Issue 10

Cigar Reviews: Winter 2018

CAO Flathead V660 Carb Nicaragua               6.0” x 60               Full 95-Rated Big. Beefy. Box-Pressed. Also, the head is flat. The V660 Carb sits like a brick in my hand, and burned slower than a decision on Ezekiel’s suspension during this review. A chocolate brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper cloaks this beast, imparting a rich bouquet that’s sweet […]

CAO Flathead V660 Carb

Nicaragua               6.0” x 60               Full

95-Rated

Big. Beefy. Box-Pressed. Also, the head is flat. The V660 Carb sits like a brick in my hand, and burned slower than a decision on Ezekiel’s suspension during this review. A chocolate brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper cloaks this beast, imparting a rich bouquet that’s sweet on the finish. Underneath, Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers combine to add leather, earth, and an almost sugary-sweetness I can only describe as molasses. Complex from the start, this CAO grows quite full throughout.

La Palina El Diario Torpedo

Honduras               6.1” x 52               Full

92-Rated

Leathery in appearance and oily to the touch, this powerful Honduran marries Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo tobaccos inside an impressive Honduran Rosado wrapper. Aging is evident in the flavor, as this Torpedo dishes out big, bold flavors in surprisingly refined fashion. I get cocoa and spice up front, while cedar and rich tobacco linger on the finish just before a dash of white pepper enters the fray. Eventful yet graceful, El Diario is a perfect complement to a healthy pour after a generous meal.

New World by AJ Fernandez Churchill

Nicaragua               7.0” x 52               Medium-Full

93-Rated

I’ll say it now. I love cigars with tobaccos cultivated from the volcanic soils of Ometepe. These leaves are robust and flavorful, offering a gritty earthiness you’ll notice instantly. AJ combined these tobaccos with rich, chocolatey leaves from Esteli and aromatic long-fillers from Condega, then topped them off with a dark Nicaraguan wrapper. Espresso notes mingle with spicy-sweet nuances with each cocoa-laced puff. Then there’s the luxurious aroma, which I find myself savoring each time I put this Churchill down.

Partagas Aniversario 170 Robusto

Dominican Republic               5.0” x 50               Medium

94-Rated

Complex, no doubt, the 170th anniversary of Partagas had me at the pre-light aroma. Part freshly-baked bread, part barnyard, this cigar has a lot going on even before it’s lit. Upon lighting, the promise continues to the tune of sweet cedar, cream, toast, pepper, and dark chocolate. Midway through, I pick up a nuttiness…almost like the roasted skin of a peanut. Four countries came together to make this beauty, including Cameroon for the wrapper, Connecticut, USA for the Habano binder, and a blend of long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican.

Quesada Reserva Privada Toro

Dominican Republic        5.6” x 54               Mild-Medium

92-Rated

Blonde in color, Quesada Reserva employs a seamless Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. Rich and soothing, this leaf produces a creamy core that clings to the palate. Underneath, Dominican long-leaf tobaccos meet dark, Pennsylvania Broadleaf long-fillers to create a lovely rich and elegant array of flavor. A nuttiness is present, but doesn’t overshadow subtle hints of wood, rich tobacco, and citrus. Soothing yet satisfying, Quesada Reserva was an enjoyable cigar to review to say the least.

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Second Labels

Finding Value in the Classic Wine Regions of the World For those who love wines from the great classic regions of the world – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and the Rhône – it has been hard to watch as these region’s top wines have escalated in price. Premier Grand Cru Classé Mouton Rothschild’s 2000 vintage was […]

Finding Value in the Classic Wine Regions of the World

For those who love wines from the great classic regions of the world – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and the Rhône – it has been hard to watch as these region’s top wines have escalated in price. Premier Grand Cru Classé Mouton Rothschild’s 2000 vintage was released at about $275 per bottle in 2001, and now fetches about $1,300 per bottle. The newest release, the 2016 vintage, is around $550 per bottle and won’t even be bottled for a year! Many others have taken even more dramatic price increases, especially some of the smaller right bank properties, making many of the region’s top wines out of reach for the average consumer.
Bordeaux is not the only place where rampant price increases have driven many buyers out of the market. World famous Super-Tuscan Sassicaia 2007 cost about $83 on release, the current vintages are about $200. Burgundy’s top estates may have seen the most extreme increases, fueled by world wide collector demand and tiny productions. Armand Rousseau’s highly sought after 1999 Gevrey Chambertin, 1er Cru, Clos St. Jacques, was a mere $85 per bottle on release. Current vintages top $700 per bottle if you can find it. Domaine de La Romnée Conti? Forget about it! A single bottle can set you back well over $10,000.
The affordable answer lies in buying second labels from great producers. In Bordeaux, the goal of the Châteaux is to make the very best wine they can for the “Grand Vin”, the top wine of the estate. This is done by carefully selecting the best lots and barrels and blending them to become the final wine. Wines that don’t make the cut – not always inferior but sometimes they just don’t suit the blend or style the winemaker is seeking are often put into a second label. Some have third labels, but any wine they don’t feel is up to the standards of the winery is sold off in bulk.
Second labels are produced from the same estate grapes and the same team used for the top wines. As such, they often reflect much of the same style as the top wines, but they are typically about half as much money. In addition, they are often vinified in a way that they’ll be more accessible when they are young, eliminating the need for a decade or more of cellaring before they are ready to drink. True, some second wines now cost more than the firsts did not that many years ago – but if you stay away from the Premier Grand Cru Classés and focus on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Growths, you will find dozens of bargains.
La Croix de Ducru Beaucaillou, Echo de Lynch Bages, and Les Griffons de Pichon Baron are all great examples that sell for under $50.
In the case of Burgundy, a step down to Bourgogne Rouge or Blanc from the pricier Village, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru designations will give you plenty of Burgundian character for under $30, especially from the ripe and lush 2015 vintage. The only issue there is frost, freeze, and hail that wreaked havoc with yields, resulting in shortages even of the lower price wines. Burgundy is a little trickier than Bordeaux – the best strategy is to seek a merchant that specializes and ask advice. They are not technically second labels, but they accomplish much of the same goals: earlier drinking, classically styled wines at a fraction of the price.
In Brunello, opting for a Rosso di Montalcino will get you plenty of Brunello character at a half or less than the real deal. Whereas Brunello must age for five years before release, Rosso’s only need one. Like their Burgundian and Bordelaise counterparts, these wines are vinified to be much more accessible when young, alleviating the need for long cellaring. Look for Rosso’s from top producers such as Pertimali, Siro Pacenti and more for some of the best values in Italy.
In the Rhône, look for Côtes du Rhône Villages instead of Cháteauneuf du Pape, Crozes Hermitage or Saint Joseph instead of Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, and you will find value and quality and incredible prices. A string of great vintages has generated a wealth of superb, affordable wines both in the northern and southern Rhône – don’t miss out!

Chris Cree MW is one of only 42 American Masters of Wine in the country. He is currently Director of Wine Education and Retail Operations at The Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster NJ. He can be reached at chriscreemw@pluckywineshop.com

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Why You Should Consider Rome This Winter

Rome’s weather is a mix of Mediterranean and Temperate due to it being located between the sea and the Apennine mountains. Its location offers what Italians call January and February ‘the freshest months” where the temperature averages 55°F. It rarely gets below freezing, with little or no rainfall. The low angle sun warms the day. […]

Rome’s weather is a mix of Mediterranean and Temperate due to it being located between the sea and the Apennine mountains. Its location offers what Italians call January and February ‘the freshest months” where the temperature averages 55°F. It rarely gets below freezing, with little or no rainfall. The low angle sun warms the day.
At this writing, direct round-trip flights out of Newark NJ start at $241.00 for coach and 546.00 for business class, making it an even more tempting reason to head to Rome this winter. Even luxury apartments with butler and concierge service are at their lowest prices this time of year, not to mention there are smaller crowds wherever you go.
It is the best time to visit the Vatican Museums. You actually have time to linger at the Sistine Chapel and soak it all in. Skip the line; tickets are best ordered through the Vatican Museum’s own website. You can also reserve a multitude of guided tours by those employed by the Vatican and see areas that are normally impossible to visit during the high season. You will have plenty of elbow room at the Papal Audience where during the summer months the crowd surges to 80,000. Should the weather turn on you, the weekly Papal Audience is held in the Papal Auditorium, said to have better acoustics that the Basilica of St. Peter’s.
Rome is sweltering in the summer months and more difficult than touring in winter. Warmer than most European cities, it is comfortable for outdoor sites such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum and wandering the through the ancient district of Trastevere where the cobblestones first laid in Roman times still stand.
This year, the Colosseum was named one of the new seven wonders of the world. It will be possible to visit the two newly opened areas with restricted access. The past two years, the Colosseum underground level and third level have been open to the public. It’s near impossible to get tickets during the summer as it is strictly limited. Your chances of visiting the upper third level offering a bird’s eye view of Rome in the ‘cheap seats’ for ancient Romans and the underground chambers are all but guaranteed.
Here you will get to experience what few tourists can, retracing the footsteps of the Gladiators. This area even then was only for Gladiators and wild animals. You will walk the same path they did in 80 AD, walking directly under the stage and see a model of the trap door used to raise them to the Arena’s floor. For the first time since 1975, a limited number of tickets to climb the 3rd, 4th and 5th rings allow you an extraordinary viewpoint from the top of the Cavea, sweeping down to the Arena below and the city of Rome beyond.
The Roman Catacombs hold their temperature year round, and you can walk into the Borghese Gallery without advanced tickets. Rome’s best exhibitions are during the winter months.
Take time to see museums off the beaten path, like the National Pasta Museum or the Doria Pamphili Gallery, The Jewish Museum and the National Museum of 21st Century Art. There is an interesting museum of horse-drawn carriages perfect if you’re bringing the kids.
Winter allows you to enjoy the city at a slower pace; relax in the warmth of a family trattoria, enjoy a wine tasting at Roscioli, go ice skating under the iconic umbrella pines surrounding a temporary rink set up at Castel San ‘ Angelo. Have Panettone with a cup of hot chocolate. Stop into Coromandel for a change from the typical croissant and cappuccino breakfast and enjoy a belly-warming hot breakfast or Antica Fabbrica del Cioccolato, a restaurant converted from a chocolate factory where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinners or a little bit of chocolate. Visit the three churches where Caravaggio’s paintings are ‘in situ,’ the actual churches he painted them for. Take time as Audrey and Gregory did, to visit La Bocca Della Verita. Legend still holds that if you tell a lie while your hand is inserted in this icon’s mouth, he bites it off. After a foodie trek to the Testaccio district, visit the Protestant Cemetery for some of the most beautiful statues honoring some of the most famous and important graves anywhere in the world. Spend a morning at Eatly, an incredible food emporium of 18 restaurants and food stalls from all 20 regions of Italy.
The city seems to be cozier in winter; Romans thrive in sun and sand, and during the cooler months spend more times indoors at their favorite trattorias and bars eating simple comfort foods you won’t find on the menus in warmer months. Just strolling past them will indicate the best places to eat like a Roman and you’ll find the staff is more relaxed allowing a true Roman experience.
And while there is so much to do in this eternal city, the Frecciarossa train now allows you to be in Renaissance city of Florence or the quaint Umbrian town of Orvieto in ninety minutes, making for an enjoyable day trip.

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professionally-fit

A Professionally Fit Lifestyle

Creating a “realistically” fit lifestyle has become a challenge for many of us. Each of us battle with this target personally and some of us professionally. The demand for our time will shift throughout life and seems to be increasing. With the expanse of online entrepreneurship, it seems there are professionals actually getting the balance […]

Creating a “realistically” fit lifestyle has become a challenge for many of us. Each of us battle with this target personally and some of us professionally. The demand for our time will shift throughout life and seems to be increasing. With the expanse of online entrepreneurship, it seems there are professionals actually getting the balance accomplished when you view their posts on social media. However, it’s quite easy to portray an image of perfection while others are struggling to comprehend how even to make the time to get started.

Our lifestyles usually shift with age and lifestyle choices. We all seem to be working harder, claim to be working smarter, but the results will always speak for themselves. If you push too hard, you will burn out, risk adrenal fatigue and other negative health impacts which are often answered with a pharmaceutical Band-Aid.

Some key nutritional lifestyles have gained reputable popularity that I personally investigate and implement myself. I personally create balance between the NSNG (No Sugars/No Grains) lifestyle, the Paleo (Paleolithic) lifestyle, and the Keto (Ketogenic) lifestyle. All of these dietary lifestyles involve whole food and clean eating. Now, to be honest, you should also be considering proper vitamin and supplementation these days only due to the fact that years of commercial farming has generated food supplies that our nutrient deficient. That said, yes there’s an additional component involving naturally sourced vitamins and nutritional shake systems to gain more nutrient dense solutions.

