Why wait? Yesterday you said tomorrow!

YesterdayThree months have passed since Cindy and I started our Isagenix journey. I remember considering the invitation that Brenda had extended to us for several months before we finally said "YES!" The truth is, when we were ready we decided to wait until Labor Day was behind us and summer was over before getting started. We didn't want to detract from our last month of fun in the sun. Now we wish we had started months, or even years, sooner. 
Together we have released a combined total of more than 75 unwanted pounds. There's a new feeling of energy that has come into our bodies, and we're able to do things together - like walking, hiking, and biking - that only months ago were simply not possible. Those chronic aches and pains, as well as the tension that comes from stress, are gone. Really gone!

Sound too good to be true? That's what I thought too. But it's very real. Read this week's entry in @Healthy Edge for details.

Dear Abby - From A Proud Dad

Beware friends and family...  If you think you are going to blush or be shocked, just don't read any farther.

abby & me

You can't hide pride forever!

It’s been too long. It’s time to let you in on a family secret.

When a man has seven children (four by conception and three by selection) there will be a large variety of reasons to be proud. It could be excellence in sports or academics; it could be generosity or patriotism. A dad with seven children doesn’t have to look very hard to experience opportunities to be proud. Sometimes proud moments appear in places and for reasons that I didn’t see coming. Maybe even a little embarassing. That’s one way a family secret can get started. 

I want to share one of those moments with you tonight.

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Identifying Your Passion

PassionThere have been four occasions during the holiday break when college students have reached out to me for advice with their career search and for potential internships. In each of the conversations, the question about personal passion surfaced quickly. How does one identify their passion? How can I make a living doing what I love? Where does passion fit in life's professional equation?

The conversations reminded me of how important is to go to fun instead of going to work. It's been my personal mantra for years and years. I was also reminded that this is a good time of year to repost an exercise that I use to help people of all ages identify their passion.

Here's a post from 2011 that I called "Going To Fun."  Happy New Year!

Interns - The King of Bling


Paying It Forward And Watching Them Run With What You Give Them!

I have the privilege of working in a company that believes in giving back. One way that we do that is with our college intern program. This summer twelve students who are about to enter their senior year, were selected from a pool of over 250 applicants. These students have had the opportunity to experience a slice of the real world in their chosen areas of study and interest, earn some money to help with their education expenses, while gaining valuable insights that will help to set themselves apart as they begin their future career journeys. It's been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve as a summer mentor to four of them. 

One of things I especially enjoy is seeing an intern take what is being given to them in the form of advice and counsel, and watching them make it their own. It's rewarding on many levels to watch them take new risks, gain new experiences, and see things through a new set of lenses. I like to think that they are discovering how to think differently and see the edge.

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Interns - Setting Yourself Apart

Laura PflugPaying it forward and watching them run with what you give them!

I have the privilege of working in a company that believes in giving back. One way that we do that is with our college intern program. As many as twelve students who are about to enter their senior year will experience a slice of the real world in their chosen areas of study and interest. So far, I've had the chance to spend time mentoring four of them.

One of things I especially enjoy is seeing an intern take what is being given to them in the form of advice and counsel, and watching them make it their own. It's rewarding on many levels to watch them take new risks, gain new experiences, and see things through a new set of lenses. I like to think that they are discovering how to think differently and see the edge.

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Dad said I could

Father's Day  Pledge
Something I remember about my dad was the way he encouraged me. Not with long lessons or expressive stories. No, my dad said more with just the right few words. Here's a few that made a huge difference. Give them a try. You can do it!

"I love you.
Don't be afraid.
Give it a try.
You can do it.
Don't give up.
I'm here for you.
Nice job.
I love you." - My dad

Please leave a comment below to share what your dad gave you.  Thanks!

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Make it a great day!

Imelda DayWhat type of day will you make?

Every workday morning I do the same thing. I record a new voice mail greeting that announces the new day of the week, the date, and informs the caller of how and when they are likely to hear back from me. To close, I end each message with one of two phrases. The first is one that I've used for nearly 40 years - "Make it a great day." More recently, I've started sprinkling in a newer version - "Make it a kind day!"

