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.

Happy Bizirthday to Blue Gurus. We’re eight years old!

Author: Jason Terry

Jason HugOn April 26th, 2017 Blue Gurus celebrated eight years of doing business. It’s hard to believe we’ve been around that long!

Happy Bizirthday!

I was wishing my friends at Umbrella Managed Systems a Happy Business Birthday recently and came up with “Happy Bizirthday”. (It’s now trademarked.) As part of my business birthday wishes to Umbrella, I did some research on the odds of a small business keeping their doors open. Did you know that only 50% of small businesses survive to be 5 years old? And only one-third live to be 10 years old?

Mic celebrating 8 years (Photoshopped)I am so thankful that we continue to be able to make a living doing work that we love. And it’s all because of you. If you are reading this, you are part of our world. Whether you’re a client, family member, or old high school buddy, you are part of the support structure that makes this whole thing work.

Thank you for your trust and your friendship.

I was on vacation…

I was on vacation on April 26th, so Mic and I weren’t able to celebrate our milestone together. My parents took our family on a Disney cruise for their 50th anniversary. We had so much fun and it was a much needed time for me to rest and recharge. I didn’t feel too bad about missing the chance to celebrate with Mic… he was just getting back from a big trip with his wife to Hawaii!

Pirate NightHere’s a picture of Trista and I during “Pirate Night.” This is the night that everyone dresses up in pirate garb and the finale is a fireworks show off the side of the ship. Disney is the only cruise line that can shoot fireworks from their ship and it was really cool!

So thank you for these past eight years. It’s been an amazing ride. I’ve learned so much. Laughed so much. Stressed a bit. And was usually on time for meetings.

We will continue to do all we can to help the people around us… which I think is the primary reason we are still in business. Hugs.

 

How Do You Bust The Funk?

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

As I was thinking about blog topics to write about, several things started running through my head. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. What am I going to write about this week?
  2. I’ve got two clients I’ve talked to recently who have been struggling coming up with blog topics of their own. How can I help them get out of their own way and pay attention to what’s going on around them every day? This blogging stuff is hard sometimes.
  3. To that point, I had a conversation recently with two friends, one who is a business owner, about how blogging is hard and how they thought it was easier for me because “you like to write”. In fact, I don’t always like to write. I tend to write when I’m inspired to write…and that doesn’t always happen when I sit down to write.
  4. mic and missy Haleakalā Summit

    Me and Missy, pre-funk, at the Haleakalā Summit, site of a dormant volcano in Maui

    I’ve been in a funk for the last several days. To be fair, my wife Missy and I just got back from an early 20-year-anniversary trip to Maui so this could just be a “back-to-reality” hangover. We were there for 10 days. It was incredible. But the flight back was long. There’s a 5-hour time difference. And we were “welcomed” back to Kansas City with cold, rainy, rainy, rainy (Did I mention rainy?) weather…and allergies. It’s been several days since we got back, but the funk endures. I’m sleeping well, but not feeling rested. I can tell my brain isn’t “on point”.

I’ve done all kinds of things to try to bust the funk. #bustthefunk

I worked out.

I threw down a 5-hour energy drink (I don’t drink coffee and times like this I wish I did.)

I’ve taken naps.

I’ve meditated.

I watched some Netflix.

I played golf (if you’ve seen my golf game, this probably wasn’t the ideal way for me to try to #bustthefunk)

I took some allergy medication.

But I’m still not 100%.

So I thought I’d ask for a little help because I know we all go through times like this. When you do, how do you #bustthefunk? Leave a comment below or drop me an email at mic@bluegurus.com.

Here’s A Little Story About Reputation

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | Website Builder | Rational Optimist | @MJMeetings Cheerleader | #micnuggets | Jayhawk

I was recently invited by my friend Christy Rogers, owner of Training Umbrella, to attend the monthly meeting for the Kansas City Chapter of the Association for Talent Development.

Christy thought it would be beneficial to meet some Learning and Development professionals who may be interested in learning about the LinkedIn Training we do for organizations. Additionally, Christy is in one of my peer advisory groups and is a past-President of this chapter, so I also wanted to learn more about her and her involvement in this organization.

degreedDuring the presentation by Lori Eshelman of Degreed, Inc., there were several stats about how people learn, and how learning/training is changing in the business world, that were really interesting. I’ve included some of them at the bottom of this post for your reference.

