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December 26, 2011

Rest, Reflect, Rebrand

As I’m sitting here on my sofa after much celebrating, visiting, baking, eating, and gift giving I am feeling fat, happy, relaxed and exhausted. It has been a wonderful time for our family and I feel incredibly blessed. I also feel super tired. When I asked my friends what they were doing for their holiday vacation, many were heading to the slopes for some family ski time. While the idea of heading to the slopes with my crew seems like fun in theory, the reality is I just don’t have the energy. I could rally to do something more ambitious, but I know that would be a mistake. I know it’s important for me and my family to rest and regroup no matter what everyone else is doing. This is something I have learned over time. In the past I would have pushed myself to do something more. After all, other people are doing more, or so it seems from the outside. However, I’ve learned at this point that in order for me to enjoy my life and my work I have to respect my own boundaries. If I don’t take the time to recharge my batteries I know my mood and creativity will plummet and […]
December 19, 2011

Take the Leap

During this busy holiday season it is easy to start feeling stressed and tired. We are running around here and there shopping, going to parties, wrapping presents and sending out cards to our friends and family. Although it is a joyous season, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are just so many things to do and places to go. Inspite of the hustle and bustle though, I don’t actually find the activity to be the thing that wears me out the most. Instead it is all the decision making that goes into the preparation for the season that really feels taxing. If someone just handed me a pre-made list of everything I need to buy and do before Christmas I could go on autopilot and get it done, but that’s not how things work. If you want to have a satisfying experience, you need to put some thought into what you are doing. You need to think about the people you are shopping for, what they would like and what you can afford. You need to plan the outfits for the parties you will attend. Will they be formal and require a gown or will they be hip, casual affairs where you can wear a sparkly tank top? And what about the big Christmas feast? What […]
December 12, 2011

Regret Minimization

I recently heard this term and I love it. “Regret Minimization” It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes along the way, it means trying to make the best decisions to minimize regret. It’s a little more forgiving than living without regret which I think is impossible if you are human, or at least if you are Heather Poduska, because I put my foot in my mouth more often than I’d care to think about. However, I’d like you to think about this phrase when it comes to your business. If you are an entrepreneur, you are going to make mistakes. You are traversing new territory. Even if you are diligent and thorough there will be times when you zig when you should have zagged. It’s OK! Although we’d all like to avoid those situations, the fact remains they will occur. The question is how are you going to deal with it?
December 5, 2011

Pop-Pop Part II-What’s my Purpose?

Last week I blogged about our beloved Pop-Pop who has recently suffered a heart attack. I am happy to report Pop-Pop is doing much better. He really is the miracle man. In my last blog I talked about what a good connector Pop-Pop is, how he reaches out to people and stays in touch and how we would all benefit from following his example. Actually, Pop-Pop is an incredible role model for many reasons. As I mentioned before, Pop-Pop had to be revived three times when he had his heart attack. That means he actually died and came back three times! Afterwards the doctors had to put him in a forced coma for several days to protect his brain. I guess all that rest gave Pop-Pop a chance to think because when he finally gained consciousness one of the first things he said was “You know, I think I came back for a reason. There must be something more I need to do. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I feel like I have something left to accomplish.” WOW! This is a 93 year old man who has traveled the world, met thousands of people, had a career and […]
November 28, 2011

Pop-Pop Part I-Show you Care

This past week has been a crazy time in our family. My husband’s beloved 93 year old grandfather, Pop-Pop, had a massive heart attack a few days before Thanksgiving. We all thought we might be attending a funeral this week, but miraculously Pop-Pop pulled through. He is doing so well, in fact, he was able to have a turkey dinner at the hospital on Thanksgiving. One of the nurses even promised him a piece of homemade apple pie! Pop-Pop’s recovery has been a true miracle. Actually, we all believe Pop-Pop has had very special angels watching out for him throughout this whole ordeal. You see, Pop-Pop lives alone and had he been home at the time of his heart attack, he never would have made it. Luckily, however, he was out having dinner with friends and it just so happened there were not one, but two paramedics at the dining hall present when he had his heart attack.  And it just so happened there was a defibrillator there as well which they had to use to revive Pop-Pop three times before he stabilized. There is really no reason this man should be alive, and yet I saw him with my own eyes yesterday sitting up in […]
November 21, 2011