Earlier this week, I was thinking about potential topics that I'd like to add to my blog. I realized that recognizing and understanding that my day will be what I make of it has given me an edge in my career and life. I'd decided to tell share the story about the origin of my greeting and was looking through the news feed of my Facebook account when I spotted a post that validated my thought. A good friend, Imelda Dulcich, had posted an upbeat and encouraging welcome to the new day. I responded, and the rest of this blog post seemed to write itself.

This is how our short exchange looked on Facebook.

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Advice: Find your passion. Experience Joy


Follow Your Heart

This morning, while vacationing with my wife and sister, my sister Judy - who is ten years my senior - asked me a very thought provoking question. It's a question that I've considered all day long. She asked, "Now that you are the age you are and have experienced the things you've experienced what advice would you give to someone younger - someone who is less experienced and starting out?"

I paused for a moment and thought about the importance of her question. What would a nearly sixty-year-old man who has been married twice for a combined 34 years, had 11 employers, purchased 10 homes, lived in 3 states, all while helping to raise seven children answer such an important question? As I considered her question she waited quietly for an answer. My big sister is a very patient woman.

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No Place I'd Rather Be

Rather working

There are times when we know we're in the right place at the right time. For the most part those are uniquely personal occasions that can be tied to someone or something we care deeply about. There are also situations when the right time and place has little to do with us. Instead, in those cases, it's often an occasion that shines a bright light on the life and accomplishments of someone else. Those are the times when we can learn from the experiences of a person who has lived their life in an extraordinary way.

I was in the right place at the right time on Thursday. It was the day when a legendary broadcaster, Dan Rather, was honored with a tribute that - borrowing now from the theme of his evening address - "truly mattered."

Rather with us

At noon I had the opportunity to shake his hand and meet him with my stepdaughter Abby, who just as I was forty years ago, is an aspiring communications student at Washington State University. Later that evening, when Rather was presented with the 2012 Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement, I listened intently as he showed genuine sincerity along with moments of rare emotion while sharing his keynote address: The Power of the Murrow Legacy. During his 60-year career Rather followed frequently in the footsteps of the awards namesake, Edward R. Murrow. Whether in the field in London or at the CBS anchor desk, Rather acknowledged that he regularly asked himself, "What would Murrow do?

Earlier in the day, Rather visited classrooms where, as Murrow had done decades ago, students study to become the next generation of journalists and broadcasters in the digital age. Among the advice Rather shared were three noteworthy tips that, he said, would ensure the students would never have to worry about finding or retaining a job: 1) Learn to write, 2) Learn to write, and 3) Learn to write.

Simple and straight forward advice from a legend. I'd say that those students were definitely in the right place at the right time. And so was I.

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Parenting & Grief: Like the ocean tide

A tide
The conference room at the REI Flagship store in Seattle was filled with leaders and senior staff that guide our company's strategic direction and operational implementation plans. The meeting was part of PEMCO Insurance's Interactive Leadership Series and the guest speaker for the day was Dr. John Medina - the best selling author of "Brain Rules" and one of the country's leading authorities on how the mind reacts to and organizes information.  This was the groups second engagement with Dr. Medina and the expectation was that we would be getting deeper into the information around how the human brain can best influence accountability and trust as components of leadership.  And we did.

Dr. Medina used humor, empathy, tone and volume to keep his audience engaged. 

When he talked about the functions of the "lizard brain" he referred to the four F's - Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding, and Mating. (Yes, he said he wanted to keep his talk rated PG-13). 

He mixed in examples of "games you can't lose" like bobbing for water, and connect the dot. And along the way, sprinkled in through the course of our time together, there were some valuable non-business anecdotes and stories.  Those who listened carefully and paid attention to what was said between Medina's major points, may have come away with even greater value. I know I did.
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10 Tips For Developing A Successful Career

Fork in Trail

"When you get to a fork in the road, take it" - Yogi Berra

When I meet with young people who are contemplating a business or marketing career, one of the questions I'm most frequently asked is "how do you get to be you?"  Said differently they're really asking, "what do we need to do in order to have the type of career opportunity and success that you seem to have had."

Early on I answered by sharing my resume and telling them the story of my career progression. Later, I realized that I was leaving out the secret sauce - the understanding that that a career path is not a straight line. It's a winding path that becomes a journey. One that is traveled in small steps that may not always appear to be headed in the right direction... until the path clears and the progress you've made becomes more evident. 

