Posts Tagged 'business'

My Favorite Holiday

What is YOUR favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday is this week!  Although I am not one to turn down seconds on moist turkey and dressing, tasty veggies, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, and my own delicious pumpkin pie, I will tell you that food is not the primary reason Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

My reason is a bit philosophical I suppose. To me Thanksgiving is the “purest” holiday,  the one most free of commercialization. Think about it: retailers jump from Halloween to Christmas- with very little if any space dedicated to Thanksgiving sentiment and decorations.  After all, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, being grateful, expressing gratitude. It boils down to celebrating an attitude…and acknowledging that what we have as a country and individuals, as Abraham Lincoln said in his original proclamation, are ‘gracious gifts of the most high God.”  Thanking God is not exactly politically correct or socially acceptable in all circles today.

That being said, I’d like to acknowledge three things for which I am thankful, and in doing so, I believe you will get a snapshot of who I am today.

First, I’m thankful for my faith. As a teenager, I realized that I wasn’t good enough to get to heaven on my own merit. I needed someone else’s perfect life.  I came to the point of understanding that person was Jesus Christ and that what He did for me in dying on the cross almost 2000 years ago, changed my relationship with God forever. The result has been a confidence in my future hope after death.  Now regardless of what is going on in the world, I have an ongoing personal relationship with God my Father who continues to give me good things.

A second thing I’m thankful for is my family. My husband Ed (next month we will celebrate 35 years together!) is a pastor-teacher-professor.

Ed and Mari in Saguaro NP

We have had churches in a number of cities in Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. We parented two outstanding boys, Daniel and Nathan, now ages 30 and 28. As a result of our decision to homeschool, we are very close as a family and have many wonderful memories of special adventures.  Both boys are married to wonderful Christian women, and both are fathers. Daniel, who lives here in Gilbert, has two sons, ages 3 and 1

Greyson, age 3

Sawyer, 1st BD

Erica, Nathan, Jackson (3 mo)

and Nathan, living near Seattle, has one son, 7 months old.

We are thankful that with our move to San Tan Valley about a month ago, we are on the same time zone- at least some of the year.

In addition to being thankful for my faith and my family, I am thankful for the many freedoms that we have because we live in the United States. I’m thinking especially of the freedom to pursue our dreams in our own way.  Let me explain how that looks in my life.

When we made a decision in 1998 for Ed to return to seminary, I began to consider a home business opportunity. I didn’t want to go back into the classroom; I didn’t want to work for a small hourly wage for someone else and be told when I could take a break, when I could take vacation, etc. I dreamed of an opportunity that would provide an income that I could truly work from home.

I found it in an unexpected way. I was introduced to a children’s nutritional product that my boys actually liked- a gummi-bear that was actually 12 fruits and vegetables.

I figured I could talk to other moms who would be just as thrilled as I was to find something that could pass through our kids’ mouths and count for fruits and vegetables! My business was a good extension of my previous career as a health and physical education teacher and coach. I have appreciated the continuing education training that I have gotten in nutrition. I am certified as a weight management advisor. Today I am working with a team of social entrepreneurs to provide a solution to global malnutrition of children.  Our goal is to link 5 million consumers to 5 million kids who need nutrition, not just food.  I think you can see that the dreams that I am dreaming today are much bigger than 14 years ago!

Countries served by GFR

Thanksgiving 2008 was the last time that we were all together as a family.  Nathan was in the States on a 2-week leave from a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 101st.  We all met in PA. Daniel and Erin told us that we were going to be grandparents (and now we have 3 grandsons!!). We enjoyed a crazy Black Friday walking in NYC (that should tell you something about our family!!).

This year we will be with Daniel and family in Gilbert for dinner and then host them for my delicious pumpkin pie at our house.  At some point in the afternoon, we will connect with the Seattle DeZago’s via FaceTime.  What a special day!

In sharing my favorite holiday, I hope that I have given you some food for thought so that you can enjoy Thanksgiving this year with more gratitude than ever before.

Mari

(I shared these thoughts with my new Toastmasters Club in San Tan Valley last night.  I know this is longer than my regular posts.  Thanks for reading today!)

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Below are 5 suggested action steps.  Pick one…but be careful!  It could change your life!

If you have an interest in the nutrition that we are providing for children around the world, watch this video.

If you are interested in starting on an effective and affordable nutritional plan, click here.

If you have any questions about the need to take responsibility for your lifestyle choices, especially food, click here to watch a 4 minute video.

If you want to receive my bi-monthly ezine, Wellness Notes,  send me an email (or text 614.804.0291) requesting that your name be added to the list. First issue was sent out Nov. 8.

If there is any way that I can serve you, just let me know with an email to mari.dezago@gmail.com

Looking at Things Differently?

My first business mentor, Patti, made an interesting comment during one of our early conversations.

“Some people take a Ropes Course to challenge themselves. We choose to open our own business!”

