How Often Do You Ask “Why?”

Post written by Mic Johnson, talking about routinely asking yourself WHY? when it comes to your personal and professional lives

WHY

The image above is from my LinkedIn Summary.

I’m someone who routinely asks “Why?” in my personal and professional lives.

I do it because I’m passionately interested in finding the best answers to the problems and challenges that are inevitable in life and business. I do it because I’m voracious about creating clarity.

It’s almost like a question mark is permanently placed on my shoulder, making sure that I’m being true to myself, my values, my relationships, and my life.

It’s one of the ways I hold myself accountable. More importantly, I believe understanding the WHY’s in life is critical to continuing down the path to happiness.

Here are several questions for you to consider. I encourage you to take a few minutes to answer the ones that apply to you honestly.

I’ve asked myself many of these over the years, or have had conversations with others about them. The answers are often revealing and can lead to dramatic changes in your life.

The WHY Test

Why do you do what you do for a living?

If you don’t like what you do, why don’t you do something different?

Why are people at your company happy?

Why are people at your company unhappy?

Why do you hang around people who give you energy?

Why do you hang around people who drain your energy?

Why are you happy in your marriage/relationship?

Why are you unhappy in your marriage/relationship?

Why do you stress about things that never come to pass?

Why don’t you make time for yourself?

Why is your schedule so busy?

Why don’t you exercise?

Why do you think you can’t do it (whatever IT is)?

Why is your email inbox your enemy?

Why don’t you take calculated risks?

Why are you afraid of stepping outside your comfort zone?

Why don’t you have more meaningful conversations?

Why do you spend so much time worrying about what other people think of you?

Why do you think you need a bigger house?

Why do you think you need to buy more stuff?

Why do you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results?

Why are you happy?

Why are you unhappy?

I’m sure you can think of other WHY? questions that pertain to your life and career. I hope you make asking WHY? a regular practice. I mean…

Why wouldn’t you?

What is the Hats Club? And Why Should You Care?

By Jason Terry, talking about an entrepreneurial group of people that meet once a month to learn something, meet fellow business owners and decision makers and hear their stories. The Hats Club. It’s not your typical networking group.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to join the board of The Hats Club. It’s a local, business-focused group of entrepreneurial minded people that meet once a month.

Before I talk more about the Hats Club, I want to make sure and mention that the next event is going to be held at the Leawood Blade & Timber. So if you want to throw axes while drinking adult beverages, be sure to come and be prepared to sign a waiver. Seriously though, it would be a great way to see what all the hype is about if you haven’t been to Blade & Timber before.

Register here for the Hats Club event on July 11th at the Leawood Blade & Timber

What is The Hats Club… really?

The Hats Club LogoI will start by telling you it’s not just another networking group. Many of the members own their own businesses. They’ve been through the ups and downs of starting a business, employing people, selling to make sure the doors stay open, HR issues and best practices and more. There are also quite a few key decision makers that work for great companies all over KC.

The goal for the monthly Hats Club meeting is to provide a way for business owners and decision makers to gather to learn something and get to know each other.

Focus on Local Businesses

Often, Hats Club meetings are held at local businesses. It’s a great way to showcase a local business and hear directly from the owner about the excitement and challenges of starting and running a business. That’s exactly what will be happening at Blade & Timber on July 11th.

The August Hats Club meeting will be at Brew Lab in downtown Overland Park. We’re working on getting the head brewer to present to the group (it’s been promised but not confirmed yet!) about their journey so far. That event will be on August 8th at 4pm if you want to block your calendar.

You can always see details and register for the upcoming Hats Club event by visiting thehatsclub.com.

Companies and presenters that we’ve enjoyed in the past include:

  • A Cyber Crime presentation by Truss (who hosted), Chubb and The Hunter Group
  • Core Bank
  • The Grid co-working space
  • Tim Cowden of KCADC sharing detailed plans of the upcoming KCI Airport Project
  • ELUX Smart Homes startup presented lots of info about their project
  • Economist Chris Keuhl presented at the Martin City Event Space
  • Healthcare update with Connie Jabara
  • DroneKC in downtown KC
  • Stonegate Motor Plaza

Socials

We also have social meetings about once a quarter as well as a members only holiday event in December on the Plaza. Some of the locations we’ve gone to for socials in the past include Lifted Spirits, Louie’s Wine Dive, KC Wineworks, Ruins Pub, Coach’s and Top Golf. Often, we get to hear from the owners of these businesses as well.

