Category Archives: Life Lessons

Visionary Board Retreat

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39 North Downtown Board of Directors

I recently joined the 39 North Downtown community organization board of directors. We had our first board retreat on Friday at Visionary Reno where we created vision boards. We worked on individual boards and a group board. It was an excellent activity that I highly recommend personally, professionally, and for all your non-profit groups. It is a great tool for building focus and making goals a reality.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collection of images that help you clarify and focus on whatever you want to be or make happen in your life. The concept is based on the law of attraction: “like attracts like.” Thinking about something means you invite it in. What you put out to the universe will be attracted to you.

Supplies:

  • A large board for photos and magazine clippings
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks or tape
  • Pens
  • Fun decorations like gems, pearls, ribbon, pictures, etc.
  • Magazines
  • 2-3 hours of dedicated time to focus on creating a vision board

Our board of directors’ visionary experience took place at Visionary Reno. Our exercise leader was Jessica Snyder, owner of Visionary Reno. Jessica started by giving us some ground rules and encouragement. She frequently leads inspirational workshops and team building classes. She puts out so much positive energy you can’t help but be inspired.

Our goal for the day was to create vision boards for our involvement as 39 North board members. We went through magazines and ripped out any pages that meant something to us or resonated with what we wanted to do with our board position. We didn’t have to know why the magazine page meant something to us, we just had to pull it out if it inspired us on our mission.

After pulling out lots of pages, we started cutting out the meaningful parts of the page. We then separated the cut outs for our individual boards and for our group board. As we were crafting our boards we were visiting with each other and discussing what we wanted to achieve. We also got to know each other better through small talk and a little bit of a gossip session. It was a great team building exercise for our group since we are always so rushed when we see each other. The exercise took about two hours.

We each started crafting our own boards. Jessica helped us put together the group board. When we were all done, we each mentioned one highlight from our board and then we went over the group board. It was a great exercise because it got us all moving in the same direction on the same goals. It was a very inspiring afternoon!

I highly recommend using vision boards. No matter what the goal or project is, a vision board can help you visualize what you want to do and keep you focused on your objectives. If you live in the Reno-Sparks area I encourage you to contact Visionary Reno and make an appointment. They hold classes for individuals, nonprofit organizations, work teams, and groups of friends. You will definitely feel inspired!

If you can’t make it down to Visionary Reno, you can try to make a vision board at home.

First you will need to find a place at your house that is an inspiring setting. When you go to Visionary Reno you walk into a beautifully decorated room stocked with everything you could possibly need. Visionary Reno is clean, it has all the supplies you could dream of, and if you like…it also has a bar where you can buy drinks. Try to replicate this inspiring setting in your home. Find a nice quiet place with no distractions. Look for a clean working space that inspires you and allows you to focus on creating your vision board.

Next, you will want to start working on what you would like to get out of this experience. You want to work on visualizing a goal or focusing on what you want to feel. It doesn’t have to be anything big, small goals work too. Don’t just focus on materialism, focus on how you want to feel and how you want to live.

Start the exercise by looking through magazines and visualizing and focusing on what you want and what you want to feel. You can’t mess this up. Anything can go on your vision board. As you look through the magazines start ripping out pages that mean something to you or that you identify with. Even if you don’t know why you like the page, or why it resonates, just rip it out.

After you’ve got a nice pile of magazine pages, and you feel good about what you’ve found, start clipping out the meaningful pieces. Clip out pictures, phrases, anything that will help you create the vision that will inspire you. Then start laying these pieces out on your board and gluing them in place.

It was funny to watch our board members do this part of the exercise because two of us are event planners and very Type A personalities. We put everything in order all organized and then started gluing. Other members just glued the pieces as they went and built it as a puzzle in real-time. It was funny to see the group dynamics and personalities showing up in such a small gesture.

Once you finish your board look back over it and go over all your pieces. It is really inspiring! You can’t help but feel you are on your way to reaching your goals.

After you are all done make sure you put your board in a place where you will see it often. This will help you stay motivated on your achievable goals. Use this as a daily affirmation to keep focus on your goals and you will see results in no time.  If you can see it, you can achieve it!

I have placed my vision board on the book case near the front door at my house. I look at it every time I leave the house and every time I come home. I take pride in the board and I feel like my goals and objectives are obtainable. I already feel like this exercise has inspired me and that I’m ready to put more energy towards my goals.