While I was at the event, a very cool thing happened that I wanted to share. Before the event started, a woman named Mona Raglow came up to me and said:

“I’ve seen you at several events over the last few months and I’ve always wanted to talk to you, but the timing never worked out. I was just talking to someone else here and your name came up and then you walked in, so I figured it was a sign!”

I went on to thank her for saying hello and then asked why she was interested in meeting me. The next thing she said was unexpected, but a welcome surprise.

“Because of your reputation.”

Mona told me how she originally heard about me through my friend, the talented Shawn Kinkade of Aspire Business Development, and how she’d heard nothing but good things about me and Blue Gurus. I can’t tell you how good it felt to hear that because Jason and I have worked VERY hard over the last eight years to build a solid reputation in the city.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of the things we do as part of our culture/brand to create a reputation that people can trust and believe in.

  1. We lead with helping people.
    In fact, when I met Mona, in a few short minutes I gave her some tips and advice on how she could get her blog going (which is one of her goals for 2017). She isn’t a client. She didn’t pay me. But I wanted to help her. Jason and I routinely do small…and not-so-small…gestures like that. Not only is it core to our DNA as individuals, but we believe that if we lead by helping other people, the rest will take care of itself.
  2. The best follow up in Kansas City.
    If we tell you we’re going to do something, we do it. Every time. And if something unexpected comes up, we let you know. Ask anyone who knows us and anyone who has ever worked with us if they’ve ever had to wait days for an email response, or a return phone call, or for us to make a change on their website, etc. It rarely, if ever, happens. We’re not going to be the ones getting in the way of progress. We always keep the ball moving downfield.
  3. We blog every single week and have for the last 8 years.
    If you’ve read this blog for years or are reading it for the first time, first of all…THANK YOU. Secondly, our blog is a way for us to share stories that happen in our lives and in our business. We share LinkedIn tips, we share technical tips, we share favorite restaurants, we give shout outs to awesome people in our lives, we write posts that sometimes inspire and sometimes make you laugh…and why do we do it? It goes back to #1 above…it’s just another way we lead by helping people.
  4. We CARE.
    It’s really hard to put into words how much Jason and I care about the people in our lives…from our families, to our friends, to our peer advisory groups, to our clients. All I can tell you is that it all starts and ends with…you guessed it…#1 above. We love helping people and we derive a lot of personal satisfaction of knowing we made someone’s day, week, month or LIFE better becasue of something we did to help them.
  5. We show up. 
    Not just to networking events, peer advisory groups, and events in the city…but we show up ready to go with our clients every day. We give them everything we’ve got and make sure we’re one of the business (and often personal) relationships they can count on.
  6. We’re honest. 
    This one should go without saying, but a lot of people pay lip service to it. We don’t. We’ll tell you what we think, even if it isn’t the easiest thing to hear sometimes. We do it because…remember #4…we care. All we want is for the people in our lives to be happy, healthy and productive. So if there’s something we can do to help them get there, we do it.

What about you? What do you do to build your reputation? What other experiences have you had with Blue Gurus that you’d be willing to share? Make a note in the Comments section below or send us an email to mic@bluegurus.com and/or jason@bluegurus.com.

As promised, here are those interesting stats from the event (based on a survey of 512 people):

*Only 38% of learning and development professionals think they’re ready to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners.
*85% of people said they learn things for work by searching online at least once a week. Nearly 70% learn from peers or by reading articles and blogs every week. 53% learn from videos in any given week.
*Workers spend about 1% of the average work week (37 minutes) on their employers’ training, but invest 3.3 hours a week on their own.
*61% would put in even more time on their own if they got some kind of professional credit.
*3 of 4 people invested their own money (an average of $339 each) in career-related learning last year.
*People spend 70% of their time learning on electronic devices and that still happens on the PC. But smartphones (17%) and tablets (13%) account for 30% of their digital development. 77% of workers say they do at least some of thir learning on a smartphone or tablet.
*Reasons people list for not doing more workplace learning: 1. Not enough time 2. Not enough guidance or direction 3. Not enough recognition or reward 4. Not engaging enough 5. Too hard to find

Jason talks about perspective, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and B2B blogging.

Author: Jason Terry

There are so many things running through my head this week. So I picked three to talk about!

