With Every Ending there is a NEW Beginning?

What is it they say? “With every beginning, there comes an end” or “with every ending new-beginningcomes a new beginning.” Just like I mentioned in a previous post “everything happens for a reason” or “it is what it is” I have to say that this so called all good things must come to an end also has to be true? Or is it? How do we know when things are coming to end then? What are the signs? Does this also apply to our relationships, education, career, etc.? Or is this saying just the cycle of life and products? Over the last week and if not the entire year, I have been asking myself this and many similar questions. Why? Well over the last year, I have started to pay greater attention to detail and the shelf life of many things including that of my relationships, career objectives, milk, groceries, vehicle, etc. Why if this saying isn’t true, do most things we purchase and consume have an expiatory date? It seems that YES, most things (if not all) have a beginning and an end? Or all good things must come to an end?

So how do we determine what exactly the beginning and/or end is? The obvious is we are born and then we die… YES? How about relationships or your career? If you are young or old you have probably noticed that, most relationships and your job, regardless of how you meet or the job you’re in all have trends. These trends usually go something like this… awesome beginning (honeymoon), an okay middle (comfort zone), and really bad endings (the dreaded unknown). In my life and regardless of whether in a relationship or career these trends seem to always go the same way but unlike the cycle of life (ending in death), I am still alive, kicking, and in the end have come out the other side as better person. I am a better father, a better man with the woman I love, and I am a better man in the job I am in. Does this then mean that we all should embrace change, new beginnings, and endings to things? Or is it just me? Do we need to give more chances to others, our partners, and career paths fostering and/or focusing more on the middle stage(s)?

uptown-girls

Let’s face it, the beginning of anything is downright scary just like my kid changing schools this year. On the flipside, the end is just as scary if not more! Starting something new or letting go of something you care about is extremely hard whether it is a relationship or your career. However, what I have learned over the years (especially raising my son, in relationships, and jobs) is that both beginnings and endings are a necessity of life, just as we are born and we die. In order for us to remain active, happy, and healthy, we must allow ourselves the opportunity for new beginnings in our relationships and jobs, just like we must allow ourselves the opportunity for endings, so we can create more beginnings. This my friends is what we must do because if nothing ever came to an end, nothing could ever begin. Without scary endings and new beginnings, I wouldn’t be the same person I am now just like I know you are. In fact, I couldn’t be happier at how things have turned out in my life with my son, my relationship, and career. Although I can’t say for sure how long I will be in this NEW middle part of my life (hopefully until I die), I can honestly say… For every ending, there is an even greater beginning. Don’t be afraid of endings and surely don’t let yourself be afraid of new beginnings.

Thoughts? If you have any, please feel free to leave your comments here, reach out to me online or in person, and/or through any of my other online mediums. Until next time my friends keep smiling, embrace those you’re with, do away with things stressing you out, and for heaven’s sake create some new beginnings already.

New Dating Relationships with Kids


Sexy-metetingIt has been awhile since I have written anything online and that is because like many of you, things have been moving along very rapidly in my life. As a single parent (all of you know this), I believe if someone offered to give me a few of their minutes or hours, I would be indebted to them for years to come which would hopefully slow things down or just give me a little extra time. However, I am sure at this point in my life things are not going to slow down anytime soon. Why? That is because I haven’t figured out a way to slow things down and/or no one is willing to give me any extra time. Oh ya, and after many years of being single I have finally found a woman that I am proud to call my girlfriend, which I spend a lot of my time with now. So what does that have to do with anything you ask? Well a ton! Now instead of working solely on raising my kid by myself, I am now working on raising my kid alongside that of another single parent. With that said, when you find someone you care about who seems to have some future potential for you, you are going to want to bring your children into the picture (this is where we recently were and where we are continuing to build our relationship around). Of course, you want your significant other to already know that you have children, which is why this was one of the first things we discussed on our first date. Otherwise, you may find a situation on your hands that cannot or will not add any value to a newly formed relationship. Not every man/woman is capable of accepting children that he or she perceives as belonging to another. Moreover, some men/women may be frightened of the responsibilities children represent. That is exactly why I waited on dating or getting involved because any negative feelings about children has/had to be high on the priority list. All people will have some reaction that may seem a bit odd, but that is not the same as having them say they hate kids and would never have them in their home.