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Vision Board 1-27-17

Here are some tidbits from my vision board…

  • An extraordinary year – Make this an extraordinary year. There are changes on the horizon and lots of opportunity. Make the most of this for 39 North.
  • Gardens that inspire – We are planting seeds right now that will make the community better for years to come. We just need to water these seeds and watch them grow
  • You’ve Got A Great Team – The 39 North board is enthusiastic and ready to climb mountains. With a great team like this, we will make a difference.
  • Local Designers on Decorative Arts – We want to focus more on art and bring more art to Sparks, NV.
  • Share Some Holiday Happiness – Make 39 North Pole Village the best one yet. Share the event with more people and get more sponsors and Griswold Challenge contestants.
  • Own A Moment In Time – Remember to focus on the present and not get too carried away planning the future. Live in the moment.
  • Business – I’m the new leader for Sparks Business Connection so I need to focus on that and take it to the next level.
  • The Change Maker – Make positive change.
  • Dig A Little Deeper – Keep working even when you think you don’t have anything left.
  • Photo of a present with the letter C – This is to remind me to focus on what a blessing my boyfriend Charlie is and to show him appreciation.
  • Travel – I crave it, and I need more of it.
  • The essentials of life – Don’t lose sight of what is important and what you can’t live without.
  • Tiny Home Big Dreams – My house may not be the biggest right now, but the dreams under its roof are mighty.
  • I’m thankful for… – this is a reminder to show appreciation and count my blessings.
  • Who Wants Happiness? You – ME! Work hard to make things happen. Remember to give myself time and space to be happy and do what I enjoy doing even if it has nothing to do with accomplishing goals or moving to the next level.
  • Simply Beautiful – Making a difference and reaching new heights is a beautiful thing.

I’ve enjoyed the process of creating a vision board. I’m a big fan of this concept and the law of attraction.

If you are already a vision board enthusiast, please comment below about your experiences with vision boards and what is on your vision board. 

For everyone else, I encourage you to go out and make a vision board, heck make five of them! If you’d like to go to Visionary Reno and experience the perfect setting to dream, please check out their website and contact them to sign up for a session.


Saying Goodbye to NuggLife

Resigning is never easy. And resigning from a job you love is heartbreaking.

After four-and-a-half years and five event seasons, I decided it was time to try something new and to leave behind my beloved NuggLife. I had reached a new level of burnout after Rib Cook-Off and I was constantly dealing with illness. I was working six to seven days a week and a lot of overtime hours. It was supposed to be my slow season, but when your company sells, life changes. In the last four-and-a-half years I’ve been through two back-to-back company sales, which is extremely challenging. There were so many signs, and I knew it was time to move on and find a job that would offer me a better life balance and normal working hours. So, with a heavy heart and just a smudge of anxiety, I decided it was time to try something new.

I hadn’t started seriously looking when my mother sent me the job listing for the Assistant Vice President of Community Relations at One Nevada Credit Union. I was honestly trying to resign and be unemployed over the holiday season, but this job listing was exactly what I was going to be looking for. It was a perfect opportunity! I applied and after several interviews, I received a great offer. I started working at One Nevada on December 5, 2016.

My new job duties at One Nevada include developing public relations programs, marketing, sponsorship development, and event planning to engage with members and build community awareness about One Nevada Credit Union.

Before leaving the Nugget, I gave four weeks’ notice. My last day was December 3, which was the night we held the inaugural Nugget Christmas Tree Lighting event and kicked off the 12 Nuggets of Christmas charity event. I gave the company a lot of notice because I wanted to make sure this event went well. I am a huge fan of the Nugget. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I received while working there, so I didn’t want to let them down and leave them right before a big event. I worked with a fantastic team and I will always be grateful to them for their support and friendship. It was hard to say goodbye to my coworkers that I absolutely loved and adored. We had so many great memories together!

My Last Week at the Nugget and the Last Supper

My last week of work was crazy. You would never even know I was leaving. I was taking care of business as normal and making sure that we were ready for the tree lighting and the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.  Even though we were busy, my team found time to have a going away lunch for me, Tim and Adam, who were also leaving at the end of the week. The Marketing Department tradition is that we walk down to Great Basin Brewery together for lunch and we take a group photo. This isn’t just any group photo, it is the Last Supper picture. The people leaving have plates held behind their heads just like halos. We all make a funny pose. I was so bummed to be leaving my coworkers, but I was glad we were able to celebrate together one last time. Below is the picture from our Last Supper of NuggLife.
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My Last Day Working at the Nugget

Like any good workaholic, I made sure to put in a whole day for my last day. I started at 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t finish that night until nearly 11:00 p.m.