Perspective.

View from the Darth Vader buildingI met with one of my peer advisory groups Friday morning, February 3rd. We met at Doug Hubler’s office (Apex Business Advisors) on the 16th floor of the Darth Vader building. I took a photo of I-435 and Metcalf from the conference room at 7:45am. The city was starting to wake up and people were on their way to work.

Being high above the hustle and bustle for a minute was a perspective builder. It was a visible reminder that I was there to work ON the business and not IN the business for a couple of hours.

My peer group talks about business and personal topics. Positives and negatives. We get wisdom, strength, support and encouragement from each other. It is one of the most important things I commit my time to on a monthly basis. If you’re not actively involved in a peer advisory group, I recommend you look into joining a group or starting your own.

One of my take-aways from the discussion was about leadership styles and a book recommendation from Andrew Kneisler called Crucial Conversations. I bought the Kindle version and I’m looking forward to reading it in the small spaces between client visits over the next two weeks.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales NavigatorI signed up for a 3 month trial of LinkedIn’s add-on product called Sales Navigator. We’ve gotten a few questions about this tool during our LinkedIn training classes with our clients, and it’s time for me to dig in and see if it’s worth the spend.

So far, the answer is “yes” for people doing 100% sales through relationship. But for most people, the free version is just fine. I think that over time, Sales Navigator will become more important as LinkedIn continues to move functionality our of the free experience and into Sales Navigator.

For example, paid Professional level accounts have lost the ability to do granular advanced searches on key metrics like company size and employee seniority… that functionality got moved into Sales Navigator. I’ve had a Professional paid account for years. LinkedIn sent me an email explaining that they were removing a feature that wasn’t used often by the “majority of their members”… but if I wanted to continue to use the feature I could upgrade to Sales Navigator. Yes, I see what you are doing LinkedIn…

It’s obvious to me that LinkedIn is looking at ways to be more profitable, which I understand and respect. I just hope they don’t go too far, too quickly and alienate their user base. As I was writing this post, I got another email from LinkedIn titled, “Jason, should you be expensing your Sales Navigator account?” How’s that for timing and validation of their motives? Again, smart business… but I hope they are careful with their changes in the coming months.

Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about my experience with Sales Navigator in a future blog post.

Blogging

I continue to be amazed at how mainstream storytelling through blogging has become. More and more companies are asking for help and want to know how the process works. We’ve been doing this for eight years and it’s finally catching on.

There are still a lot of questions, but conversations we’ve been having lately are more about how the actual process works instead of why companies should be doing it.

Did you know?

  • B2B companies with a blog receive more leads than those that don’t. (Source: Huffington Post)
  • Companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website. (Source: Business 2 Community)
  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. (Source: Search Engine People)

There are 14.1 million articles on the web about the “benefits of blogging”. We can say from personal experience with companies all over Kansas City that it works. It really works. It’s worth the time and expense in so many ways. And whether you need our help to get started or not, you should make sure storytelling is an integral part of your marketing strategy in 2017.

Let me know if any of this resonated with you! And if there’s a topic I should cover, I would love the suggestion… just email me at jason@bluegurus.com. Thanks for reading!

Don’t Be a Bosshole.

Author: Jason Terry

Talk about a “click-bait” title.  :)

BossyI’ve heard quite a few stories over the past couple of months about bosses that can be real jerks. When I was talking with a good friend recently about a past bad boss experience of my own, he said, “Sounds like he was being a Bosshole.” It made me laugh! I hadn’t heard that term before.

There’s even an entry in the Urban Dictionary that defines Bosshole as “an employer of a particularly evil nature, completely devoid of empathy or concern for anyone else. The deadly hybrid of boss and a**hole.

If you Google the term Bosshole, you’ll find quite a few articles and videos on the subject. It’s an important topic when you actually stop and think about it. One of the biggest reasons employees are unhappy in their jobs is because of the person they work for. This usually results in people quitting, or worse… staying and doing just enough to get by. Either scenario is an expensive problem for any company to deal with.

Here’s a list of behaviors to help people avoid being called Bossholes:

Protect Your People

It’s incredibly important to make your employees feel safe. Loyalty comes when you protect your people. Whether it’s somebody being blasted in a staff meeting or an abusive client going a bit too far because they’re angry… it’s important to protect your people.

