We have plenty of experience in grass roots initiatives as small businessowners. Cushy corner offices, guaranteed salaries and private corporate jets are not in our wheelhouse. But we're darn good at tireless effort. When a long time insurance client and trusted colleague stopped by after my daring adventure in mid life pagentry for rare cancer awareness, we started to brainstorm. Our goal was to develop a program that would send folks challenged by cancer "to sea for free" on a funfest cruise to the Caribbean. We worked to leverage the "cancer queen" theme into a branded funfest with Royal Caribbean cruise line. In five years, through various bouts with wellness complications and a storm Sandy setback, we've sent over 100 free cruisers to sea and amassed a volunteer base that's been happy to get "on board" with our 501c3, Kick Cancer Overboard.
Here are three keys to our success to date which lever our leadership skills:
1. We take risks. Like all entrepreneurs, we have no guanantees but we have a formulated focus and a strong track record in meaningful work and unrelenting effort. We have a strategic plan on how to garner support for our mission and a clear vision on where we are headed with our "funfest at sea." As businessowners and cancer survivors, we're acutely aware of the fragility of life and move with an urgency to get the job done. There is no time to waste and no time like the present to get important projects completed. We embrace the words of Thomas Edison who shared "If we all did what we were potentially capable of, we'd simply astound ourselves." We work to live up to this lofty notion.
2. We collaborate. KickCancerOverboard is a huge team effort. We're fortunate to have existing business networks which serve to help us launch this project. We ask for help when we need it and reciprocate often. We are proficient at networking and working our wide net of contacts, clients and colleagues for opportunities to create a deliverable that's changing lives by bringing fun to families during stressful times. We celebrate our community of supporters with events that are fun, informing and opportunites to multiply relationships in business and life. Our projects are life affirming and that feels good for everyone.
3. We work tirelessly. We are a volunteer organization guided by a board of directors and an advisory committe. Our team is largely touched by cancer in a very personal way so we garner complete "buy in" with our contributors. We host and staff a variety of fundraising events from rock concerts, movie nights, marathons and fashion shows. We speak at civic events, business meetings, community festivals and leverage social and traditional media to brand build. We know Rome was not built in a day and recognize that to fill up an entire cruise ship with cancer thrivers will take time. We're ready. We're thrilled to be supported by a growing roster of businesses and peopleleaders that align with our dedication to deliver "to sea for free" in a big way.
The best part of conference keynoting around the country is the travel. Some find it exhausting, but I find it exhilarating because it's always fueled with good people powering personal or professional change. Sure, we endure the same travel travails as many, but we always focus on that bigger picture of how our lives are enlarged by the people we meet and the experiences we seek. Our galpal trip to Lake Austin Spa for a wellness reframe after a busy year of business was the perfect elixir for all ten of us. And we were largely perfect strangers. How's that for a daring adventure? How the trip actually happened is even more interesting. Read on. Here are four ways that you can invite more daring adventures into your life. Bet your business and wellness world will benefit, as well!
1. Delight in meeting others. Ask open ended questions. Be curious about what interests someone. You might just find you have a few things in common or at the very least, you'll learn a few new facts or consider a different point of view. You many even begin to embark on a longer term relationship that will benefit both you and your business! I met Michele, a global spa reporter, at a family owned spa resort over five years ago. She was there as a writer. I was there as a workshop presenter on leadership resilience for some guests that were navigating life. Michele and I landed at the same breakfast table that weekend and have been friends and collaborating colleagues ever since.
2. Travel alone if you can. Michele and I are both travel enthusiasts. Whether we're writing or speaking(or both), we delight in new venues, enjoy hidden gems and simply commit to the notion that a life well lived includes an occasional change in scenery(the more, the better!) Michele writes about travel, spas, wellness and foodie themes. I speak about leadership, wellness, resilience and professional presence. We both love people, yoga, hiking, biking and outdoor adventures. If we were traveling with our families, we would have missed an opportunity to forge a deeper professional relationship that's paid big dividends for us both. I suspect Michele invited us to join her lady leader summit in Austin because she knew we had so much in common. We love meeting new people, we're "other" oriented and we're highly experiential learners that take calculated risks. We also share decades of experience as insurance professionals..Serendipitous?
3. Share often and meaningfully. I only talk to Michele once or twice a year. But we remember one another when we have an interesting travel, business or wellness tip to share. We leverage our social media channels to stay in touch, connect each other to aligned interests and encourage new contacts. By the time we arrived in Austin, I had met her PhD pal from Syracuse, a hand full of change makers in industry and a proud mom of a slew of emerging athletes. Michele, in turn, got to meet my family member that was a mover and shaker in Texas real estate with connections to one of the best rum punch restaurants in Austin. We were all very happy!
4. Learn the skill of networking. Had we not been experts in relationship building and goodwill, our group of ten would have never come to consensus on a Texas olive farm tour, a dualing pianos night club on 6th Street and a lively Sunday gospel brunch as a cohesive and engaged group. We found ways to bond, dropped off the small stuff and celebrated generosity to keep our summit sensational. As a result, we've all made new friends and look forward to meeting again. Find Michele McIntyre busy writing at www.GoGirlfriend.com or on Twitter @cnyspagirl for her next travel adventure. I'm crafting my next conference keynote in Saratoga Springs thanks to a ladyleader I met at the Lake Austin Spa at the culmination of our terrific trip. Drop us a line if these tips help enlarge your leadership life!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated business/wellness motivational keynoter, corporate consultant and coach that helps leaders succeed. She's presented for global brands including Campbell's, Novo Nordisk, Daiichi Sankyo and Balfour Beatty Investments. Learn more at www.donnalyn.org, or @DonnaLynSpeaks on FB and Twitter. She travel teaches yoga for stressed execs in the caribbean and @YogaOnTheLakeSummerSeries on FB in her spare time.
