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Category: Life

Communication

This is a big one, y’all. Clear and prompt communication is a hallmark of a leader. The beginning, middle, and end of a job depend upon it, and never underestimate the importance of courteous communication – especially for those dealing with client-side interactions. Ask how someone’s day is going, and be sincere about it. Make a personal connection, however brief, and that connection will be stronger. Don’t waste time, though – professionalism is a mark of good communication as well.

I can promise you this – make your points quickly and answer questions succinctly, and when you open your mouth people will listen.

Answer your emails. Join LinkedIn. Tweet. Blog. Return phone calls. Communicate.

-Josh

2017 Madison Media Institute Commencement Address

I was honored recently to speak to the graduating class of 2017 at the Madison Media Institute. It was a wonderful experience, and I was inspired by all of the students who had accomplished so much already through their time at MMI. I saw a lot of hope and excitement in the faces I saw, and I know that they will meet with many successes as they travel their diverse paths. Thank you for the opportunity, and congratulations to all of the graduates.

I am inspired to expand upon the leadership aspects I covered in the speech, and will be doing so in the next series of posts to this website, so stay tuned!

-Josh

Taking Notes?

The ability to jot down a quick paragraph can follow us anywhere. Whether on the phone or on a notepad, the ability to quickly empty the brain and take one’s thoughts out for a stroll is a great way to develop critical thinking, creative thinking, and communication skills – make sure you take advantage. Hell, it’s (virtually) free! 

My note taking… 

  • Field Notes notebooks for quick thoughts 
  • Office Depot steno pad for long form 
  • Google Keep for writing in bed, at the movies (kidding!), or while driving (KIDDING!!!) 

Stretch

  • Stretch out your body – try a little light yoga after waking up in the morning. I enjoy a simple “Sun Salutation” (I learned it on the Nintendo Wii!).
  • Stretch out your mind – make time for reading every day. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn’t matter.
  • Stretch out your soul – find a way to be creative every day. For me, I try to sit down for fifteen minutes each day to play and write at the piano.
  • Stretch out your heart – when interacting with other people, lead with love. Imagine the best in them. It may seem like you’re leaving yourself open and vulnerable, but take the chance. It can expand your everyday relationships to something more meaningful and powerful. As we age, our default becomes cynicism and skepticism. Fight it!

Every Day – Inspiration

Find inspiration every day.

  • Read a chapter – Right now I’m reading “A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano” by Katie Hafner.
  • Quietly sit – Go to a park and absorb some nature. Go to a coffee shop and absorb some commotion. Feed your senses.
  • Listen to a “brand new music” playlist – All of the streaming music services have a collection of cutting edge releases. Check them out!

Light a spark. Set your creativity ablaze! 

-Josh 

Cause and Effect

Keep putting good energy out there.

  • Do somebody a favor today.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Pick up a piece of trash.
  • Shovel your neighbor’s walk when you’re out doing yours.

Karma is real – cause and effect. The more good you put in the world, the more good there will be in the world.

-Josh

Sit Up Straight

Okay, I’m going to channel my best inner-mom when I tell you this… “Sit up straight!” In addition to not looking like a slouch, good posture helps your singing and speaking tremendously. Lining up your vocal apparatus and activating your core is damn near everything you are trying to accomplish with voice lessons, and good posture is the end-all, be-all, holy grail of setting it all up for you. Activating your core has more benefits, too. It sets you up to be a physically stronger person. Strength comes from your core, and by keeping it active, you are essentially always working out. Last, but entirely not least, sitting, standing, and walking with good posture makes you feel better, stronger, and more confident, and when you’re feeling better, stronger, and more confident, you are going to feel happier. Good posture will literally improve your life, so let’s get on it.

When I remind myself to check my standing posture, I always imagine there is a string attached to the crown of my head, pulling me up like a marionette and stretching my spine. A couple side to side stretches and a deep breath later, I’m in power town, and I’m feeling more limber. If I’m sitting down, I sit so that I feel ready to stand up at any time. It keeps me super energized and ready to sing and play with energy and vigor. Try it yourself and see if you feel better and more energized. If you’ve been slouching for years, a lot of these muscles will put up a little fight when you start activating them for the first time, but keep it up, and you’ll eventually train good posture as your default. Until that happens, try to make occasional posture checks into a habit. Set a reminder on your phone or ask a friend or significant other to remind you from time to time.

Keep thinking positive, keep smiling, and get after that good posture. Your body and soul will thank you for it.

-Josh

Happy Holidays

The final six weeks of the year are filled with holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years and everything in between. In our household alone, we spent Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas with our family, the Solstice with our neighbors, Festivus with our friends, and New Years Eve is always a big night for Piano Fondue. Whew! The point is, this is a season chock-full of gratitude, reflection, joy, love, peace, and giving. It is the time to think about what all of these things mean to you. Take the time to be quiet. Embrace the opportunity to be raucous. Spend time alone, and spend time with friends and family. Find a moment and make it special for you. Find another and make it special for someone else. Celebrate the big and the small.

But why stop there? These aren’t themes unique to this season. Remind yourself to value these ideals throughout the year. I’m going to open my calendar right now and make a note to read this post again later in the year – let’s say four months from today. [note to future self: Hi, buddy – looking good! Re-post this and put it in the calendar another four months out.]

Wishing you the best in 2016. Stay in touch.

-Josh