What Makes For an Engaging Website?

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When someone visits your website for the first time through search, a referral link or from your own invitation, it’s almost as if you are meeting them for coffee.

You begin a conversation. You “tell” them about yourself or your company. They get to know you and your business and products.

How can you make that easy for them?

A few key elements on your site help this process:

About Page

The first paragraph of your About Page is critical. You have many options to connect effectively with your visitor. Some options include:

  • Ask an insightful question that hits their own situation.
  • List 4-6 one or two word phrases that give a summary of who you are. For companies, choose keywords that highlight your differentiation.
  • Immediately start telling a story. We’re wired to finish a story to the end.
  • For enterprise companies, stay professional, but seek to be human.
  • Catch their attention with a funny phrase, question or story. Everyone appreciates a good sense of humor.

Since your About Page is likely the page most visited, be strategic with it. Offer a couple key links to help direct your visitors to the posts or other pages you think they’d find most valuable. Continue reading What Makes For an Engaging Website?

Chance Meetings

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I am a hopeless romantic. I love movies like Serendipity where two people meet and “re-meet” each other because of a series of chance encounters or click moments.

I personally keep my eyes wide open for these moments and have a secret delight when I’m in the middle of the experience. To me, they seem like a divine gift, since there’s no way I could have orchestrated the meeting myself.

The thing is, in the moment, I have no idea how the relationship will unfold for the long-haul. I have inklings of potential opportunities, but you never know.

So, I’ve learned to start seeing every new introduction as a potential opportunity. Here are a few things I’m learning:

Be Friendly and Engaging – So many of us are just content to check-out on our devices on social media or catch up with emails for work during any free moment. It takes more effort to push through those distractions, but it’s worth it to strike up conversation instead – in line at the coffee-shop, on public transportation, on a hike, or on a plane. It would be a tragedy if your next best friend, awesome client or business partner was sitting next to you and you never met them.

Value Resonance – We don’t naturally connect with every single person we meet, and that’s normal. But when conversation is easy, when I can sense shared values and alignment, I try to lean in longer. It usually happens because of shared interests and an apparent effort to offer ideas, introductions or resources into each other’s lives.

We met a very successful young entrepreneur just recently on our flight back to Denver, and he shared that in his interviews, he looks for people who “add energy” vs. “take energy.” Don and I can more easily spot “energy takers” now in our older years, and we really seek to align with “energy givers” as that is what we try to be in any situation ourselves.

Get Contact Info and Follow-Up – Unlike the movie Serendipity, I don’t want to bet my future contact with this new connection on a piece of paper that may blow away in the wind or trust that maybe one day, we’ll just cross paths again. No, it’s important to share email or social media info and then make an immediate effort to follow-up. If it’s personal, make an invitation for a coffee date or work-out. If it’s business, find ways to add value and try to meet again.

I believe that life is a mixture of “luck” and effort, and meeting new people is a beautiful intersection of both. What potential opportunities will we get to experience today if we expect them and keep our eyes wide open for them? Would love to hear about yours!

First Impressions and the Long Haul

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Ever notice that in some friendships, when you really get to know someone, you tend to stop paying attention to or caring about those minor outward traits like what they are wearing or how they styled their hair? When you might have seen someone who was “sloppy” or “nerdy” or “loose,” or even “polished” or “trendy” or “classy” – all you now see and care about is that they are a real person to you, your friend.

In my own friendships, I try to get there are quickly as I can, to dig beneath the surface, asking good questions to really get to know them. And I try to discard all the properness or formality to visits or dinners, in order to diminish any friction that would keep us from just being able to get together at a moment’s notice.

It’s interesting that I have a similar attitude online. I know that people tend to show their “good side” online as much as they can – because they can, and because in many ways if they are in business, they should. But I also really try to get to know the person behind the brand, the story that explains the reasons why, the words that others share about the difference they’ve made. I appreciate sites that make it easy for me to do that.

And so in creating website systems for others, that’s how I try to steer people as well. Be real. Be clear. Make a great first impression. But know that you are in it for the long haul. Continue reading First Impressions and the Long Haul

Share Your Story

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Cover Photo, Ella Eland, 8th Grade

The human story is powerful. It’s a gift to be able to step into someone’s life and hear someone’s story. We can learn so much.

I’ve become addicted to listening to amazing stories of people shared on podcasts like How I Built This, Live Inspired with John O’Leary and sites like Poppy Lifestyle, and books like Tuesdays with Morrie or Lean In.

Every story is unique, but there are common threads in the human spirit like hardship and struggle, overcoming, passion and compassion. We resonate with it because we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. The persistence and creativity we see inspire us to believe that we can follow the same path.

