Thanks Dan. You Just Made My Day.

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

MakeMyDayYou know what makes my day? When I get an email from a client who is excited about experiencing what we’ve been preaching for the last seven years


It’s hard to believe we’re still trying to get companies to understand that blogging works when you realize that blogs, according to Wikipedia, emerged and grew in the late 1990’s, and that MILLIONS of blogs exist today.

Additionally, measuring ROI with blogging has always been a hurdle that some business owners just can’t seem to get over. At Blue Gurus, we’ve been blogging without fail for seven years straight and we still get far more people telling us in person that they read our blog, enjoyed our most recent post, shared it with several people, etc. than we get LIKE’s or comments on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. How do you follow that ROI trail? You don’t.

Our time-tested equation has been the same from Day One….

Create quality content + Do it consistently = Stay top of mind. Watch good things happen. Click To Tweet

Dan Heiman

Dan Heiman

And it’s been happening for our clients for years too. That’s why I was thrilled when my friend and client Dan Heiman, Executive Recruiter at Cornerstone-Kansas City, recently sent me an email.

Dan had just published his post Celebrating 10 Years of Crazy and emailed it to a distribution list of trusted relationships, clients and prospects. One of the prospects in Dan’s distribution list emailed him back, saying:

“Congratulations Dan on 10 years of CRAZY! I sincerely enjoyed the read with a few giggles and could relate on a number of them. I hope you are also enjoying a wonderful summer. All the best in the next 10 years!”

Shortly thereafter, Dan emailed me and said:

“GREAT example of keeping in front of a potential client in a meaningful way without having to “sell” them anything. Further reinforces why this type of marketing works!!”

Yes, Dan, BLOGGING WORKS. And we’re thrilled you trusted us when we told you that very thing a year ago when we started working together. Oh, and don’t even get me started on that $20,000+ opportunity that you got after only three months of blogging! (WARNING: Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.)

If you and your organization keep hearing that blogging works and you aren’t doing it, we’re here to help. Let’s have a conversation. Simply email or call me at or 913-645-6650.

You, like Dan, could be our next success story.

10 FREE Ways to Be More Reliable

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

One of the things I list about myself in the Summary of my LinkedIn Profile reads as follows:

Reliable – I do what I say I’ll do. EVERY TIME. I don’t drop balls.

I take great pride in this characteristic and, for the longest time, I thought everyone was that way. To this day, I still don’t understand how someone can look you in the eye (or the “electronic eye” via email, text, etc.), tell you that they’re going to do something, and then NOT DO IT.

When did doing what you say you’re going to do…being accountable to yourself and to others….become negotiable?

Now obviously life and business can get in the way sometimes, so there will always be justified exceptions. But if you don’t do the following 10 FREE things already, I challenge you to be better going forward. It will only help you, your friends, your family, your prospects and your clients:

  1. 10 FREE Ways to Be More RELIABLEShow up to meetings on time…or a few minutes early. This one really should go without saying. Be respectful of people’s time. If you’re going to be late, call or text and let the other party know.
  2. Make introductions. If you told someone you’re going to introduce them to someone else in your network, do it promptly and professionally. Make sure both parties know why the introduction is being made and how it may benefit them.
  3. Send proposals promptly. If you talk to someone about your product or service and they ask for a proposal, don’t make them wait for it. We typically get proposals out in 24 hours or less. If that’s not possible for you, then set the expectation with the person you’re sending the proposal to.
  4. Reply to emails in a timely manner. I generally respond to all emails the same day I receive them. That isn’t always possible for everyone, but responding within 24 hours should be manageable.
  5. Return phone calls in a timely manner. I take the same approach to phone calls as I do to emails. Keep in mind…this isn’t because I’m some organizational wizard. It’s because I respect other people’s time and I don’t want to be the one holding something up.
  6. Follow up on referrals. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your network who take their time to refer you, you owe it to them to follow up with referrals quickly and professionally. If someone refers me, with few exceptions, I will contact the person they referred me to the same day, even if that’s to set up a time later to talk or meet.
  7. Follow up with the person who referred you. Follow up with the person who referred you. Again, if you’re lucky enough to have people in your network who take their time to refer you, follow up with them too. Not just at the time of the referral, but keep them in the loop in the process and let them know how it turned out.
  8. Get the work done on time. If you tell someone that you’ll have something to them by a certain date, do it. If you can’t get the work done on time, notify them and make sure that it’s the exception rather than the rule.
  9. If you have to reschedule an appointment with someone, give them ample notice. We’ve had situations where we’ve had an entire day blocked off on our calendars for weeks to work on a website project and then received a call the day before saying they need to reschedule. That’s time we could have scheduled with other clients. Obviously emergencies, etc. happen, but outside of that, always be respectful and courteous of people’s time.
  10. If someone invites you to something, respond…even if you can’t make it or aren’t interested. My wife and I have an annual Prairie Village Art Fair Party at our house. We send out an Evite where people can select Yes, Maybe or No. This past year there were probably 20-30 people who didn’t take a minute to respond. Think about that. We took the time to think of them and invite them and they couldn’t do us the courtesy of responding. Whether it’s something for your business or personal life, there are no excuses for not responding to someone who took the time to invite you to an event.