The Importance of the Initial Meeting

 As I have learned over the last six months, kids are very smart regardless of their age. In fact, both of our kids figured out early on that we both had something going on long before we actually introduced them formally. Well, OK, maybe not initially, because we actually did a fantastic job at covering it up even the first time we meet. Do you ever run into random people while you are out in the community? That is exactly what my woman and I did in order to introduce the two kids, randomly ran into each other at a local mall for an afternoon lunch (hehe). The initial resistance was not there nor did we have to explain ourselves at that time. However, over our next few visits the kids started figuring things out by themselves. Therefore, I wanted to give everyone reading this a couple of suggestions (do not’s) for bringing two families together because eventually when your children find out they will surely know that your previous relationship is over and may find it difficult to visualize you with another man/woman.

  • Take a relationship slowly because you lower the risk of emotional backlash from your children as they adjust to your new life.
  • Do not include a new partner in too many of your family days at first. Make time for you and the kids even after you are officially together.
  • Do not spend your time focusing on becoming a family unit because you may  not be able to keep things in balance. You may be forced to skip some important stages of your relationship on the course toward greater involvement and commitment.
  • Do not have overnight visits until the children become comfortable with the viewpoint that your girlfriend/boyfriend is someone who may be here to stay.
  • Do not allow your children to feel threatened or fearful that they could lose you to this new suitor or that the new man/woman will change the rules of the family.

Don’t Rush In

What is it that they say? Fools don’t rush in or never get in a hurry to make another first-datemistake. At the same time, don’t let new opportunities pass you by or believe everything other people have to say. More times than not, you have gotten to this point of your life by making your own decisions whether they are/were good or bad. So, remember that you are on your way to building a completely new family configuration as a single parent with your kids and they, too, deserve your attention and your time while everyone works through the changes in their lives that a separation or divorce has brought. Also, remember that you don’t need to rush into anything… ever! You can take your time to allow everyone to get used to each other and for you to decide whether you really want to create a new family. If you have any doubts, there is nothing wrong with listening to your intuition and wait until either your feelings are resolved or you understand clearly that the relationship is not right for you. This maybe your last chance at a new and happy life much like it is mine. If important aspects are missing, wait for another situation to come along. Do not settle because you are lonely or think you will never have the right opportunity cause this could never be further from the truth. Pay attention to your children’s reactions to your new love, as they are a good indication of how things are really going. They often have their own way of sizing up a relationship, and may see something you do not. Keep in mind that you must constantly tell your children that you still love them and that no new relationship will change that, as my girlfriend is an expert in this category. Finally, tell them that you are all going to form a family and ask for their input if this is your ultimate desire, as it is mine. The more they feel a part of things the less frightened they will feel. You may be surprised because at this early stage of our relationship we surely are. If this is the right man/woman for you, your children may be as happy about things as you are… and won’t that make all the difference? As usual, I am glad you stopped by today and welcome all comments via any of my social networks. Until next time, remember to keep smiling and love the ones you’re with.

Do we EVER really find what it is we are looking FOR?

Here you have it: People who know what they are looking for in life are the ones who actually make an effort to figure out what they really want in their life. Say what? In other words, do you find yourself genuinely satisfied or dissatisfied with yourself, income, home, and/or relationship if you’re in one? Even if you are happy with these things, are you consistently finding yourself looking for something better whether it is new landscaping inside or outside your house, a new recipe, job, car, friends, etc.? Do you find that you spend entirely too much time in your life trying to keep up with others, which cuts into your own happiness? I ask again… do you/we ever really find what it is we are looking for in life?