I mentioned this recently, but if you missed it, check out this Simon Sinek video: Why good leaders make you feel safe.

Give Credit Instead of Taking Credit

Bossholes are insecure. One of the things they do is take credit for anything they can to make themselves feel important and valuable. When you give credit to the person or people who deserve it, you’re exhibiting two things:
1. You’re secure in your position and abilities.
2. You truly value your employees.

Do What You Say You’re Going To Do

That raise you promised? The software you were going to buy to make their lives easier? The person you were going to fire because they just won’t carry their own weight? Don’t tell people you’re going to do something and not follow through. There’s no quicker way to lose their trust. But sometimes things change… I get that. That leads me to the next point.

Apologize Publicly

When you screw up, and we all do… say you’re sorry publicly. This shows your team that you own your mistakes and that you have the courage to say it openly.

Be Careful With Email

Do you know a boss that has a split personality? They’re nice in person and a tyrant in their emails. I’ve heard plenty of stories about email bashing. The easiest litmus test is to ask yourself if you would say the things in your email to the person’s face. Often, the answer is no. It might be more effective to pick up the phone.

Be Fair With Time Off

If an employee works back-to-back 10-12 hour days because of a deadline or problem, give them some unexpected time off. Work it in when things aren’t quite as busy or consider giving them a couple of half days off on Fridays.

Be a Better Listener

This one is hard… for all of us. But it’s important to try. A lot of problems can be avoided or at least navigated more easily if people feel like their concerns are being heard. When we listen, we can avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. We learn about issues before they blossom into major problems. And when you ask about their personal lives, they’ll know that you care about them as a person… and not just as an employee.

Anything to add to this list? Did this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at jason@bluegurus.com. Thanks for reading!

(P.S. – If you liked the featured image for this blog post, it’s a Big Personality Desk Sign you can buy for $28 at UncommonGoods.com. There’s also one that says, “I’m kind of a big deal.” Hilarious!)

7 Lessons I’ve Learned Over The Last 7 Years

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | @MJMeetings Husband

7 yearsJanuary marks my 7-year anniversary with Blue Gurus. My oh my…how the time flies.

As I received several notes of congratulations on Facebook and LinkedIn, I found myself reflecting on the past 7 years and jotted down some notes.

I hope some of my personal and professional lessons will inspire you in your life and career. I don’t have all of the answers…but I do have a few.

1. Communication is everything. No, seriously, it really is.
I’ve been married for nearly 20 years and whenever I talk to people about why Missy and I are still happy all these years later…it all comes down to communication. When we talk to each other about the ups and downs of life and business, we know that we’re coming from a place of mutual trust and respect.

Jason and I have a very similar relationship. We make each other better because we trust each other and LISTEN to one another. And if we have constructive criticism to share, we enter those conversations from an honest place. Jason said it best the other day, “I think a big part of our potential was, and continues to be, deep trust and respect.

2. Be accountable. 
One of the items listed on my LinkedIn Summary says: Reliable – I do what I say I’ll do. Every time. I don’t drop balls. If you’ve ever interacted with me or Jason and we haven’t done what we said we’d do, let us know. Holding ourselves and each other accountable is built into our DNA and into the Blue Gurus culture. We take great pride in being the type of people, in our personal and professional lives, that people can count on.

3. Remind yourself why you do what you do.
Help others. Have fun. Make a reasonable living. Have a REAL work-life balance. Those are four pillars that have been a part of the Blue Gurus culture since the beginning…and they guide us every single day in our personal and professional lives. There have been times when one or more of those have gotten out of balance for one (or both) of us, but we always do the work it takes to bring ourselves back into balance. Those four pillars are why, to this day, we wake up excited about what we’re doing…and why we’re doing it.

4. Celebrate the wins. Help each other through the losses.
It’s important to remember to celebrate the wins. We haven’t always been good about doing that because it’s very easy to get focused on the work, or getting the next client, and so on. But we also know when we get out of balance and haven’t celebrated enough. Whether it’s a trip together, taking the afternoon off, going to lunch, or taking our wives to dinner…we find ways to celebrate the wins.

