Monday, December 6, 2010

Thought you all might like this as much as I.....

     This was sent to me by my dear friend, Larry James.  The caption says the photo can only be taken on a specific day once a year when the sun rays touch the rocks at a certain angle.  Tilt your head to the left and look at it again. For those that are interested in the origin of the photo ...  Interestingly, the picture came to my attention while conversing about the value of looking at things in different ways. Gotta love what they call coincidence.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Congrats to the SF Giants...

     As a long time Giants fan, this was quite a wait. Watched them play the Yankees as a little boy and lose when Willie McCovey lined out to second base. That one hurt but winning this year was awesome.  Could not make it to the parade but found a great set of pictures on flicker...enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Woman fired for taking prescribed drug??

     This post will ask many more questions than it answers but we have to start somewhere. Here's the NY Times article on a Tennessee woman fired after 22 years of employment when she tested positive for opiates during a company drug screening. Her employer, Dura Automotive, a automobile parts and driver systems facility, ramped up their testing to include various prescription drugs including hydrocodone.

Fired for using prescription drugs
     Job loss, it seems to me, is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this story which hopefully will begin to shed some light on the larger issues of patient/physician relationships, privacy concerns, the outrageous behavior of pharmaceutical companies, and most important our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Everything about what happened to this woman is going to point back to her. Was she capable of doing her job safely? Why was she taking the medication? Was she abusing the drug? And ... perhaps the pinnacle low-point, (if there is such a thing), in one letter to the editor responding to the news of this woman's firing, a reader said, "not to be completely unsympathetic, but maybe she wouldn't need back pain medication if she lost some weight..."  Unfortunately, this response is not only unsympathetic but it also demonstrates both the complete absence of sensitivity and the state of misinformation many of us live with as related to this subject.

     Sue Bates, on of those fired from Dura, was on target when she said of others that lost their jobs with her, "If the medicine they’re taking is not good for them or the workplace, then there should be some sort of program where they can teach us how that affects you or see if something else can be worked out ... But that was not an option for us.” Is this not a matter that requires attention with a focus on education as opposed to 
reprimand? We have an economy that is screaming with unemployment and we are going to contribute to the problem instead of pursuing a solution?

     Certainly, every company should strive for a safe and healthful workplace. Yes, liability concerns and escalating insurance costs must be addressed. However, when do we put a hold on corporate rhetoric and recognize our humanity? Even if you draw a hard line when it comes to doing the right thing vs. profit/loss, the bottom line everyone is so worried about will most certainly come out better when we look for solutions instead of settling for blame. Where are the pharmaceutical companies with their share of the clean-up costs? Their products are wreaking havoc on the lives of far too many. Prescription drug use over the past 10 years has been consistently on the rise.  Where are the doctors when it comes time to wean the patient from analgesics? Where is the education for patients before they even pop open that first bottle of pills?

     We have a lot of work to do on this issue and taking someone's job seems to be a direction with very little merit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Customer Retention Line - Where you Cancel Your Services

     Give me some help here. So last week, I changed my phone, cable television and internet to a single provider. In the process of canceling services with Qwest and DirecTV, the crafty phone menus we are forced to navigate, connected me with someone in customer retention when I made the selection, "to disconnect some or all of your services." In each case, I was asked, "why I wanted to change providers," and, "is there anything we can offer you to stay with us?"

     I had discovered a few weeks ago that when you get to the point of dissatisfaction with one of these services and make the call to cancel your service, the customer retention folks take over and have the ability to offer all kinds of package plans, additional features and account credits in an effort to save the business. At that time, I reflected on how many hours I had spent with the wrong person trying to get something fixed when I all really needed to do was to threaten to cancel and not only would the fix take place quickly but I'd most likely receive some form of compensation. A strange way of doing business, I thought, but, if that is the way the game is played....

     And so I ask you, would it not be wiser to be proactive about customers that have been loyal for years by offering these perks before you call to cancel?  It aggravated me to know that I have been overpaying for my phone and television services for the past seven years when all it would have taken is a call to change providers? Why tell me now when I have already decided to leave ... and what makes them think an offer like this is going to make me want to stay? Let me see if I understand you, What you are saying is that you have overcharged me since I started doing business with you and now you want to make things better?

     The bottom line ... if you are in the same cost cutting mood as I, take a look at your service providers and anywhere there is competition, give them a call and make the menu selection that connects you with the cancellation people, (sorry, I meant customer retention...just don't let on like you know). I am now paying one third of what I had been spending with the price guaranteed for two years at one level and at a slightly higher price for as long as I stay with the company ... no contracts ... no installation fees and a myriad of free services for the first six months.  And, sure to take copious notes about all the savings and get the name and identification numbers from the sales agent cause once you make the switch ... all the nice guy stuff tends to disappear quickly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lose Weight - Start a Home Business ...

     Here's the scoop, (very bad pun intended).  A couple of scoops of this Isagenix Shake mix and you have everything you need in a meal replacement. Hey, we all know to eat five small meals a day, drink lots of water and exercise. A big challenge for many of us is the 5 small meals. We get up, get the kids out the door, and head off to work, cup of coffee in hand. You have not been up a couple of hours and you already have put your body in starvation mode and now it is going to store anything that even looks like fat - bad plan.

     OK, yes, I"m guilty ... and add to that the late night snacks and you are in big trouble. Instead of skipping meals, use the shake mix ... easy to blend and tastes great. Your body gets the message that you have the appropriate nutrition and instead of storing fat starts burning it. Join me in my efforts to lose the excess. AND...I have an awesome business opportunity with these products if you are interested. I joined the company the same year they opened and will share with you how I built over 18,000 followers.  You can do it too!  Click here for info on the business, losing weight or both.

