On Making Your Dream A Reality – Drawing inspiration from my friend Brandon Chrostowski

We all have dreams, don’t we?  I’m not talking about the one where you are back in college and find yourself taking a final exam only to discover in a panic that you actually never attended any classes the entire semester (hmm, wonder if that actually ever happens?).Edwin's

The dreams I’m referring to are the ones that keep us motivated and give us hope.  Keeping one’s dreams in sight can actually help us get through the drudgery of our current but temporary circumstances.  I believe dreams represent us at our best and can help us define who we want to be and what our legacy to society might be.

My friend Brandon Chrostowski’s dream has been in the making for a while.  He has long wanted to combine his extensive culinary experience and expertise with his vision to positively impact those who essentially have been given a second chance in this world.

Brandon’s dream will come to fruition (officially) on November 1st when Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute opens its doors.   Best described in its mission statement, Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute is:

“A unique approach at giving underprivileged and formerly-incarcerated adults a foundation in the hospitality industry while providing a support network necessary for a successful reentry. Edwins’ goals is to enhance the community of Cleveland’s vulnerable neighborhoods by providing its future leaders.”

I’ve been fortunate to see Edwins “hatch” over the past 18 months (although Brandon’s been working on it much longer than that).  Brandon has put together an amazing team of individuals who have contributed – in so many different ways – to make his dream a reality.

BrandonEdwins is going to be great for the Cleveland community.  I hope you will check out Edwins’ website (http://edwinsrestaurant.org/mission/) or take a look at the great article written recently from Joel Crea of The Plain Dealer (http://www.cleveland.com/dining/index.ssf/2013/10/edwins_restaurant_outreach_to.html#incart_river#incart_m-rpt-1).

Then please make it a point to visit Edwins in in the very near future.  Not only will you be supporting the community, you’ll get to enjoy some amazing haute French cuisine that is unmatched in this area. (Compliments of chef de cuisine, Gilbert Brenot).

Never give up on those dreams, and in the meantime, Bon appétit!!

Podcasting: Become Your Own Dr. Oz

A guest blog by Jim Harold 

Jim Knaggs

Jim Harold

Burned out and depressed.  This described me very well in 2005.  I was in ad sales, in my mid-30s and had given up on my dream which, if you didn’t guess, was not ad sales.  Then, one day, I heard about something that saved me professionally and, in many ways, personally.  It was…well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Flash forward to today.   Here is where things stand:

  • I have a #1 Best Seller on the Amazon Kindle.
  • I have a dedicated user community that spans most English speaking countries.
  • I am making a living doing something I love while incorporating my 20 years of business experience.
  • I was just interviewed on a nationally syndicated radio show with 570 affiliates to talk about my book and my success.
  • My “product” has been downloaded over 10 million times since 2010, and is most popular of its type on the Internet.
  • I can’t believe all of this is happening to me after almost giving up all those years ago.

Yes, things have changed considerably in 8 years and the reason why comes down to one simple word:  Podcasting.

For those unfamiliar, podcasts are typically on-demand audio programs (though some are video) that can be listened to for free via iTunes and many other apps.  With the proliferation of smartphones, the ease of accessing podcasts is light years beyond what it was eight years ago when I started.

Podcast listening is growing in popularity every day.  According the 2013 Infinite Dial study by Edison Research, an estimated 32 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month.  My surmise is that these people are in higher SES categories than the average person which has obvious benefits to marketers, etc.

Long story short, I started a podcast on a subject that fascinates me.  I began as a hobbyist but now podcasting has turned into my full time job and given me the opportunity to become a published author.  I’ve gone from a very depressed man who thought his professional life had passed him by to someone who can’t wait to get to his desk each day.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that you ditch your current career and leave it all to become a carefree podcaster!

My message to you is that podcasting, regardless of your walk of life, is a great way to market your personal brand and enhance the success of whatever it is that you do.  While it might not become a full time job, and doesn’t need to be, it can become the conduit to increased stature in your business and a healthier bottom line.  All of this can be done by investing a little spare time and a bit of sweat equity.

Podcasts allow those willing to work at producing them to become “your own Dr. Oz.”

What do I mean by that?  It is my proposition that if most people needed a cardiothoracic surgeon (Dr. Oz’s specialty), the vast majority would choose Dr. Oz over another surgeon solely due to his celebrity.  FYI, if you are reading this Dr. Oz this is not a knock on your skills, I am sure you are a fantastic surgeon.

Hosting an audio podcast on a niche subject can raise you to the level of expert on your given topic.  It may not be quite at the Dr. Oz level, but the benefits can be substantial.  Also, the networking benefits of being a sought-after host of a successful program are innumerable.

The formula is simple, here are some examples:

  • Financial Advisor – Podcast on how to manage your money and answer listener questions
  • Dentist – Podcast on dental health issues and answer listener questions
  • Auto Mechanic – Podcast on car care and answer listener questions

You get the picture.   Enhanced credibility leads to more leads, which at the risk of overusing the word, leads to more sales which leads to more money for you!

The great news is that audio podcasts can be produced with a very small budget (I started out with a $50 headset and a PC).  Plus, once you get rolling you can expect to spend an hour or two a week producing a quality show including bookings, recording, etc.

A willingness to learn, a couple of hours a week, some elbow grease, and maybe a couple hundred bucks invested in equipment…sounds like a pretty good tradeoff to become “your own Dr. Oz.”  So, grab a mic and get started.  It worked for me!