It was an exciting day because it was event day. I love event day! The excitement, the butterflies, the burst of weird event energy, it is always a good time. I started the day off by going through all the event details. I was responsible for the tree lighting ceremony and also for making sure the 12 Nuggets of Christmas was planned. Everything looked to be in order. The checks were printed for the charities, and everyone knew when and where they were supposed to be each night of the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.

The tree was magnificent! It was a towering 105 foot tall White Fir from Klamath Falls, Oregon. The tree was a gift from the Marnell Family and the Nugget to the community of Sparks. After a whole week of a sign company using cranes to decorate the tree, we were ready for the lighting. The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. It started with Reno High School students singing Christmas carols. Mrs. Clause and Engine 39, the 39 North Downtown community train, delivered almost 300 unwrapped toys for local children in need. Then our general manager gave a welcome message, presented Toys for Tots with a $2,000 check, and we had the crowd countdown to light the tree. When the crowd gave the sign, my coworker’s two sons hit the big switch for show, and our Elf Greg hit the power box for real, and with a big pop the tree lit up. It was gorgeous!

The event went well, but if I was planning it again, I would add a big stage and have the general manager and an MC host the event. I would also add a DJ spinning high energy Christmas tunes and a few portable heaters. It was freezing out there!
tree-lighting-2016

After the ceremony and a lot of photos were taken, it was time to have a celebratory drink and then head back to my office to pack up. After I was gone, my coworkers told me that was the cleanest that office had ever been, even in the decade before I worked there.

I’m officially a recovering workaholic. It is a bit odd to go from working so much and in such an intense environment to working a normal schedule in a calm work place. I love my new job, but it is definitely different. I’m adjusting, but sometimes I miss my old coworkers and the high energy felt working in a casino. I’ve been going through files and old pictures trying to get organized and get my life back together at home. I’ve been finding a lot of souvenirs that bring back memories of NuggLife.

In my new role at One Nevada, I will continue to blog about event management, public relations, marketing, customer service, sponsorship relations, and community relations. I will also tell a few stories and share some memories of my crazy days at the Nugget. Now I can tell the really good stories! Stay tuned!


The 5am Challenge

Welcome to Special Events Season…don’t be Grumpy Cat!

Today is Memorial Day, so that means tomorrow is officially the first day of my busy season at work. I feel like I am busier this year than I ever have been. I realize I need to make some changes to adapt to all the additional work and responsibilities.

To do this, I’ve decided to take the 5:00 am challenge where I wake up at 5:00 am every work day until special event season is over. I’m not really a morning person. I know this challenge may sound ridiculous to some people because being a morning person might come easy to them. It doesn’t come easy for me. I am a night owl. Mornings have always been a challenge. I don’t drink coffee, never have. I struggle to wake up. I am a cross between grumpy cat and a dragon depending on what time I wake up, so this is going to be a big challenge for me.

I was inspired to start waking up extra early because I recently read a blog by a guy that started waking up at 4:30 am every day. He was amazed by the improvements and benefits of waking up early. He really sold me on the idea of becoming a morning person. It sounded so wonderful, all of it except waking up at 4:30 am.

Several studies have shown that waking up early has many benefits. I hope to experience all of these benefits until September 6, when Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is over.  Some of the benefits from waking up early include being more proactive, better at anticipating problems, better at planning ahead and better at getting more exercise.

To do this challenge I will need to go to bed earlier. I will also need to find a way to listen to my alarm and not negotiate my way into more sweet dreams. I’m really good at negotiating with myself when it comes to more sleep. I’m going to have to work on my willpower to make sure I get up and get going every morning at 5:00 am. They say habits are developed in about 30 days so hopefully by the end of June it will all be smooth sailing.

Tomorrow is the first day of living the 5:00 am challenge. I’m looking forward to more quiet time in the morning, less stress, a nice commute, and seeing the sunrise. Now let’s just hope I can tame the dragon, be a little less grumpy cat, and become a real morning person.

Are you a morning person? Please post tips and advice you have to help me with this challenge. How can I become a morning person like you? Comment below.