I had the privilege of catalyzing the young people here in Summit County to share their stories with the community this year. Working with BreckCreate and teachers, we published a collection of their writing and artwork that can be purchased at local bookstores as well as on Amazon. I wanted students to know that what they had to say was important enough for the world to read.

I was amazed and impressed with their writing, and inspired by their stories or poems, especially from the 6th graders who shared about a hero or event in their life that impacted them most. They already have such insight and perspective from going through various challenges in life.

We can be inspired by these teenagers to take advantage of opportunities to share our own stories. Whether it’s business or personal – or likely a mix of both – our story has the power to connect, inspire, and impact others.

No one else has a story quite like yours. And today, there are so many ways to share it.

If you’d like to share your story or your message better, let me know – always happy to explore ways to help! We work with both companies and individuals to share their unique message with those who need to hear it.

 

 

Jealous or Inspired – You Pick!

I remember many years ago, probably at least over a decade, my great friend Heather and I had an inside joke about being “inspired” by other women doing great things. You know those women who seemed to just seemed to breeze right through the early days of motherhood and still manage to rock their career or personal pursuits. We really weren’t “inspired” – we honestly were falling into the comparison trap and feeling twinges of jealousy!

My friend, Ellen Newhouse would say that jealousy is actually a good thing. I haven’t heard her full explanation, but I can take a stab at perhaps why.

When we feel that little twinge of jealousy, it’s really like a clear mirror for ourselves. We should acknowledge it instead of just trying to bury it or brush it off. What does it say about how we are doing? Are we feeling a little dissatisfied or aimless? Maybe we are feeling like we aren’t fully living into what we were made for, and get jealous when we see someone doing their thing well. We can often think that for whatever reason, it’s just “easier” for them, so therefore they are having what appears to be great success. I’ve come to find out that that is never true. It’s usually just because they chose to risk. To dare. To dream. And then to take the action necessary over and over and over again to get there.To go through the hard parts. They push. And grow. Continue reading Jealous or Inspired – You Pick!

Say, “Yes”!

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We were playing a version of the $20,000 Pyramid’s Winner’s Circle recently with some tween-aged girls at the After School Writing Club I lead with BreckCreate. The category was, “Things Parents Say.”

The first thing the clue-giver said was, “No!”

Is that what parents are known for? The nay-sayer, the joy-kill, the hammer. We all laughed, but it kind-of made me sad!

I could barely hold in my delight, though, when one of the girls later asked Jadyn, “So, do your parents say, “no,” or “not right now.” Without skipping a beat, she said matter-of-factly, “My parents say, “Yes.”

YES!

We do say, “yes”! We have always tried to say, “yes” as much as we could in their lives. If they had an idea, a desire, or request – if there was really no reason to say, “no,” we said, “yes.”

I think that’s the best gift we can give our kids and ourselves. Say yes to the good and simple things. Popsicles, movie nights, meal requests, homemade popcorn, walks in the woods, playdates with friends, dinner out, playing a board/video game, boba tea. And try to say yes as much as you can to the big things, too – family vacations, skiing trips, Six Flags days, art classes, music concerts, summer camps, internships, private coaching, or private school. If time or money is limited, still say yes, but involve your kids in figuring out how to make it happen. There’s always a way.

When we say, “no,” we quickly limit our options, our creativity, our opportunities. We shut down those things for our kids as well.

Sometimes parents may be worried about spoiling their kids if they say, “yes” too much. But in my experience I’ve seen the opposite. I grew up with parents who also said “yes,” and I’m forever grateful. I’ve seen our kids take more ownership of the pros/cons of a decision if we are the ones who say, “Sure!” They have to weigh their own resources in time, energy, and money and start to learn the wisdom of trade-off’s that are just a reality of life.

Say, “Yes” to those good things for yourself, too-

good friends

good food

time outside

reading, writing

reflecting

exercising

relaxing

listening or dancing to music

exciting business endeavors

trips to special places with those you love

meeting new people you think you’ll resonate with in business and life.

If you say enough “yeses” to those good things, you won’t have time to wonder about those other things you should have said “no” to anyway. You’ll be too busy creating and enjoying a special life for yourself and your kids.

 

Grow Your Mindset

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Have you read this book – Mindset, by Carol Dweck – before? I’ve heard of it for years but decided to plunge in and read it this month. I gained many insights from it and have really tried to think about my own mindsets – especially around money, growth, and success.

I am someone that cares greatly about the “full development of human potential.” When I read that in the description of my Meyers-Briggs personality test (INFJ), I cracked up laughing because it was spot on. I LOVE watching people step into who they were made to be and go after big things. I totally enjoy being a part of the growth process with them, cheering them on and supporting them personally and professionally. I understand that the process is often “messy,” working through challenges and obstacles and not always “getting it right.”

