Business Notes

"Tools You Need"

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All Around Good Stuff

"Remembering Summer"

I had a really neat childhood. My brothers and I went to school in the city, but nearly every weekend, plus holidays and summers, were spent on our beloved grandparents' farm. In the city, I learned to be quite the little lady. But, on the farm, I could just BE. So, I had the best of both worlds.

It's those summers I've been flashing back to lately. I have no idea why! Maybe, I'm worn out. Maybe, it's one of those, "Stop the world, I wanna get off," things. Maybe we just work too damn hard, and forget to relax and enjoy. Or, maybe we're not allowed to relax and enjoy anymore.

Now, I know everyone didn't get to spend childhood summers in the country. But, I wonder how many people remember things like this ...

Waking up, just past dawn, to the cool, morning breeze gently lifting the white, "summer curtains" in the bedroom, listening to the quail give their "Bob White!" call, then heading to the kitchen to gobble the cold oats (not oatmeal – slow-cooked OATS) left for us by Pappy Lee (our grandfather) when he went to the barn to feed the animals.

Or, on days when we woke up early, having Pappy make us buckwheat pancakes, topped with pure butter and homemade sorghum syrup, made as only he could make it.

Racing to the barn behind him, dogs at our heels, to help "feed," jostling each other to see who got to prime the water pump and to check on any new arrivals, and see if the bull snake, kept for controlling the mouse population, had shed its skin. Then back to the hen house to gather eggs.

And, maybe watch Pappy kill and dress a hen, carefully removing any unlaid eggs, to be boiled up with the chicken and homemade noodles for supper (called "dinner" in the city) that evening.

Helping Nonny (our grandmother) bake fresh fruit pies "from scratch," – using lard - while the morning was still cool enough to turn the oven on - where the left-over dough was shaped with a chicken shaped cookie cutter, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, with a "red-hot" for an eye, and baked to make the very best cookies in the entire world.

Lying in the grass, watching cumulus clouds lazily making perfect shapes of animals and other objects as they floated by. Or, hiding out under the young Weeping Willow tree, staring up at the leaves, and fantasizing what life would be like when we "grew up."

Running through the orchard, picking fruit off the trees, wiping it off on our clothes, and eating it on the spot, without concern for washing off any pesticides. Or, snatching strawberries from the patch, or grapes from the vines as we passed by, and it was okay to do that.

Picking flowers from the flower beds, taking them to the house, and washing the ants off them in the sink before sticking them into a Ball fruit jar, where they presided over the kitchen table with the oil cloth cover, and the ol' mean cat that would reach out from another chair, and swat our bare, brown legs with her claws extended, if we dared to sit down without looking.

Swinging on the tire swing, hung from the huge, old Cottonwood tree in the barn yard, that lightning struck at least once every year.

Riding the Indian Paint ponies, whooping like little savages – bareback – racing the trains on the tracks out behind the farm along the full length of the property, with the engineers waving to us all the way across.

Telling my brothers they'd better not chew that gum without asking, and laughing so hard when they did it anyway, and found out later it was Ex-Lax.

"Going to town" on Sunday mornings to the Sunday School that taught us to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "God is Love." And, to the church service afterward, and on Wednesday evenings, where the pastor preached hellfire and damnation.

And, showing up for Vacation Bible School every day for two weeks in the summer. And, the "Ice Cream Social" at the end, with homemade ice cream being cranked in a churn, and sugar cookies with colored sugar sprinkles, to celebrate our latest "graduation."

Hot afternoons reading books like, "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn." Or, reading and living the Adventures of Peter Rabbit, Reddy Fox, Buster Bear, Bucky Beaver or Tommy Titmouse. Or, learning new words by doing, "It Pays to Increase Your Word Power" in Reader's Digest.

Working in the garden, helping pick vegetables that would be carried to the house and used for supper, or be cleaned for "putting up" - to be used when wintertime came.

Shelling peas, or removing the ends of snap beans, while sitting on the old glider out on the screened-in porch, with Nonny telling us stories about life in Kentucky back in the "olden days."