So if you’re looking for a good way to connect with entrepreneurial people in Kansas City, be sure to check out the Hats Club. Let me know if you would like to come as my guest sometime! If it’s the kind of group you would like to be a part of, I can walk you through the membership application process as well.

I’ve enjoyed being part of the Hats Club over the past couple of years. And putting together the list of all the places we’ve been to, and people we’ve learned from, was a great reminder of the value I’ve gotten from being part of the group. Let me know if you have any questions!

Calendar Reminder: Schedule Awesome People and Things

Post written by Mic Johnson, talking about being intentional about scheduling awesome people and things on your calendar each week

Do you have awesome people and things scheduled on your calendar each week?

If your answer is YES, then I’m giving you a <<virtualhighfive>>.

If your answer is NO, then I’ve got a simple solution for you, so keep reading.

I’m fortunate because I have awesome clients who I get to see and work with each month. In addition, I’m also intentional about scheduling awesome people and things around those client meetings.

I do it because those people and things give me energy, perspective, connection and regular doses of happiness. Not only is that good for me mentally and physically, but it makes me a better person, husband, friend and keeps my energy up when working with our clients.

I always say “If it’s on the calendar, it happens.” With that in mind, here are just a few items that are staples on my calendar:

Morning Meditation

I’ve been meditating for several years now and typically do it 4-5 times a week. I always do it in the morning for 20 minutes using the Headspace app. It’s a great way to start the day, sitting in quiet reflection before diving into the responsibilities of the day.

Peer Advisory Groups

I have two peer advisory groups who meet monthly, Introducing Awesome and Introducing Awesome 2.

These groups are made up of awesome people who share energy, advice, business and personal challenges, and more.

awesome golf and peers

We meet at a couple of local awesome establishments, Tavern at Mission Farms and The Peanut on Santa Fe.

I never know what I’m going to get each month when I meet with them because we keep a pretty loose agenda, but I always walk away feeling energized and grateful.

Golf League

I play in a golf league every Tuesday night throughout the summer at Swope Memorial Golf Course. It’s another great way to get outside. In addition, I play on a team with my buddy Archie.

We always have a few laughs, enjoy the camaraderie when one of us (usually Archie) hits a great golf shot, and have some great discussions about things going on in our lives.

Individual Recurring Calendar Appointments

I have several individual recurring calendar appointments, ranging from every six weeks to quarterly.

These include phone calls with certain family members and friends who don’t live in Kansas City, lunch appointments (often at one of my two favorite sushi places, Bob Wasabi Kitchen and Sushi Uni) with old neighbors and business associates, and the occasional happy hour with people I mentor or who mentor me.

I get energy out of these conversations and it feels good to know that we’re taking the time to stay connected and talk about real and meaningful things.

Massages Every Six Weeks

awesome massage

Every six weeks my wife Missy and I have massages scheduled with our awesome friends Darrel and Stephanie, owners of Tranquil Touch Therapeutic Massage.

We’ve had a lot of massages over the years and no one comes close to the magic that Darrel and Stephanie perform on our tight muscles.

We love them so much that we drive 30 minutes to Lee’s Summit specifically to see them.

We often make a half-day out of it and grab lunch in the growing downtown area of Lee’s Summit and follow up our massages with a movie or something else fun.

Long Walks

I take anywhere from 3-6 mile walks about 4-5 times a week. It’s great to clear my head, listen to some music, enjoy some sunshine and a little bit of nature and just disconnect from technology for awhile.

A 3-mile walk only takes an hour, but the mental and physical benefits can’t be denied. I find myself really looking forward to this “me time” and I start to miss it if a day or two goes by without a good, long walk.

Weekend Activities

I’m the “social chair” for our household. I like to put things on our calendars to enjoy with people we care about. Sometimes that’s a happy hour on our front porch (#FrontPorchFridays). Or maybe a trip to the City Market or Overland Park Farmer’s Market. Perhaps we’ll grab dinner at a new restaurant with friends. Or we’ll attend one of the many cool events around Kansas City throughout the year.

All that said, though Missy and I are social and love doing things on the weekends, I’m committed to not over-scheduling us. We typically leave Sundays to rest, recharge, catch up on some shows on the DVR or Netflix, and prepare for the week ahead.

Does any of this resonate with you? Are you intentional about scheduling AWESOME on your calendar? What types of things do you do? I’d love to hear about it so leave a comment below or drop me a note at mic@bluegurus.com.

Blue Gurus is celebrating nine years… Wow. Thank you!

By Jason Terry, talking about Blue Gurus celebrating nine years of being in business.

Blue Birthday CakeWe celebrated being in business for nine years on April 26th, 2018. For anyone reading this post, thank you!!! There’s a good chance you’re actively involved in our ability to make a living doing work that we love. Whether you’re a client, a peer advisory group member, a vendor, friends or family, thank you for helping us succeed.

It really doesn’t seem possible that Blue Gurus has been “a thing” for nine years. Mic sent me a link to a blog post I wrote when we celebrated Blue Gurus’ fourth birthday. The title of the story was, “Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Blue Gurus.” What surprised me was that the list really hasn’t changed in the five years since I wrote that story. As a reminder, here’s the list…

(Still) The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Blue Gurus

  1. Take good care of your clients and even better care of yourself.
  2. You already know the best people to hire.
  3. Make time for vacation….and turn your cell phone OFF.
  4. Make sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish in the business, and don’t let anyone influence you to stray from that purpose.
  5. Recognize your team members often.
  6. Evaluate your trusted vendors on a regular basis.
  7. Heartfelt apologies go a long way when you’ve screwed up.
  8. Don’t be afraid to fire a client that isn’t a fit.
  9. Tell your clients that you appreciate their business every chance you get.
  10. Adopt a not-for-profit organization on a regular basis, and give back to the community that supports your business.

We continue to focus on these goals, and the business has continued to thrive as a result.

What’s been the focus so far in 2018?

We’re doing websites, LinkedIn training and blogging with more great companies around Kansas City. Some of our recent clients include Lee’s Summit Physicians Group, MEDiAHEAD, and Health Partnership Clinic.

Lee's Summit Physicians Group LogoLee’s Summit Physicians Group

We just launched the new LSPG website. I wrote a blog post about how the relationship started… you might want to check that out here. Our primary contacts are Jody Brown and Matthew Hornung. Their new website was a fun project because everyone at LSPG is engaged and ready with a smile, even when things are busy. We start blogging with them later this month. I’m excited to get started!

MEDiAHEAD LogoMEDiAHEAD

MEDiAHEAD, formerly ColorMark, is led by Kat McDaniel. Our primary contact is Michele Stilwell. Kat and Michele are AWESOME. We launched their new website a month ago and we’re blogging together. We love their mascot, Izzy… who got her own blog post recently. Mic is leading their blogging efforts.

Health Partnership Clinic LogoHealth Partnership Clinic

We created a new website for HPC and we’ve been blogging with them for a few months now. Catherine is so much fun to work with because of her “can do” attitude. She is one of the most organized people I’ve met. Check out their blog… it’s a good example of an organization shining a spotlight on their people and their work.

Remember #6 Above About Trusted Vendors?

2020 Creative LogoWe’ve been collaborating with Jeff Potts of 2020 Creative for three years now. The relationship continues to strengthen as time goes by… mostly because we do business the same way. Jeff and I worked together on the Lee’s Summit Physicians Group and MEDiAHEAD websites. Jeff brings an additional creative element to the table through graphic design. He and his brother Derek bring abilities to the table that we wouldn’t normally have… eCommerce and database driven web applications to name a couple.

And yes, I trust Jeff. And I don’t consider him a vendor, even though by definition he’s a vendor for Blue Gurus. Jeff is my friend. He always does the right thing when a situation occurs. And his heart is all about taking care of our clients and adding an element of “wow!” through design.

And that’s a wrap! (At least for this blog post.)

Jason HugWe’re looking forward to another great year of building websites, providing LinkedIn training and blogging with really good companies. It’s a humbling experience being treated like we are part of the team. And it feels really good when we hear about the impact we’re having on their revenue and culture. From the bottom of my heart… thank you for these past nine years! Hugs.

Branding is important. Have you ordered tchotchkes lately?

By Jason Terry, talking about company branded tchotchkes for client gifts and networking events.

I love giving gifts to people. It’s a fun and unexpected moment for the recipient, and it just feels good to make someone’s day. I’ve carried that practice into the business for years in the form of Blue Gurus Tchotchkes.

I’m not sure where I developed the passion for branding. When I thought about it, the first thing that popped into my head was being proud of my high school. I had a letter jacket and lots of things with the Wichita Northwest High School grizzly paw stamped or embroidered on them. Binders, hats, and my gym bag. Then I went to college at Kansas State University, and my wardrobe quickly became predominantly purple, along with a bunch of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.

I think the reason I love branding is that it shows how passionate I am about the groups I’m actively involved in, and the teams or organizations I love to support. I’m proud of the work we do at Blue Gurus. Add my passion for gift giving and tchotchkes is built into our DNA. When you see Mic and I around the city, you can be sure the logo is on our shirts and in our bags, and we usually have something ready to hand out.

Tchotchke: a small bauble or miscellaneous item. The word may also refer to free promotional items dispensed at trade shows, conventions, and similar commercial events. They can also be sold as cheap souvenirs in tourist areas, which are sometimes called “tchotchke shops”. (Pronounced “chotch-key”)

The first Blue Gurus Thotchkes

Blue Gurus Tchotchkes The very first tchotchke I ordered with the Blue Gurus logo on it was pens from PensRUs.com. I started giving them out at LinkedIn training classes for attendees to take notes. And I left them at the ATM at banks and at the table at restaurants… and saw them in circulation over time.

The idea wasn’t all about spreading the brand, even though that’s a nice result. People that come to our training classes don’t always have paper and pen to take notes. So I took care of that. When I went to the bank to deposit a check, I was always searching for a pen. So I solved that for myself and the person following me. And I noticed that waiters and waitresses struggle to keep working pens handy, because patrons accidentally take them with them after signing the credit card receipt when paying for their meal. So I started the habit of leaving Blue Gurus pens at restaurants.

Over the years since that first pen order, I’ve bought lots of different things with the Blue Gurus logo on them. Coffee mugs, stadium cups, small and large umbrellas, stainless steel mugs, coolers, backpacks, and even USB fans. (The USB fans are always a hit, they plug into a laptop USB port and create a surprisingly strong breeze. Really useful when you find yourself working in a hot office or in the middle of summer.)

Blue Gurus: Spring Cleaning Laptop BagRecently, I’ve ordered super light travel backpacks, better quality pens, embossed leather note folios, magnetic chip clips and ice scrapers, all with the Blue Gurus logo. (I know, I know, ice scrapers in April? They were on sale…) These items will end up being gifts for clients, family and friends.

The reason for this story is two fold.

  1. It’s a reminder to think about whether or not you have some fun company branded gifts. If not, maybe it’s time to order some things.
  2. I wanted to share my “go to” place for getting this stuff.

Keith Steiniger, ProForma IDology Marketing Group

Just about all of our shirts (polos, dress shirts, T-shirts) were sourced and embroidered by Keith’s company. He has also embroidered lots of items like our coats and laptop bags. Last year, he gave me the idea of Blue Gurus bottle openers. They were a big hit.

One of the things I love most about Keith is that he always has great ideas when I ask him for new gift ideas. And he’s amazingly easy to work with. If you need help, give Keith a call.

ksteiniger@idologymg.com
(913) 685-9098

I hope you found this story helpful! Let me know if you have any creative tchotchke ideas for me… always looking for fun new things. Have a great week!

Blue Gurus Umbrellas

Servant Leadership Makes My Heart Smile

By Jason Terry, talking about servant leadership being a powerful tool for molding your culture and keeping good people around.

This week, I wanted to write about an experience I had last week while doing an executive LinkedIn training session with a local bank.

Quick aside about the value of connections and doing regular updates on LinkedIn…

I met the marketing manager for this particular bank at an Enterprise University class I led a few years ago (we’re still part of their course schedule). At the time, he was working for another company. He asked some great questions and was really engaged. We ended up connecting on LinkedIn but didn’t really talk for a few years. He’s in Wichita now, and it wasn’t easy to grab coffee together to catch up. But we were on each other’s radars due to LinkedIn network activity and status updates.

I got a call from him a couple of months ago to talk about doing LinkedIn training for their bank. This opportunity never would have happened if he and I hadn’t connected on LinkedIn to stay in touch. And I’m not sure he would have remembered me after the years passed, but I was doing weekly status updates on LinkedIn. It’s a good example of the value of social, even though it can be hard to “measure” sometimes.

So what happened that was the inspiration for this week’s blog post?

I was an hour into the training session for the bank. We’d covered a lot of ground already, and I was talking quite a bit. (I know, I know… you’re shocked, right?) I didn’t even realize that my water glass was empty until one of the executives stood up, grabbed my glass and filled it up for me.

Blue Gurus: Servant LeadershipIt caught me off guard. This executive is an important and respected leader at the bank and he was getting me water in the middle of training. It was a simple thing, but struck me as servant leadership in motion. I actually had to say something about it. When I said to everyone, “Wow. That’s servant leadership in motion.” He immediately said, “that’s not me.” Which solidified my opinion… he was humble about it.

Hey, it might not sound like a big deal. But in that moment, a simple act of kindness struck a chord. And it got me thinking about servant leadership.

Servant leadership makes my heart smile.

I started thinking about my personal experiences with servant leaders. People I’ve seen in the community that lead by serving their teams, their clients and their community. About a dozen names came to mind immediately. They’re the kind of people I would love to work for.

The people I think of are also key leaders of successful businesses. Their employees trust and follow them because they know they’re supported from the top. You can see it in their eyes… trust, respect and even love. They say things like, “she is an amazing person.” Or, “he’s one of the kindest people I know.”

Jason MoxnessI’m writing this story while sitting in a chair in a spare office at Core Bank. (I will be going into the blog team meeting in a couple of hours.) Jason Moxness leads the team for Core Bank in Kansas City. For anyone that knows Jason, he is an incredible example of a servant leader. His team loves him and they are doing great things together. And I know he will be embarrassed to read this, but he’s a good enough friend that I feel comfortable mentioning him. :)

Another great example… what is it with servant leaders in banking by the way? :)

Mic and I were in Montana doing LinkedIn training and blogging work with Stockman Bank. Our good friend Julia Warmer wanted to create a distributed team of bloggers and social media leaders representing Stockman branches from across the state. She put together a multi-day series of meetings and training that we helped facilitate.

There was a really nice dinner reception one night for the Stockman team. Once everyone had been seated and started eating, Bill Coffee, the CEO for Stockman Bank, went to every table and served wine. It was another “surprise” moment for me. I guess in that moment I assumed that the CEO of the bank is important enough to have people serving HIM wine, not the other way around.

There were employees from four different Stockman branches at my table. When I said that Bill was being a servant leader by serving the wine, they all went on to tell stories about how much they loved Bill. These were employees from all over the state that have a deep respect for their leader. Awesome.

Blue Gurus: Stockman Bank Training Blue Gurus: Stockman Bank Training Stockman Bank: Bill Coffee

My hope for all of us is that we can serve our teams through loyalty, respect and by genuinely caring for their well being. The things we do that demonstrate servant leadership are an important part of making our teams feel safe. If you’ve got 12 minutes, be sure to check out this video on YouTube from Simon Sinek: Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe.

9 Productivity Tools I Use Almost Every Day

Post written by Mic Johnson

I use several productivity tools almost every single day and I thought it might be helpful to share some of those tools with our readers.

Now maybe you use some of these tools already. Or maybe you’ve never heard of some of them. Or maybe you have others you use (please share those in the comments for me and everyone else) that make your life a little bit easier.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to talk about some of the productivity tools I use on my laptop:

Roboform Everywhere – This is the username/password tool I’ve been using for the better part of the last eight years. There’s a handy little Chrome browser extension that makes it super easy to access all of the usernames and passwords for every website I use. I also use it to store client credentials. It’s encrypted and it’s easy to use and I use Roboform Everywhere countless times every day.

Checker Plus for Gmail – This Chrome browser extension gives me easy access to the multiple Gmail accounts I have…Blue Gurus, MJMeetings, and my personal Gmail account. It easily notifies me when I’ve got emails and I can quickly see, archive, delete and respond to emails with a couple of clicks.

Feedly – This tool aggregates all of the sites I want information from via RSS feed, whether it be news, sports, weather, you name it. I check it a few times a day to get the real-time headlines from sources that matter to me.

LinkedIn – The LinkedIn Chrome browser extension lets me know when I have notifications, but also gives me easy one-click access to get into LinkedIn. I usually pop into LinkedIn a few times a day to see what’s going on with people in my network, to share content, engage with others, etc. (ditto for Facebook and Twitter).

Honey – This money-saving Chrome browser extension searches for coupons when you’re buying things online and also will take a look at your Amazon Shopping Cart to see if you’re getting the best price on certain items. I wrote a post about this a couple of years ago and still use it today.