I've looked back on my career and listed the steps that the journey has taken me. It started by developing a work ethic when I was a young boy. Over time education and experience was added. With each small success came confidence and then courage. Courage to take bigger steps, to go down less familiar paths, and - perhaps most importantly - a realization of who to follow and when to lead.
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Livin' The Dream

Getting paid for your passion

To know what you love is the first step toward loving what you do. I saw this post in my Facebook news feed this morning that reinforced the benefit of identifying our passion.

FB Quote - Passion











For decades I've been talking about the importance of "going to fun" instead of "going to work." In my opinion, it's the only thing that makes sense. Congratulations to all who have found the to identify your passion and then fournd someone who will pay you to do it. Congratulations to you Trishann. And thanks for inspiring this short post.

Customer Voice - Our Greatest Marketing Asset

CMR Logo Small

Last week I attended the second annual Content Marketing Retreat in Langley, Washington. During the course of the two day event I interacted with thought leaders, service providers, sole proprietors, non-profits, and representatives of regional business both large and small. Without exception I was impressed by the passion, interest and understanding about the importance that should be placed on the voice of the customer.

I had the opportunity to open the event with keynote remarks that focused on marketing fitness, content excellence, and making meaningful connections. 

Content Marketing - A CMO's View (w/o speakers notes due to PDF upload)

Please read on for a summary of thoughts that I shared during the retreat.

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From The Guest Book - Olivia McIvor

Olivia McIvor

Bringing Her Whole Self 

I'd like to introduce you to another of the new friends that I've had the good fortune to meet during the past year. Her name is Olivia McIvor and she is a remarkable individual that was invited to provide the thought leadership for one of PEMCO Insurance's Interactive Leadership Sessions last year. 
Olivia and I have enjoyed exchanging ideas and experiences that help to identify the edges in how people live their lives. Olivia is an accomplished author, speaker, and leadership facilitator...  she's even a board member of The Kindness Foundation of Canada. How cool is that! 

I invited Olivia to contribute to my guest book and somehow she found the time. I hope you enjoy her life changing story. It's about how she discovered her edge.

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Make your personality the focus of your personal brand.

Sally Square

Fascinating is her middle name!

I recently had the opportunity to meet a truly "fascinating" woman. Her name is Sally Hogshead (she jokes about her last name but I won't do that here), and she is the Creative Director and Chief Fascination Officer of the company she founded, Fascinate, Inc.

Sally is an nationally recognized and accomplished marketer, author, and speaker whose most recent work focuses on the power of persuasion, and why we become captivated by certain messages or people. Her book is titled "FASCINATE: - Your 7 Triggers of Persuasion and Captivation," and outlines the 7 triggers of fascination: Power, Passion, Mystique, Prestige, Alarm, Vice, and Trust.

Sally has created the "{F}-Score Brand Personality Test" which helps people like you and me better understand the triggers that dominate our brands as individuals. For me, the two dominate triggers are Power and Passion - two that probably come as no surprise to those that know me best. 
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Going To Fun

Discover Passion

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times. I'm a very fortunate guy. My post college career has covered a span of more than thirty-five years so far. During that time I have probably "gone to work" for five or six years - and seldom for more than six to twelve months in a row. Instead, I've been "going to fun". 

Think about it. What would you rather do? Go to work, or go to fun? 

Whenever I started to get the feeling that I was going to work instead of fun, I forced myself to pay closer attention. What was causing those feelings? Was it a change in responsibilities? In management? In my office environment? Or was it something else? And how much influence did I have over the source of those feelings?

On more than one occasion, the answer to those questions helped me decide that it was time to make a change. Time to reestablish my priorities, focus on my passion, and move my career back to fun.

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An edgy lesson, retold

An active network And A story can come together in ways that help others.

ProLango Paul Medium
I can't begin to count the number of times that I've talked with people about the power of the network and the importance of building and nurturing relationships. The reality of that belief and the way networks return what is put into them never ceases to surprise and delight me.

About a year ago I made a new acquaintance named Paul Anderson. I don't recall whether our paths first crossed on Twitter, Facebook or Linked In and it's actually not all that important. What I do remember, and what is important, is that our first connection was one that we made online. We connected because Paul had something of mutual interest that he said he would like to talk to me about.

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Trip of a lifetime!

