Tag Archives: running

Travel for Business & Pleasure: Blurring the Lines

In #PR and in life we talk a good game about balance, but rarely do we achieve it.  Much of the time, we prioritize work or if we can get away, we try to stave off our to-do list for a day or two only to become even more stressed upon our return. Last week, for the first time EVER in my career,  I somehow discovered the perfect formula that allowed me to keep my work flow moving forward, to enjoy new sights and family time, and  to experience a less dramatic re-entry.

My husband and I completed a half marathon while our daughter ran the full 26.2 miles in Eugene, OR.
My husband and I completed a half marathon while our daughter ran the full 26.2 miles in Eugene, OR.

Looking back, there were three elements that made this possible:

  1. Select a Multi-Purpose Destination

My daughter (from NYC), and my husband and I (from FL) knew we wanted to do a destination race in April or May, so we researched the half and full marathons taking place in the U.S. during the spring season.  When my daughter suggested Eugene, OR, I knew that was the right one.  First, none of us had ever explored the Pacific Northwest and as outdoorsy, active people, we were excited to discover new and beautiful territory.  Second, it turns out that one of my clients, Laurel Hill, is located right in downtown Eugene – this was the perfect opportunity to schedule face-to-face time with my client, the distributor and the staff.  Working together virtually for nearly six months, this was a great opportunity to learn how their operation worked, and to get inspired with new ideas on how to create awareness of their unique, high quality knitting needles, crochet hooks and myriad selection of fiber arts tools.

After spending our first day getting acclimated to fun and fabulous Eugene, we met with Laurel Hill’s owner Rick Brown and his lovely wife Lynda.  They gave us a first-class tour of their city and we enjoyed the area’s excellent and varied cuisine.

Hendricks Park was in full bloom - we walked and talked with Rick & Lynda.
Hendricks Park was in full bloom – we walked and talked with Rick & Lynda.
Carbing up for the Eugene Marathon at Voodoo Doughnut - delicious!
Carbing up for the Eugene Marathon at Voodoo Doughnut – delicious!

 

 

 

 

Rick Brown, owner of Laurel Hill, took me on a tour of his showroom and distribution warehouse.
Rick Brown, owner of Laurel Hill, took me on a tour of his showroom and distribution warehouse.
LaurelHill
Laurel Hill offers knitting needles, crochet hooks and every type of fiber arts tool you can imagine.
BrysonDisplay
Bryson Distributing is filled with gorgeous displays and a vast inventory of fiber arts gizmos and gadgets.
BrysonDistributing
The amazing staff at Bryson Distributing does everything from stocking their huge warehouse, to taking orders from around the world, to shipping to every destination near and far.

2. Add Days When You’re Away

If you are traveling a long distance (i.e., a 7-hour plane ride), it’s a good idea to build in a few days for sightseeing and adventures.  After the Race and two days of meetings in Eugene, our next stop was Portland, aptly named the Rose City.  We visited as many sights as possible including: the Nike Company Store,  the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Oregon Zoo,  International Rose Garden, Powell’s Books, Salt & Straw Ice Cream and lots more.

The Columbia River Gorge - so beautiful!
The Columbia River Gorge – so beautiful!

 

 

 

RoseGarden
A rose by any other name…all of them were at the International Rose Garden!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final destination: Seattle – we only had two days left but we hit a lot of the highlights: the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum,  EMP Museum, Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium (love those otters!), a ferry trip to Bainbridge Island and more – whew!

What an amazing and talented artist - Dale Chihuly's works are a colorful and intricate integration of art and nature!
What an amazing and talented artist – Dale Chihuly’s works are a colorful and intricate integration of art and nature!
EMP
The EMP Museum was fascinating – from rock ‘n roll to video games to movie memorabilia – so much to see!
PikePlaceMarket
We tried the chowder, the baked goods and the cheese – then we walked for miles so I think it all evened out.

3. Keep Up with Work at Your Leisure

There was much to do during the day but since we were in a different time zone, there was ample time to check and answer emails, keep up with conference calls, and check the status of ongoing projects.  Since I had let my clients and cohorts know in advance that I would be out of town, they expected that I would not be as immediately responsive as usual, but that I would respond that same day. It took the pressure off during daylight hours when we were exploring, but at the same time, no work situations went unanswered. Surprisingly, there were enough hours in the day to do it all.

