Like any lasting change, creating a lifestyle, whether you are an individual or organization, takes a bit of time and effort, but with some practical tools and a focus on core priorities and values, it doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. In fact, the process itself, can achieve much more than you might expect.
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Posted by Christine Eisner
Those of you who know me are aware of my love of nature. Big Sur, beach walks, hikes, skiing… For me, Nature is a readily-available and effective tool which counterbalances the constant flow of non-nature that dominates our lives every day. Nature directly impacts our well-being in the food we eat, the water we drink, what we see and what we year. Yet it also has the power to inspire, heal and comfort.
Our tendency is to relegate nature experiences to the home or weekends, but why? Consider importing them into your workplace, your commute and other daily routines. Quality of life is there for the taking, wherever you are…. Actually, to be more accurate, quality of life is there for the making. It does take intent.
I am continuously amazed at how seemingly insignificant details, natural and otherwise, can affect the quality of everyday experiences. they can occur anywhere in life, at home, at work or while traveling. As I look around right now, here are a few cues for rebalancing that i see in my own lifestyle:
- a few bottles of home-made limoncello that sit on my kitchen windowsill
- three feathers picked up on a beach walk, intentionally placed on a side table
- the advent calendar from my childhood, that hangs in the entry,
- music that comes on each morning and afternoon… thanks to Sonos and Pandora,
- outdoor sounds that enter through a slightly opened window
To others, these might have zero effect. And that’s ok. For me, in my home, in my workplace, the power of these “nothings” is HUGE. For someone else, it might be a bowl of leftover mac ‘n cheese enjoyed at work or a favorite playlist on a business trip. Whether you are creating experiences at home or elsewhere, step one is to hone in on your Treasures and give them a stronger presence in your lifestyle. Make them part of your Campfires, and tend your Campfires so that they keep burning brightly.
A Word About Nature
It may seem trivial to talk about the impact of small gestures like filling a vase with flowers, walking on wood flooring or connecting to the outdoors through wide open windows, but it is not. When people and their living spaces are in step with the rhythms of nature, they become connected to the world in a profound way.”
(p. 56, Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle)
There’s a program running on the Bloomberg channel called “Naked Brand” that talks about the likes of Nike, Wal-mart, Virgin Airways, Zappo and other companies who are doing some really great things related to brand culture. I was writing these words when I turned the program:
“When a brand digs its roots deep into an organization, it goes way beyond logo, lobby and letterhead, and this is very, very good. At its best, an organization’s brand should be like the core identity of an individual. Genuine and in sync with day-to-day living and the path ahead.”
Just as with people, an organization’s real-time routines and surroundings should enrich the values and goals that embody the brand. With that, you get alignment and focus for the journey forward.
So consider your brand and the lifestyle of your organization:
- Is your brand up-to-date with the present, but more importantly, your future?
- How big is the gap between your brand’s image and the culture that surrounds it?
- Are you delivering the intended messages to these key groups of individuals?
Markeing and advertising have changed. As they said in that program. Clever doesn’t sell anymore. Clarity does. The messages we should be intentional and with as little distraction to them as possible. It’s not a daunting task, but it does take focus. It doesn’t just happen.
I started my career doing brand development for companies and organizations, and over the past few years, I’ve been doing more work with larger systems. In the years between, which resulted in the writing of my book, my focus was on the lifestyles of individuals at home — helping them tap into what was essentially their own brand. The language may be different, but the priciples still apply.
What’s ironic is that I’m now convinced that what applies to individuals’ lifestyles, applies directly to the lifestyle of an organization, what I refer to as its’ brand culture’. In my brand culture consulting, this is what I do, and I see it working.
And in many ways, being aware of the parallel between the two can make the “why” much easier to understand. My tools go beyond the written and spoken word, to the many untapped visual and subliminal elements that are ripe for the picking. The result is a unique and straightforward approach that I have developed to branding, based on balance and ‘campfires’ and a perspective resulting from decades of exposure to organizations and individuals throughout the US and abroad.
Organizations have the potential to be ‘campfires’, intentional centers of energy that draw people in for specific outcomes. All too often, there is a disconnect between brand and reality. This missing bridge keeps things — and people — at a distance. It’s the difference between looking at a window display and being enveloped into the warm glow of a crackling fire. This is huge. Campfires can be created to significantly shape the experiences of your clients, board members, investors and everyone, including your most precious resource, your staff.
I often use a feather as an analogy for brand culture and lifestyle design. If every action, every routine, every decision reinforces the central theme of an organization or individual, then there will be clarity and transparency on the path ahead.
So here’s to the new year and the symbolism of the feather. May your routines and your surroundings, whether they are at home, on the road or at work allign and reinforce each other…
And if you need some help, let me know!
That’s it in a nutshell. Comments welcome!
We have all sorts of choices as to how and where we spend our time (and money). This certainly applies to travel as well. Here are some of the highlights from a trip we just did to Peru, Argentina and very quickly, Brazil. This was totally in keeping with our desire to immerse in nature, understand local culture, get more closely acquainted with history and experience cutting edge.