What other things do you do to be reliable to people in your life? What experiences have you had where someone wasn’t reliable? How did it impact you?

To learn more about how Blue Gurus can help you with blogging, LinkedIn or a new WordPress website, call or email me at 913-645-6650 or

3 Easy Ways to Give Your Employees A Voice

Hello Blue Gurus blog readers…It’s Mic here with something that’s been on my mind for…well…the last 20 years or so!

It’s a story I’ve referenced countless times to clients and it goes back to my junior year in college at The University of Kansas.

post it notesOur Organizational Communications professor was telling us how the company 3M had specific time set aside for employees to brainstorm on whatever they wanted to…improving processes, new product ideas, etc…and how the Post-It Note was invented by accident.

The thing the professor said that day that has stuck with me ever since (and I sometimes joke it’s the one thing I remember from college) is the following:


For those of you that know me, I’ve always had a voice and I have no problem expressing how I feel. It’s not because of my ego. It’s not because I want to draw attention to myself. It’s not because I think I’m smarter than everyone else. It’s because I want the best solution…and the only way to get there is to get input from people who have a vested interest in the problem or solution.

In my experience, too many organizations are top-down, with the owners, management team, etc. making decisions and then everything flowing down to the people who are actually doing the work, interacting with clients, etc. I’ve never thought this made sense.

Of course there needs to be higher level strategy and decision making among people in leadership positions, but why not include the people who are on “the front lines” who will be responsible for implementing the strategy?

With that in mind, here are…



3 Easy Ways to Give Your Employees A Voice

1.Have Regular Meetings.
Depending on your situation, weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings where information is shared, employees are given a platform to ask questions and hear the direction of the company…should be standard practice.

If it’s not possible to get everyone together, utilize technology (conference calls, webinars, Skype, etc) to get as many employees engaged as possible. Or have team or department-specific meetings where two-way communication is encouraged.

2.CEO’s (and other C-Levels) MUST Make The Effort To Interact With Employees.  
I have a client whose CEO has quarterly coffee with select staff where they sit down and can ask her whatever they want. Not only does this give employees visibility to the CEO, but it also lets them know that she cares about their opinions and that she’s approachable. This type of informal and human interaction is good for the employees, good for the CEO and good for the company.

The worst thing a management team can do is to be seen as unapproachable. It’s not that hard to take a little time once a week or once a month to get out among employees and see how they’re doing, what’s working, what’s not, etc.

3.Encourage Employees To Write For The Company Blog.
Smart companies have a blog and share that information with their social networks (Yes, this is one of the services we provide for clients, so this is a bit of shameless promotion…but, ask yourself, doesn’t it just make sense?) Even smarter companies use their blog as a way to engage employees in sharing their stories about business and life.

I have one particular client who I told years ago “You never know…your employees may be blogging one day!” One of the senior leaders said, “Our employees will NEVER blog.” Today, the majority of the blog posts from that company are from, you guessed it….EMPLOYEES. This is an amazingly easy way to give your employees a voice and increase employee engagement.