Rod and Butch -med

From student to teacher

The April visit took place just four months short of forty years since making my first cross state trip to the small town of Pullman. When the journey began, I was leaving from my even smaller hometown of Lake Stevens. I didn't know it at the time, but I was beginning one of the best trips of my life. A trip from student to teacher - a trip that doesn't end.
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Leadership is a team sport

The best... or Your best?Leadership Team

How many times have you heard a company, an athlete, or a coworker claim to be the best? Or maybe you've been part of a business or team who has a goal of becoming the best. Sounds good right? How can you go wrong attempting to be the best?

Read more about a personal discovery of mine here.

MarketMix 2011

social logosOpen to new introductions

I am feeling flattered and humble for the number of kind words and notes I've received since part one of a three part conversation was published earlier this month.  The conversation was between Håkan Söderbom, Konsult Partners, and I - primarily as an introductory promotion for MarketMix 2011 in Seattle on March 9th.

Håkan asks great questions and then allowed me to tell a few stories that I tried to connect to his questions.  Sometimes they fit. Sometimes not so much. But either way, Håkan was gracious and patient.

As I now reflect back on our conversation, I am seeing the edge a little more clearly.  The edge was partially in the stories being told, but the less visible edge was in the process by which the conversation came to be.

I had never met Håkan prior to the day he walked into my office to conduct the interview. Our connection was entirely based on the use of social media. That, along with an openess to meet new people and help them accomplish their objectives, may be the edge worth noting. Håkan introduced himself and asked if we could meet in a single tweet.

Are you open to meet new people? Would you have responded to a tweet? Are you missing out on an edge?

Here's the full story.

What's Your Taproot?

taproot small

Regardless of the season, your career needs Nourishment

Have you ever thought about where your career nourishment comes from? That part of what you do that gives you an amazing feeling of success and accomplishment? The part of your responsibilities that make work feel like you are going to fun and leaves you feeling proud of what you are contributing?

I hope you have. Because by thinking about these questions, and answering them, you will enable yourself to better see and experience your edge.

I've come to describe it as something like the root system of a young tree that is maturing and growing over time. I'd like to tell you a story of a career, as if it were a tree.
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Seven Tips For Mentors

They don't care how much you know . . .                                                                   until they know how much you care.

I've found mentoring high school and college students to be a special way to spend a little of my extra time. At first, I thought I was doing a good deed by volunteering to spend time answering questions and coaching the students on the basics of marketing and business. I felt that giving something back was the right thing to do. And of course, it is. But that's not the whole story. 

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Thank yous with an edge

Thank You Card

Never Underestimate The Power Of A Handwritten Thank You Note!

This small gesture, done well, will almost certainly provide the sender with a competitive edge. Why? I think it is because these simple moments of communication are viewed as personal, genuine, and handcrafted. They can be saved, reread, and shared. Top it off with the fact that it still feels good to get an envelope in the mail that isn’t a bill and doesn’t require a response.  

For my five tips and a "bonus edge" read on. . .

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Know Your Why

If you don't know your why, your what and your how don't matter.

Start with Why - small

Do you remember being a child? How about raising a child? I do. And I remember that in both situations a frequently asked question was "why"? Why this, why that, why now, why not? I also remember the lack of patience that my parents had with me when I asked "why" and that the most frequent answer to my questions was a simple “because… that’s why.” I’m sorry to say that I’m guilty of repeating the same behavior and lack of patience with my own children when “why” was on their minds. I'm convinced now that "why" is one of the essential, central questions in our lives. For each of us to know our own answer is very important.

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2010 Golden Apple Award Winners

 G.A. Trophy - Small

Excellence In Education

It's not hard to guess that an elementary school principal in Sultan, a librarian in Seattle, and a teacher in Tacoma would have children and education as common interests. 

It makes sense that a principal in Spokane, a teacher in Chehalis, and the leaders of a systems biology program in the heart of our bio-med region would make learning a top priority. But these, and four more Washington educators and program leaders, have something else in common. They are all 2010 Golden Apple Award Winners.

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Welcome to My World. . . At Least the Edge Of IT

January 20, 2011 - First post!

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are here on purpose, but even if you arrived due to some less intentional click of fate, I'm happy you are here just the same. For the moment, we are here together. On the edge of my commitment to a year of documenting thoughts and observations about the "edges" that I see and experience.

It's not the first time that I've considered making this type of writing commitment, but it is the first time I've had such clarity for the purpose. I'm not quite sure what caused it or where it came from, but I'm confident that I'm on the right path.

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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