Or, maybe sitting with a card table in front of that same ol' glider playing Canasta with Nonny, and always believing she cheated because she didn't believe in "letting" kids win.

Drying dishes that Nonny washed in a big metal pan in the sink, while Pappy Lee sat in the kitchen, next to his radio, listening to a baseball game – or, listening to us, because he cared about what we had to say.

Heading to the pond with Pappy after supper to fish, watch the dragonflies, listen to the circada, and maybe even catch a turtle on the line, big enough to make turtle soup.

Catching lightning bugs and putting them in a jar, with holes punched in the lid, to see if we could get enough to read by.

Watching Nonny and Pappy play Bridge on Friday evenings with Mr. and Miz Roberts, and all four of them smoking cigarettes, and drinking iced tea, (which they shared with us), loaded with sugar and fresh mint and nobody worrying about second-hand smoke or making the kids hyper-active.

And, being fascinated by how Mr. Roberts could keep his cigarette in his mouth while he played Bridge, and talk around it, and grow a two-inch ash, and still get it to the club-, or diamond-, or heart-, or spade-shaped ashtray before it fell.

Going to sleep at night, after a bath with Ivory soap, kneeling beside the bed, reciting, "Now, I lay me down to sleep ... ," listening to the lonely, quiet, wonderful sound of a train as it whistled its warning way up at the crossroads, and waiting for it to pass.

And, listening to the bull frogs over at the pond. And, smelling the foot-wide white flowers, that bloomed at night, on the Moon Vine outside the window. And, lying there facing that window, with just a thin cotton cover, watching a bazillion stars twinkle, as if inviting us to reach out and touch them, and holding us in awe of the universe. And, feeling so very safe ...

And, we were.


RANT of the Week

"Too Many Things WAY Out of Control"

I'm going to try not to get on a giant roll, today. However, it just seems to me things in this world are spinning out of control. And, needless to say - it's pissing me off.

For instance, I need to give you a couple of warnings, today ...

This first situation can happen in any country. It isn't unique to the USA, yet these chemical bottle bombs have been found in both Michigan and Massachusetts (at least) - in peoples' yards.

They seem to think young people are responsible for this. Based on the way I see children act these days - with no attempt on the part of parents to rein them in - I don't doubt that for a minute.

This page on Snopes tells you what these bottle bombs look like and what to do if you see a suspicious bottle. Good rule would be to leave ALL empty bottles alone if they have anything in them. If you can't tell, err on the side of caution!

It isn't any secret how I feel about the giant corporations running the world. The ones that work my nerves the worst all seem to be related to the medical profession. This is especially true for the pharmaceutical companies - and their side-kick the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Although I would never tell anyone not to take doctor prescribed prescription drugs, I won't touch the stuff. I did take one for a short period of time to help me stop smoking. I had to balance the risks involved with continuing to smoke.

In that case - the drug won. Smoking was a physical addiction that needed to be broken, and the drug did that. But, I got off that sucker PDQ.

Although I'm an old hand at controlling my health with my mind, I ain't stupid. I know certain foods and supplements are needed for optimal health. Hell, they taught us that in second grade!

Now, the FDA is beginning to ban any claims on any product that reveals its health benefits. Why?

Well, it's common knowledge the cost of the ingredients in one prescription pill is a minute fraction of the price that's charged to the consumer.

The BIG BUCKS paid for prescriptions are needed to pay for the advertising to convince people to hound their doctors for medications they don't need! Medications for symptoms, which by taking them can mask a serious disease!

Take a look at the FDA's letter to Diamond Food, Inc. Due to statements made on Diamond's web site, the FDA now claims their walnuts are a “drug” - and need a “new drug application” to be marketed as healthful!

On the other hand, Frito-Lay is allowed to claim their snacks are “heart healthy” on their web site. Frito-Lay is owned by PepsiCo. Can you say strong lobby?

What do YOU Have on YOUR Web Site?

“References to peer-reviewed scientific studies are not allowed to be made by companies without permission from the FDA because the agency considers this to be an illegal health claim.

So if you sell walnuts, and your web site merely links to published scientific studies that describe the cholesterol-lowering benefits of walnuts, then you can be threatened, arrested, imprisoned and fined millions of dollars by the FDA for selling "unapproved drugs."