DIET, this word has become a negative connotation since it doesn’t symbolize a healthy, long-term way of living. This is a four-letter word that should be used moving forward in successful health and wellness practices. Diet symbolizes a short-term mindset whereas Lifestyle promotes the longevity. We need to be implementing “Lifestyle” changes and enhancements that can be maintained over the long haul. Crash dieting doesn’t create positive change, and the results are always temporary due to the negative impacts to our hormonal alignment. We must start with small changes to see how you adapt and can ensure a maintenance mindset. Celebrate the little wins along the way.

Intermittent fasting is another successful component of the ketogenic lifestyle to help your body reach a healthy state of ketosis. Incorporate fasting and cleansing are other historically proven lifestyle enhancements. These practices existed in over many years and are represented differently in multiple cultures around the world. I personally found these practices beneficial after firefighting to restore my adrenal fatigue.

But I’m Super Busy, and I don’t have the time… Consider meal prepping your clean eating, whole food solutions. Do a “Grill-Up Sunday” where you prep extra proteins on the grill or baked in the oven. Pull out a big pot and steam a large quantity broccoli or your rich green veggies. Those foods can then be easily stored in ready to travel Tupperware or travel-friendly meal planning bags.

Rethinking the Fast-food Choices… If you’re on the road and thinking about those fast-food conveniences, start rethinking what those food choices will be. Go for the grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side vs. the fast-food burger, fries, and a sugar bomb shake. We all know the struggle, and we all truly have a choice.

Your body and mind need time to adapt, recalibrate, and adjust as your lifestyle choices improve. We need to channel that energy and drive into caring about our overall mental health, fitness, nutrition, and especially along with our proper rest and recovery.

Disclaimer… The information provided above is my own research, opinions, and experiences so LIVETHEFUEL cannot be held liable. Please always consult a professional doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

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You’ve Got the Appointment… Now what?!

Last article we talked about what to do once you have their business card. Shooting them an email or a phone call, sending them a hand written note, and connecting with them on social media. Now if you did that correctly and made a real connection with a great first impression, you should have landed […]

Last article we talked about what to do once you have their business card. Shooting them an email or a phone call, sending them a hand written note, and connecting with them on social media. Now if you did that correctly and made a real connection with a great first impression, you should have landed your self a meeting, a coffee date, etc. Here are three things you can do to make this time matter.

1 DON’T SELL

Yes, you read that correctly.  You’re not going to sell you, your company, or products.  You want to build lots of trust and value with this person.  Now if they are a hot prospect and express interest in what you offer, then by all means sell. But, use this time to learn more about this person on a personal and professional. I like to create friendships and help people as much as I can.  As a result of this usually means business for you in the long run.

2 Ask LOTS of questions

If you meet at their office, request a tour to learn about them and their company.  People are proud of their jobs and usually, love to show it off.  As a side note, I love going to different businesses to learn and see what they do.  Especially if it’s manufacturing and distributing, I find that whole process fascinating. When you ask, dig deeper into questions and listen.  You will usually get more information and find out their real needs and wants. Which in the long run will help you see how you can serve them. Not just think of how you can help but also how you can connect them with people who can assist them too.

3 Send them business

Spending all that time with them, you should now know who they serve, who serves them, and who their competition is. Now that you know who their best type of client is, send them business!  We’re connected to so many people I’m sure you can send them a few referrals or some business who can buy what they sell.  Just something as simple as a an email connecting the two. The email should explain what each person does and why they would benefit from knowing each other.

That’s it, seems simple, doesn’t it.  That’s because it is.  Why don’t more people do this you ask? I think it’s because they are playing the short game and want the instant gratification instead of playing the long game.  Trying to build trust and value before going in for the sale. Remember it pays off to be more interested than interesting!

Find me on all social media platforms @DennyCorby and please come say “hello” at the next Network Magazine event.

