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It is cold and flu season again. It comes around every year and it seems like every year I get sick. I already have my first cold of the season. We can’t completely avoid getting sick, we don’t live in isolated bubbles. No matter how diligent we are we still live with the human race and we love some of the germiest people on earth AKA kids and grandkids.

I have included 4 links to websites by WebMD, Prevention.com, CDC, and a home health care site. They all have great tips on how to prevent yourself and others from getting the nasty stuff that goes around.

The biggest most important tip is to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. There have countless studies that show when you cover up you do not spread germs. Kleenex, Puffs, Kirkland, Chandaria, and a whole bunch of other companies make inexpensive facial tissues that are perfect for keeping the spread of germs in check.

The second biggest tip is to wash your hands with soap and water. Every time you go to the bathroom and every time you cough or sneeze. None of us want your gross germs; please wash them down the drain. If you can’t wash your hands at least use handsanitizer it is better than nothing.

Just so you know if you do not do these two simple things people are going to want to hose you down with a disinfectant like Lysol. There have been many a time I have wanted to; the only thing that stopped me is I didn’t have any. I worked with a woman who would do that, not very nice but very effective. Just an FYI this is not a recommended use of that product.

A third tip is once you are feeling better besides cleaning everything with a disinfectant like Clorox or Purell or Lysol wipes get a new toothbrush. Your toothbrush is a major source of germs and if you can’t get a new one at least soak it in Listerine. Kill as many of the sick germs as you can so you don’t make yourself sick again.

So please be considerate, cover your face and wash your hands. You do not want us spraying you down with Lysol.

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/11-tips-prevent-cold-flu

http://www.prevention.com/health/9-cold-and-flu-facts

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

http://homehealthcareconnection.org/2015/10/cold-and-flu-prevention-tips/

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Fearful Companies

Have you ever worked for a company that was so frightened by one mishap that they went overboard in their security? I worked for a company where an idiot was caught with child porn. Now he was not caught on the premises with it but there was a possibility that he checked his personal email on one of the company computers.

Because of this one person’s stupidity the company reacted by restricting the internet for everyone.  I understand the fear this engendered, the authorities could have seized the servers of the company and that would have been a major hardship because of the loss of data.

Here is the problem with restricting the internet and adding terms that people can’t use. There was a potential customer whose name is Dick. We could not email him because that is was a restricted word. I had to beg the IT people to let email to and from him through. Seriously, I wish I was kidding about it.

The company was so fearful about what was being looked at that it restricted blogs. There is a lot of good marketing and sales information to be gleaned from blogs, but if I wanted to see any of it I had to request permission from the IT person.

The company was so fearful that if I went to a website that was unrated I had to ask permission to see it. So looking at small companies who were often the bread and butter of my company was a slow and cumbersome process.

I understand the fear that one person can cause, because of one person’s stupidity it made not just my job hard to do it made the whole company shrink. Instead of making the company a safer place it made peoples jobs more cumbersome, less nimble, and very frustrating. It fed an already unhappy workforce into even more malaise.

There are better ways to protect your company. There are better ways to tell your employees that hey there was one stupid person but we still trust you. Instead the company did the exact opposite.

Diabetes

This has been a year of big changes. We welcomed baby M into the family we have welcomed a probable Mr. Navy Girl and son into the family and we have lost an important member of the family. Miss you Aunt B. But the biggest change of all for me is my health.

I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Now this form of diabetes runs in my family so it isn’t a huge surprise but it is a huge adjustment. One I am struggling with. I do not feel any different than I did before I found out. Physically I look and feel the same but I am not.

Evidently my former doctor could see in my blood work that I was prediabetic but didn’t tell me. He never said anything or gave me any information. I met my new doctor for the first time because I wasn’t feeling well for about a week and wanted to see what was going on. The first words out of her mouth after introducing herself was did you know you are prediabetic? That your A1C is 6 and that diabetes is 6.5? WTF!?! That was from a blood test I had in January that my former doctor didn’t tell me anything about. WTF!!! If I had known I would have started doing something about it so I could avoid getting full blown diabetes.

So we did blood tests and low and behold diabetes. So now what? My doctor gave me some information on what I need to do for the next three months. Foods to eat, foods to avoid, medicines I need to take, side effects, the whole 9 yards. Needless to say it has been overwhelming.

One of the biggest challenges in trying to control the diabetes is limiting carbohydrates. I admit I am a carboholic. I love fruit and bread and pasta and rice and cake and cookies and chocolate and sugar. If it has carbs I was in. I am struggling with this as I write this.

I am a numbers person. I don’t do well with exchanges you get 9-12 carb exchanges a day. To me that means nothing. Each carb exchange is 15 grams so I did the math and keep track of what I eat on an app on my phone. I weigh out my food in the morning and pack my lunch and snacks for work. I know what I am having for dinner so I can count backwards during the day. Right now I am on a 1400 calorie 135-180 grams of carbs eating program.

There are days when I literally save up all of my carbs so I can have ice cream (at the state fair, it was delicious). But for the most part I do ok. But I do struggle. My company has a popcorn maker – the good movie style popcorn maker, I can’t eat it anymore. There are 5 carbs per cup of popcorn. A cup of popped popcorn isn’t very much.

Right now there is a pack of blueberry poptarts in the vending machine. I love blueberry poptarts. The only poptarts I like are blueberry and the only blueberries I like are in poptarts. There is 38 grams of carbs in one poptart and there are two in a pack. You do the math they are bad news for me. They have so been calling my name since yesterday. I hope someone else eats them soon.

It’s a struggle but I need to learn to work with what I have. I plan on being here a very long time.

Happy thoughts for a happy day!