This applies to ANY food, and ANY vitamin or supplement!

There's a Congressional bill now to stop this nonsense. Want to make any bets on whether it gets passed? I'm betting it won't.

No money in it!

Business Notes

"Influence and Intention"
by Robert Middleton

Do you sometimes hear yourself saying this?

"Why does that other InfoGuru get so many appointments and get her prospects to pay her more? Why does she make more money and have a more successful business? Why does she have more energy and seem more fulfilled?"

But if you brush this off as just luck, experience, timing or connections, etc, then you're not not looking deeply enough.

Last week I talked about the fact that you'll have little chance to influence if you get upset when you get rejected. If you can't get past that, you'll never influence.

The next lesson on influence is just as important:

To influence you must have intention. But few very people actually know what intention is. It's extraordinarily powerful and it's a tool you can learn, master, and apply to your whole career.

But first, you need to know what lack of intention looks like.

You're trying to make something happen. You're trying to influence someone or trying to accomplish something you haven't done before. You'd like to get a result.

You put some time in, some work, but the results just don't come. Ultimately you quit in frustration or you just let it go gradually with some excuse such as, "It wasn't the right time."

Bull Crap.

You didn't get results because you did not apply real intention to getting those results.

  • Big Intention = Impressive Results
  • Low Intention = Average Results
  • No intention = No Results

We all think we have intention. But we don't. We are unfocused, weak willed, unclear, and are willing to settle for the reasons why we didn't get the results instead of getting the actual results.

This is called being reasonable. It's not very fulfilling.

Intention is completely unreasonable.

I sometimes have this conversation with clients who are struggling to get something done. They say they want to get a new client in a certain period of time. I ask them if they are willing to "bet their car" they'll get a new client.

It's hard for them to understand. Sure, they'll work hard and try the best they can, but, heck, how can you promise results? No, they will not bet their car.

Real intention is the willingness to bet your car because you absolutely know you can be counted on to produce a result, no matter what the conditions are.

Now I'm not talking about insanity here. "OK, I have the unreasonable intention to fly to the moon tomorrow." No, that's just nuts. And you know it. It's just a smokescreen.

Unreasonable intentions are not impossible. They are simply commitments made beyond our comfort zone. Instead, we keep setting reasonable goals within our comfort zone. Not a lot of intention needed there.

OK, so how do you create an intention?

  1. Get crystal clear about something that you want in your business. Also know the reason why you want it. If it's to make a certain amount of money every month, you need to have a reason. No reason or desired reward, no intention.
  2. Get very clear about the cost of not achieving that goal. Look the fear and the pain and the loss right in the face. If you don't get this goal, there are consequences. Know what they are.
  3. Now imagine it actually happening. You can visualize it or write it down or do a mind map or talk to a friend about it. Or anything else that makes it real. If it's not absolutely real to you, if you can't see it happening, it's not a real intention.
  4. Create a plan. This can start with a quick sketch or some ideas written down. Perhaps you need some help with this - some coaching or consulting. You need to come up with a real, doable plan here. No hoping. Intentions are real, not imaginary.
  5. Commit. This is where you make your bet, take your risk. This is when you forsake any alternative to success. You are "all in" and ready to move. Your intention is like a white-hot laser beam and you are ready to do whatever it takes.
  6. Take action - any action in your plan that's going in the direction you want to go. No excuses, no reasons, no hesitation. You are now riding on the extraordinary energy of intention. You are unstoppable.

Know why most intentions just end up as good ideas that didn't work out for you? You did a little bit of number 1 and tried a little bit of number 6. You got an idea, took some steps and then gave it up as a bad job. Too hard, too difficult, too time consuming.

A perfect formula for a mediocre life - and business.

On the other hand, is there something you really, really want? Then follow the above six steps and expect miracles.

Written by Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert's web site at for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.

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* dr. jl scott is the Founder of Chamber of Commerce - on the Web™ - and also the publisher of the Online Business Trade Journal™ - the blog that keeps you up to date with online business coming of age. Visit:

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