These are just a few ways that employees can be given more of a voice within an organization. There are countless other ways to do it. If your company isn’t doing these things already, it’s easy to get started. In fact, why not pull a few employees together and ask them for their ideas on how they would like more of a voice in the organization?

I promise you this: Many of your unrealized, best ideas are sitting within the walls of your company right now. All you have to do is ask. It’s really not that hard.

To learn more about how we can help your employees get more engaged through the power of blogging and storytelling, call or email me at 913-645-6650 or

Blogging Success Stories and You Gotta Try!

Hello friends! It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

Real World Stories of Blogging Making Things Happen

One of our goals for our blog this year is to tell more real world stories about the work we do. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard some great stories from our clients about things that have happened because we are blogging together.

DurvetWe’ve been blogging with Durvet for a couple of months now and they are already seeing great results. One of Durvet’s challenges over the years has been that a lot of people in Kansas City don’t know who they are or what they do. (They supply animal healthcare products on a massive scale out of their warehouse in Blue Springs.) Mark Niblo wrote one of the articles in their first month of blogging and somebody from the Kansas City Star saw it on LinkedIn. They contacted Mark to ask more about Durvet and they’ve decided to write a piece about Durvet for the Star.

Straub ConstructionWe’ve been blogging with Straub Construction for over a year. In last month’s blogging session, Ernie Straub mentioned that someone from the Kansas City Business Journal had recently given him a bunch of kudos for their blogging and social media efforts. Their impression was that Straub has really ramped up their presence on social media over the past few months and they’ve been seeing their stories on LinkedIn.

These are just two examples. Who knows what an article in the Star or visibility with the Business Journal might do for Durvet or Straub Construction. What I do know is that it makes conversations happens. It raises awareness. And it happens on a consistent basis.

CamelCamelCamel.comDo you love buying stuff from Amazon as much as I do? If you shop there often and haven’t heard of, you’ve gotta check it out. Did you know that Amazon changes their price on items multiple times a day based on purchase volume, number of views, etc.? can show you the price history for any item. You can see the highest price it ever sold for, the lowest price, and get a feel for what a good deal would be for an item. It’s amazing!

Our free price tracker monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop. Click To Tweet

I use the site in a couple of ways:

  • The easiest way is to click on the Popular Products tab. This will show you pages of products that are being bought the most by other shoppers. It also tells you if it’s a good deal or best price based on past pricing data. It’s a great way to browse current deals on Amazon.
  • The other way I use the site is to monitor the price of an item over time. For example, if I want to buy a 4K television, I find it on Amazon, copy the URL and paste it into I can then set up an alert to happen if the product drops below a price threshold (basically if it drops to a price I would be willing to pay for it.)

Try it out… you will love it.

Shameless Call to Action

We do three things really well:

If you or someone you know could use our help, I would love to talk to you about it!

What Would You Do? The Story Of A Man Stuck In A Bank

Post author: Mic Johnson

LifeisgoodMy day started out as it so often does, sitting in my home office enjoying a hot cup of green tea in my LifeIsGood mug and doing a little meditation (I’ve been working on meditation and mindfulness for the last 3 months) using the Vision Pursue app I was introduced to from my friend Jon McGraw.

As the morning went on, I attended the monthly networking/education Business Book Review put on by another good friend, Shawn Kinkade. I then took my car to my friend Carl Casey at Casey’s Auto Repair to have him give the car a good once-over before we hit the road for a Memorial Day weekend trip.

I then headed to the bank to close out our safe deposit box. I knew it would only take a few minutes and then I’d be off to grab lunch and get on with the rest of my day.

And that’s when the day took a rather unusual turn.

safe deposit funI went into the vault with the bank representative. He put my key in one slot and then put the bank key in the other slot. But it wouldn’t open. He jiggled it. He wiggled it. He turned the key left and right. But the box wouldn’t open. Even worse, my key was stuck.

Then a manager joined us in the vault to give it a try. She wiggled it even more. She jiggled it even more. She turned the key left and right even more. Nothing. It was stuck.

I was standing in a bank vault locked out of my safe deposit box.

The bank representatives then told me that the only thing they could do was call a representative from Diebold to come to the bank and to break into my safety deposit box. He had just gotten to Lawrence, KS and was at least 45 minutes away. No problem, I thought to myself. I would just go grab lunch and come back when they got the safe deposit box open.