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I will be the first to tell you that are own human nature does not allow us to be content and if you are then lying to yourself, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to get more, or you just might be content with the status quo. But how can anyone possibly be content with the status quo? Seriously? I’m not saying that there is not a way to be content or people cannot be satisfied in life with what they have, instead I’m saying that most of us blame and/or pretend that other people in our lives are the ones that cause us to be dissatisfied. Make since? Does dissatisfaction actually help create satisfaction? Or does unhappiness actually help create happiness?

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Over the years, I have learned that satisfaction, happiness, or finding what it is we are really looking for is in fact the by-product of living well just like Eleanor Roosevelt stated. We all have the right to be happy and we are the only ones getting in our own way of being satisfied or finding what we are truly looking for. As I continue to age, I am continuing to find what I am truly looking for in life, as my dissatisfaction with many things has indeed helped me to develop, improve, build, and accomplish many more things that I necessarily would not have. In other words and in as simple of a form I can state is that my dissatisfaction in life has indeed created satisfaction in my life. You?

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So, there you have it. Will you ever find what it is that you are looking for? Will you always be dissatisfied with the decisions you make/made or will you actually find what it is you are looking for and become satisfied with the things you do have? You graduated from school, got the degree or degrees, found the job, house, friends, and partner you desired. You have indeed found what you are looking for in life, so stop trying to tell yourself that you have not! Instead of creating doubt or unhappiness today, start creating satisfaction and happiness by embracing the things that you do have in your life (especially our children), as this simple suggestion will not only brighten your own outlook on life but also the outlook others have on their our lives. What is it they say? Happiness or unhappiness is contagious, so let’s all do a better job at transmitting happiness in our own lives, thus creating happiness in others. As always and with any of my articles, I hope you enjoyed it, look forward to your opinions here or on any of my other social sites, and your help spreading this or any of my other works with others. Moreover, until next time, and like always remember to KEEP SMILING, as it really does look good on you (>‿◠)✌

CHANGE is the One Thing We Can ALWAYS Count On

ChangesEven though there are a million and one ways to describe a happy family there is not a universal way to describe the change(s) you and/or your family will go through. In fact, the one thing that is constant in our lives and that we all can be sure of is that… things will change. Yes, this may mean things will change for the better or they might change for the worse, as more and more people struggle to balance life, work, and the needs of their family and/or lives.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English Naturalist

Ever since I was a young boy, I have never been afraid of change. Whether it was going to school, meeting new people, or going to new places I have embraced the changing landscape of my life, which is true to this very moment. However, it wasn’t until yesterday (my niece inspired me to think about this in her Facebook post) that I truly realized that change in my life is the one thing I count on and really look forward to the most. Even though my changing life has had both positive and negative aspects to it, for the most part it has been the negative aspects that have inspired me the most to embrace change further. Yes, I did say negative, since if I never had a negative experience I would have never moved from Michigan to Florida, gotten married/divorced, earned my Bachelor, Masters, or Doctorate, or even became a “Single Dad!”

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

Why then if “change is the law of life,” are so many people often frightened of change? Why don’t more people embrace changes in things such as technology, their lives, careers, or their family structure? Instead of thinking of change as a negative why, don’t we start to use the negative aspects of change as positive motivations for additional change? If you are anything like me you shouldn’t be afraid of change or failing (trust me it as it seems I have failed more than anyone I know) nor should you value other people’s opinions of change more than your own opinion of change. Don’t look at your disappointments in life as negative aspects of change but rather positive motivations for your long-term success(es).

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British politician.

Whether you are single, a cohesive family unit, or even a single parent if you want to be happier why don’t you give change a chance when it comes to advancing yourself, career, or raising healthy/happy children? As a single dad myself, I now realize this more than ever, as change has been the one thing constant enough in my life to help me build additional self-confidence, relationships, and my career even though these things may not had been the things I had always dreamed of. In order to further inspire myself and perhaps you through additional change here are a few things I do/have done over my life to embrace change.