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The Laws of Leadership

Leadership And Success Every significant human accomplishment has been the result of one common ingredient: strong leadership. The value of leadership cannot be overstated, and it is as vitally important today as it has ever been in our nations, large corporations, small businesses, families, churches, and volunteer organizations. Strong Leadership is the key to success. […]

Leadership And Success

Every significant human accomplishment has been the result of one common ingredient: strong leadership. The value of leadership cannot be overstated, and it is as vitally important today as it has ever been in our nations, large corporations, small businesses, families, churches, and volunteer organizations. Strong Leadership is the key to success.
Many people believe that there is a “leadership gene” that some possess from birth, but the truth is that everybody has the potential to be a highly effective leader. Leadership is governed by a set of laws that everyone can learn and apply.

Why Is Leadership Important?

John Maxwell, the world’s #1 leadership authority, says that your level of effectiveness, and therefore your success, is determined by your leadership ability. If you have low leadership ability, you will experience little success. If your leadership ability is strong, you will enjoy greater success. It is The Law of the Lid.

One of my friends loves McDonald’s hamburgers. McDonald’s started in 1937 as a single restaurant owned by brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald. They became very successful when they discovered that streamlining their menu and implementing tight processes in the kitchen resulted in a quality product produced quickly and consistently. The fast-food industry was born.

However, the McDonalds failed miserably at franchising the restaurant. They had hit their Leadership Lid. It took Ray Kroc, a blender salesman, to successfully franchise the operation. Kroc’s Leadership Lid was much higher, and therefore he enjoyed much greater success.

What Is Leadership?

Margaret Thatcher said, “Being in power is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you’re not!”

Some believe that a person’s position in the corner office or the top position on the organizational chart makes them a leader. That is not true.

A person who has a position of leadership in an organization usually has leverage, and their team members must do what that person says if they want to keep their jobs. It is command and control, and that leverage is only in effect during business hours.

True leadership is influence, not leverage, and influence is enabled by adding value to people. True leaders have influence all of the time, including nights, holidays, and weekends. People follow true leaders because they want to, not because they have to. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”

Increase Your Leadership Skills

Leadership is a learnable skill that evolves over time. You can’t read one book or attend one training program and become a great leader overnight.  It takes time, commitment, and continual investment into your leadership skills. If you make that investment, your leadership skills, and your success will increase.

Everything worth doing takes a process. Anyone that has learned to read, write, or play a musical instrument knows this.

When we see a world-class musician or athlete performing, we think, “They are so talented!” We tend to minimize the years of training and dedication that went into the short performance that we see on the world stage.

A woman sat in the audience and watched a master pianist play a concert. Afterwards, she spoke with the performer and said, “I’d give anything to play like you do.”

The pianist looked at her and said, “No you wouldn’t, or you already would have. You’d give anything except eight hours of practice every day for 20 years – anything but that!  If you gave what I have given, then you would play pretty much as well as I do. Maybe a little less, maybe a little better, but pretty much the same.”

A process takes time. Begin developing and enhancing your leadership skills now. Don’t wait for the next opportunity to present itself – by then it will be too late!

Start now and be ready. Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

Here are some good ways to get started:

  • Read and apply “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell
  • Join a Mastermind Group that focuses on Leadership
  • Hire a Leadership Coach.
  • Increase your success by investing in your leadership skills today. Your future self will thank you.

Michael Barrovecchio is President of CAPO Leadership Consulting and a Certified John Maxwell Team Coach, Trainer, and Speaker. He equips organizations with the Maxwell Method of Leadership, enabling business leaders and teams to perform at increased levels of effectiveness and influence. He can be reached at 732-713-1900 or Michael@CAPOLeadershipConsulting.com.

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What Direction Are You Taking Your Business?

For nearly two decades, I have had the privilege of working with corporations and small businesses on their legal needs, as well as experiencing my own entrepreneurial ventures.  As I journeyed down the path of capitalistic dreams and helped others pursue theirs, I saw many succeed, and many fail.  I often wondered what the difference […]

