Life Beneath the Brim- the Tip of Respect

This summer I had to start wearing hats is part of my daily wardrobe. I’ve enjoyed many observations from beneath the Brim. Beneath the Brim  Today’s post is part one of my sharing.

When I was younger I used to wear hats from time to time by choice. I had different styles and most of them were elegant ladies hats that you would wear for special occasions.

I never really looked quite right in a baseball cap when I was younger due to the style and haircut I had. My ears would stick out a bit so I never really wore them. The ladies hats with wider brims tended to look better.

I recall that I always had fun when I wore those hats.  There was something about covering up like that made you walk a little different.  Being one who never really was concerned about ‘fitting in’ it didn’t really bother me that when I wore those hats I often was the only person in town wearing them.  My purpose in adding them to my wardrobe at that time was purely for fun and to add a polished look to the ensemble I was wearing.

My favorite hat was a cobalt blue, wide brimmed, felt hat that had a scarf attached underneath. The scarf would gracefully hang around the face and tie under the chin.  This part of the hat was made at the same cobalt blue material. It was very elegant and every time I donned this hat,  it was almost like a throwback to the 1940s when women would take the time to attentively dress for their daily activities.

Currently my reason for wearing hats is not just fashion related. I am dealing with a slight personal medical condition where my eyes are not excepting light the way they normally would. 

I have not actually owned a real hat collection in many years, but lately I’ve had to develop a small one.  Most of the hats I am wearing are definitely wide brimmed as I need extra coverage to protect the light from hitting my eyes.

My hairstyle has changed since I was younger so I actually own a couple of female style baseball caps. I can wear these from time to time if it’s not too bright out.

What has been interesting about wearing hats every day for the last few months is the observations I have had when other people see me when I am in public.

Here in the San Diego area it’s a pretty big deal for ladies to wear amazing hats – especially in the summer. There is a tradition at the Delmar racetrack where on opening day of the races- it’s hat day. Women adorn themselves with the most outrageous hats in hopes of garnering recognition for the best hat.

We are not too far south of Los Angeles- where many stars are currently sporting a variety of hats. Most of those hats are fedora style – trading a bit more of a ‘boyfriend casual look’ instead of the wide brimmed hats you see at the races. Both females and males can be seen in fedora style hats.  It is rare to see others wearing wide brim hats after the Delmar race season is over.

I however, still am.

The conversations that start because of my hats and the looks I receive and can see from under the brim are very interesting.

Most of the time, what I observe from underneath the Brim, are surprisingly pleasant smiles.  In fact, it is very interesting how many people genuinely will smile and even engage in a conversation when they see somebody wearing a wide brimmed hat.

(I do not believe that their pleasantries are because I’m smiling- because quite often when I’m wearing these hats and I’m out and about- I am experiencing a very uncomfortable physical state so I’m not smiling all the time.)

When I first started wearing these hats in front of people who have known me for years- the reactions were incredible and very intriguing. Since I do not live to receive attention from drama, I have been very private about my situation so most of my colleagues have bee unaware of my physical condition. 

Their reaction was always the same though. There’s quite a wow factor in their voice with many comments about how awesome the hat and the ensemble is.  ( I have chosen to add a few colorful and fun wide brim hats to my wardrobe so that when I am out in public, and in a professional setting, that the hat does appear to be a fashion statement- and not a coping mechanism for my eyes.) 

On top of that many more people approach me to say hello-and it at a the smiles are always very genuine.

In San Diego, the cultures of our locals are not typically like that.  People out here often avoid looking at others straight in the eye during their daily activities. There’s so much hustle and bustle that you take the time to genuinely engage in even a brief conversation while looking at the other person straight in the eye, is not often encountered.

Many locals in San Diego present themselves in a guarded way and they’re very self centric in their thoughts and actions with even the most simple things. They don’t seem to mind being amongst a larger population, but to slow down and engage in social graces – a most people will not take the time to do that.