Secret of Life…

In my humble opinion, being an event planner can drive you a little crazy sometimes. The long hours and pressure can take its toll and change your attitude. So can all the praise and misdirected appreciation when an event is a huge success.

Over the years I’ve seen ego and self-interest ruin several high caliber event executive directors. When they become bigger than the purpose they serve it is usually fatal to their careers. I understand what it is like, sometimes it is hard not to let it all go to your head. The good event planners that are capable of enjoying a long steady career in the special event industry don’t let it go to their head. They show appreciation for their team and know the importance of staying humble and kind.

You know in the movie City Slickers where Curly asks Mitch if he knows what the secret of life is?  That one thing. This is that one thing! Thank you Tim McGraw for so eloquently capturing the secret to life. If you live life this way being an event planner won’t drive you crazy.

 

Remember that scene…

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Photo Credit: Quotesgram.com

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [points index finger skyward] This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles and points his finger at Mitch] That’s what you have to find out.

 

If you believe that being humble and kind is the secret of life and enjoyed this blog post please use the handy buttons below to share with your friends and family. Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!


Networking Advice for the Next Generation

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Photo by: jessiconde

I spoke to a group of university students studying public relations last week. The students all had an interest in entertainment, special events and sports so the journalism school offered a panel of guest speakers to discuss these types of careers. The program started with a moderator asking questions and then we finished with a question and answer session.

I enjoyed participating in the panel. The students had great questions and were very engaged. During the question and answer session one student asked about networking. He is a DJ that specializes in a very specific type of music. I could tell he was passionate about his work. He said he was occasionally in situations where he was building relationships with contacts at parties, but often the next day he would regret what he did or said because he had been drinking. This young man’s situation is not rare, especially in the service and entertainment industry. These things are bound to happen unless you take extra precautions and know your limits.

This was the networking advice I gave him…

  1. Protect Your Reputation

Do whatever you can to protect your reputation. Then I went on and explained how when I was growing up my mother told me I had a midnight curfew because nothing good happens after midnight. I could see his eyes about to burst out of his head at the thought of a midnight curfew, so I recommended he give himself a curfew around 2:00 a.m., which isn’t bad in this 24-hour town. He is a DJ so it is important for him to be out networking, but it is also important for him to leave before all the drama goes down and people start acting crazy. If people perceive you to be a partier that has too much fun, they won’t perceive you to be a smart expert in your field. Perception becomes reality. People fail to realize how important reputations are to being successful.

  1. Be Genuine

There is so many fake people in the world today, it is exacerbated and encouraged by social media and reality television. People can tell if you aren’t genuine. There is a certain sixth sense that most people have that allows them to tell when someone is fake. If you want to build good working relationships and your network you need to keep it real. This doesn’t mean you should over share, it just means you need to be authentic so people will get to know the real you. People like helping and doing business with people they know and trust.

  1. Diversify your Network

Don’t just network at parties and industry events. Every person you meet has something to add to your life. It is important to have a broad network with people from many different fields. Grow your network to include people with different backgrounds, ages, races, religion, political views, special interests and hobbies. You wouldn’t believe how many opportunities I’ve had because a friend mentioned me to a business acquaintance, friend or family member. I recommend joining clubs and pursuing hobbies that will introduce you to people from different circles. Life Lesson: Don’t just make friends at “da club.”

These are just a few words of wisdom shared with the journalism students. I appreciated the student asking such a direct question about networking. One piece of advice that I wish I would have hit harder is to keep an open mind while developing your network. Keeping an open mind and meeting different people in different situations will introduce you to new possibilities you never dreamed of, and will help you grow as a professional. This is a life lesson that once learned can really make a difference.

Looking to improve your networking skills?
Check out this article from Inc.Com.
7 Networking Tips for Introverts, Extroverts, and the Socially Awkward

Know any young people that could use this advice?  Please share this post with them by using the handy social media buttons below.


Are Leap Years Unlucky for Special Event Producers?

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Meme courtesy of imgflip.com

I couldn’t help asking myself this question today as I read about Leap Year traditions and folklore from around the world. I usually think of leap years as exciting and unusual. I even joke it is great to have an extra day in February every four years to get my life together.