1. Realize that your career and life will consistently change- The economy, people, and your career will change. Instead of feeling sorry about the situation, embrace it and adjust yourself to these changes.
2. Relieve your past experiences- Whether you are looking at positive or negative changes try to mold your future around them. Considering both positive and negative changes in your life will help you avoid these same changes later in life (perhaps this is more easily said then done?)
3. Take note of both positive and negative changes- Perhaps the best thing to do with anything or in this case, change in life is to write them down (i.e. positives and negatives). This should be as easy as starting or maintaining a journal or better yet with the advent of social media use Twitter, Facebook, or anyone of the other social sites to track your changes in your career or family. Remember documenting something in better than nothing in this aspect.

change-egnahc

Everyone whether you are young or old in a relationship or going it alone deserves to live a strong, happy, healthy, and successful life. If you identify both negative and positive changes in your past, perhaps you can do more to shape your future, while molding these changes into motivation that will help you change yourself or others you touch additionally. Remember if you have children to share with them not only the positive changes in your life but also the negative changes, as this also gives are beloved little ones the ammunition they will also need to embrace both the positive and negative changes in their own futures. As with any/all articles I write I would love your thoughts and/or your sharing/connecting further of this article on any of my/your social sites. Thanks again for stopping by and as usual until next time… KEEP SMILING ≧✯◡✯≦✌

Why Every Family Needs an “AUNT” and/or “UNCLE”

 

 

I love all my aunts & uncles

When looking back on my own life and now my kid’s life, I can’t help but think about how important an aunt or uncle maybe? Moreover, and yes, this also includes all of those aunts and uncles that we used to or now our own children refer to aunt or uncle because they are around so much just like a real aunt or uncle. Do you have or remember those family members or friends that treated you like they were your own aunt or uncle?

I am not too sure if this gives away my age or not? But do you remember Endora from Bewitched here is a refresher if not…


or the movie Uncle Buck?

If you remember either of these thanks in advance for not pointing out my age and I hope you had/have a chuckle on me for this reminder, as both of these characters in these television/movies are priceless. Do you think every family needs an Aunt Endora or Uncle Buck character in their lives? Again, I have to say YES, as these characters or actually people in many cases help our children with emotional and/or physical transitions. In fact, I mentioned these two (show/movie), as they are prime examples of how my own sister and other impressionable women (Endora) and several other men and friends (Uncle Bucks i.e. y’all know who you are) who have helped me and are helping my own child with answers to many overlooked questions. Yes, this also includes those simple questions that I personally don’t often ask or others that my son may and/or may not feel comfortable asking or even listening to me to come up in his own personal life answers.

As for my family, I am completely appreciative of my aunts (Endoras) and other friends/family (Uncle Bucks)  that continue to be a huge support for me and my kids life. Even though I am sure that I will continue to stumble upon topics and interests that I was/will not be able to address and/or handle as graceful as my aunts or uncles, I wanted to make sure y’all know how grateful I am for your support/continued support and advice.

aunt-and-uncle-happy

So my question to you this Sunday morning is, “Do you also have an Endora and/or Uncle Buck in your family, if so who and if not why do you think that is?” I hope posing this question makes you or others realize how important this role is in are young-in’s growth. Moreover, if you personally don’t have and Endora or Uncle Buck in your own life, I hope you at least consider enrolling one or more in your own or children’s life now (i.e. it’s never too late to start something new) in order to help fill those often difficult or overlooked gaps between you and your children (subjects and/or conversations).

Happy Sunday everyone and make sure you take a moment to tell someone close to you or others involved in your or your children’s life how important they are to you today. Until next time remember to keep smiling, as you know it really does look good on you!

Some Helpful Mobile/Computer APPs to Stay Organized in 2013

[Image: Entrepreneur Blog Post] 
Can you believe that we are closing in on the end of another month of 2013? As such, I guess it’s time to look ahead to another successful month of learning, sharing, and taking advantage of all the latest technology (i.e. mobile applications/devices, social media, CRM, etc), huh? Speaking of have any of you discovered how easy apps (especially via our cell phones) have allowed us to do most of this learning and sharing, while allowing us to stay organized, track other things such as our finances, schedule appointments, prospect, buy, sell, etc? The best part about all this (so they say or as I have experienced) is that it frees up time for us to do other things, save money, and reduce stress… or do they?
It is no secret that mobile devices/computers are changing every day with the introduction of better, faster, and more accessible applications. Now enter marketing (YES, even mobile marketing), which believe it or not is also continuing to change just as fast, which in turn is slowly becoming a must have for any business or person that has access to a cell phone or internet connection and is looking to sell, purchase, or even just browse online (do people really still just browse?) Needless to say and according to eDigitalResearch these people (YES maybe even YOU) or roughly 54% of all cell phone users are now using their smart phones to access websites, while an additional 38% of these users actually BUYing with their respected phone. Crazy huh? In other words, that is… over half of smart phone users use their phones to browse, while another 4 out of 10 actually purchase via their phone, wow are you surprised? If not you shouldn’t be since most people don’t actually think about how often they actually use their devices for such purchasing activities, instead only think about how enjoyable it is to have such convenience now-a-days. However, this is a HUGE opportunity for almost any small business with a small budget to create a big impact if you truly want to grow your business, while providing consumers with a fast, effective, and transparent way of shopping online (i.e. this also goes for all you B2B sales professionals as well).  
Nonetheless I have talked about many of the social media sites and CRM programs in previous posts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Empire Avenue, FourSqaure, Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc). So, in this post I wanted to provide you with 3 additional applications (must haves this year) that I believe will not only help you but also marketers looking to expand business the opportunity to do so while staying organized. Yes, I did just say “organized,” as organization is a vital part of not only your personal success but also you businesses success. Agree?
1. On that note, the 1st application that you must have this year is EverNote, which allows you to capture anything, find things fast, while accessing your information from just about anywhere. Sounds good huh? What’s more is that you can do this for yourself or business from one spot, while saving links and reminders so you can access them anytime from anywhere on almost any device! What are you waiting for and if you’re not sold here is a screen shot with more since seeing is believing!
 [Image: EverNote Blog Post] 
               [Image: IFTTT Blog Post]
2. Next up is something that I have been using both personally and professionally for the last year plus and that is the online application that automates almost any task (mostly social media related) by a simple process (perhaps you may have heard this in school before)… If This Then That, hence IFTTT? Basically this application, which you can organize online “IFTTT” connects all your personal and/or business networks together and allows you to automate what tasks you want to relay or not. Example, I often use this application for tasks such as a check-in on FourSquare (one that I took a picture), which I want to rely to my Twitter followers. Make since? One thing with this wonderful app is that you do not want to over complicate things with too many if this, then that scenarios; otherwise, this may cause more headaches then enjoyment for you. However, if you strategically plan (personal or professional) connection scenarios then you will find that this app is well worth your investment time especially if you integrate all your networks and use it with others such as HootSuite or use the EverNote app as previously discussed.
[Image: WIRED Website] 
3. Lastly, if you have been a reader here for some time you may have heard me mention the many different location based services on social media platforms such as Instagram, FourSqaure, and Facebook? However, as for staying organized or especially marketing purposes new apps are becoming even more important to your long-term success online (especially small businesses). Since location based services allow you or your customers to share, I believe that they also have a place in staying organized (especially in the B2B or B2C world), as most of these programs rely on GPS data and user interaction. Since you are or maybe checking into places personally or on even on business purposes, while looking to target others with the “right message at the right time,” then ByteLight might just be the app that you are looking for to spend less while becoming more specific… organized, YES? ByteLight actually uses GPS (i.e. location based services) through a unique light bulb setting, which sends waves of unique patters only visible on a cell phone to actually determine where a consumer is in a particular store. If you are a business or part of a business that is looking for a unique way to stay organized, while targeting certain customers who reach certain parts of your store or other establishment, then you have to check out the site and/or watch the videoto see if this is something that might keep safe and/or more organized.
Obviously (and again if you have been here before) you know that these three applications are only the tip of the iceberg in my arsenal but awesome to say the least, hence why I had to share, Nonetheless, I highly recommend that you get involved NOW with these as I continue to put other lists together for you this New Year (e.g. don’t fall behind!) Additionally, I would also love to hear from others how you or your business is staying organized and/or what predictions you are excited about using next? Once again, thanks for stopping by and until next time… Keep SMILING! 