I know from my travels but in smaller towns around our country, it is still common to have ‘everyone know everyone’ so their mindset and interactions are a little bit different. People in smaller towns will still take the time to say hello.

This consistent observation of how people have been treating me and being on the receiving end of the smiles- made me want to research a bit about how the protocol of hat wearing by ladies and gentlemen of yesteryear came to be. I was curious to find out social mindsets and reactions were the same back then as what I’ve been experiencing now.

I was curious to find out why the wearing of a hat like this would cause more people to smile, approach you and say hello. 

My research didn’t answer that question- but it did give me a lot of insight as to the how, the what, the why or the when of hat wearing.  In today’s more casual world, our recent generations seems to have never been taught the protocols and almost ‘language’ conveyed towards one another when wearing hats amongst peers.

Without going into the whole history here, the one thing I will share, regardless of what style hat you wore and whether you were a male or female- was that wearing a hat – and how you interacted with your hat – clearly communicated your respect (or lack thereof) towards another person.

Part of how this was communicated was tied to an action of tipping the hat. When a hat was tipped,  the style of hat, whether you were indoors or outside, in a public place or a private home, and whether the person you encountered was an established relationship or a stranger- how you tipped your hat, (or if you did not) was a way of delivering  respect (or lack thereof).

Giving respect to others is a core value attribute that many people today have forgotten.

Unfortunately, many people who live in the United States have come to adopt a mindset in an attitude of entitlement.

They have a ‘takers take’ attitude which is delivered with a lack of respect towards others- yet they expect to receive social graces and respect.  This clearly is a breakdown in our system of human interaction.  Teaching core values begins with observing and living by them individually, and then carrying on the tradition of good core values and ethics within the family unit. 

Leaders today and leaders of tomorrow- would see better results in their efforts if they were to start speaking with more respect towards others.   It is time for us as individuals to start walking more transparently- with respect as of the hats we wear.

Respect should be part of our daily wardrobe, and method of communication.  

If you don a hat of respect each and every day because you choose to- and then approach others with a genuine smile, because you choose to, think about the change you might see and experience in your day to day inter actions of others.

To have had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of unexpected genuine smiles – has been refreshing. It lets me know that there is still a human element out there were people do care about others. 

If more of us took the time and made an honest effort of giving out respect to others- without any expectation of return- more people would walk with genuine leadership. They would be the one giving respect, and then inspire others to do the same.

I encourage you today to gracefully cover yourself with the hat of respect, and tip it towards those around you that you interact with and see how what you give out brings back to you.

Debbra Sweet

Money Motivated or Financially Focused?

This summer I took my boys on a cross country train trip to visit family for a while. It was an interesting trip. Over the years I have had the chance to travel a decent amount however this was my first long distance train trip.

Many people ask me how the trip was and my answer is always introflective (yes this is a Deb word: introspective and reflective).  It was very interesting and worth doing one more time.

Part of my decision to take the train was based upon a budget I had set aside for the whole trip.  At the time one way tickets for each of us were about $1000k each.  I was going to need between 6-8 of them by the time this trip was done.  When you are used to paying  up to $200-300 for round trip tickets, those one ways, with all the airplane travel delays and distractions, was more than I was willing to invest.

Knowing that I would have to cover costs on transportation to our destination, car rental while there, gas, food, transport back home- I set an appropriate budget from the get go.

When realizing that my initial plan to get us there was going to be more than 4 times my whole trip budget, I decided to get creative and think outside the box.

In fact, I made it a game with myself to see what other options we could work out to stay in my budget- yet have a fantastic time.

I worked out many ‘mini plans’ in my head and on paper- and in one of those was the consideration of the train.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how affordable travel by train was to be. My real motivation though behind this decision, was the opportunity to spend a few days with my boys being able to experience parts of our country that we would never see if we would have chosen to fly by plane or to drive on the highway.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout most of the United States. As an adult I am so appreciative to have had those experiences. Now, I want to give to my children an opportunity to create memories of their own that they one day too, can look back upon and enjoy.