Enjoy — and here’s to your travels being customized so that they suit you to a “T”!
We felt like we saw the best of all worlds, the development of Lima, life on the Amazon, the history of the Incas in Cuzco and Machu Pichu, the diversity of Buenos Aires and the Iguacu Falls. And of course the abundant fod and drinks, from 300 varieties of potatoes, fabulous ceviche, lomo saltados and pisco sours in peru to the dreamy Argentine wines, empanadas, pizza (!) and butter (HUGE) Argentine steaks.
Since “home base” is so important, for us, the accommodations throughout were perfect:
- In Lima, the Country Club
- On the Amazon, the Aqua
- In Machu Picchu, the Inkaterra
- In Cuzco, The Monestario
- In Buenos Aires, the Algodon Mansion and the Park Hyatt
- and in Iguasu, the Hotel las Cataratas on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Beyond these, here’s our list of “tops” beyond the guidebooks:
- Pescado Capitale - a local and very cool restaurant with great food and sevice
- The fruit and vegetable market in Lima
- The Larco Museum in Lima
- The Sun Gate on the Inca Trail
- The Inketerra Hotel – Peru’s version of the Post Ranch Inn
- In Cousco, another fabulous hotel, the Monestaria and the adjacent museum and Map Cafe for dinner (alas the shop was closed by the time we finished the museum tour)
- The guides, food, the passengers (only 15 of them) and the people in the villages — and everything on the Aqua Cruise on the Amazon - “Wow”
- The Algodon Mansion – Sleek, comfortable, art deco inspired… felt like being in a townhouse home AND the Park Hyatt (another 5 star, this one with a fabulous art gallery and gorgeously expansive inner courtyard where we enjoyed breakfast. We didn’t get to enjoy the spa, but missed out there.
- The Paella at Oviedo’s – not on the menu
- The Cemetery
- Saturday street shopping at Recoleto (near the cemetery) and the “subterranean d&d type center there too) and shopping any time in Palermo Soho
- La Cuartito – local pizzeria (recommended by our waiter at the Algodon)
- Sylvia & Marios – custom leather goods. Syliva is totally wonderful!
- The archtitectural tribute to Dante in a Buenos Aires office building — eerie and beautiful
- a wonderful streetscape near La Boca created in colorful tile by artist Marino Santa Maria (www.marinosantamaria.com)
- The Macuco water safari at Iguacu Falls – like a water park for adults, but totally immersed in the beauty of nature (prepare to get “100% wet!”
- … and our city guides who are now friends, in Lima, Machu Pichu/Cousco and Buenos Aires.
… I have to credit most of this to the artistry of Betty Jo Currie and Currie & Co Travels!
So, why can’t our homes be as comfortable as our favorite pair of jeans? Why does saying ‘I love you to Dad” need to be expensive? After all, love comes from within and gestures that show you care do too!
1. Fridge Remix: Clear a path to healthy eating by getting rid of withered produce, leftovers and almost-empty jars of mustard. Then, stock up on favorite fresh fruit and raw veggies (berries, pineapple, grapes??). Back at home, wash and put them in easy-to-access containers so he has easy and healthy snack food, thanks to the fruits of your labor!
2. Flower (singular): You don’t have to get all chick-ish about it, but even just one flower can send Dad a big message. Pick one from outdoors and give it a home in a water glass, soda bottle or bud vase by the sink where he brushes his teeth in the morning.
3. Man the Grill: How about giving him a cold beer while you take over the grilling duties? On the menu: surf and turf, corn on the cob and baked potatoes. Eat outdoors picnic style or get him one (or all) of the all time great football movies and kick back and enjoy!
4. Feed His Love of Football: So he may be mourning the absence of Monday Night Football…. Meanwhile, feed his passion by getting him one, five or all of the top ten football flicks of all time, according to Sports Illustrated: Rudy, North Dallas Forty, Brian’s Song, Horse Feathers, The Longest Yard, Jerry Maguire, Friday Night Lights, Heaven Can Wait, All the Right Moves
5. Lights Out: When it’s time to turn in at the end of the day, how about putting a note on his pillow that tells him something you appreciate about him or a special memory you have?
Cardinal Rules for Work:We will do the right thing and look like we are working and act business like ,even when not doing business. Be respectful, charming , clean neat etc .These are a Robert’s Rules of sorts …I guess you could call them BUBBU’ s Rules or Willie’s RulesHow to Act Like a Worker 101
- Never Sit Down , unless the boss says so . If you find your self with NOTHING to do , find something to do . Be Ready Anticipate what needs to be done next . or ask the Boss for more to do . But don’t just stand there or sit there . Is there a truck arriving should we block parking spaces ? Should I sweep up ,carry things to the trash etc .
- If the Boss Says Sit , Then Sit ,my dad would say, not in front of the customer