Posts by programsavvy

Revisiting Emotions

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in The Human Side | 0 comments

Revisiting Emotions

Last summer, after watching In and Out with my daughter I wrote a post on LinkedIn about the emotions featured in the movie. I have found myself thinking about emotions this past week and how much that post resonated with people (I had more people comment on that post than just about any other!)

Perhaps it is partly because of the holidays, and how differently people experience them. For many, it is their happy time of the year – the lights, the music, the special time with family – all bring joy to their life. And, other people are dealing with the passing of loved ones, illness, and loneliness, and the holidays only intensify the sadness.

Perhaps it is the political environment, and the use of fear in campaigns, or the level of disgust leveled at the other candidates.

Maybe its the promos for the President’s Town Hall on guns and predicting the anger that will come from that conversation, on both sides.

Whatever it is, it feels like emotions are rather high as 2016 begins.

If you are interested in the original post, visit: Inside Out…In Real Life

If you would like to share your experience of the new year or how emotions are playing a role, I would love to hear from you!


Mary Beth

P.S. I would be in a happy place if you subscribed to my blog (scroll up and look to the right!) and took a stroll through my new website! Happy New Year!

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Many Ways to be Successful

Posted by on Jan 2, 2016 in Productivity | 2 comments

Many Ways to be Successful

My sister, Ann Marie, and I both have a history of being successful in the work that we do. And we do it so differently!

Some examples of how the world shows up differently for us:

  • Ann Marie was writing in a very cool journal that allows for a short response to the same question over five years. She received it for Christmas in 2014 and began writing in it on December 26th. That freaked me out! There is no way I would have done that – I would have waited until January 1st. She got me one for my birthday which is January 18th. She was smart enough to give it to me on December 30th so that I could start at the beginning of the year!
  • My spices are alphabetized. How else are you supposed to find them? My sister’s spices are categorized by how she uses them.
  • If something unexpected comes up, I will sometimes write it on my to-do list after I have done it just so I can mark it complete. I use lists all the time. My sister doesn’t. Somehow she still manages to get the right things done. I don’t understand.

Are you more like me or more like Ann Marie?

The danger in acknowledging Ann Marie’s success is that she doesn’t typically follow the “standard” principles of time management and prioritization. But, remember that I started out by sharing that she is very successful. She has found her own methodologies that work, but many people who don’t use the standard principles struggle with their productivity but will use the “but that’s not me” reason for not giving them a try.

If 2016 has much to offer and you want to make sure that you benefit, consider one or more of these ideas. But the point is, do something to move yourself down the path:

  • Play with both a pen and paper way of being organized and an electronic version. I am very comfortable and proficient with computers and my phone, but I still strongly prefer paper and pencil for managing my day and priorities. What works better for you?
  • Do you know what you want out of the year? I wrote down twelve goals on a whiteboard in my office that will stare me down through the whole year. That motivates me. If you are creative and artistic, take some time to make your list attractive. Make it your wallpaper on your computer if that’s where you spend your time. But, knowing what you want is a big part of getting there! The goals don’t have to be huge. One of my goals is to clean my basement. Another is to enroll 50 subscribers to my blog. (Consider helping me out with that one!)
  • Consider having different methodologies for work and home. I use the same planner for both because I work at home and my day is so fluid. But, if you want some better separation of work and home, make a home version fun and homey and separate from work tasks.
  • Read something about organization, prioritization, goal setting – there are so many good resources available on LinkedIn or just Google it. Choose just ONE thing to try. You don’t have to do it forever – but give it three weeks. That’s how long it takes to form a habit.
  • It’s legitimate to have a task of cleaning your work space…the first three things I did in 2016 (the first three prioritized items on my to-do list!) were 1) my 2016 calendar and January planning; 2) Update my White Board with my monthly projects, projections, and 2016 focus; 3) Clean and organize my office. That took some time. And when I was done I managed to complete 7 other tasks (several of them significant) partly because I felt good about where I was organizationally.
  • Know what success looks like to you. My success is often defined by my client’s success. My sister’s looks different. You may connect success strongly to your career. Others may define success more on community impact, happiness of your family, or living a healthy lifestyle. Regardless, what are you intentionally doing to move towards or maintain that success?

Whether you are Mary Beth or Ann Marie or somewhere in between (we have a sibling after all!), it is important to combine your natural tendencies with good practices to ensure a successful venture into the new year!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Wishing you a healthy, happy, and successful 2016.


Mary Beth

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Mission: Accomplished

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Nonprofits | 0 comments

Mission: Accomplished

One of my most memorable moments as a consultant was when everyone in the room all had the “that’s it!” moment within a second of each other. I was working with a new agency to develop their mission and vision statements and they were so excited when, after a few hours of consideration, they knew they got it “right”.

I have worked with many organizations and teams to help develop guiding statements. And yet, I had ventured into my own business somewhat organically, and when I made the leap to full time I did so with a sense of my mission, but nothing documented.

And so, I took that on for myself. It was a different experience creating alone as opposed to guiding a company or agency where several stakeholders are involved. In this case, I wanted my work to truly reflect me, and why I do what I do. And so I made it an internal, self-reflective process.

Let me share three observations I made as I worked:

1) I have several people who keep pushing me to market to corporations because “that’s where the money is”, and yet, I chose to focus my mission on nonprofits, not because I haven’t and won’t work with others, but because I am most interested in working with organizations that are mission-driven and have strong values that support the communities they work in. Nonprofits tend to speak about themselves that way and I get easily invested in what they do and how they do it. While my mission may be limiting, I believe that for profits who are strongly connected to the type of approach that I take won’t feel disconnected from what I offer. That became the case just this month. I have a new contract with a large international company who sold me on the chance to work with them because of their impressive set of values which I saw evident in the people I interviewed.

2) I really feel like there are two clients in my work – the agency itself, and the staff that work there. It was important to me to always have both top of mind. I would love for the nonprofit world to be the “go to” place for employment. I can’t change that alone – but I choose to do what I can to make a difference. And I think that shows up in my vision.

3) My values were easy for me to write – because they have been my guiding principles in my consulting. And that is the “truth” about organizational values. Values should not be aspirational. They should reflect what is true and demonstrated in the organization already. I am working with an agency right now where the identification of their five core values was not nearly as arduous as they had feared, because all they really needed was a process (which I developed and guided for them) that helped to reveal what was already there.

So, today I am revealing not only my mission, vision, and core values, but their new “home” on my new website. If you look at the sidebar of my site, you will see my mission, vision, and core values. If you take a few minutes to look through the site, you will see how I live them out. This is a big day for me! Thanks for sharing it with me.

Mary Beth

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