This formula worked for me and for my clients – at least for this time.  I plan to apply these three tenets again next time I travel, and hope it will result in the same stress-free, yet productive, way.

How are you achieving (or not achieving) a work/life balance? I would love to know!

 

 

Life in PR: Practicing Mindfulness in the Workplace

Welcome 2015 – a New Year invites us to set new intentions, navigate a new course and improve the way we manage our personal and professional lives.  I recently saw a segment on 60 Minutes where Anderson Cooper attends a workshop on how to practice mindfulness (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes), a concept less about spirituality and more about concentration: the ability to quiet your mind, focus your attention on the present, and dismiss any distractions that come your way.

mindfulness

As explained in The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/the-power-of-concentration.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) the formulation dates from the work of the psychologist Ellen Langer, who demonstrated in the 1970s that mindful thought could lead to improvements on measures of cognitive function and even vital functions in older adults.

I have enjoyed learning more about this practice, but how does one actually put it to work? For my professional life in a boutique PR firm, I would embrace the ability to occasionally quiet my mind and focus my attention on the present – and it would be amazing to improve my cognitive function – all of this would certainly benefit my clients and my business.

It would be great to occasionally quiet the mind.
With all this going on it may be a challenge to quiet the mind.

 

So after a great deal of thought on the subject, here are a few ways I am going to practice mindfulness in 2015.

 

1. Forget about multi-tasking.

After years of feeling fully confident that I can do 10 things at once — talk on the phone, email, and write my to-do list, I am saying goodbye to multi-tasking.  Let’s see what happens when I focus on one project until it comes to a natural stopping point before starting the next one. Granted there may be situations that arise somewhat suddenly, but I am going to do my best to complete one thing at a time. I will get back to you to let you know how this worked out.

2. Remember to breathe.

Even the most basic yoga classes remind you that “it’s all in the breath,” and I am going to try to take that to heart – or lungs in this case.  Would it be so crazy to stop in the middle of a late breaking news release to reflect and take a breath?  I think not – on the contrary, a moment’s pause might even improve the writing. It might offer a chance to think of a few more points to add to that media response, or to provide a client with calm advice in a crisis. Yes, you have permission to breathe.

3. Do something you love…every day.

You know the old adage about putting the oxygen mask on before you try and help someone else?  I am going to try and listen to it and to do the things that give me oxygen.  Reading, yoga and running are three activities that pump me up for the day, wake up my mind and body and improve my mood and alertness.  And talking to my long distance children by phone or Facetime simply gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling.  So instead of putting those things off due to meetings, deadlines and lack of time – I am going to try and do MORE of those things.

Watch for my upcoming blog, "Chasing Success" about Running and Business.
Running makes my life better!

I can already hear my inner Puritan sternly commanding that I steer away from this nonsense and get back to work.  But if all the experts are right, shouldn’t these steps lead to a more fulfilling, productive professional (and personal) life?  And won’t all this help me to become an even more focused and effective PR professional? There’s only one way to find out!

What are you going to do to improve your work life in 2015?

Dog Bites & Cancelled Flights: Be PRepared for the Unexpected

As PR professionals, our experience and APR and CPRC accreditation courses have prepared us to help our clients through the perils of media crises, rained out special events or the occasional negative feedback — but sometimes it seems that no matter how well you plan, you have to be prepared for the unexpected…

Even the "best laid plans" can sometimes take a detour

Continue reading Dog Bites & Cancelled Flights: Be PRepared for the Unexpected

Building a Strong Foundation

As a PR professional and writer who also happens to be training for the NYC Marathon, I am compelled to find the metaphors in my enthusiastic pursuit of personal and professional development.  And while running 15 or 16 miles at a stretch, what else is there to think about but the similarities in my parallel lives of working and training? Continue reading Building a Strong Foundation

Lunch, Lunges & Long Runs

It has been an inspiring week, both at work and in marathon training — two areas of life that are somehow intertwined.  Is it the more rigorous training that is fueling more energy and focus at work?  Or is the self-discipline and organization practiced at work making training more productive?  Maybe a little of both… Continue reading Lunch, Lunges & Long Runs