Don’t let your brand go up in smoke

As it’s getting closer to Christmas season and the colder weather is setting in, I need to get our chimney cleaned so we can enjoy a cozy fire during the holidays. As I was putting this task on my to-do list I suddenly flashed back to a scene in my living room many years ago when a chimney sweeper was at our house. I had been practicing some repertoire when he arrived so he heard me singing. He complimented me and went on to say that he wished he had a special talent. I know he was referring to some musical or artistic talent, however, I reassured him he did have a special talent which I truly believe. I think everyone has special gifts and abilities. The problem the chimney sweep was having, and that many people have, is he was unable to recognize his talents. Sometimes we think if we are not  good at things like sports or music, we are not gifted. Not true. Everyone has strengths and skills. The trick is to unearth those abilities and nurture them to allow them to grow. Your gift’s purpose or usefulness may not be immediately obvious, but there is a need and place for everyone at the table. You must be careful not […]
November 14, 2011

Baby it’s Cold Outside

As it is getting colder in New England I realized it is time to buy a new winter jacket. In full disclosure I already have several winter jackets so I don’t actually need another one to keep warm. I do want another jacket, however, because am not completely satisfied with how I feel in the ones I have now. It’s not a question of how they fit, it’s a question of how I feel about myself when I’m in those jackets. I mentioned in a previous post that I recently re-embraced an edgier part of my personal brand, so now I feel like I want to have that edginess come through in my winter jacket. Why all the fuss about a winter jacket? If you live anywhere where it’s cold in the winter, you know you spend 90% of your time interacting with other people wearing your winter coat. It becomes a very big part of how your personal brand is expressed in your appearance. Putting together a branded outerwear ensemble is a really smart and fun thing to do. All you need is a great coat or jacket in a neutral color and then you can add all the do-dads and colors you […]
November 5, 2011

What is Your Brand Song?

Earlier this fall I was in the studio recording my Christmas album. I love Christmas music so it was such a fun day singing through all that beautiful music with my pianist. However, before we could get to the point of laying down the tracks I had to choose the actual songs to go on the album. Of course, I choose many of the classics, but I threw in a couple of lesser known, although beautiful, pieces as well. One of those pieces is a song called “The Carol of the Birds.” The first time I heard this song was many years ago when a friend of mine performed it in college. I never forgot how beautiful the tune was, so when it came time to choose for my album this year I knew it had to go on. It’s an absolute gem. Although it may not be a mainstream American Christmas classic, this little piece has passed the test of time and has been sung and performed by great artists over several centuries.
October 29, 2011

Hustle & Flow

Have you ever been involved in an activity where you lose track of time? Maybe you were writing a great story or even playing a video game. Your mind was completely engaged in the task at hand. This kind of focused energy is often referred to as flow. It’s a term created by Hungarian psychology professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which refers to “the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.” To achieve flow requires complete engagement. In singing the word flow is also referred to in terms of breath flow. The goal is to create a steady stream of air without tension or obstruction so the vocal chords can vibrate freely. In order to do so you must coordinate many different parts of the body. You must relax some muscles while fully engaging others. The result is the feeling of having an open, malleable instrument where the breath flows easily.
October 22, 2011

Can Your Brand Sell a Green Shoe?

I have sworn off watching the news during my daily 6:00am treadmill run. It bums me out too much. I have switched to reading client attraction, self-improvement or branding materials instead. However, the other day I forgot my book and resorted to watching tv again. I landed on the highly cerebral show of “America’s Next Top Model.” Hey, not only did it get me through the burn, it also reminded me of an important branding lesson. On this particular episode the girls were asked to pose nude except for one piece of clothing, jewelry or other accessory they would be trying to “sell” with the picture. Of course, most of the models were understandably nervous, who wouldn’t be, but it was so interesting to see how some of the girls succeeded in capturing the interest of the viewer and some did not. You have to remember ALL of these girls were gorgeous with near perfect bodies, so it wasn’t a question of whether someone was pretty enough or svelte enough to look good in the photo. It was more a question of what ELSE they brought to the scene.