Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Personal Branding?" Bah!

Flipping channels through daytime programming recently, I happened across a talk show hosted by reality television personality Bethanny (Real Housewives of NYC), whose guest was another reality television personality, Omarosa (The Apprentice). The two of them were arguing, noisily and cattily, about their "personal brands" - whose was stronger and better. It was a disgusting display of ego and rudeness and...desperation. They were both losers in that exchange.

Now imagine any of these memorable people sitting on a talk show sofa promoting their "personal brand": Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor. No. Just no. Even with current day personalities, have you heard the phrase "personal brand" coming from the mouths of accomplished people such as Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice, or Warren Buffett? No.
I am not adverse to branding. During my career, I worked to create a brand for Hilton's technology. The project was exciting and turned out to be successful. Our team gathered several prestigious awards and Hilton benefitted from the recognition. Branding is an important part of business. Branding sells products and services, attracts investors, and helps build a loyal following.

Lately, I am hearing more and more nonsensical yammering about personal branding. Too much of it is coming from the people who are trying to create a brand for themselves. Themselves - not a product or a business. Let me give them some advice:

1. You aren't a brand just because you say you are.
2. You need a good reputation, not a brand.
3. Do some soul-searching about your identity, what you stand for, and how you want to be perceived by others.
4. Stop talking about it, consistently walk the walk, and earn it.

The phrase "Personal Brand" should be banished. Are you with me?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's Always Something - Good

Just when one aspect of my golf game comes together - another disappears. It's the great mystery of golf.

Since starting to play golf regularly about six years ago, my game has improved. My handicap has dropped about 15 points. But it's a case of faltering baby steps forward and, often, a step or two backward. Progress is frustratingly slow. Golf is at the same time a great social pastime and a very personal competition between mind and body. It takes focus, hand-to-eye coordination, discipline, and endurance.

I'm sure this doesn't sound like fun to some people. But it's hard to communicate the best of this game. There are so many moments that make up a four hour round of eighteen holes:

Intense anticipation while lining up your drive on the first tee.
The heady sweetness in the air early on a clear summer morning.
Exhultation when you hit a shot exactly as planned.
The satisfying sound of impact on your club's sweet spot.
Warm and honest moments with your golf friends.
Eternal hope for that hole-in-one.
Delight at sharing the course with wildlife.
Expansive views of landscapes.
The scent of turf damp with moisture.
The belief that "this will be the day" for...whatever.

So we gladly tolerate body soreness, uncooperative clubs, blow-up holes, bad bounces, water hazards, the occasional snake, cactus thorns in our socks, wind, bunkers, and capricious miscellaneous blows from the Golf Gods. We're on the golf course with friends, and it's all good.

P.S. I have a lesson today at 11:30, because I can't hit an iron right now to save my life. Tee time for 1:00 with the girls.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Retirement Brain

I forgot this was Thursday - Runaway Boomer blog day - until 5 minutes ago.

This is one of the risks/blessings of retirement. We don't always know what day it is without a calendar. I have two calendars, yet I still have occasional issues. My phone is my primary resource. Secondarily, we have a lovely Arizona Highways desk calendar that we keep either on the coffee table or the kitchen island.

Yet here it is, Thursday, and I forgot to write my blog this morning.

Days of the week are difficult enough, but the date is another thing entirely. I rarely write checks anymore, so don't have that reminder. Thank goodness for my cell phone, without which I would be lost. (Literally lost sometimes, as I use it as a GPS too.)

There are schedule touchstones, weekly events that usually keep us tuned in:

SUN: Couples Golf & $2 tacos at the club
MON: Golf with Ron
TUE: Sweet Adelines rehearsal night, and a new episode of "Justified" to watch when I get home
WED: Errands in town
THU: Afternoon golf with the girls
FRI: Happy Hour at Talking Rock's club
SAT: Ron's weekly hike, and when I put fresh sheets on the bed

The great thing is that we mostly don't care what day it is. We don't have to get up early. We don't have to go to work. After so many years of doing what we had to do, we now do what we want - pretty much when we want to. Woo hoo! Retirement brain isn't so bad.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ties that Bind

As we live our lives, we unconsciously weave a beautiful web of experiences and memories. Other people and creatures pass through; some with no lasting effect - but a few carry wisps of our web into their own. Our life creations become forever entwined. These are the ties that bind us to friends that will always be special.

My web contains
...the little friend who lived across the street and played in my parents' home
...the high school buddies who bonded at the neighborhood bus stop, in the school library, a class, a rehearsal hall, or a sports field
...the first love who will always have a place in my heart
...the college compatriot I met while becoming the adult I am today
...the work colleague who helped me get my footing early in my career, and the one who teamed with me to accomplish daunting tasks
...the wise and wonderful person who was kind and supportive during a serious illness
...the cherished people who will always be family, regardless of events

My husband and family share the heart of my web. They, and others, have influenced the design of my life. They are part of who I am.