And that’s when they told me I couldn’t leave.

Apparently when something like this happens (at least according to the processes and procedures at this bank), the customer can’t leave the bank because it would open them up to a lot of potential liability (like if my passport or will went was missing, for example.)

My 5 minute trip to the bank ended up taking 2 hours. As you can imagine, this could have easily caused my blood pressure to rise, but I consciously decided to take a different approach. I wanted to share a few of the lessons I took away from that experience:

  1. MicInABankSMILE AND LAUGH. The bank staff were very friendly and apologetic, but every one of them greeted me with a smile. While I could have let out my frustration on them, I proactively chose NOT to do that. It wouldn’t have helped me. It wouldn’t have helped them. And it would have made a frustrating situation all the more frustrating for everyone involved. So I smiled back and even laughed a little at the unusual predicament I found myself in.
  2. WE WERE ALL IN IT TOGETHER. It wasn’t just my day that took a wrong turn. It impacted the bank representatives. It impacted the service tech from Diebold who had to drive back from Lawrence in the pouring rain. It impacted the customer he was going to in Lawrence who took a lower priority because of my situation.
  3. MY IPHONE WAS MY FRIEND. I posted about the situation on my Facebook page and several of my friends commented (and I’m assuming got a good laugh), so it helped lighten my mood as I joked about it being unusual trying to break OUT of a bank, how there was a security guard there who I pretended was hired solely to keep me IN the bank, etc. I also took the time to check email, make a couple of phone calls, and read some online content. And I texted Jason and my wife Missy and told them about what was going on.
  4. I WAS REPRESENTING BLUE GURUS. I was wearing a Blue Gurus logo’d shirt (provided by our friend Keith Steiniger of Proforma IDology Marketing Group) and was consciously aware that how I handled this situation would reflect not only on me personally, but on our company too.
  5. SafetyDepositFun (1)LIFE IS 10% WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU…and 90% how you react to it. Life rarely goes exactly the way we want it to. Adversity comes in many forms. We all have a choice in how we respond to situations. I’m thankful I was able to pull from that life lesson that day.
  6. FIND THE SILVER LININGS. I left the bank and the bank manager kept telling me “You are awesome. I’ve never had someone handle a situation like that so well.” The situation also gave me a blog topic to write about. And my lovely wife made a delicious salad that was waiting for me when I got back to my home office.

I hope this post made you laugh a little. I hope it made you think about how you handle adversity, in whatever form life decides to serve it up to you. And I hope you take these lessons and think about them the next time your day takes a wrong turn.

Thank you for your support of Blue Gurus and our blog. It means more to us than you know. If you know of a company looking to redo their website, wanting to start blogging, or needing help with LinkedIn…call or email me at 913-645-6650 or

I Spend Every Day Looking For Awesome

Post Author: Mic Johnson

I spend every day looking for the awesome in life. Awesome people. Awesome food. Awesome experiences. Awesome writing. Awesome technology. Awesome EVERYTHING.

I spend every day looking for AWESOME. Doing so empowers me to live a happy and fulfilling life. Click To Tweet

As I’ve said more times than I can remember: “If you’re awesome, I’m all in. If you suck, I’m done.” I wrote this post because I wanted to share with you, the reader, some of the AWESOME that I’m grateful to have in my life.

Take just a few minutes to read about the people and things I discuss in this post and I assure you that some of the AWESOME will rub off on you too!

GetOrganizedBaseball is back and the World Champion Kansas City Royals had Opening Day on Sunday, April 3rd. My wife Missy and I bought a half-season ticket package this year. Let’s just say tailgating for Opening Day started at 2 p.m. and we got home around midnight. It was a blast! Get your tickets and head out to The K and check out the World Series trophy, the newly remodeled Rivals sports bar in right field, and more.

My friend Cynthia Kyriazis, owner of Productivity Partners, is a Productivity Coach, Strategist, Trainer, Speaker, Consultant and recently published a book to help disorganized people get organized. It’s called Get Organized. Get Focused. Get Moving. and is an Amazon Best Seller!

Blue Gurus just landed one of our biggest clients and the entire experience was awesome. Jason wrote about it recently. If you missed it, take some time to learn How To Treat People During The Sales Process.

My friend Alana Muller, owner of Coffee Lunch Coffee, is a Networking Coach & Consultant, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Facilitator and is actively involved in Seven Days. There are a host of amazing and inspiring events coming up in Kansas City April 12-18.

Bob WasabiI freaking LOVE sushi and my latest sushi craze in Kansas City is, hands down, Bob Wasabi Kitchen. The food is a little bit more pricey than you might spend at other places, but that’s because Bob knows what he’s doing. I’d argue this is the freshest and best tasting sushi in Kansas City right now. Bob, his wife, his two daughters and his son all moved from Hawaii to open this restaurant. They all work together..and they all live together. And Kansas Citians are welcoming them with opening arms. LIKE them on Facebook and check out the Yelp review I wrote for them.

Ever had that annoying situation where you’re trying to schedule (or reschedule) a meeting with a bunch of people and you’e dreading having to find a new time and date that works for everyone? Your prayers have been answered by Doodle. The basic scheduling service is free and easy to use. Thanks to my awesome friend Melissa Eggleston, Director of Private Banking at Alterra Bank, for telling me about it.

lifeisgoodMy friend Shawn Kinkade, owner of Aspire Business Development, is a Professional Business Coach. One of the awesome things Shawn does each month (and one of my MUST ATTEND events in Kansas City) is called the Business Book Review. He recently did a review of the book (and company) Life Is Good. I was so inspired that I went out to their site and bought a couple of their coffee mugs!

My friend Ray Ruecker, owner of Connect 5000, told me about this article…Why Entrepreneurs Rule The World. It was originally written in 2009 during the recession. It’s interesting to read it now as the economy is in much better shape than it was then, but the overall message still rings true.

I recently met Stephanie Guin, owner of The Guin Group. Stephanie launched her business nearly a year ago and provides Executive and Leadership Coaching, Career Coaching/Professional Rebranding, HR Organizational Development and Consulting, and Workshops. We had a great conversation at our initial meeting and our friendship and professional relationship continues to grow. I’ve already given her information to a couple of people I know who are going through career transition.

My good friend and trainer Tim Crough, owner of Tim timcroughCrough Fitness, was just featured in the Kansas City Star for the great work he does with The Mission Project, which enables capable adults with developmental disabilities to live independently and safely in community with individualized support. Tim’s mantra is Move Right. Eat Clean. Be Strong. He can help you do all three.

Would you like to easily unsubscribe from unwanted email lists and just better manage your email in general? Check out It’s saved me tons of time and changed my life for the better.

On a personal note, my wife Missy, a professional meeting and event planner, is in the third year of her business, MJMeetings. She wasn’t born an entrepreneur like so many others are, but she’s done an amazing job of getting outside of her comfort zone and growing personally and professionally. I’m extremely proud of her and it’s been so much fun to be by her side and watch her entrepreneurial evolution.

5 regrets of the dyingOne of my favorite #micnuggets is “The hardest thing about perspective is keeping it.” Whenever I feel like I might be getting out of balance personally and professionally, I remind myself of one of my favorite articles of all time. It has a way of immediately humbling me and bringing my perspective right back into focus. It’s called The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying.

I hope you took away something from all of the awesomeness you just read. What’s been going on that’s AWESOME in you world?

Share your awesome stories, restaurants, local experiences, people, etc. in the Comments section below!

How To Treat People During the Sales Process

Post author: Jason Terry

MWA LogoHi friends! I’m back from Spring Break and mostly over the cold that so many people have been fighting over the past month. I was scuba diving in Curacao with a group from Midwest Aquatics and had a great time enjoying the peacefulness of the bottom of the ocean, resting and recharging my creative batteries.

We recently signed up a new client for blogging, email newsletter and LinkedIn training. Mark, the key decision maker, is someone that I’ve known for many years and done business with in the past. He’s also someone I trust and respect. The way he communicated with Mic and I during the sales process inspired me to write this week’s blog post…

How To Treat People During The Sales Process

Mark and I had lunch with our peer advisory group two months ago. As we were walking back to our cars, he mentioned that he wanted to talk more about how we could help his company tell their stories through blogging. He has a marketing team, but they had struggled implementing a strategy to use their website, LinkedIn and email newsletter to stay top of mind with their customers and vendors.

I followed up with a phone call the next week to talk about how we work with our clients and what it costs on a monthly basis. Mark liked our strategy and the efficiency of our process. He also liked that we would be doing the work on site with his marketing team. He decided to move to the next step and have us meet and discuss everything with his team. And that’s important point #1.

Involve your team in the decision making process.

Mic and I met with the marketing team to talk about how corporate storytelling can benefit sales efforts and company culture. (It’s usually the most consistent marketing effort a company has ever done.) We talked about why it works. We talked about how we would work together each month and what has to happen to achieve success. We talked about who should be involved. And we talked about pricing. It was a great meeting.

Mark met with his team two days later to discuss internally if what we proposed made sense for their employees and their company. By doing this, he was getting buy-in from the people that were going to be responsible for making it happen.

Smart. Instead of being told what they had to do, they were given the choice to decide what made the most sense.

Our meeting was on a Wednesday. The follow up internal team meeting was Friday morning. And Mark called me at 6pm Friday night, which leads me to important point #2.

Don’t leave your salesperson hanging.

Jason BloggingMark wanted to make sure I didn’t go into the weekend wondering how the internal conversation went. During our call, he told me that they were going to move forward and that we would get the contract in place the next week. It was a classy thing to do and something I’ve rarely experienced.

I’ve had to follow up too many times with a prospect to find out where things are at. The most recent situation involved 3 email follow ups, a voicemail on their company line, and then a voicemail on their personal cell phone making sure they were okay! It took a full week to get any kind of response. And of course I started wondering what I had done wrong… even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.

It doesn’t matter if the answer is no, yes, or not sure yet. Keep your salesperson in the loop on where things are at, and most importantly, respond in a timely manner when they follow up with you. It’s common courtesy.

And you might be thinking, “Jason, that’s just part of sales. People get busy.” Okay, I hear you. But if I’ve asked someone for a proposal, and they take their time and energy to meet with me, talk with me and get me a proposal, I feel like I owe it to them to be responsive, no matter how busy I am.

So what do you think? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Have your struggled with this too? Help make this a conversation by posting a reply on our blog or via email. And thank you for reading!

How to Have Less Stress, More Time and a Happier Life

Post author: Mic Johnson

One of the items listed in my LinkedIn Summary reads as follows:

☑ Organized – My desk, my work, my email inbox, my car, my closet, my home….you name it, it’s organized. And I LOVE helping other people get organized.

As I wrote this post, I took a quick inventory:

My desk: I’m sitting at my “desk”, which is to say I’m at my home office…it’s me, my laptop, and my phone. It’s organized.
My work: I’m up to speed with my clients. I know what projects are due and when. My calendar is up-to-date and I know what appointments I’ve got coming up and what I need to do to prepare for each. It’s organized.
My email inbox: I have ZERO emails in my inbox. It’s consistently been that way for a good portion of my career. It’s organized.
My car:  There’s no trash on the floor…no wrappers, no receipts, no clothes, no packages…nothing. It’s clean. It stays that way. It’s organized.
My closet: The clothes are hung or folded neatly. The shoes are on the rack. The belts are hung up. The laundry is in the basket. It’s organized.
My home: Our home is clean. We have a cleaning crew come once a month to give it a good “once over.” And recently my lovely wife Missy and I gave the house a thorough deep cleaning. We don’t leave clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink, crumbs on the counters, the beds unmade, stacks of mail, or the windows dirty. It’s organized.

A disorganized desk, work life, email inbox, car, closet and home are just a few examples of things that subconsciously add to the unnecessary and often overwhelming levels of stress many people feel every single day.

As with anything in life you want to achieve, there’s no question it takes great discipline to consistently achieve the things I mentioned above. So why am I so passionate about being organized in work and in life? The answer is simple: Because it reduces stress, gives me more control of my time and leads to a happier life.


LessStressMoreTimeHappierLifeThat’s the equation. Learn it. Love it. Live it.