And when we’ve lost clients, we’re there to help each other through it. Losing clients is so much more than lost revenue to us. We feel it in our guts…and in ou hearts. As I told a former client the other day, “It’s like losing a pet.” The loss is often sudden and unforgiving. You spend so much time investing in the people and the relationship…and then it ends (Thankfully, it’s rarely ended because of something we’ve done…or failed to do.) It’s a part of every business and you learn to move on, but it’s always been hard because Jason and I care about the people we work with at a depth that only he and I truly understand.

5. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
That’s the entrepreneurial journey in a nutshell for me. I’ve said more times than I can count, “Every year the equation changes…and every year we figure it out.” Sometimes there are years when we’ve done more LinkedIn Training. Sometimes there are years when we’ve done more websites. Sometimes there are years when more clients have signed up for blogging relationships. It’s very difficult to forecast in our business, but every year we figure it out.

And here’s a little fun fact…when Jason and I first started working together 7 years ago, we had NO IDEA what we were going to do together (true story). We just knew we wanted to work together and we trusted that we would figure it out. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it. For me personally, that’s been one of the most gratifying aspects of this entire journey.

6. Intentionally work on improving yourself.
This is one of the areas I’m most proud of over the last 7 years. Jason and I have worked so hard to improve ourselves as people, as husbands, as friends, and as trusted partners for our clients. Whether it’s working on our work-life balance, or running our peer advisory groups, or finding ways to reduce our anxiety levels, or fine-tuning the way we deliver the services we offer, or countless other things…we don’t settle for being average. We’re committed to being better today than we were yesterday.

7. If you’ve made it this far, go back and keep repeating lessons 1-6.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and Blue Gurus along the way. It means more than you’ll ever know.

Jason’s Recommendations for January 2017

Author: Jason Terry

Hello friends! One of the goals of our blogging is to give you things you can use… ideas, products, services… here are some recommendations to consider.

1. Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace
Simon SinekMic sent me a video on YouTube of Simon Sinek talking about Millennials in the Workplace. Simon has an amazing way of telling stories in a funny way to help you understand how Millennials grew up from a social and technical perspective. It’s important to know this stuff as we hire and plan on hiring young professionals in this demographic. Watch it. It’s one of the best 15-minute videos I’ve seen in months.

Seriously, it was so good that I had to research other talks of Simon’s and found his TED Talk… it’s EVEN BETTER. He talks about how great leaders inspire action by creating a feeling of safety. If you are a leader in your company, you’ve got to watch it. You will thank me for it.

2. GetEmail.io
GetEmail.io I’ve been meaning to mention getemail.io for about a month now. Ken Bramble, a good friend and peer advisory group member, mentioned this web based tool to me in December. It’s a web based application that does one simple, but powerful thing in the right situation. You put in someone’s first name, last name and the web domain of the company they work at, and it tries to find the email address of that person. In my initial testing, it worked about 75% of the time, and if you are really trying to figure out an email address for someone during your prospecting, it’s a great tool to have in your tool-belt.

3. Bluetooth Headsets
Plantronics Explorer 50I’ve always joked about people walking around in public places with their Bluetooth headsets on. I don’t like it and my opinion is that it’s socially awkward. That said, Bluetooth headsets are amazing when you’re working from your home office. I bought my wife Trista (Curious Compass), Mic (Blue Gurus) and Missy (MJMeetings) Bluetooth headsets as gifts because they all work from home at times. They need to be hands free while typing, and they need noise canceling to mask the sound of the “clicks” when typing on their keyboard. They LOVE them! I recommend the Plantronics Explorer 50 ($20-$25 at Amazon.com)

4. Spotify
SpotfiyMy love of music will never die. I started singing when I was 5 (thanks to my parents.) I learned to play acoustic guitar at 16 (thanks to Mitch Flesher.) In the 80s I had boxes full of audio cassettes. In the 90s I had “media storage units” full of CDs. And today I have Spotify. I’m sure you’ve heard about Spotify, but if you’ve never tried it, you should. For $10 a month, I can play just about any song, any time, on a ridiculous amount of devices.

The reason I am including this on my list is because over the past 2 months Spotify is cropping up on even more devices. We have Google Fiber at home, and every Google TV box serves as a Chromecast device, meaning you can stream Spotify from your phone to it. I bought a new stereo receiver, and out of the box it comes with Spotify integration. And Sonos recently enabled direct control of their wireless speakers from the Spotify app. If you love music, you will love Spotify.