Over 2,000 years ago Julius Caesar first introduced the Leap Year. Since then there have been many traditions and folklore built up around leap years. Most of the traditions are based in Europe and involve marriage. In Greece it is considered especially unlucky to marry on a leap day, and marrying during a leap year in general is risky. If you are a special event planner that produces weddings, you might want to consider this today. Scotland folklore considers it unlucky to be born on a leap day. Russians associate the year with freak weather and higher risk of dying.

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Oxford University Press Translation

In Italy, leap years are thought to be gloomy years. The saying is “anno bisesto, anno funesto” which roughly translates to “leap year, gloomy year.” Lately, I’ve been feeling very Italian. This year has already been a bit of a rough year for me. I started off the New Year sick with that horrible respiratory bug that was going around. In late January someone tried to break into my house in the middle of the night while I was home alone, it was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to me.  At work, all the events I produce have big changes on the horizon and I already want to cry about parking problems. Then to top it all off, about two weeks ago the company I work for announced it sold. I think the sale is great for the company. I just see a lot of turmoil in my near future because the transaction occurs during event season, which is already crazy. It is only February… hopefully March and the rest of 2016 my luck turns around.

On the positive side, not everyone in the world has a negative superstition about Leap Year.  The Irish have a lovely tradition where women propose marriage to men.  Thanks to Amy Adams and the movie Leap Year, everyone that didn’t know before, is now aware of this fun old Irish legend. The story goes that back in the day St. Brigid made a deal with St. Patrick that every four years women were allowed to propose to men. This went against traditional roles in the culture, but similar to the idea of Leap Day making the calendar balance, this role reversal balanced the roles in many Irish relationships.

I’m going to embrace my Irish side and consider this a year of balance, not doom and gloom.  I’m going to focus more on balance in my personal life and professional life for the rest of the year and not let any of these superstitions make it a gloomy year. Instead of being afraid and superstitious, I’m going to embrace this leap year!

Want to know more about Leap Years? Check out these sites that inspired this blog post:

  1. Leap Day Customs & Traditions
  2. 9 Leap Year traditions – and superstitions – from around the world
  3. Leap Year 2016: Why does February have 29 days every four years?

Do you believe in Leap Year superstitions?  What do you think? Let us know in the comments.


One Shot at Integrity

Merriam-Webster IntegrityI have a confession to make… I’m a reality show junkie. I can’t help it. I am addicted. I admit I watch some of the dumbest shows on TV, and I enjoy them! My favorite part of watching reality TV is finding that small morsel of valuable content. The life lesson, the ethical dilemma, the cultural significance, the hidden leadership and management skills are what I’m hunting for when I watch reality TV. It is like “Where’s Waldo?” but instead it is “Where is the hidden lesson?” It is amazing what you find sometimes under the surface when watching these shows, which is why I’m a fan of several shows on Bravo TV and E! Television.

One of my newest guilty pleasures is watching Below Deck on Bravo TV. Right before finals last winter, they had an episode marathon. I needed some downtime and a pick me up, so I watched a whole day of the show. I love boating so I found myself captivated by the boat and crew. I also found so many delicious morsels of content that I was then hooked.

Eros - Below Deck Yacht

Photo Credit: bitchbybravo.com

The leader on Below Deck is Captain Lee. He is an old school, call it how you see it, pull no punches kind of guy. Service is the number one priority on his yacht, and if you screw up he isn’t shy about calling you out. He also has strong leadership skills and builds a great crew culture during the season. He has integrity and leads by example. Captain Lee is a great character! He always has the best comments and assessments of situations. His advice is right on target. He is so eloquent with his words of wisdom that fans have gone to the internet to document his comments as Captain Lee-isms.

Check out this hilarious Below Deck promo video!

This week I finished watching the most recent season and last night I watched Part 2 of the Reunion Special. Captain Lee shared one of the best life lessons ever during the show. He said “You have only one shot at integrity.” Isn’t that the truth!?! Think of how many people are missing this basic concept in life. Integrity and trust go hand-in-hand. It is all about being honest and fair. I’ve been reflecting on his message a lot today and how it relates to being a professional.

If you don’t act honestly or fairly you can damage your reputation and not get a second chance. Once you make an impression it can stick. When it comes to business deals and relationships there is a lot of value in your integrity. It is incredibly important. Your relationships can often make or break you in business, especially in the special event production industry. No one wants to work with someone they can’t trust that doesn’t have integrity. You either have it, or you don’t.

So there you go. I may be addicted to reality TV shows, but at least I can find the life lessons buried in the fluff.

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