June 1 through Nov 30 is official hurricane season. No one is likely to forget the unprecedented and widespread damage that Hurricane Sandy brought to us on Oct 25 2012. Many of us, however, would be better protected if we had a deeper working knowledge of what "is" and "is not" covered in a standard flood insurance policy. This article will outline a few of the key provisions that will help you manage your expectations and dial up a risk management program appropriate for you or your business.
Everyone is at risk for a flood loss. Over 25% of annual flooding occurs outside an identified high hazard flood zone. Since a "flood" is defined as "runoff of surface water from any source", we're all suseptible to flooding since it rains everywhere and water will invariably run downhill. Typical examples of flooding include an overflow of a body of water(eg. stream, river or ocean) or a flashflood or rain downpour. Talk to your local construction/code enforcement town officials to determine if your location has been "remapped" for rate and elevation evaluation. You need a flood policy, regardless.
Here's a short list of what's never covered in a flood policy...even if you've purchased a policy with full limits for both structure and contents. Consult with your independent agent for a longer list:
1. Personal property not inside the fully enclosed insured building. Lesson: Move your property IN and UP. Think about all the potential contents around the periphery of your building that needs to be inside before the flood occurs.
2. Land, lawns, trees, shrubs, plants, growing crops or animals. Lesson: Never leave your best friend behind and appreciate your landscaper...but dont expect to recreate that beauty through your flood insurance policy provisions..
3. Walks, walkways, decks, driveways, patios. Lesson: Invest in improvements at your expense. No coverage on a flood policy for these items.
4. Fences, retaining walls, bulkheads, wharves, piers, bridges, docks, aircraft and watercraft. Lesson: Plan your commute accordingly on a stormy day!
5. Underground structures and equipment including wells, septic tanks and systems. Lesson: Coverage may stink if you're not prepared!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is a 25 yr insurance planning professional, leadership keynoter and resiliency expert as co-founder of KickCancerOverboard. In her spare time, she teaches macro economics, guides yoga around the world and creates programming to empower peopleleaders at DLG Consulting. Her dogs are never far from her desk.
As seen in Natural Awakenings Magazine August 2016
Gardening helps keep people active and improves their sense of well being. The art of gardening has also been linked with reduced rates of depression, better balance and less stress and anxiety. Sounds a lot like the benefits of yoga! I recently visited a tranquil lavender garden in Doylestown, Pa with a group of garden enthusiasts. Thanks to Noble Garden Tours, Highlands(ask for Kirsty), we were all treated to a delicious day of learning all things lavender at the Lavender Peace Farm on the banks of Galena Lake in beautiful Bucks county. Here’s what we learned:
1. Gardening, like yoga, keeps you in the present moment and allows you the opportunity to appreciate the movement of time. Gardening also allows you to contemplate all it takes to create a beautiful garden or a purposeful life, alongside the seasons of our lives that bring about growth, both inward and outward.
2. Lavender, gardening and yoga are all informing therapies for natural healing. When faced with heartbreak, illness or uncertainty, many people retreat outside to lose themselves and their issues in the garden by digging, weeding and pruning. Gardening is therapeutic. Lavender has been recommended for ages as a stress buster. In the Middle Ages, monks gathered medicinal plants in healing gardens to source their infirmaries. A yoga practice supports healing by embracing stillness, peace and a broadened perception of what life can be. It’s all connected.
3. Lavender is not just for sweet smelling sachets, dried arrangements or calming yoga eye pillows. Fresh or dried, this herb is known to delight in savory dishes like salads and stews or sprinkled on meat and fish. The key, we learned in the lavender fields, is to let the dash of lavender in your dishes keep you coming back for more. We were grateful for the opportunity to taste this theory in lavender ice cream, lavender scones and lavender breads after our tour. Less left us wanting more for sure!
4. Lavender is harvested in its high season of June and July. Lavender thrives in well drained sandy soil and requires lots of sunshine. Munstead is a popular type of lavender that produces deep blue flowers on a compact plant while hybrid Hidcote Giant grows up to 40 inches tall with impressive purple spikes. Herb gardens have a long history of combining practicality with beauty. You can pick your own at Peace Valley Lavender Farm for a song and a sight to behold. Learn more at PeaceValleyLavender.com.
A recent study published in the Journal of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening(2016) found that gardening benefitted all people equally, regardless of gender or age. The key component of enjoying the garden was the depth of the relationship with the garden. People who got the most from their garden felt a real resonance with their garden. They reported a deep connection and commitment to cultivating their gardens based on their interest in all things living and growing(minus the weeds!). So plant what you love, visit a gorgeous garden, breathe deeply wherever you land and try something new this summer. Namaste
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated business thoughtleader, conference keynoter and executive coach. In the summer, she hosts Yoga On The Lake in the great outdoors and is currently a Rutgers Master Gardener Intern. Learn more at www.donnalyn.org or FB/YogaOnTheLakeSummerSeries