For nearly two decades, I have had the privilege of working with corporations and small businesses on their legal needs, as well as experiencing my own entrepreneurial ventures.  As I journeyed down the path of capitalistic dreams and helped others pursue theirs, I saw many succeed, and many fail.  I often wondered what the difference between the two extremes was?  It seemed like a very fine line.  On paper, everything was set up perfectly – the business plan, the work ethic, marketing, reserve capital, etc. Yet, over time, some businesses profit, while other failed drastically.
Many of us know that success at any organization starts with leadership.  But many business leaders fail to recognize that their very own projection of energy through the manifestation of their own thoughts could be the determining factor of becoming a millionaire or facing financial ruins.
In my new book to be released this Spring, “ Decide. Believe Change.”, I explore the concept of the two driving energy factors in this world – positive and negative. We as individuals have no choice but to gravitate to one of these forces.  We do, however, have a choice as to which.  Whether we decide to focus on negative or positive energy, it all stems from our focus on a belief we have, which leads to our decisions.
It’s certainly not easy having your own business and being a business leader.  To say all one has to do is focus on your goal, is an understatement and comical at best.  Yes, there is truth to this fact.  But how many times is it impossible to focus on your business goals when you have a minimal cash flow to pay your bills, employees who are not doing their job and giving you attitude, the customer who enjoys writing bad reviews online, or the Taxman knocking at your door?
While a business leader may start out with the positive outlook and energy to succeed, the daily grind and issues that try to prevent any individual from succeeding, sadly often drop an anchor in our progressive thought process.  This, in turn, leads to a focus on fear and doubt.  “What if I can’t make payroll this week?”, “If I fire a certain employee, a good number of customers are going to be mad.  Plus, will I find a replacement?”, or “I won’t be able to pay our primary vendor, so how can I continue ordering from them?”
The issues that lead to fear and doubt, certainly cannot be ignored, but as business leaders, we can not allow them to be our focus.  If we do, we will be projecting a manifestation of a world (our business) that will have these negative energies drawn to it.  This will ultimately lead to a downfall.  There will not be a drive to success in our corporate culture, but a lingering fear of what tomorrow brings.  If we can, however, register these negative factors in our minds as simply obstacles that will be addressed, and focus on the energy and positive excitement one had when their business venture was in its inception, we will find success one day closer and not further.  The negative obstacles will be conquered and not overcome us.
Negative factors will always be present.  That’s what balances out this world.  But remember, your thought process has a choice – either follow the negative that tries to take hold of you and your future to lead to self-destruction or foster the positive energies and the focus on successes of this world that you deserve.  Let the negatives simply be obstacles you will get around in order to meet your goal(s), and remain focused on the big picture of success that energized you on day one. So, you need to ask yourself – what direction are you leading your business?

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The Theory of 5

How Finding Mentors Will Improve Your Prosperity None of us live alone. We share this world with each other and, as a result, have an impact on each person we interact with, and they with us. We are a reflection of those around us. Look at your spouse, co-workers, relatives or friends you have had […]

How Finding Mentors Will Improve Your Prosperity

None of us live alone. We share this world with each other and, as a result, have an impact on each person we interact with, and they with us.

We are a reflection of those around us. Look at your spouse, co-workers, relatives or friends you have had since childhood. In most cases, your income, happiness, relationships, health, political views, and prosperity will be the average of these five people. Like a parent worried about the “bad influences” in their child’s group of friends, those around us will have an impact — either positive or negative — on our income, attitude, goals, and future.

This is a topic I’ve focused on for the past 30 years. In that time, I’ve developed what I call “The Theory of 5,” and this theory has shaped how I think and with whom I spend my time.
The Theory of 5 is based on the idea of finding mentors for different areas of your life, listening to their advice and asking them to guide and challenge you to walk the best path to your best self. Often, all it takes to gain the insight and attention of a mentor is just to ask for it. People are flattered to find someone admires them enough to ask for their counsel, and many times will agree to become a mentor to someone willing to learn and grow.

There are five areas I believe it’s particularly important to focus on and find mentors to guide us:

1 Business and Finance — No matter what job you have or field you work in, finding a mentor who can give you advice in your career and in handling money is vital. Unless they were born into money or a family business, almost everyone starts from the bottom. Those who have worked themselves into positions you admire faced similar challenges and obstacles you’ll face. Get their advice, listen to their stories and let them help you chart a course to the future you want for yourself.

2 Marriage — Most of us will marry a partner in our lifetime, but based on the 50 percent divorce rate in the United States, being an exceptional husband or wife doesn’t come easy for most. Find that exceptional couple who you’d like to emulate and ask them how they’ve made their relationship work through life’s challenges. It sometimes takes effort to stay together; learn how to put that energy to its best use.

3 Parenting — Raising a child is one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs a person can have in their life. Find a parent you admire, someone you see doing a great job with their children. Tell them why you admire his or her accomplishments and ask them to share with you some of the lessons they’ve learned, mistakes they’ve made and how they’ve become the parent you admire.

4 Spirituality/Religion — Our spirituality is the lens through which we view the lessons the world wants to teach us and helps us make sense of them. Find a mentor who can walk with you through life’s inevitable ups and downs and provide counsel from their point of view. Their guidance can provide a valuable counterpoint to those with a strictly secular point of view.

5 Health and Fitness — No matter what kind of success you have in life, it means next to nothing without your health. Our bodies need care, maintenance, and good fuel to carry us through our days. Find a mentor who can not only model what a healthy, active lifestyle looks and feels like, but one who will also hold you accountable for your own habits and keep you focused on maintaining and improving your fitness.

One of the great joys in this life is that we don’t have to go it alone. No matter what area you’re focused on at any given moment, sharing, talking and getting advice will help you meet and overcome each challenge you face. It’s a much tougher, lonelier road when you go it alone — and that loneliness is completely unnecessary. Choose your five mentors wisely, surround yourself with high achievers and join their ranks.

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Innovation Will Not Grow in a Toxic Environment

Smart business owners today are always looking for new ways to attract top people to join their organizations. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have a creative, vibrant and empowering workplace environment and it all starts with attracting the best people to fit into that culture. As the workforce tightens and […]

Smart business owners today are always looking for new ways to attract top people to join their organizations. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have a creative, vibrant and empowering workplace environment and it all starts with attracting the best people to fit into that culture. As the workforce tightens and competition for exceptional workers intensifies, finding those candidates can prove challenging.

Margo Trott Mukkulainen, a nationally recognized freelance writer, creative marketing consultant and editor of myHR Partner’s myHR Blog agrees, “Every new addition to your team creates a new dynamic that will impact your workforce. The right person can move your company forward in new ways. They can and should have a positive influence in a way that grows your business, or at the very least maintain your success.”

In my career, I have experienced both. I’ve worked in environments where a healthy life/work balance was encouraged by the leadership, the work was creative and meaningful, and the employees were invited to share their ideas openly. I have also worked in toxic environments, and they will sap your energy, drain your soul and make it difficult just to get through the day.

“I have seen time and time again how one or two bad hiring decisions can derail an entire workplace. I have also seen how a good hire can go bad quickly if the workplace was a toxic one. The best workplaces are innovative enough to evolve to meet the needs of the customers, the company, and the employees. Part of that “secret sauce” is knowing how critical the right hire is for every position—and knowing how to keep them happy within the organization.” Mukkulainen added.

Having even one toxic person poisoning the culture inside your company can prove costly. “The average cost-per-hire is $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report. And the cost of making a bad hire can have on your company can be several tens of thousands of dollars.” Mukkulainen cautioned.

So, what does this all mean? Well, owners need to be open to set the conditions that create a culture where people openly share their ideas, are not afraid to take risks, respect each other’s contributions, and have autonomy to solve customer issues without involving management. If you’re lucky enough to work in that type of environment, you are more productive, will have lower stress levels and you will look forward to going to work every day.

Consider this, have you ever found yourself getting anxious on a Sunday evening because you have work the next day? That’s a dead giveaway that you should seek other employment.

“The best workplaces I have seen are innovative enough to evolve to meet the needs of the customers, the company, and the employees. Hiring someone who does not fit into your company culture can set up a climate of stress and distraction for everyone.” Mukkulainen warned.

“People are more interested than ever in company cultures and employer brands, even when they are not job hunting, which is why developing these is crucial to building a strong workforce. Hiring someone who does not fit into your company culture can set up a climate of stress and distraction for everyone. And your talent will flee if there’s too much negative drama.” Mukkulainen stressed. The best companies know this and work hard at retaining and evolving their workplace cultures. Don’t ever underestimate the power a good hire can have on your success. Give it the attention it deserves.

Margo has written extensively about many of these issues on myHR Blog, and you can find it here at… http://myhrpartnerinc.com/category/myhr-blog/

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Wildlife Friendly® Steps You Can Take Towards Local and Global Conservation Action

Humans are constantly changing the planet, often altering precious landscapes and putting ourselves into conflict with other species. Our neighborhoods were wild not long ago, and we now share our properties with the fauna found here. In some places, human-wildlife conflict is obvious, like a predator that might cause livestock losses. In the Lehigh Valley, […]

Humans are constantly changing the planet, often altering precious landscapes and putting ourselves into conflict with other species. Our neighborhoods were wild not long ago, and we now share our properties with the fauna found here. In some places, human-wildlife conflict is obvious, like a predator that might cause livestock losses. In the Lehigh Valley, the conflict looks a bit different, like waterfowl droppings on lawns, the extermination of a bat roost, or raccoons getting into trash.

I moved to the Lehigh Valley after working with wildlife in Maine, New York City, Mexico, and elsewhere. I have been a member of the Allentown Environmental Advisory Council since mid-2016. I work for the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), a non-profit that uses certification as a tool to incentivize best practices for wildlife, communities, and ecosystems around the world. WFEN was founded on the belief that social enterprise could be a tool to create incentives for conservation of fragile landscapes and species.

We offer Wildlife Friendly® certification for products that exemplify the compatibility between enterprise, species conservation, and livelihoods, including spices, essential oils, handmade paper, wool, handicrafts, and artisanal foods. We recently certified the world’s first Wildlife Friendly™ and Jaguar Friendly™ Coffee, Elephant Friendly™ Tea (a partnership with the University of Montana Broader Impacts Group), and we are continuing to grow our programs to protect Jaguars, Sea Turtles, Mountain Gorillas, and other iconic species. Our network is growing and now supports 270,000+ livelihoods 13+ million hectares of habitat.
Consumers are drawn to companies making positive impacts on ecosystems and communities. This is an evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility that has largely been limited to energy and waste reduction, fiscal donations, or volunteer days. We know companies can do better, and we work directly with companies like Aveda, the Kering Group, Stella McCartney, resort developers, and others to create Wildlife Friendly® supply chains.

What can you do to protect key species, from the humble Honeybee to Pennsylvania’s endangered Bog Turtle, from Wolves of Yellowstone to Tigers of Nepal? We recommend asking these questions of your business practices:

  1. Am I addressing any negative impacts I may have on wildlife?
    • Do your planned development projects protect important wildlife habitats?
    • Are you taking steps to protect wildlife on existing properties? For example, does the reflective glass on your building result in bird deaths? Are you frequently calling exterminators to get rid of wildlife from your home or business? If so, there are easy solutions to these problems.
  2. Am I making a positive impact in the Lehigh Valley? Examples include:
    •  Planting native plants for pollinators, putting up bat boxes, installing a pond, reducing pesticide and fertilizer use, and providing incentives for employees to protect wildlife at home.• Educating others never to litter or pollute and to reduce their single-use plastic footprint.
    • Never feeding wildlife
      • The only exception is for bird feeders, so long as the feeders do not attract bears who easily habituate to humans and associated food sources. We all know ‘a fed bear is a dead bear’ due to conflict with humans often caused by attractants like animal feed, garbage, or bird seed.
      • Bird feeders should be appropriately cleaned and situated, with the right amount and type of seed.
    • Taking measures to prevent the spread of harmful invasive species like the Spotted Lanternfly.
    • Supporting local and sustainable farmers, frequenting environmentally-conscious businesses, and supporting sustainable planning.
    • Asking farmers if they use Wildlife Friendly® and Predator Friendly® practices and requesting these types of products from farmers and retailers.
    • Being a Citizen Scientist by monitoring wildlife at your office or in your backyard on apps like iNaturalist.
  3. Am I supporting conservation elsewhere in the world?
    • Everything from our sunscreens, straws, bags, foods, and vacations has an impact on wildlife. We all love seeing animals in the wild or at the zoo, but how many of us truly act as champions for wildlife on a day-to-day basis? Purchasing Wildlife Friendly™ products is one way to do so. You can also avoid companies and goods which threaten wildlife.

Many companies have seen the benefits of integrating conservation with business strategy, but there is always room for growth. Any business in the Lehigh Valley, including developers, realtors, restaurants, manufacturers, landscapers, farms, and others can stand to gain from this perspective. I have seen Wildlife Friendly® practices revitalize markets, change lives, and beautify landscapes across the planet. I am sure that the Lehigh Valley can see the same success as it creates a new vision for its future.


 Join Our Tribe!
You can follow the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network at:
Instagram: @wildlifefriendly
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wildlifefriendly
Twitter: @wfen

http://www.wildlifefriendly.org

For more information, contact Marissa at marissa@wildlifefriendly.org

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