Friday, January 21, 2011

Independent Thinking

During my last blog post, I began by speaking about an event I attended with a friend, Oz Whitesell. On our way, Oz and I started talking about the public school system. Oz worked as a school teacher for 10 years, so I was eager to hear his thoughts.

Today I'll be exploring a topic that he brought to my attention during this conversation: Independent Thinking. How much does our school system prepare us to become independent thinkers? In our society, who is accepted? Those who follow or those who choose to act on their own individual, unbiased thoughts?

I recall sitting in Mr. Mitchell's Social Studies class in 9th grade. Going a bit off topic, he brought up a realistic scenario - he asked, "When the bell rings in 10 minutes, what will you do?"

What would you have thought? -- Well, we're gonna get up, talk to our friends while we head to our locker, grab our books, and go to the next class. Right?

Right! But what could your answer have been? You could stay in your seat and get your thoughts in order, you could leave the school, you could go to a different class; really the possibilities are endless. It's up to you, isn't it?

Ok, so what are the consequences for choosing differently then most? You're late for your next class, you miss time with friends, you could get detention.  Or, what if you time it out right? You are more prepared for the next class, you don't get involved with gossip that day, and your head is clearer and ready for what you're learning next.

So, what do you think happened when the bell rang? Ask yourself: If the rest of your class sat there, would you get up and leave? If your class got up, would you have stayed? What would an independent thinker do?

I'm not sure I was personally ready to think independently. But, I do remember that a large majority of my class went on their way as usual. This is where peer-pressure sets in; you still look around and see what others are doing, and you do it. I stayed for a few moments with a few of my peers, but nonetheless, it was time to go.

To be able to think independently you need to practice, it is an ability that many of us have not learned. It isn't always the most accepted. To this day, can we think independently? We still market as others do; we still get on Social Media and follow what others say. What can make us stand out?

Here are some of the ways I will start developing my independent thought:
  • Research others belief systems, religion, politics, theories, etc. Find about their culture, the history, and see why these have become their beliefs.
  • Listen to music, any and all music. Try something new and random. 
  • Turn off the TV and experience life! 
  • Read. Explore your personal thoughts. Design a picture in your mind with the characters. 
  • Write. Put your thoughts on paper, get them out of your head. It's the best way to hold onto your ideas.
  • Push yourself. Get involved in things that are unfamiliar, that scare you. 
  • Stop believing what others say. They might be right, but think harder. Disprove your theories, their theories, keep brainstorming.
Find out more in this article: 5 Ways to Develop Independent Thought. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Examining My Community Footprint After a Morning with Jamie & Karen Moyer

Oz Whitesell & Jamie Moyer at
the Philadelphia Chamber Event.
Yesterday I traveled into Philadelphia with a friend, Oz Whitesell to participate in the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Event: Examining the Impact of Good Corporate Citizenship. The event featured Jamie & Karen Moyer. You know Jamie best by his World Series-winning baseball career. During his professional baseball career Jamie and his wife, Karen, have given back to not only his community, but to many communities in the United States with the Moyer Foundation. I'll give you a quick blurb about the Moyer Foundation from their website that helps explain just a small portion of what they do:

"Through the generosity of a giving community, The Moyer Foundation supports programs that directly serve critical needs of children in severe distress. Since its inception, The Moyer Foundation has raised over $20 million to help support more than 225  different programs that help children in distress in a variety of ways." Find out more 

In my life I've been encouraged by my parents and teachers to be involved, give back, and stay active. It was only natural for me to devote some of my time to the Souderton community and the surrounding communities that Moyer Indoor Outdoor serves. So I started reflecting back on the last year and how the involvement has helped me grow and create lasting connections.
  • How have I helped?
  • How has being involved help me grow?
  • Who has helped me grow?
  • What can I do to make sure that my efforts go towards something worthwhile?
  • How has this changed me in the past year? 
These are all questions that help me analyze my time spent over the past year, and decide where to lend my time in the coming year. Instead of talking about how I've given back, I wanted to recognize those who have helped me. You see, these few have made great impacts on my success, and many of them might never understand how their selfless involvement in the community has made an impact.