Loom – This is a new one in my toolbelt thanks to the article Jason wrote recently. Loom is an easy-to-use video service that lets you record your computer screen (and face) to create videos that are easily shareable on your website or social accounts.

Grammarly – This Chrome browser extension checks for typos, grammatical errors and more as you type emails, blog posts, etc. It catches errors for me on an almost daily basis and makes me more thoughtful about the accuracy of all of my communications. In fact, it caught several as I was typing this post you’re reading right now.

Boomerang for Gmail – This handy tool lets me type emails and schedule them to be sent at a later date and time. I use Boomerang all the time to cross off “to do emails”…for example, I send reminder emails to my peer groups about our monthly meetings. Maybe the meeting is a week from now…I’ll type up the email today and then use Boomerang to send the email later in the week.

WhatsApp – I wrote about WhatsApp in a December 2017 blog post. This tool lets you carry on encrypted conversations with groups of people you care about. I use it for one of my peer groups and a couple of Jayhawk groups I’m a part of. And there’s a laptop/desktop feature that lets you read and respond to messages easily (there’s also an app on the phone, but I use the laptop feature quite a bit myself.)

That’s it for now. Remember to share your productivity tools in the Comments section below. We all can use ideas to be more productive!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Year End Reviews

By Jason Terry, talking about year end reviews and hoping everyone has a great start to 2018!

Hello friends! It’s time for our last blog post of 2017. Whew! It’s been a great year, and I’m ready for some down time. How about you?

Year End Reviews

One of the things I like to do every year is go back through my calendar to get perspective on what I’ve accomplished. I usually write up a list of personal things that have happened and put that into a Christmas card for Trista. It ends up being a great conversation over coffee one morning over the break. It helps us realize that a lot more happened than we remembered. And we end up feeling really thankful.

On the business side, Mic and I sit down to talk about how the year went and what we need to focus on for the next year. It’s always an honest, open conversation. We celebrate the wins, unpack the losses and talk about the things that matter most. And of course, we start by eating sushi at one of our favorite restaurants, Sushi Uni.

This year, I am behind. And to be honest, a little crispy. It’s been a great year, but there have been more challenges than in previous years.

  • We’ve lost clients. (Noooooo!)
  • We’ve gained clients. (Yay!)
  • We’ve dealt with insurance issues. (Ugh.)
  • I’ve found discipline in my walking regiment. (Life changing!)
  • I’ve done a bad job of managing my time. (Also life changing.)

I could probably list dozens of things, but you get the idea. Some good, some not so good. Can you relate?

Blue Gurus - Happy Holidays 2017What I know for sure is that most of the people reading this story are part of making it all work. Clients, referral partners, peer advisory group members, friends and family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. None of it would be possible without you.

I’m looking forward to some down time over the next couple of weeks. And I hope you’re able to find some time to decompress as well. I love the saying, “your presence matters more than your presents.” We have that on our mantle during the holidays. I hope you’re able to leave work behind and spend real, quality time with the people that matter most to you.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from your friends at Blue Gurus!

Check out our JibJab holiday card!

By Jason Terry, talking about saving time, postage and paper by sending a JibJab eCard instead of a paper card.

Yes friends, it’s that time of year again. Time to come up with a mailing list. Design a holiday card. Pay to have it printed and embossed with your signature so you don’t have to fill out hundreds of cards by hand. Go to the post office and buy a metric ton of stamps to mail the cards. Address the cards (which usually results in a long discussion about the efficiency of printing mailing labels versus the personal impact of hand writing the address.) And then mail them by dropping them off at your local post office. It’s so much fun, right?!?!?

People don’t talk about it often… but my general impression is that a lot of companies dread the process of creating and sending holiday cards.

This year, I’m seriously thinking about sending an eCard instead of doing a traditional holiday card.

Click on the picture or link below to see the “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” eCard I made on JibJab.com.

Blue Gurus 2017 Holiday eCard

Open the Blue Gurus eCard on JibJab.com

The JibJab eCard is fun, right?

JibJab.com is $18 per year for access to all of their interactive cards. JibJab eCards are easy to set up and send in an email, blog or to social media websites. They’re more interactive than a traditional card. And I think they might make a stronger impression than a traditional card (or at least a similar impression).