If you want to learn more about Jim’s upcoming online class on podcasting visit PodcastWithJim.com.

——

Jim Harold is the President of Jim Harold Media LLC, and the host of numerous podcasts on the paranormal.  He is America’s favorite paranormal podcaster.  You can find his programs and books at JimHarold.com.

When Praising a Woman’s Appearance is NOT a Compliment, but a Ploy

Last week, a US Congressman got his creep on during an interview about the shutdown when he prefaced his response to a CNN host by complimenting her beauty – TWICE.carol costello

[Disclaimer: this is a non-partisan blog post and has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics –   so please don’t turn this into a political left versus right thing.  It just happens that the occurrence I’m showcasing took place during a political interview].

Early in a television interview on Thursday, October 2, Rep. Todd Rokita managed to objectify CNN’s Carol Costello, an accomplished journalist, in his response to her question about Congress accepting pay during the shutdown:

“What we’re fighting for at the end of the day, Carol — I don’t know if you have children yet, or I’m sure you don’t have grandchildren yet, you look much too young — but we’re fighting for them,” said Rokita.

Ms. Costello maintained her professionalism and proceeded on with the interview that was also peppered with Rokita repeating her name at least a dozen times and at one point, rebutting one of her points by simply repeating the phrase “Seriously Carol?” four times in a row.

The debate then became heated when Costello suggested the fight for Obamacare should be independent of the government shutdown battle.  Again, Rokita attempted to diminish the intelligence and credibility of a seasoned journalist by drawing attention to and praising her appearance.

“Carol, you’re part of the problem.  “The media is the problem as well,” he said.  As Costello protested, he shot back, “”Carol, you’re beautiful, but you have to be honest as well.”

Costello replied firmly, “Okay, I think we should leave it here” and ended the interview.

Costello has remained tight-lipped since the incident. But in a statement Thursday afternoon, Rokita said, “At the end of a spirited and very important debate, I was simply keeping it from unnecessarily ending in an unfriendly or contentious way. I intended no offense to Ms. Costello.”

Seriously Todd? Seriously Todd? Seriously Todd? Seriously Todd?

See the clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag5AMqve5ZU

Stressed out? Then Keep a Journal.

Journaling Offers Proven Cognitive AND Physical Benefits in Managing Stress

I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. My journals are usually written in a rambling stream of consciousness that would make even Walter Mitty say “WTF?” But more often, I write about what’s on my mind at the time, whether it’s a challenge I’m facing or a decision that I must make. JOurnal

Keeping a journal is therapeutic to me, not only because I can be candid, but also because it allows me to really see situations more clearly so I can take the right course of action for myself.  It was especially cathartic for me to keep a journal during my 2007 battle with cancer as it allowed me to more clearly recognize and manage my emotions and express myself.  It also served to document the entire ordeal for me since I knew that I would never be able to recount everything after treatment, due to some serious “chemo-brain.”  I recently found that journal from six years ago and while it was bittersweet re-reading it, I was glad to discover things that I didn’t remember about events, my treatment, and most importantly, about myself.

The kind of journaling I’m referring to isn’t the commonly perceived “log” of the days’ events.  It’s the kind that can work as a self-improvement tool; one that can ultimately lead to a clearer understanding of events and situations that yield more effective problem-solving skills.  Moreover, writing regularly in a journal positively affects not only emotional well-being, but physical well-being too (I’ll get to that in a moment).

Anne Frank is one of the most well-known journaler.  Her writing not only recorded unimaginable historical events, but just as importantly gives us access into the mind of a human being whose resilience and optimism prevailed in the midst of palpable fear and distress.  Anne never thought anyone would ever read her diary.  She wrote as a way to cope with her emotions and relieve stress during the direst of circumstances. 

How Journaling Affects Our Physical Well-being
Scientific evidence supports the assertion by many that journaling on a regular basis can truly help one de-stress.  Studies have shown that the very act of writing can calm nerves, diminish stress and bolster healing.

A clinical study by the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine, sought to determine if writing about stressful life experiences affects disease status in patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis.  The study concluded that “Patients with mild to moderately severe asthma or rheumatoid arthritis who wrote about stressful life experiences had clinically relevant changes in health status at 4 months compared with those in the control group.”  (See study at:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10208146).

More compelling is the conclusion from a University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher, James Pennebaker, who contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes (see article at http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/000721).  Journaling is also frequently recommended in therapy for victims who were harmed from a traumatic event.   Writing about the event helps them more effectively process the event and in turn, let go of emotions that can hinder the healing process.

Dr. Pennebaker has written a book specifically dedicated helping these individuals.  The book is called: “Writing to Heal: A guided journal for recovering from trauma & emotional upheaval” (New Harbinger Publications, 2004).

There are also cognitive benefits to journaling that include sharper problem-solving skills.  Journaling engages both hemispheres of the brain which helps us sort our experiences more clearly, providing us with a better understanding of the situation and how to find the most appropriate solutions to our challenge.

I suppose journaling isn’t for everyone, but if there’s another way to help keep your stress-levels in check and at the same time improve your clarity and problem-solving skills, why not give it a try? You might finally be able to come up with that “Aha” solution to cope with any challenges you are having, whether they be work-related or personal.

Do you keep a journal?  If so, what do you think is the greatest benefit to journaling? I’d love to hear your thoughts.