of my friends.

  • Relationships Build Business: Many of the speakers I present with and many of those who hire me to speak are people that I really enjoy getting to know. There is an excitement about the speaking business and there are so many things we may have in common. A recent article in Fast Company shows how those who use the social networking site, LinkedIn, make more money. While I never intend for my FB page to be an advertisement, it is only natural that there are opportunities that will come your way.

  • Social Networking supports the Smart Zone Secret: The Smart Zone Secret is to get out of your head and put the focus on someone else. I believe we all have the tendency to take ourselves too seriously. Recently I had a bad fall on an icy day. (What is a Florida girl doing in Texas anyway?) The fall ended up being serious enough that I got a few staples in my head. One of my best friends growing up, Don, is now a professor at Oregon State University. He and I stay in touch on FB and he called me "metal head." Only Don can get away with that. Don knows how to remind me to not take myself too seriously. He knows the Smart Zone Secret.

One caveat. Sometimes FB can fill your stress bucket. Using it during productive work hours can waste time and is unfair to your employer. Or if you stay up until the wee hours of the morning it can steal needed sleep time. This is an issue with all of us as we have the ability to work 24/7.

Keeping the above caveat in mind, I'd love to be your FB friend! So please send me a friend request.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sustaining Your Sanity in Tough Times

As I fly home from New Orleans after speaking at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention, I am inspired by the resourcefulness of an industry hit hard by the economy. Over 10,000 attendees attended workshops and keynote addresses to hear of new ways to keep moving in the right direction with so many obstacles impacting their business.

Former Presidents Bush Sr. and Clinton were the celebrity speakers at this event teaming up to provide their unique perspectives about the economy, business strategies, and ideas for growth.

Clinton made the point, "Tough times don't test us. They teach us about our character and our resilience."

My task at the NADA Convention was to provide smart strategies for Working in the Smart Zone at work, home, and with family. Here are a few Smart Moves to help you sustain your sanity in difficult times.

  • Do what others are unwilling to do. This is a Smart Move no matter what economic challenges you face. Volunteer when others have stopped, follow up with customers when others don't have time, and continue to attend conferences and association events when others see those as places to cut costs. Stay focused on what you need to do to grow your business, bond with your family, and help you be the person you want to be.

  • Go where you feel most like yourself. This is a quote I use in my book, Working in the Smart Zone. (Click here for a sneak peak at Chapter 1). Think of where you can go, both physically and mentally, to feel most like yourself and do that. For many people, these are stressful times. Things like exercising, reading, and spending time with people outside your office can help you feel most like yourself. I see that as an "anchor" to keep you grounded and in touch with your core values and beliefs about your own life. For me, I feel most like myself when I am at the beach. Living in Texas, I have to settle for going to the lake and that will have to do. It reminds me of growing up in Florida and times when things were simpler.

  • Always be a student. You never know it all. You don't have to learn from a book. You can learn from being around people who are in different industries or live different lives. My husband and I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend together in Oklahoma City. Our friend Julie (God bless Julie) gave us a certificate for a night at a Marriott and offered to keep our 3 boys. In the breakfast line, we met 2 incredible women who were there for a sales meeting. Deborah was from Northern England and Cathy lives in Alaska. A table for 4 was easier to get than a table for 2 so my husband asked if they wanted to share a table. We lingered for way past our time as we heard about how Deborah moved to a farm in Alaska after marrying her second husband and Cathy started her own business at the urging of her husband, a V.P. for British Petroleum. We learned so much about their lifestyles, their businesses, and their outlook for the future. They were in their Smart Zone as they spoke with optimism and happiness about their businesses and personal lives.

  • Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable. To keep your sanity sustained, keep close to those people who hold you accountable both personally and professionally. Remember there is a bit of truth in every piece of feedback. Being held accountable keeps you humble and for many people, it helps them stay focused to Work in the Smart Zone.

  • Test yourself often. Don't wait until a tragedy in your life to find out what you are made of. Test yourself with smaller events that will build up your resilience. If you don't like to speak in front of others, try to do so in small doses before you are asked to present to your company board. Don't automatically migrate to the software you are familiar with because it's easier. Challenge yourself to learn something new before you are forced to test your computer skills with something more critical. Attend networking events and engage in small talk when the meeting isn't as important as an annual meeting with investors. By testing yourself often, you will build the confidence and skills needed when larger tragedies occur.

Working in the Smart Zone is even more important now that most of you are being asked to do more with less as you try to balance your personal and professional responsibilities. Click here to watch my recent TV appearance where I discuss the Smart Zone. I know the automobile dealers left New Orleans today working to the best of their ability emotionally, intellectually, and behaviorally ready to put it all into play in their business and personal lives.