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I was prompted to recall a time when I felt gut-wrenching nervousness.  And as I start to gear up for the 3rd (!) Kamloops Timeraiser it is easy to recall such a situation.

When I heard about the Timeraiser – an event created by Framework in Toronto 11 years ago – I thought to myself: ‘this has to come Kamloops’.  After pursuing the Timeraiser organization for over a year to bring their event to Kamloops, they eventually decided they wouldn’t bring here – but I could host it myself.  Awesome – I love hosting parties, but for this particular event I needed money and support.

chequeSo after socializing the idea and finding support, the day actually came when my first sponsor, NRI Distribution, sent me a $5000 sponsorship cheque.

Fear, disbelief, apprehension, insecurity – all welled up inside me.  Are they crazy putting this much faith in me to pull this off?  Can I pull this off?  What I do next?  How do I pay him back if I screw up?  Eek!

But whenever I am under pressure – life becomes clearer…  Just focus on the next step.  I can’t say I felt optimistic or that the fear disappeared, but I knew that if I just kept doing the right steps one after the other I would get the job done.

And I did!  And at some point in the following weeks I started to get excited knowing it would work out.  Those feelings of fear changed to pride, gratitude, excitement, enthusiasm and relief!

This is a repost from my business blog:

Journey with Arnel Pineda

The band Journey with lead singer Arnel Pineda

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey?  I am sure there are a few, but most people I know love it.  It is a ballad for the ages, and Steve Perry has a fantastic voice.

The story of Journey’s current resurgence in popularity and the discovery of their current lead singer all starts with YouTube 🙂

In the 90’s Steve Perry split from Journey permanently and the band was in limbo for many years.  Hiring lead singers then splitting up.  They did a few tours with these replacements but nothing clicked.

Then, in June 2007, Neal Schon of Journey, saw a video of Arnel Pineda of the Philippines doing covers of Journey songs with his band the Zoo.  He was invited to audition in California and on Dec 5 2007 he was officially announced as the new lead singer of Journey!

Arnel had a long and moderately successful music career in Asia.  He had some successes – recording with Warner Brothers in 1999, and low points – living on the streets for a couple years as a teenager.  He has been the lead singer for Journey now for 5 years, their latest album, Revelations, went Platinum and the band is excited about the chemistry they have and are looking forward to the future.

The moral of the story.  It is astounding how social media has made the world so much smaller.  A few search terms and a little patience and you can find people who resonate with you anywhere in the world.  Arnel probably never would have been discovered if it wasn’t for the reach of YouTube.

It seems that the smaller your niche, the more power social media holds for you.

If you have a rare illness, the internet is often the first place you find clues, answers and peers.  If you are an artist with a flare for online presentation – you can find your audience.

To use social media effectively, to the point of outrageous success like Arnel Pineda or Gangnam Style is not a formula that you can easily replicate.  Each success is easy to analyze in retrospect, but impossible to predict.  It reminds me of the books Outliers or Blue Ocean Strategy – both analyze success stories with the impeccable perspective of hindsight.  But is it possible to use any of those lessons to create your own unimaginable success?

All those stories are out there – the carrot on the stick.  Be creative, keep trying, be true to yourself and put yourself out there again and again and again.

To see a remarkable video of Arnel Pineda and Steve Perry singing together (Steve in a video – not on stage), to appreciate how remarkable the match is, watch this:

Do you have a thousand Internet bookmarks?  Do you struggle to keep track of the cool resources and articles you find on the web?  Delicious is for you!

It is an bookmarking tool that lets you easily organize 100’s bookmarks with tags.  The more tags you use the more meaningful your lists are.  It has a plugin for Firefox, so it can fully replace the built-in Bookmark functionality.  And even cooler – you share your bookmark list with others.

I do find the Delicious website a bit clunky but the plug-in is amazing and my bookmarks are easily accessible, sorted in a meaningful all the time and saved online in the cloud (so not computer dependent).

Here is a graphic of my tag cloud for all my bookmarks:

And if you are curious – you can check out my complete list of Delicious bookmarks on the website:

A very cool tool for those who use the Internet like a library, coach or daily newspaper.

This article was originally posted on my business blog:

Have you tried to implement programs for your employees that didn’t deliver the results you were hoping?  I am mainly referring to team building or community involvement programs with a goal of engaging employees and boosting morale – but the lesson could apply to anything.

I have found that companies with young employees are the most creative in getting employee buy-in for extra-curricular programs.  It is probably because they are least invested in their career and aren’t afraid to say no, or just avoid opportunities, that more seasoned employees might feel they “should’ participate in.  If the employer is determined to get high levels of participation and engagement, they need to figure out the formula that works with their staff.

Some stories of ideas that do work:

Have your employees plan the program.  Give them a goal or an objective, and a budget, and let them run with it.  Trial and error, seeing your own ideas in action and being able to take credit for successes are very effective motivators.  If you want employees to volunteer as a group, let them pick the organization and plan an event.  Support them with time and resources to deliver an impact and watch them feel the pride.   This is completely different then saying: “Our company supports the xxx charity because it aligns with our values, please contribute to our fundraising drive.”

Getting staff to “invest” beforehand.  For example, putting on a ski-day – pay $20 to sign up and if you attend you get your $20 back.  The employer found that if it was free and easy to back out of, participation levels were very low despite up-front promises.  Getting people to put ‘skin in the game’, however minor, increases their commitment.

Lead by example – the management needs to walk the talk.  If you are going to hold a fundraising drive or a company picnic – the management need to be there with enthusiasm.  They need to donate themselves, roll up their sleeves to get dirty or volunteer to sit in the dunk tank.  Giving a program lip-service and expecting those ‘below you’ to be enthusiastic about it, is generally unrealistic.

Notice I didn’t talking about ‘making it fun’ or ‘putting a carrot on a stick’.  Although those concepts are important in certain situations, the key to making a social program successful is ownership.  The management and the employees need to feel and promote ownership of a program.  And this ingredient is required as a first step in program development – not as a later inclusion when people notice the lack of involvement.  Ownership of an idea leads to a commitment to see it succeed.

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