Wayne Dyer's POWER OF INTENTION info and contest

     Noting like a good contest to fire you up.  Looks like Wayne is thanking those that support his work with some great prizes including books and videos, trips to his workshops and a grand prize Caribbean Cruise plus seminar. Check out his home facebook page and also the special pages on The Power of Intention where he is posting 10 weeks of teaching and advice about identifying, accessing and utilizing the Power of Intention.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Patrons of Discovery Breakfast - October 28th - Seattle Aquarium

     Click Here for a short video about  Salish Sea Expeditions, and join me for their second annual, Patrons of Discovery Breakfast. Here's your chance to get a look inside the Salish experience to learn why our program inspires and motivates students to unique and fulfilling voyages in education.

     Captain Mark Schrader of Around the Americas, fresh off a multi-year sail around North and South America, will provide key remarks that bring home to Puget Sound the need for strong science education programs like those provided by Salish Sea Expeditions.

     Guests will learn about our efforts to get the students of the region out on the Sound, excited about science and committed as stewards. Thursday, October 28th, 2010 - The Seattle Aquarium Great Hall - Doors Open 7:15 a.m.- Program 7:45 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. - Contact Stephen Streufert 206-780-7848

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back to the Future!

     Many of you know that I hosted my own radio show for several years. I enjoyed working on-the-air, perhaps as much or more, than anything else I have done professionally. When I decided to focus on my own business last year, (see, Where Have You Been Michael), one of the first things that happened to me was a

long conversation with someone I had just met on an airplane ,,, we were seated next to each other from Chicago to Seattle and talked the entire trip. I will write more about this on my web site but for now ... I will always believe that meeting this person was far more than mere coincidence. Among many other important topics we discussed, at one point he said to me, "If taking this job is not what you want ... if you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?"

     A few, short months later, I was asked to produce and co-host a radio show. It felt very much like - prayer asked and answered! I have now been working with an attorney in the Washington, D.C. area for a little more than a year and through a very unexpected turn of events, he decided to do a radio show. At first, the thought of a Legal Show was not something that seemed very exciting, but the program has become an incredible opportunity to be a part of covering news that affects all of us. In the past few weeks we have talked about:  giving up freedom for security, death penalty, free speech, privacy, marijuana, and same sex marriage. My favorite part of the show is called, On the Street, where we hear listener comments I collect each week on topics like the ones I just mentioned.

     Te show's host is attorney, Paul Samakow ... a stand-up guy that has made a career of fighting for his client's rights. If you would like to hear a show, click here to go to the archives.

Welcome Ryan!

Hey...a new follower .... great to see your smiling face(?).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Where have you been Michael?

     December 2009 - Yep, that was my last post on this blog and I think it is has been more than long enough to be away. Last December I made one of those life decisions and I allowed the result to draw me away from all of the friends I had made here ... for this I apologize, and I thank all of you for your kind notes of concern and the, "Where the heck have you been?" inquiries.

     So here's what happened ... like many of you the challenges of our economy more than got my attention. In January of 2009, I thought it would be best for me to leave the world of self-employment and, as some were recommending, "get a real job!"  The last real job I held was as manager of an Art supply store when I was a Freshman in College ... (not the kind of thing that impresses some hiring managers). I have always worked for myself and make a good living but when my 401K lost 80% of its value and I needed the rest to support the downtrend in my business ... it seems that mental health care became something many people had to eliminate as non-essential, discretionary spending. I really thought it was time to put the resumes out there.

     In composing my resume, I recalled that I had owned my own travel agencies for 15 years, managed the Men Are From Mars project and became a Public Speaker  for another 15 years ... returned to school for a Masters in Psychology and opened a counseling practice while I did my radio show for the 5 years before my move from Arizona to Washington State. That will get their attention! (I thought).

     And yes, the resume did attract responses as well as a few challenges. In future entries here, I will share parts of my journey with you ... like, does age, (I'm 58), affect the job hunt. How much does education and experience mean when applying for work?  I trust my job hunting experiences will help some of you avoid a few of the obstacles I encountered in later entries here but for today, here's the end of the story....

     Some very attractive work opportunities did come up but virtually all of them would have required relocation of 2,000 miles or more.  I would, most likely,  move away for a year to make sure all was well and then move the family. I never did get to the place of discussing this with the children as we moved here so I could spend more time with my family and the children would have good schools and a safe place to call home. Yes, I know ... many families move many times ... my hope remained, however, that my children could remain in their schools, in the community they now recognize as home. For the most part, however, I just did not want to leave for months at a time and parent by web cam???

     My decision was to renew my self-employment efforts. My wife and I own and operate, Personal Growth Productions and we agreed to remain here and focus on building the company. The plan: 1) renew the strength of my counseling practice, 2) look for one or maybe two good clients that would benefit from my experience and retain me as a consultant and 3) work together on my wife's dream to create a successful business as an artist. We have made significant progress on all three fronts ... our fundamental philosophy has been to immerse ourselves - mind, body and soul in the spirit of the Power of Attraction coupled with good old fashioned perspiration.

     It has been an amazing nine months ... I have missed you and want to catch you up with all that has happened by sharing what I learned, (perhaps I should say, learned once again!). I know that many of you have been working through some of the same or similar challenges and my hope is that we can all learn here together. I look forward to hearing from you ....what have you been doing?  How can I help by passing on your creativity?  I look forward to your questions, comments and words of wisdom. If you like what you see in coming weeks, please tell your friends ... they say it takes a Village to raise a family so I want to build our own Virtual Village right here ... a place where we can collectively work for common good. Are you with me?