We spent 36 hours on the train with a coach full of Boy Scouts and frequent Amtrak travelers across the country.  One of my goals that was set forth for this trip was truly achieved. We saw some amazing countryside and met some really interesting people.

Once we were at our destination I stayed with my boys and my parents for about another 10 days.  It was during this leg of our journey that my youngest son came to me with the declaration that Grandma said to him that I was “Money Motivated”.

That surprised me- and caught me off guard a bit, because the least thing I am is money motivated.   I definitely am financially focused. There is a difference.

My Personal Motivation:

My understanding of someone being money motivated, is that all they think about is money- and everything they do is about making money.  Money that they will keep for themselves for the purpose of materialistic gain.

For people who take the time to get to know me- they will quickly discover my true motivation. It is to help others who wish to help themselves. The motivation for me, that is the deepest part of me,  is the desire to encourage people to grow- and then to be there for them in order to help them achieve their own personal growth. 

People who look at me from the outside will see that trait, as well as I have publicly declared it many times over. 

I do not hide the fact that I have big vision to accomplish things that in fact, should make a lot of money. However- the purpose that those finances will serve- is to give right back to others in order to create opportunities for those individuals to personally grow.

It is interesting at times to hear some feedback from people who have a limited perspective of understanding about why I do speak of money and building a solid business.   Part of what I do as a marketing and business consultant is to help businesses make money.  If we don’t have those conversations, and we are not able to talk about money, how is the business is supposed to make money?

My business motivation:

In running my own businesses, as the CEO- I have to have  conversations that are financially focused . They’re tied directly to how the business will be running for the next quarter, the next year- and even for many years down the road.  Having a solid business and marketing plan that you execute and implement has to be measured.  One area to measure of businesses successes or shortcomings has to do with making money.

Today our world is filled with an upcoming generation – and even current generations that operate businesses- who never received the benefit of solid financial training. Often these are the very clients who hire me to help them build, cleaned up, turn around, and consistently market and promote their business so they can make money!  

Being financially focused is very important today- more so now than ever.  After the last economic side turn I would think that more people would be interested in learning how to have financial focus that allows them to grow professionally and personally.

I know not everybody is comfortable with that statement. However, if I can at least teach my children how to be financially responsible then I know I have done my part in this area to prepare them into adulthood .  On our trip, that is part of what we did. 

My children have become pretty understanding of the value of money. They know how to save, to to tithe, how to invest, how to budget, and how to steward that which they have received.  They also have learned about taxes and how to determine if what they choose to spend money on (or invest in) is a good value. (Cheap is not always cost effective. Frugality and sound money management requires knowing when to spend more and when you can go with a less expensive option.)

Although my children are now 10 and 12, they both have businesses that have been making them money. 

They both have done business plans, marketing plans and have tested their plans with focus groups.  They go out and find their own customers, they fulfill the orders- and then they reap the benefit of learning about human interaction, work ethic, communication, sales, marketing, time management, and yes- Money management and financial responsibility.

Financial_Focus

My encouragement to you is this: the next time you see somebody who is in business talking about making money- before you assume they are soley money motivated, take the time to ask a few more questions. Take the time to get to know them.

When you see the mom or dad in the grocery store who was shopping on a budget, living frugally, and doing the best of what they have, smile at them. It is not always easy to adjust our thinking and our habits to live within our means-and still maintain the vision for growth and prosperity.   However- it is doable. If more people took the time to understand the difference between being money motivated and being financially focused for fiscal fitness- we all would be in a better place.

I encourage you to ask yourself what is your motivation in life and in business?  The ‘Aha’ moment you discover may suprise you!

Have an amazing day,

Debbra

 

 

Overcoming Obstacles in Everyday Life

It seems like this past week was full of unusual challenges for many people.  Challenges, obstacles and stumbling blocks will always show up in our lives. The thing to ask yourself when they do is: “What do I want to focus on? The challenge… or the ways to overcome it?”

Leaders have a common focus when it comes to overcoming obstacles.  Here’s a short video I did earlier this year that is appropriate at any time. I share an insight with you to help you understand how those who lead think when times get tough.

After you watch- please share with others you know who are currently struggling with obstacles and challenges.

Thanks!

Debbra

 

Overcoming Obstacles in Everyday Life by Debbra Sweet

Prayer Day for USA An Urgent Call to Prayer for our Nation in Crisis:Turning to God for Help in Saving our Nation

God’s Word First Christian Ministry will be participating in The Response prayer event by holding a National Prayerwe-the-peopleDay for USA Conference Phone Call on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

Open invite to everyone. Listen to the call and pray with us in spirit for God to save the USA.

Click Here to read the full story and get Put your first name and best email into the form on the page http://www.gods-word-first.org/national-prayer-day.html

Then click “Sign up!”to join us in prayer. We will email you the call in phone number along with date, time and other relevant info.

Read more info below for some of the reason why this day is important:

What’s Going On:

The United States of America is in trouble. That much we can all agree on. The finer details are debatable. But it doesn’t matter who’s to blame, Democrats, Republicans (or any other political party), the current President, your local government, The Fed, major corporations, Big Pharma, etc… The main source of the problem comes down to all of us, “We the People”.

The USA was founded on Christian principles. As a nation, the dominant religion has been Christianity (including all forms and denominations). God and His commandments were always at the core of our foundation and the decisions we made. And we as a nation prospered in every way because of it.

 

God’s Word, the church and strong religious beliefs used to be integral to most Americans in their personal lives. As the people in our nation have been slowly drifting away from God, their churches and away from basic Christian values, our nation as a whole has been suffering.

The best way to fix ANY problem is to
treat the cause, not the symptoms.

The problems our nation is facing today are not insurmountable to God. We can fix all our problems, both personal and national, but not by treating the symptoms. The following is a short list of symptoms due to a larger problem we as a nation are facing. Symptoms such as:

  • “the war on drugs”
  • “illegal immigration”
  • unrest in the Middle East
  • a failing economy in recession

All these and more can be solved by faith in God and by all agreeing to hold ourselves and each other accountable to good values.

The main problem we need to solve, the problem
that is at the core of all our symptoms,
is our separation from God.

When we as individuals are close to God then we personally enjoy the benefits of His blessings. When we as individuals are all close to God and come together as a group, as in a nation of people, then we collectively enjoy God’s blessings and protection.

The people in our once great nation have been slowly drifting away from God over the last 100 years. The evidence (symptoms) of this separation can be seen in the eroding of our family units, broken families, soaring divorce rates, increased abortions, increased domestic violence, crime in the streets, governmental corruption, etc.

Works of the Flesh vs. Fruit of the Spirit

As a nation we are in a financial recession heading into a full depression. A full financial collapse is imminent if we stay on the same path of disobedience to God. The people of our nation are suffering increasing instances of severe environmental conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. These are all symptoms of a much larger problem looming over us. That problem is separation from God, His blessings and his protection.

Although it’s true that individuals who remain close to God are protected. But we live in a nation among others who are not protected, who are straying from God and His righteous values. This falling away of others affects all of us.

The Old Testament is full of examples of where God’s people strayed from Him and then reaped the consequences of their actions: Famine, pestilence, drought, poverty, wars, invasion and slavery. Our nation is on the brink of disaster. We are seeing some of these very same things happening to us right now, and it’s only going to get worse unless “We the People” repent and turn our hearts back to God TODAY.

“We the People” Must Turn to God as our Founding Forefathers Once Did”

Click here to read more of the why you should pray with us on Aug 6th- why to spread the invite with others you know- and how to join in prayer Aug. 6th.

May you be humble and bold. May you be peaceful and blessed.

Thank you for spreading this invite so God can perform a mighty miracle in our day and time!

Debbra

www.GodsWordFirst.org

Keynote Speaker Debbra Sweet is the Voice of Power of Leadership on the Brian Britt Radio Show

Tuesday February 8, 2011 The voice of Power of Leadership, founder of Sweet Marketing Solutions, keynote speaker and New York Times best selling author, Debbra Sweet hit San Diego’s airwaves on the Brian Britt radio show.

POL Show Host Debbra SweetFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release)Feb 13, 2011 – Debbra Sweet is no stranger behind a microphone. In fact, her years of experience as a music performance major, professional speaker and radio show host clearly comes through when she’s live on air speaking about subjects she is passionate about.  On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, Debbra joined San Diego radio show host Brian Britt, on his new show called More Than Just About the Money.

The Brian Britt Show: More than Just About the Money is a show whose promise to listeners is to enlighten, educate, and deliver high value content on wealth creation. One distinct aspect about this show is that it’s not just about the money.

Wealth is a very wide subject-and most people only focus on the financial side. Although that is a key component when talking about personal wealth Brian believes
that the most successful and wealthiest people have a knowledge base and understanding that allows for work life balance.

There needs to be balance and wealth in the area of health, thinking, leadership, spirituality, business management, communication, effective marketing, family, and leisure time.

Debbra Sweet is a multifaceted entrepreneur who is known for being the founder of the national integrated marketing communications firm, located in San Diego, as well as being one of the lead authors in the Power of Leadership books as well as being the voice of the Power of Leadership radio.

Brian talks with local author and speaker Debbra Sweet about her Power of Leadership book series. Learn how networking with a plan can produce results and bring business to your company. Find out how Debbra helps her clients gain visibility, credibility and profit.

Brian and Debbra focused this show around one of the books in the power of leadership series called “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking.”  This is book 4 in a series of 12 written by Debbra Sweet and her husband Daniel Sweet. “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking.” is a book filled with experiential insight not only on leadership as well as networking for the sake of doing business… but most importantly, the book teaches the reader how to be a leader when networking. This revolutionary concept has been helping business professionals around the world understand many of the nuances that a leader needs to address in every element of networking.

Sweet also shares on the show with Brian that her belief in leadership is a bit controversial. Never one to shy away from asking tough questions, or taking an uncomfortable position on things-when it comes to the age old question of whether readers are born or whether they are made, the majority of people take the position that leaders are made. Sweet takes the position that leaders are born. On the show, she reveals why and then continues to deliver important insights to the listening audience on how they too can become empowered and be a leader today that truly does deliver results.

This show originally aired on WSRadio.com and can be heard in archives by searching for the Brian Britt radio show.

For more information on Debbra Sweet, the Power of Leadership books, or Sweet Marketing Solutions go to: http://www.DebbraSweet.com

Pet Peeve Rant- A Stand for Integrity

I  don’t often air my pet peeve’s publicly, but today I have to.   I have to stand up and speak about the breakdown of the moral fabric of integrity that I see going on around us.  Oh, I know. It’s always been there-but over the past few years, it can be seen that this breakdown has been happening faster and with increased lack of concern for the consequences.

One area in particular were this lack of integrity showing up more and more is in business. A few years ago, people were asking me when I was in and do a radio show about morality and integrity.  These questions came about right after the first couple airings of the show.  At that time wasn’t quite ready to take on this subject.  It’s a big one.

Don’t get me wrong. I have always done my best to walk with integrity,  to live up my life with consistency, to be honest in my speech and intentions. In our business, from day one, we have always served our clients with honest communication, our best foot forward, and we followed through on what we said we would deliver.

Part of why I feel the need to rant today is that over the last couple of weeks, we have been talking to many businesses that want and need our online and offline marketing services.  In our discovery conversations with them (our prospective clients)  the talk lately ends up being around their website, and how to promote it effectively for long-term results.

One of the biggest differences about our company, is that we take the time to truly research and do our homework before we work with a client.  This becomes very important in the planning process that we do.  We know, and our clients have told us, that part of why we are able to get great results for our customers is the research and planning, we do.

So after these conversations with potential clients we did our homework.  This is where we kept seeing (over and over) that these potential clients had been lied to and deceived by companies that presented a contract for services that ultimately were complete waste of time, effort, and money for the business owner (our potential client).

It’s one thing to see a bad contract, shoddy work, and have insight and knowledge from a place of integrity, knowing that what our potential client is paying for was not what they were getting.  It is another thing to see some of these same companies offering services doing this type contracting for each of their clients. The advertising companies are simply ripping off these business owners!  The clients have been manipulated, and the companies that wrote the contracts did business without integrity.

I’m not sure why I have such a passion to serve people and help them succeed.  My heart has always been to serve and to do things that are best for others.  I find reward, knowing that it is possible to do great work, deliver what you say and have moral values intact. I also find reward in watching other people discover a sense of hope and belief knowing that they have found a person in the company who has consistency, integrity and moral values.

As we cascade faster into the time where technology drives us, and people have become laden with more responsibilities  to work longer in order to provide for  themselves and their family, a return to core values, first by individuals, and right alongside it, by companies, is needed.

A consistency that appeared during the Depression and has been seen over the past few years, is that people did not necessarily stop spending money, however, they are much more cautious as to where they do spend the money.  People want good service and value.  It is disheartening to see business owners today gun shy and scared, because they’ve been burned too many times by businesses, who all too easily will lie and manipulate just to make a buck.

The time is now to stand for, a sense of moral righteousness, humility, honesty, integrity, and strong core values that lead to a positive influence and deliver value and a true sense of purpose. It has been said that it takes one person to stand up and take the first step for change.  I have made a commitment to myself, to my family,to the company,  to my clients, and ultimately to God to stand for His truth and righteousness to be a representative of how we CAN be honest and successful at the same time. All this can be done based upon principles with good strong moral ethics and values. If I have to be that one person to now stand up for others- I am ready.

For those of you who are reading this that have a business and have been burned by other marketing and advertising companies — if you’re looking for a solid company to work with will take care of you with the integrity, you deserve, know that you have to look no further.  My door is always open, and I would be happy to speak with you to find out your needs, your situation and your business goals this next year.  Connect up with me and let’s talk.

Here’s to standing for the truth!

May your day be blessed and prosperous,

Debbra Sweet

 

P.S. In case you’re not clear on the definition of integrity, it is here:

in·teg·ri·ty

1.adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2.the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3.a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.

Life Lessons

Life always creates opportunities for us to relive situations until we learn the lesson we’re supposed to.  Life is patient. It will keep bringing that same set of circumstances to pass until we decide to learn from them. Then.. life shows us something new to learn!

The ones who are truly humble, and willing to look at themselves squarely in the eye and ask “What is this about? Why does this keep happening? Where is all this coming from? and.. “What can I do to change this?” are the one’s who truly will be successful.

It’s not about trying to be perfect. No one is. It’s about trying to perfect our willingness to set our ego aside and speak honestly in all cases- even if it is hard to do- that is the biggest lesson of all.  A true leader understands this and actively looks to set the ego aside for the opportunity to continually learn and grow.

As a leader, are you listening to the lessons that are showing up in your world? Is your ego getting in the way- or are you willing to set it aside?  Remember, it is not the BIG Ego that is the problem.  It is the small, still, quiet ego that protects the deepest part of our being that is the one to watch out for.  This is the one that can ‘show up’ in ways that appear at a glance to be genuine, honest, ethical and humble.  Question yourself and ask what really is at the core of your inner being.

You may be surprised to find that your inner ego is working very hard to cover up, hide, dismiss, and keep hidden away vulnerabilities, frailties, and often times.. lies based on fuzzy ‘filters’ of perception.

These filters often mask the very things that could be your most powerful, genuine, authentic essence. Until you are willing to rip off the mask of the ego and look at those filters, face your vulnerabilities- you will never know the fullness of the human being you have the potential to be.

Here’s to taking that step and remove those filters so you CAN become the very best!

Debbra Sweet

www.PowerOfLeadershipBooks.com

www.PowerOfLeadershipRadio.com