Sometimes life comes along and knocks you off your feet. You are moving along not really paying attention and WHAMMO! Life hits you like a linebacker stopping the play at the line of scrimmage. These completely unexpected events are, even if you fumble the ball, recoverable.

All great strides in human history have come with major disruptions. An asteroid or some other cataclysmic event caused the extinction of dinosaurs and lead to mammals becoming dominant.  The rise of Homo-sapiens lead to the downfall of Neanderthals and the invention of the printing press changed all of our lives for the better. **

You are moving along with your life and out of the blue a major disruption occurs. This disruption can be the loss of a job, the diagnosis of a disease, the death of a loved one, the birth of a loved one; it could even be the getting of a new job or promotion. It doesn’t really matter what the disruption is what matters is how you react to the disruption.

You can fumble the ball but if you scramble to get it back or on the next play break away for a touchdown or even just a run of a few feet you have not let the fumble ruin your game. Life is that way too. When the initial disruption happens you can drop and cry “Why!?! Why me?!!” For about 15 minutes, then you need to get up and see how you can use this disruption to your advantage.

The same thing goes for business. Everyday someone is trying to disrupt your business. They bring out a new game changing product. They take your product and make it better or obsolete. What you need to do is figure out how this disrupting force can make your products, your service, you better.  How are you going to react to the disruptive force?

Violent change is everywhere.  Very rarely does something good like the Grand Canyon come from slow gradual change. Most of the time the slow gradual change leads to the erosion of your brand and no one wants that! So embrace the disruption, see where it leads.

** Strictly my opinion.

I am trying to become more knowledgeable about the field I work in. Every time I change jobs I seem to change industries. I have knowledge about a lot of areas. If you look at it in terms of digging a hole I have a very large area of topsoil knowledge, about half of that knowledge goes down a couple of inches and half of that again goes down a foot or so. I would like to take my knowledge of the industry I currently work in down below the frost line.

Now in some places the frost line isn’t very deep, in fact I may have lost a bunch of you reading this because you don’t know what a frost line is. The frost line is how deep into the earth the dirt freezes. It can be mere inches into the many, many feet. Where I am from the frost line is very deep, usually more than 6 feet deep.

What I am saying is I would like to get a much deeper knowledge of the industry. Luckily I get a considerable number of periodicals (magazines, newspapers, even newsletters) sent to me because my predecessor signed up for everything. I have been remiss in actually taking the time to read them.

So one of my goals is to take fifteen minutes every work day and read one of the periodicals. It is a small goal, one that I am pretty sure I can carve out of my day. It is a huge goal because I think gaining this knowledge will help me help my customers immensely.  My plan is in small increments to increase the size of the hole and the depth.

There is so much to learn and so little time to do it. I will let you know how the learning is going. Let me know in the comments below what you are doing to increase your knowledge base.

It has been one of those days. I am making my calls, trying to improve your business life and Wham-mo! someone is really rude to me on the phone. It can really throw your whole game off.

Everyone has a bad day. I know having a sales person call you can be a hassle and a time waster. I know that often you have an incumbent vendor and moving your business can be a hassle. But you do not have to be rude to me to get me to go away.

Here is my list of 10 things to remember when you are rude to salespeople on the phone!

  1. We are a people with feelings. And sometimes they get hurt. Not often but sometimes.
  2. We talk for a living so if you are rude to us we will tell people
  3. We are consumers – I have a list of products/companies I will not buy from because the purchasing person was so rude to me.
  4. We are just trying to help you do your business better. No really we are not trying to sell you snake oil. We truly believe we have a better product or service than what you currently have.
  5. It isn’t easy picking up the phone and making a cold call. Please do not make it harder.
  6. It’s ok to say no you just don’t have to be rude about it.
  7. We are not psychic, yelling at us and insulting a person because they called you and interrupted you is not nice. Remember #2.
  8. I am doing my job when I call you. One of the ways I get my message out is calling, I leave messages too. If you don’t want me calling answer the phone and tell me no.
  9. Just because your title says purchasing or anything other than sales, you are in sales. Everyone who works at your company is in sales, EVERYONE. See #2.
  10. I will call you back just to piss you off . . . and because I have a great product you might have been having a bad day.

This is a story about showing up, taking the initiative and working hard and then being noticed for it.

Army Girl was very young when she started with the military, only 17; a lot of people had to sign papers for her to join. It has proven to be a very good decision on her part. That could be the story but it isn’t.

Army girl was sent to Iraq, this was during the middle stages of the war and things were somewhat calmed down but still not overly safe. She was an E4 so pretty low on the totem pole. Army girl drives a fuel truck. They go out on missions frequently to other bases called FOB’s.

Before each mission there is a briefing on what to expect and any enemy action in the area. They are open to the troops but generally only those who had to be there, usually sergeants and above, went to them -with the exception of Army Girl. She went to every briefing before a mission.

She didn’t have to. She didn’t really need to. She could have just waited for the second hand information, if there was something important the information would have eventually gotten to her. But Army girl didn’t like getting second hand information, often times the details were a little sketchy and Army girl wanted to make sure she knew what she was walking- driving – into.

Pretty soon it was noticed that the lowest ranked person in the room was there voluntarily.  That she took notes and that she paid attention to details. Because she showed up, she took the initiative, her job responsibilities changed and she was able to get more experience and meet more people up the chain of command. By the time she left Iraq she had met majors and colonels and even a couple generals she would not have been exposed to if she left it up to someone else to attend those meetings.

Army girl was promoted to sergeant before she was 20 years old. By showing up, taking the initiative and working hard, she advanced her career.  This can happen to you too, you do not have to be in the military to advance your career by showing up, taking the initiative and working hard.

Don’t be afraid to be the lowest ranking person in the room. Don’t be afraid to get the information first hand. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and be noticed.

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