One of the most precious things we have in our lives is TIME. The more time you build into your life to do the things you want to do and with the people you want to do them with, the LESS STRESS you have and the HAPPIER you’ll be.

The myth and the negative record that plays over and over again in our heads is that we don’t have any control over our time.

But we do.

Think about it. Much of what is on your calendar each day/week/month/year are things YOU committed to, both personally and professionally, and oftentimes without ever giving a second thought on the impact it would have on your personal time and overall happiness.

Over the years, through countless career and personal choices, and by having a deep respect for the discipline it takes to get there, I’ve learned to greatly reduce, and in some cases completely eliminate, many of those daily stressors.

Here’s a few ways you can too:

Email Management
This is a big one for just about everyone. Yes, I check email several times throughout the day on my laptop and iPhone. I know some people schedule “email time” at points throughout the day. Whatever your method, it’s necessary if you want to consistently achieve as close to INBOX ZERO as possible. I check my email throughout the day and night. It doesn’t mean I’m not present when I’m doing other activities or don’t put my phone down for hours at a time.

Checking email regularly allows me to, as the Kansas City Royals mantra goes…keep the line moving. When I check emails, I reply, delete, file or forward them quickly. I also schedule emails ahead of time using Boomerang for Gmail if I know I want to reach out to someone or follow up with someone later in the week or month.

I also use (It’s FREE. Thank me later.) to bundle emails together and deal with them all at once. It also makes it SUPER EASY to unsubscribe from email newsletters I don’t want anymore or never signed up for in the first place.

It’s Ok To Say No
You don’t have to stay in the job that requires 65 hour work weeks and time away from your family. You don’t have to live in the house with all of the square footage you don’t use. You aren’t a bad parent if you don’t sign the kids up for every activity. You don’t have to buy the new, expensive car that gives you one more monthly payment to deal with. You don’t have to say yes to every social invite you receive. You don’t have to say yes to every project someone at work asks you to be a part of. You don’t have to say yes to every volunteer opportunity you’re approached about. You can tell someone you don’t have time to meet right now and schedule something 2-3 weeks out.

Look, all of those things may feel necessary or sometimes make you feel good, but they also take a lot of time. Make sure you feel good about the trade-off before you say YES. And don’t beat yourself up when you say NO. It’s ok.

Your Calendar Is Your Friend
I schedule EVERYTHING, both personally and professionally, on my Google Calendar. Sales calls. Follow ups. Client appointments. Birthdays. Reminders. Dinner dates. Writing blog posts. Vacations. Afternoons off. Royals and Jayhawk games. And on and on. I’m in my calendar several times a day adding items I need to stay on top of, follow up on, or want to remember.

Bottom line: If it’s on the calendar, it gets done. PERIOD.

Smart Scheduling
When you have appointments on your calendar or set up meetings with people, do your best to schedule them when you’re already going to be in that part of the city. Why not kill 2, 3 or even 4 birds with one stone? As an example, I recently set up a client appointment, a lunch, a sales appointment, and a happy hour all within a mile of each other.

I’m always courteous of the other person’s time and be sure to ask them where they’re coming from in the city and where they’re going after our meeting…and then we pick a convenient spot in between. Imagine the amount of time you will save if you focus on smart scheduling even for the next month. Try it!

Call Before Coffee 
Have you ever received an email introduction to someone that wasn’t very clear as to why you should meet? The conditioned response we’ve all had and heard a million times is “Let’s get together for coffee.” Think about that for a minute. You just agreed to drive 15-20 minutes both ways and spend a good hour with someone and you’re not even sure why.

I’m not saying I never do that, but if I’m not clear from the email introduction why someone thinks we should meet, I’ll often say “Hey, it’s nice to virtually meet you. Would you be open to scheduling an initial call to learn a bit more about each other? Then, if it make sense, we can schedule an in-person meeting at that time.”  This saves BOTH people time, especially if you find out (which has happened to me countless times) that neither of you are really in a place where you can help one another.

Just think about how much time this can save in a day, a week, a month and a year when you add up all of the drive time and meeting time!

Proactive > Procrastinate. If You Think It, Do It.
Keep things picked up around your house and office. Do the dishes after every meal. Go through the mail daily. Pay your bills as you get them. Schedule items on your calendar that need to get done. Create a file system at work/home and put files away you aren’t using. Hire a cleaning crew if you just can’t keep the house clean.