Fourteen years later, I still agree with that assessment.  Owning your own business is an amazing vehicle for personal evaluation and development.  Areas of your life that were not an issue suddenly become very visible to everyone, including yourself!  Whether you are a sole proprietor, managing employees, or recruiting others into your business, you are undoubtedly looking at things differently than when you were an employee.

Although I discovered there is a continual flow of decisions that a business owner must make- marketing, vendor choices, best use of work time, family time, ROI- my biggest challenge in being a business owner is coming to grips with who I am as a person: fine-tuning character qualities that seemed to be OK, until they were put into the daily context of dealing with customers and making business decisions.

Dr. Robert Rohm of Personality Insights, a psychologist and corporate trainer from Atlanta, GA, and a speaker at a recent conference I attended, addressed ten components of LEADERSHIP. One of those qualities was integrity. He reminded me that integrity is doing the right thing even when it is inconvenient or doesn’t make sense to anyone else.

I never thought much about this issue of integrity until I became a business owner.  I had already been a teacher, a successful coach, a pastor’s wife, a mom,  a friend.  I figured I had done an OK job of doing what I said I was going to do.  If I didn’t do it right away, no one seemed to notice, including me.  I didn’t get called on it.  There didn’t seem to be any big consequences if I didn’t follow through in a timely way.  Maybe you can identify.

Then I started my business.  I dealt with customers, with corporate deadlines, with other people’s expectations.  Gradually it occurred to me that I could not continue to be inconsistent with what I said and what I did. In fact, I realized that sometimes when I didn’t follow through, it cost me a customer, or money- or both!  But there was a subtle personal cost. My actions were not in alignment with my values, and the more times I acted without integrity, the further I drifted from who I was or thought I was or wanted to be. The results were internal chaos and business paralysis.

I had to realize that my word is my reputation.Integrity is as important in business as it is in friendship and family.  Integrity is a personal quality that is crucial in life.

Consequently I have become much more conscious of being consistent with my words and deeds.

However, I confess I can still get tempted to fudge on commitments with a variety of excuses. For example, I have said ‘yes’ to attending a meet-up meeting, a club meeting, a social, even posted it online that I am attending.  But when the time comes to get ready to be there, I re-evaluate. Any, or all, of these thoughts may cross my mind: it won’t make any difference if I’m there or not- I don’t have a meeting responsibility. Nobody will notice if I’m not there. It looks like I’ll be late.  I’ve heard that topic before.  I don’t know anyone who is going to be there.  (Add your own rationale!)

Then the still small voice kicks in: You said you were going to

And I am on my way.

What about you? Have you said you were going to call someone- and then neglected to do so? Have you said you were going to send someone a piece of information- and let it slip right out of your mind? Have you committed to a meeting or an appointment and let a minor distraction derail you?

Here’s my suggestion: Get back on track. Let your yes be yes, and your no, no.  That directive is not original: it’s from Matthew 5:37.  Apparently there is a universal need for a reminder to be honest with our words!

What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below.

A Different Target Market

What kind of a future do the young men and women face when they leave the military? Since Nathan has just been discharged by the Army after serving almost 6 years, and is in the job-seeking phase, this question has been on the top of my mind.

Although I first became aware of the challenges when Nathan was still serving in Afghanistan, according to an article I read this morning,  the current unemployment rate is still  very high for veterans.

However, as I am listening to Nathan’s experience since he has arrived home and is going through the discharge process, I am happy to say that efforts have been made to provide the vets with more counseling and direction so that they can better make the transition from the military life to civilian life.  This is good news.

This week I read an article posted by Legal Zoom which will  provide you with encouragement that others are making tangible moves to undergird our military families.  Here’s the link to the article.

With some expressed political attitudes reflecting little military support- or even willingness to throw this group of Americans under the bus because ‘they knew what the risks were when they signed up, so asking them to pay for their own health care would be just a little request…’- I hope you too will appreciate this veteran’s business.

Perhaps you are connected to a business that could join efforts, and actually provide a discount to military families.

May I suggest that you pass this information on to a family member/friend in the military, and let them know that there are many here in the USA who are standing with them in tangible ways.

When you join the efforts of others in supporting a cause bigger than you are, it provides a higher sense of purpose—an intangible that positively impacts your health!

Thanks.

Dealing with Perfectionism

DONE is better than perfect.  Alan Weiss PhD

Yesterday I met Andrea, a college student who confessed that writing papers almost paralyzes her.  As we continued to talk, she shared that it was a perfectionism streak that stopped her from moving forward with a writing project.  She said that she had recently begun a new tactic: take action in spite of the fear.  I encouraged her by saying that she was being very wise in taking steps to overcome this limiting belief now, at her young age.  There are many adults who are paralyzed in life because they are afraid of taking the wrong step.

How do you operate on a daily basis: do you get a project done—or are you paralyzed by a perfectionist streak? Leave your comments below.