What if? “La La Land”-inspired Food For Thought For Small Business Owners

If you wander back in time through my posts on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll find evidence I fell in love with the movie “La La Land.”

I’m often skeptical when a film gets obscene amounts of accolades, but this one deserves every single ounce of the kudos heaped Screen shot of Dawn Mentzer's Facebook post about movie La La Landupon it.

It’s a story of chasing dreams, the sting of reality, love found, hopes dashed, and fresh starts.

It’s also a story of “what ifs.” It’s a story of looking back and wondering how life and career would be different if we had done just one thing differently.

We can all relate to that, can’t we? Personally and professionally we wonder what our lives would be like if we had made other choices.

What if I had said that more tactfully?

What if I hadn’t lost my temper?

What if I had gone to that networking event?

What if I had quoted a different rate for that project?

What if I had said “no”?

What if I had said “yes”?

What if I had taken my time?

What if I had been more careful?

What if I hadn’t jumped to conclusions?

What if I had told the truth?

What if I hadn’t been so stubborn?

What if I had spoken my mind?

What if I had tried to be more understanding?

What if I had tried harder?

What if I had been more caring?

What if I hadn’t given up?

Every decision we make, every action we take—no matter how seemingly insignificant—affects how the future will progress. Turning down a coffee meeting, posting a contradictory comment on someone’s social media post, deleting an email before reading it…you never know when something you decide to do—or not do—will make or break opportunities and shape how your relationships develop.

What if we all put a little more thought into the little decisions we make every day?

Your turn: What “what ifs” make you wonder how things might be different today if you had made some other choices yesterday?

Crappy Day? Consider These 18 Ideas To Make It Less Crappy.

These past several weeks have been tough. My freshman daughter took a hit to her self-confidence after making it to call backs for young-african-american-girl-with-thumbs-upthe high school fall play but not getting chosen for the cast. We rescued a sweet Staffordshire terrier/Pitbull mix (Loki) and discovered that the fit won’t be a good one with our resident female pitty mix. And my last remaining grandparent was diagnosed with esophageal cancer; it could be just days or weeks before she departs this earth.

Unable to make it all better for my daughter, grappling with the feeling of failing Loki even as we have found a new loving home for him, and losing my 91-year-old grandma—all at once—has tested my strength and coping abilities. Very little of what has come our way has been in my control. I struggle with that.

Feeling sorry for myself and unempowered isn’t an option. And while I realize I can’t change the present circumstances, I know there’s always a way to make any situation better by doing something that you feel really good about. So after experiencing the mental after effect of giving a homeless man a $5 bill in downtown Lancaster last week, I felt inspired to tweet this the other day…

Tweet by Dawn Mentzer

Staying aware of moments when you can do something nice, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, really can help restore some hope, happiness, and control when you’re at a low point.

And there are plenty of opportunities to make someone else’s day a little brighter or easier; we just have to listen beyond the noise and look beyond the dark veil of our own misfortunes to hear and see them.

Whether with friends, family, clients, colleagues, or complete strangers, you can help turn days around—for them and for you—with…

Simple and immediately uplifting random acts of kindness.

1. Buy them a cup of coffee.
2. If they’re sitting alone, ask them to join you.
3. If they drop something, pick it up for them.
4. Open the door for them.
5. Give them a sincere compliment.
6. Offer to push their grocery cart back to the cart return area.
7. Tell them you appreciate them.
8. Tell them you’re proud of them.
9. Help them with a chore or task.
10. Ask if they need someone to talk to.
11. Tell them they’re good enough.
12. Forgive them.
13. Listen with your full attention.
14. Tell them you understand.
15. Tell them they’re not alone.
16. Send a funny e-card.
17. Call them to just say, “Hi.”
18. Smile at them.

According to an article in Tech Times, research indicates people who perform acts of kindness may help reduce their stress level and improve their outlook.

Put simply, doing a random act of kindness can turn your crappy day around. And that’s a win both personally and professionally—for relationships, productivity, and ability to deal with whatever comes your way.

I’d say that’s a worthy investment of just seconds or minutes each day, how about you?

Your turn! What random acts of kindness have you done lately?

Image of young girl with thumbs up is courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not Drinking Enough Water? Six Ways To Make It Less Wishy-Washy

We’ve all got ‘em. Those important self-care things that make a difference in our work performance and our attitude.Mint-infused water

 

I’ve written about mine in the past, and in this post I’m going to get a little more granular with one of the items on my list: Eating smart.

 

Well, not specifically eating smart…but drinking smart. Drinking water that is.

 

You’ve heard of “whistle while you work.” While that might boost your mood (and/or totally drive your colleagues insane), drinking water while you work is far more important. Hydration, even for those of us with cushy desk jobs, can make a big difference in how well we function.

 

Our bodies are made of approximately 60% water. And according to Health.com, lose just 1.5% of that and you could be facing mild dehydration.

 

If I haven’t had enough water throughout the day, I feel it physically and cognitively. I can’t concentrate well; I get a headache; I become a bit irritable.

 

Those side effects are signs of dehydration, and here are a few other symptoms you might experience if you’re not drinking enough water:

 

  • Bad breath
  • Feeling tired
  • Constipation

 

Nobody needs that.

 

Falling short?

Odds are you’re not getting enough water.

 

According to a 2013 study referenced by a story on ABCnews.com, 43% of men and 41% of women in America don’t take in the US Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily amount of water (128 oz. for men and 96 oz. for women).

 

But what if you’re one of those people who doesn’t find water’s blatant blandness appetizing?

 

I like water, but admit that it can become a little boring. Fortunately, I’ve found ways to jazz it up and make it a joy rather than a drag to drink.

 

Six Tips For Making Water Less Wish-Washy

  • Add mint—fresh peppermint or spearmint leaves (or drops of natural mint extract)
  • Add a slice of citrus—lime, lemon, orange, or pink grapefruit
  • Add berries—strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or another favorite
  • Add cucumber slices
  • Add sweet basil leaves
  • Mix it up—add mint and cucumber, or basil and mint, or cucumber and berries, or orange and basil…You get the idea.

 

By the pitcher, water bottle, or single serve glass, you’ll get the most flavor if you let your water infuse for a few hours. (But I admit I’m typically impatient and drink it after just minutes of infusing it.)

 

Drinking enough water is absolutely way up there on my list of daily wellness must dos. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to feel and perform better physically and mentally. Do you struggle with downing adequate amounts of H20? Perhaps you’ll find it more tastefully interesting (and find drinking it less of a task) if you try infusing it.

 

Give it a go, and comment here to let me know which flavors are your favorites.