So, I was pretty shocked when reading this book and had to admit that I had more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset for my own self! What?! I’ve been gypping myself of the gift I was giving others. Obstacles were normal for others, but for myself, for some reason, they were a “sign” to note or steer clear from. I’ve decided that’s not acceptable. Time to step into those challenges for myself again and not just cheer others on from the sidelines.

The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be.

The book goes into great detail of the consequences in business and personal life when you adhere to these certain mindsets. There’s obviously great evidence in favor of the benefits of being “growth-minded.” You offer yourself and others more freedom, hence enjoying life more and achieving greater success. You embrace challenges and learn from them instead of “gaming” life towards safer ends. You seek out feedback in order to grow and tend to be more coachable and optimistic. Isn’t that a great way to live?

I’m looking forward to the journey, but understand it can often be easier said than done. For many, it requires a vigilance of becoming aware of the triggers that get you stuck – pulling back from a failure, retreating after identifying an obstacle, talking negatively to yourself – and then choosing to reframe the situation to be seen as one to learn and grow from. Sometimes, it’s being honest about where the fixed mindset may have begun – do you feel like you have to hold onto some image of “smart” or “talented” or “capable” and don’t want to attempt anything that could taint that perception. Sometimes there are even deeper beliefs that need to be aligned in order to free ourselves from the fears or judgments we let our brain dwell on.

Whatever it takes, though, seems like it would be worth the effort and the switch. As the book notes, we are all a mixture of the growth and fixed mindsets in the various areas of our lives. Celebrate those areas where you lean towards the growth mindset and decide if you’d like to move away from any with the fixed mindset beliefs. Who knows the possibilities and new opportunities that await for you in business, health, relationships, and life overall!

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

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For those of you who know me well, you know what I love: family, the outdoors, music, friends, adventure.

For this holiday season, I thought I’d share a “few of my favorite things” that are a part of my every day world that could also offer unique gift ideas for others.

National Parks

National Parks – With 58 National Parks and over 400 National Monuments, Historic Sites, Battle Grounds, and Preserves, there is much to learn and explore. Our family has visited over 100 during our travels, and we are always amazed at and grateful for the unique geography and stories that are preserved. Some of our greatest family memories have taken place in the National Parks. You can purchase a yearlong pass for your family or loved one for just $80. You can also throw in a special Passport Book so they can collect stamps at each park. Or how about this beautiful deluxe National Park sticker set?  Start planning your summer trips now!

Snowboarding

Snowboarding – We always remember this video from Sage Kotsenberg – it captures our family’s sentiments exactly – it’s a magical thing. There is nothing like going down a mountain together as a family, watching the kids try out new tricks and spins, taking in the majestic views. It’s wild how this has become such a central part of our family identity now. It used to be just once a year family winter trip. Now we snowboard about 100+ days a year! But this experience is definitely one of the best ones you can give someone. Keystone Resort caters so well to families. Our favorite is Copper Mountain.  Arapahoe Basin offers the best prices on beginner lessons. Or splurge on the Epic Pass and have fun hitting all the different resorts!

 

Barre3Online

Barre3 Online – I’ve been so efficient with my workouts in the past, being able to run for 20-40 mins and call it a day. It’s harder for me to make time to go to a studio class for some reason. Well, the Barre3 Online classes are awesome because they are time-efficient and yet give me an even better workout than running – including core strengthening and muscle tone. You can get an online subscription here!

Sunbasket

Sunbasket – This meal-delivery service has made our family dinner times so much better! They offer organic, sustainably farmed meats and produce. We order 3 meals a week – they have both paleo, and vegetarian options, and we’ve loved all their meals. Don and I grab a glass of wine and whip up the meal together while the kids get their homework done. Then we get to enjoy dinner conversation and sometimes even squeeze in a chapter of a book, like Life of Fred or this month, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.

BreckCreate

BreckCreate – This is for locals in Summit County! This organization is a gem in our town. They have a beautiful arts district right off Main Street where you can see artisans at work on their craft. They bring in special events and speakers throughout the year. And they offer weekly classes in art, photography, glass-blowing, clay-making, and even writing to the community. I’m honored to be a part of it and excited to be leading the weekly After-School Writing Club for kids 10-14. Sign up for their newsletter to stay on top of off their offerings and pay for a class for you and a friend to learn something new!

Continue reading A Few of My Favorite Things

Broken

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Has something ever taken you out of life for a season – perhaps an injury, a loss, or even a bad decision? I can only imagine as shock starts to slowly bleed into reality. “This is real. This is happening.”  It’s probably like watching a movie and wishing you could push rewind to rewrite the script or get a do-over as in Groundhog Day. 