But for some reason, I’m still struggling with the idea of skipping traditional cards this year. I don’t want to offend anyone. So please let me know what you think. Is your business sending traditional cards this year? If you are involved in the process, do you dread it or enjoy it? Do you think sending an eCard is a good idea?

A 10-Question Pop Quiz: What’s Your Common Courtesy Scorecard?

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Builder | Rational Optimist | Sushi Fan | Jayhawk | #micnuggets | @MJMeetings

The way I see it is there are certain things that just fit ever-so-neatly into the category of common courtesy. But much like common sense, it seems like common courtesy has taken a backseat in recent years.

Throughout my lifetime I’ve observed people who are awesome at following up, staying in touch, doing what they say they’re going to do, etc. On the flip side I’ve seen the exact opposite from others. While I’m far from perfect, being reliable and exhibiting common courtesy are things I take great pride in and work hard on. The way I see it is the more I exercise common courtesy basics, the better, in my own small way, I make the world.

Thank youWith that in mind, I thought it would be fun to see how people would score themselves when it comes to a few items that fall into the category of common courtesy. Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a start.

Think of it as a personal and professional “common courtesy check up”. Maybe you’re awesome and have been rocking your common courtesy mojo for years. Or maybe you need a friendly reminder that you might need to work on becoming better at the common courtesy basics. Either way, I hope you find this exercise helpful.

Following is a list of items, scenarios, etc. Simply answer each question and give yourself a score on each item and then add them up and see how your Common Courtesy Scorecard turned out:

1. Do you say Please and Thank You:  
a. Every time a situation calls for it. (5 points)
b. Sometimes. (3 points)
c. Only if you feel like it. (0 points)

2. When you’re walking in or out of a door and you see someone coming or you know there’s someone behind you, do you: 
a. Pretty much always hold the door for them. (5 points)
b. Sometimes hold the door for them. (3 points)
c. Pretty much get yourself through the door and move on. (0 points)

3. If you’re talking to someone and say “We should get together soon”, do you: 
a. Pull up your calendar on your smartphone and lock in a date/time. (5 points)
b. Send them a text or email later in the week with dates/times that might work. (3 points)
c. Forget to follow up with them and the meeting never happens. (0 points)

4. When you get an invitation to an event that’s requesting an RSVP, do you: 
a. Always RSVP and let the person know either way whether you’ll be able to make it. (5 points)
b. Sometimes RSVP and let the person know either way whether you’ll be able to make it. (3 points)
c. Typically ignore RSVP’ing and make it if you can. (0 points)

5. When you receive an email from someone that requires a response, do you:
a. With few exceptions, reply same day. (5 points)
b. Reply within 1-2 days. (3 points)
c. Reply within 3 days or later. (0 points)

6. If someone refers you business or refers you to someone who can help you personally or professionally, do you: 
a. Thank them and follow up to let them know how the referral panned out. (5 points)
b. Thank them for the referral. (3 points)
c. Follow up on the referral but never thank them or let them know how the referral panned out. (0 points)

7. When you’re driving on a road or highway and see another person in a lane that’s ending, do you: 
a. Always slow down and wave them over so they can get into your lane. (5 points)
b. Sometimes slow down and wave them over. (3 points)
c. Speed up so they have to slow down and get behind you. (0 points)

8. If you’re driving and trying to change lanes and someone makes room for you, do you: 
a. Always wave and let them know you appreciated it. (5 points)
b. Sometimes wave. (3 points)
c. Get into the lane just keep driving. (0 points)

9. If you’re late for a meeting or event, do you: 
a. Always give the other person a heads up with a call, text, etc. (5 points)
b. Show up late and just get on with the meeting. (0 points)

10. When you receive a gift from someone, do you: 
a. Always thank them (in person, via email, text, etc.) (5 points)
b. Sometimes thank people but forget other times. (3 points)
c. Typically take the gift and assume they know you appreciate it. (0 points)

Common Courtesy Scorecard
40-50 points – You’re pretty much rocking your common courtesy.
30-40 points – You’re courteous, but have some room for improvement.
< 30 points – Time for a common courtesy refresher.

How’d you do? If you’re up for it (and brave enough!), share your results by leaving a comment in the comments section of this post or drop me an email, text, etc. Additionally, share any other common courtesy basics you routinely practice.

Thanks for playing along…and no matter your score, let’s all agree to be more aware of practicing the common courtesy basics!

P.S. – I’ll tell you my score if you tell me yours. Email me at mic@bluegurus.com.