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What can a penny buy?

For my birthday I wanted a new pair of sneakers because my old ones where dirty with grease, wear and tear from me trying to be healthy and working out, and they smelled like a wet dog.
I had some birthday money burning a whole in my pocket so my family and I went to the outlets to go look for some new kicks. We ended up purchasing some shoes at Foot Locker because it was buy one get one half off.  So after I found the pair of shoes that I wanted my wife looked for a pair for herself as well.  While she was looking, I took my son out of the store and started walking around because he had been ready to leave for about 15 minutes.
We ended up out a fountain outside and I helped put him on the edge of the fountain so he could put his feet in.  A few minutes passed and a little boy came to the fountain with his mother and she gave her son some change to throw in.  After the boy threw a few coins in the water, he looked over at my son and walked over and handed him a penny.  My 22 month old son takes the coin, signs thank you, and looks confused because he has absolutely no clue what to do.  I tell him to throw the coin in the water and he does with expert precision.
After a few more moments,the boy and his mom left, but his gesture stuck with me.  I thought about how something so small, like the gift of a penny, could have such a massive impact on a moment.  It’s amazing to think how giving up something, no matter how small, can help create and shape the moments we experience.
I know that I never want to forget that small actions can lead to big changes.  I never want to forget what type of impact giving a penny can have.

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What If We Could Be Friends With Anyone?

What if we could be friends with anyone?
Seriuosly, what is really stopping us from being friends with our neighbors, coworkers, the guy on the side of the road, or the lady in the office who smiles way to much?
I ask this question because I had a recent experience where I took my son, who is 22 months old, to the park near our house.  He started running up the ramp and playing with the equipment, and after a few minutes he comes near a small boy about a year older than him and gets near him to watch and see what he was doing.  After awhile my son walks away but the boy runs after him, gives him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Some may say a little socially aggressive, but I saw something that would never happen with adults.  I saw two complete strangers from possibly completely different backgrounds, and one throws all those differences away and embraces the other as he is.
I honestly wish I had the courage to put aside the useless differences that I use as barriers between me and others.  I wish that instead of seeing a homeless man, annoying coworker, or completely crazy friend, that I would instead see someone who is my family and who probably just wants to share life with someone.  I hope that day by day I push myself closer to this vision of unabashed affection.

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I Love The Library

I’m not sure if you all remember this archaic place called the library, but it’s magical and free.  It has been a good 6 years since I had graced the doorstep of a library until recently.  I had completely forgot that these places even existed, but one day I was with a coworker when he had to pick up a specific book for his daughter and a light-switch flipped on.  As I looked around and saw thousands of books, I realized that my insatiable hunger for reading can now be quenched and all for free.
Now I know they may not have every book that I would want to read, but you can even put in requests for the library to purchase books for you.  They even have movies and books on CD and so much more.  They have story time and all sorts of events for the family.  They have computers that you play on and research different things, probably even blog.  It is a whole world of free fun.
How is it that I have forgotten about these beautiful buildings full of adventures and other worlds.  How is it that these buildings full of stories, hopes, history, and imagination have become so overlooked by thousands of people.  Friends, family, countryman… please do yourself a favor and go find a library.  Take back your library card and find books about facts and fun that you never dreamed were possible.
Librarys, a little slice of heaven.

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Meeting Expectations Is Never Worth It.

0.00001%  is the percentage of chance you have of your plane crashing on your next flight.  As exciting as that is, it really amounts to nothing.  Our expectations are that we won’t crash when we fly, which is why airlines, and any other business, have to go above and beyond expectations to be remarkable.

Southwest Airlines does remarkable by making your flight an enjoyable experience by allowing their flight crew to have fun and engage their passengers to create memorable experiences.

Disney creates an environment, NAY, a world where magic truly exists.  Where imaginations run wild, whimsey is captured, and families are drawn together around a common experience.
Chick-fil-A has created a cult following where people cry on Sundays for biscuits, and even have sweet tea withdrawals if they don’t get their daily fix.
All of these companies have done this not because of the products they offered, but because of the experiences they have created as they have gone above and beyond customers expectations. In doing this, they have created life altering brands, joined peoples stories, and made it impossible for people not to remark.
In a world of 4 out of 5 stars, we need to figure out how to surpass peoples expectations and get that 5th star.  Here are a few ideas about how I am going about it:

  1. Know your specific audience and who you are trying to reach.
  2. Ask those around you for advice.
  3. Tangibly write out what you offer and how it meets your audiences needs.
  4. Dream BIG.  What can you create that isn’t being done, and that isn’t expected.
  5. Review 3 and 4 and make sure it fits number 1.  Then kill what isn’t working or needed.

I know this is a messy and unending process and is something I am struggling through myself, but it is absolutely worth it and needed.

Some help that I would love from you all is letting me know what I can do through this blog to help you.  Also, what are some ways you are helping the communities around you and that allow you to be remarkable?

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Word Vomit

I have come to realize that I am a word vomiter.

I am an incredibly passionate individual and get amped up like a dog chasing a squirrel, and just spit up everything that is on my mind. I hope that when I do this it will create an interest so people will ask me more questions.  What I have realized though, is that they almost never do.  Instead, they give a polite nod, look at their imaginary wrist watch, turn, and walk away.

About the 100th time this happened to me, it dawned on me that people don’t want to be covered in chewed up, jumbled up thoughts and words.  Instead, all they want are tastes.

Our world is built off of tastes.  Taste of Italy, fast of Marietta, taste test, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” I mean look, it’s in the Bible for Pete’s sake.  Industries are built off  of it.  Think about food courts in malls as happy workers pass out “Chinese” food or how drug dealers let you have a sample (I’ve only heard – not 1st hand knowledge).

How have we missed this huge fact while others, like Root Radius, are doing an amazing job at leading organizations through a process to clean up this word vomit. I am still amazed at how following this practice of giving tastes works wonders and leads to greater opportunities and better conversations.  Even though I personally still stink at handing out tastes of conversations and thoughts, which my wife can surely attest to, I am improving.

How have you seen your word vomit, or your tastes of conversations, play a role in your life and relationships.