This last month, our daughter Jadyn broke two bones in her arm from a fall off a rail snowboarding at Copper Mountain with her team. While we were grateful that it was only a broken bone, we were also all so very disappointed because of what it would mean for Jadyn – time off of training in the snow.

She was really heartbroken. She had been training well during pre-season and was looking forward to continuing the momentum in an awesome season with her coaches and friends. But now she was sidelined for 8 weeks. She was worried that it would put her behind, was sad for all the fun memories she’d miss, and just bummed about the inconvenience of a limited “10 pound” weight on her dominant hand!

As a mom, it was difficult to walk that fine line of being strong for her, being understanding and letting her grieve, and also trying to encourage and point her to a hopeful, positive mindset.

But I was so proud of Jadyn. She walked through those stages of grief and positivity – often waffling between them both within the same minute. 🙂 But eventually, she started to embrace the brokenness and look for the best in the situation. It was not easy, nor did we try to be superficial about it. But it definitely helped get through the day-to-day in life when we chose to see the good. Continue reading Broken

Stuck?

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Do you feel “stuck” in any way? In your career? Emotionally? Health-wise? Relationally?

Last week I had the surprise “honor” of getting my car stuck in the snow.

I had just dropped off my kids at the bus stop and decided to try to make my way up the bank as I had done many days before…Except this time there was snow. I had a new vehicle with 4 wheel drive, so I thought I was fine…Until I started slipping backwards! I learned later that the entire bus saw the whole thing, which was a little embarrassing to my kids (but hey, all kids need a good dose of embarrassment every so often!).

My vehicle ended up getting wedged between two rocks on the left side, and I didn’t feel confident about maneuvering over them, so I just waited. I waited ’til the bus left and all the other cars went on their way. Then I tried a little more on my own, to no avail and then decided to call for help. Unfortunately, Don was away on business in Chicago, so I was on my own.

I saw that my oldest son Gabe had texted and called to make sure I was okay. I called him back, and I think I would get stuck all over again to hear the love and concern and maturity from him.

He asked if I was okay and if I needed him to come back to help. I said I was fine, and he said, “Are you sure? I could be there in an hour.” I don’t know what he was planning, but I figured he thought he could get off at the next bus stop and run home or get off in Breck and take the Summit Stage back home to come to my rescue. Regardless, I kinda got choked up knowing that he really meant it and would do it if I needed him to.

But I was fine. I knew I would get unstuck. Just wasn’t exactly sure how.

Well, long story short, while I was waiting for my friend who lived up the road, another gentleman in a huge truck came by and asked if I needed help. Another man had asked before, and I made the mistake of saying that someone was on their way. This time, I said, “Yes, please!”

He assessed the situation and told me how to move my wheels. He got down on his belly and moved the big rock around the front wheel, told me to just roll right over the big rock behind me, and Voila, I was free! It was the best feeling in the world!!!! I wanted to roll right back up the hill in my excitement, but used my better judgment and took the regular route and made it back home.

I couldn’t tell you how happy and grateful I was to just be back home with my car in the garage. Such a mundane thing that meant the world to me!

And it just got me thinking about the whole concept of being “stuck” in life. Usually it’s not your car. Often it’s our emotions, finances, or health. Or our dreams and pursuits.

Have you ever felt like that? Like you just weren’t sure what to do next? You’ve been trying lots of solutions but not really making any progress forward.

Here are a couple things I was reminded of in my own experience:

  1. When feeling stuck, always believe there is a way out. I knew my car would not stay there forever. I believed it could be moved. I just wasn’t sure how.
  2. Ask for help. There are people who know more than you do. Who have gone before you. Who know which way to turn the wheels and who are strong enough to move those rocks in your way. Accept their help. And look for ways to repay them back tenfold in gratitude.
  3. Appreciate those who care. Often during those hard, “stuck” times, the ones who love you express their care and concern. Have eyes to appreciate them and remind yourself that you are not alone. Gabe made my day that morning.
  4. Learn from your “mistakes.” If there was a decision in particular or a pattern of habits that got you stuck, don’t go back and do that again! Why get stuck AGAIN? Embrace your freedom and use it to go after bigger and better things in life.

We have a long winter ahead of us. I can’t guarantee that I won’t get stuck again somewhere, but I know that I won’t get stuck in that same spot, that’s for sure!

If you’re feeling stuck somehow in life, and there’s a way that I can help – please reach out and let me know. Maybe I can offer the wisdom or perspective that can get you moving in the right direction again – or just the care and concern to remind you that you are not alone. Happy to help!