If you proactively do the daily tasks that need to get done, they won’t build up later in the week or month. If you think it, do it. Be proactive. Stop procrastinating.

Be Disciplined: Momentum Comes From Movement
I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating as it’s THE KEY to achieving anything you want to accomplish. You have to stay the course. You have to be committed to the change you’re seeking. If you slip up one day, keep going…tomorrow is a new day to start again. Momentum comes from movement.

What other tools and tips do you use to stay organized, save time and be happy in your life? These are just a few of the things I do. I’m always looking for ways to improve. Please share your ideas and suggestions below for me and anyone else who read this.

If You’re Not Helping People, You’re Doing It Wrong.

Post author: Mic Johnson

Recently I posted the following #micnugget on several of my social accounts:

How many times each week do you proactively help people? If it’s less than 5, you’re doing it wrong. micnugget

I regularly help more than 5 people a week because doing so is built into my DNA. It also makes me feel good to know I’ve made a positive difference in someone else’s life. In the 6 years I’ve been with Blue Gurus, I’ve realized it isn’t the specific tasks I do that give me energy, but it’s the opportunity to help so many people in so many different ways.

As I thought more about this, I wondered how many of you go into every day with the intention of helping as many people as you can. And I wondered what kinds of things you do regularly to help people.

HelpingPeopleI also thought that some of you would like to more intentionally help people in your life, but might not be quite sure how to go about it.

To that end, I’ve included a list below of just a few of the things I’ve done in the last couple of weeks. I’m not sharing it with you to pat myself on the back.

I’m doing it because I really want you to think about all of the things you do (or don’t do) each day to help people.

Sometimes you will help people in small ways. Sometimes you will help people in big ways. Sometimes you will never know the impact you’ve had on people you’ve helped.

You may make them laugh. You may make them cry. You may help them think about their life or career in a more meaningful way. You may help them through a difficult time. You may offer words of encouragement. You may inspire them.

Take a look at my list below. I hope it inspires you to focus on being more intentional about helping people in your life. And please take a minute to share how you regularly, intentionally help people.

I can always use a few more ideas.

We all can.

-I’ve talked to several people about their careers and life, helping them get clarity on how to be happier.

-I referred my neighbor who was looking for a will and power of attorney to a childhood friend of mine who has his own practice.

-I emailed a couple of people in my network about speaking opportunities at national conferences.

-I was told about a sales opportunity from a friend of mine at a local company and shared it with another friend of mine who’s looking to make a career change.

-I talked to my younger sister about some career opportunities she’s considering.

-I shared educational articles with two friends who are facing health issues.

-I referred a former client to a communications professional in my network.

-I wrote a detailed email introduction referring an existing client to someone else in my network who was interested in their services.

-I sent a personal email to a friend who is going through some challenges letting them know that I was there for them if they needed me.

-I shared a networking opportunity with someone I hadn’t talked to in over 6 months.

-I helped promote a networking opportunity that someone in my network was hosting.

-I took a few minutes to congratulate several people who were having work anniversaries.

-I talked to a friend who lost his mother and sent a card with my favorite poem (Attitudes).

-In my day-to-day work, I help people and clients learn how to more effectively use LinkedIn for personal branding and business development, tell their stories through blogging, and help clients who need new websites.

20 Great Gift Ideas This Holiday Season

Post author: Mic Johnson

1. Give thanks.

2. Give someone a call that you’ve been thinking about.

3. Give help to someone who didn’t ask for it.

4. Give yourself permission to get outside of your comfort zone.

giving5. Give yourself the gift of being true to yourself.

6. Give the gift of a LIKE, a re-tweet, a comment, and a share.

7. Give a smile.

8. Give common courtesy.

9. Give your time.

10. Give a referral.

11. Give a hand.

12. Give food and clothes to a homeless shelter.

13. Give hope.

14. Give hugs.

15. Give encouragement.

16. Give love.

17. Give enthusiasm.

18. Give inspiration.

19. Give patience.

20. Give compassion.

And when you’re done with all of these, give yourself a pat on the back.