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven] and a Contractor at [FedEx]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via his About.Me Page or any of his other social platforms.

SocialCRM Revisited: The Continued Progression of Customer Relationship Management

Throughout the last decade, people and organizations have continued to adopt technology in order to enhance themselves and/or their businesses. In fact, with all the technological influxes we have all experienced over the years, it is no wonder that our brains also keep expanding or are you like me and finding your brain having a hard time keeping up? Needless to say… would you agree that these technological improvements and advancements, regardless of nature found in our lives and businesses are helping us run easier or do you think that they are bogging us down?
Customer Relationship Management (better known to many as CRM) is one such concept not only evolving in our own personal lives but also many of our businesses like I have mentioned many times in previous posts. This concept, which once only applied to us managing relationships in a personal setting, has now become an integral part of our online existences. Whether you look at CRM as a tool, in a business setting, or in your personal live, there are many CRM resources that are now available to us, which can help monitor SOCIAL activities (CRM systems), while providing quantitative (DATA) that you or your business can use to ultimately drive new relationships and increase sales by providing a personalized approach to your friends, colleagues, and potential friends or clients if used correctly.
[Image: CMS Wire]
It was one believed that only progressive or large corporations were the ones investing in CRM. However, most if it not all of these same organizations failed (are still failing) to accurately quantify what benefits they derived or are deriving from a CRM system, which many believe has halted their advances in dealing with customer issues and relationships through CRM. What’s interesting is if you look at these companies (many studies out there) you will almost always find that most of the time it was not the systems fault but instead the people and/or companies using these systems, as they never really figured out a way to clearly define what they wanted (will Want) out of these technologies… now enter SMALL BUSINESSES!
In today’s day and age (especially with the advent of social media) customer engagement has become/becoming a key emphasis in almost every business(es) long-term strategies (i.e. the whole who, what, when, where adage)… how to interact with customers, friends, and acquaintances in order to grow. One thing in certain and that is this integration of customer relationship management by anyone with access to social media is giving everyone regardless of size, location, age, gender, race, etc the ability to stay in touch while voicing their opinions about people, businesses, governance, etc. to name a few. Does this sound familiar?
Now enterSocialCRM. Although not 100% defined yet, SocialCRM is Customer Relationship Management in a traditional sense (personal communications) but instead of focusing on the system, more people and organizations are focusing on the channels that their friends and customers use to voice their concerns and opinions. In other words… ENGAGEMENT of the PEOPLE! In a nut shell, SocialCRM is not some new system, rather it is a new way for people and businesses to integrate social media into their customer relationship management practices to better predict behavior (personally or professionally) in order to enhance either your personal or professional brand. Make sense?
[Image: ViralBlog]
Needless to say, there are hundreds of examples now available to just about anyone with an internet connection of how they have and/or are using CRM strategies combined with SocialCRM to enhance relationships and monitor progress, while putting quantitative data behind their actions. In fact, I ran across this article Big Brands’ Journey Toward Social Business, which is what spurred me to re-visit this subject while providing our readers with yet another resource and basic explanation in order to help in understanding how other brands and businesses are successfully adopting SocialCRM strategies to connect with their audience(s), react to inquires, and give their customers what they want (I liken this to the saying, GET THE PEOPLE GOING by GIVING the PEOPLE WHAT they REALLY WANT) not what you or your company may think they want.  The important thing to remember about all this is that people and companies that include online with in-person relationships through technologies such as CRM and Social Media will be rewarded by their old and new acquaintances with new personal and professional relationships that hopefully spur growth and innovation… now that’s truly SocialCRM!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.