Tara King, Executive Director, Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
I started serving the UBCC on their Foodie committee. I have to give credit to a friend, Wendy Ringenary, Owner of Minute Man Press in Quakertown, for pulling me into this committee. My first meeting I started throwing out ideas (as I do) and Tara jumped right on board! She gave me the confidence in my thoughts and designs. Her encouragement and positive attitude along with the others on our committee made me love to be apart of a great cause. The proceeds from The Foodie event go towards Eduction programs in the surrounding school districts; mini grants and scholarships.
The Foodie.

The outcome of her encouragement towards not only myself, but the entire committee: Well, excitedly, we had the highest attendance and the most restaurants participate. We found new oportunities to advertise so that in the following years we can use the promotional package we've set in place to raise more money for Education in our community.

John Ralston, CEO, Sitecats Web Development
During a conversation about Indian Valley Week on John's new radio show, Indian Valley Live, I spoke about how being involved in the chamber just a year before gave me the opportunity to sit across from John on the radio a year later.

During the Indian Valley Celebrate Week Show
on John's show, Indian Valley Live.
John and I met at one of the Chamber week events in 2009. In 2010, John and I served on the Marketing Committee together for Indian Valley Chamber, and with his recommendation, I now serve as the Chairperson for that committee. John gives to our community in so many ways; we cross paths as he gives his time and web development services to many causes, including: Souderton Telford Main Streets, Keystone Opportunity Center, Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce, Souderton-Telford Rotary, just to name a few.

Ken Byler, Principal and Senior Consultant, Higher Ground Consulting Group, LLC and Marketing Director, Detweiler, Hershey & Assoc., PC

Ken has been a figure in the Souderton community well before I even knew Souderton existed. When you go to his LinkedIn Profile you see that Ken states he is "Committed to creating a sustainable community of inspirational leaders." I don't think anyone could have said it better!

Ken taking a tour of the Moyer Feed Mill
during the Fall Moyer Indoor Outdoor Mixer.
As the President of the Indian Valley Chamber, Ken was present during many of the Marketing Committee meetings. As soon as I became Chairperson, Ken asked me to lunch and gave me some very important advice for running a committee. He told me the harsh realities, the difficulties that I would come across, and gave me encouragement. He started molding another "inspirational leader".  

I would reccommend following Ken:

Mikaela Danielle Martin, Certified Health Counselor and Coach, Guidance for Growing
While I've only known Mikaela for a short time, she has definitely taken so much of my time...
You see it takes me an eternity to get through the grocery store now - and this is all due to the Guidance for Growing, Cholesterol & Fat Workshop. THANK YOU!

Guidance for Growing Workshop.
While during a Young Professionals Event I helped organize, Ken Byler and John Ralston encouraged me to get to know Mikaela and her partner Jason. Since which time they have been involved in the Indian Valley Chamber Puttle Tournament with Moyer, attended a Moyer Mixer I organized this Fall, and have become long-lasting friends.

Through Mikaela's positive thinking during her daily affirmations on Twitter and Facebook, her unforgettable workshops (for only $5!), and her column in the Souderton Independent, Healthy Bites, she has influenced a new healthy lifestyle. It may take me an hour+ to get through the grocery store, but it's worth it!

While I can't name all who have influenced me over the past year, you can see how much I've been changed by my community. You get involved to help others, many times you don't realize how much you'll receive back! I encourage you to be involved, get excited for others, learn from others, and continue to become an "inspirational leader", as Ken suggested.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Real Green Systems conference hosts LCOs in Florida

Participated in the Real Green Conference this past week in Orlando, Fl. Spoke about Social Media, two classes, one for beginners and one discussing advanced features. Take a look at the synopsis: