A Love Affair With Words

My longtime love affair with words began when my great-grandmother, the part-time librarian in my small town, was my caregiver after school.  The ornate ceilings were high, the lighting was dim and the space was very limited, but it was a library nonetheless and the children’s books were on a lower shelf where I could sit on the floor, hidden, and read to my heart’s content.  Lost on me now is the title of my favorite book, something about oversized animals in a bright green jungle, but I recall the book size and the pages…and the words.  At the time, they belonged only to me.

I advanced to Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and anything I could find in the county bookmobile that came within walking distance to my house every summer. I was in heaven because I was also allowed to buy some of those yellow, hard-plastic bound Nancy Drew books; I figure after the number of times I re-read them, based on my cost, that I invested well!! There was a least one or two newspapers around that I found time to read.

Fast forward from the seventh grade days of our mimeographed (purple) in-class “newspaper” to the 8th grade where my love of words sorta paid off.

We had all been warned about Mrs. Thaine, and surely everybody reading this had one of “those” teachers. Her fingers were arthritic like crinkle-cut fries, but they never kept her from holding the chalk and pounding on that green board.  I can’t describe her eyes; like mine, her glasses were so thick, her eyes were well-concealed. Her hair was in a messy bun each day.  None of that mattered.  That woman knew English and grammar like a college professor.  And it was her fiendish pleasure to transport that knowledge to us innocent 8th graders.

She took her daily newspaper, found short complicated sentences or long demanding sentences, put them on the board, sat at her desk with an evil-type smile and waited for us to pick apart mainly nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns, make lines and boxes to separate them and turn in our papers.  Sometimes she timed us.  Sometimes, based on our knowledge, she moved desks around to show who was competent and not competent at the diagramming drill.  She was also known for giving us vocabulary words to define and spell that would “choke a horse.” None of us knew at that time just how much of a debt of gratitude we owed her.  By golly, we learned…and we LEARNED.

I’m still very critical that the art of diagramming sentences, as taught by Mrs. Thaine, is lost in education today.  And , bless her funny heart, I am now the office proof reader. I’m not saying I catch everything or know everything, but I try.  That love for words and reading, coupled with having the perfect 8th grade English teacher, is now my “thing.” My little great-grandmother Sallie would be so proud.


All Hail the "Executioner"

How many times have you made the statement if I was paid for my ideas, I’d be a wealthy person?  The truth is, if you were paid simply for your creativity you would probably be struggling to make ends meet.  In the real world ideas have little to no value.  It is the execution of the ideas that hold value.

Good ideas are a dime a dozen and even that price is too high.  It can only begin to have value when it’s an idea plus execution.  Until then it’s still just an idea.  When you combine an idea with a great team that can execute the idea it can start to have potential, but the real value remains zero until it gets tested and evaluated by real customers.

Have you ever regretted the fact that you didn’t think of some great idea before someone else did?  Would it have made any difference if you did?  You are probably sitting on lots of great ideas that someone else is already implementing.

Ideas are easy.  Implementing and idea is hard because that is where they get complicated.  Turning something mental into something physical is often quite a challenge.  Co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs said “ideas are worth nothing unless executed.  Execution is worth millions.”

When Google started as a search engine, the idea to create a search engine was not new.  There were many search engines that proceeded Google, but the differentiation was how the founders executed the components of the new search engine.  The idea for Google wasn’t valuable, but the execution of Google was priceless.

Thomas Edison, the greatest innovator of all time, put it well.  “Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”

We need to reflect on how much time we spend on idea generation or inspiration versus the execution of the next great idea.  Remember creativity is only a small piece of having a successful business.  How the ideas evolve through innovation is where success will be found.

It is doubtful that you have a shortage of good ideas in your life.  If you had to decide between gaining five new ideas versus successfully implementing five ideas you already have, which would you choose?  I would much rather be an “executioner. “



The Easy Art of Communicating.

My mother celebrated her 86th birthday this week.  Andrew and I went to see her and take her for her favorite cheeseburger.  We finally ended the outing by getting ice cream.

It came as no surprise that the trip to get ice cream was planned before anything else.

When we came home, she eagerly asked Andrew to go to the mailbox and see how many birthday cards she had. I could see so much disappointment on her face when none were there, but she gracefully moved on. 

Folks her age largely communicate by phone, email and envelopes with stamps on them.  And even though bills, birthday cards and Christmas cards take a little longer, that type of communication still exists in a most important way.

Our company feels like we serve our clients by communicating their needs in various other ways.  Just to name a few, we use banners, signs, electronic and social media, press releases, power points, invitations, events, food and displays.  And we do use plain old email.  We think all of our ways are useful and client-oriented.  

No matter how you want your story told, your event to evolve or your marketing plan to reflect growth, it will revolve around a distinct and well-defined message that shows we know our people.  That type of success only comes from years of experience, asking the right questions, thinking ahead, and knowing the right folks.  And yes, communicating.

Clearly, communication is a generational thing, but, oh so vital to the success of our business and everyone’s day-to-day life.  Like many others, our family covers three generations of how to stay in touch. That 86 year-old ice cream fanatic just loves her flip phone and refuses to text.  The middle generation depends a good bit on the vast knowledge of the younger generation. 

And lastly, never ever underestimate the meaningful arrival of a signed and stamped birthday card, get well card, thank you note, or congratulations note.  While old-school, messages like those are still some of the best. 

They still are a thought-provoking means of communicating.


Getting To The Point!

If you have ever received emails or other correspondence from me, you are probably aware that I frequently include the exclamation point as I conclude my sentences.  I can assure you that this punctuation from Tarheel Communications is intended as a positive expression of communication and to let you know we are enthusiastic about the messages we deliver. Exclamation points were originally called the “note of admiration.” They are still, to this day, used to express excitement. We look forward to sharing our “Getting to the Point” blog each month and introducing our team and their thoughts to you!

Tarheel Communications Solutions is pleased to introduce our new newsletter and monthly blog!  These monthly highlights are the result of the realization or excuse that there is never enough time in the day to properly market yourself or to develop new business for the company.

How many times have you thought about spending more time marketing your business, but then tabled these thoughts and actions for a current business or client obligations?  It is critical to spend the time needed to manage your day-to-day responsibilities, but it is also of equal importance to look down the road for new opportunities that will lead to further sustainability and growth for the company.

For the majority of all businesses are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.

As an entrepreneur or business leader, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success. 

Tarheel Communications Solutions is taking that step to use tools like this newsletter and blog   to assure that we are staying in touch with our clients and contacts, and more importantly dedicating the needed time to grow our business. Over the next few months you will learn about several exciting projects or actions that we are making to grow for the future.  We invite you to join us as we move forward in the right direction!