Sunday, October 24, 2010

Here We Go Again: Social Networks Should Add to Human Interactions - Not Takeaway

Harris Interactive this week released findings that state and I quote, “ Thanks to Social Networks, Americans feel more connected to people. But a majority say that they have less face-to-face contact recently as well.”

Really? Is anyone surprised by this?

What burns me about this poll is the fact that there are no probing, deeper questions asked about the state of people's relationships. Read the full story here

Whoopdee you feel closer to people you don't see because you know what's going on in their lives. Further, you have less face-to-face contact with people because of all the time you spend online on social networks. Does this seem jacked up to anybody else but me?

I've said it before and I'll say it again–people should not let social networks replace intentional  interactions with people. Facebook, Twitter etc etc - can enhance your relationships but in no way should serve as the only contact you have with people close to you.

We all have many levels of relationship with friends/family/colleagues. Facebook can facilitate maintaining long distance relationships but should not replace all contact with those distant friends/relatives/colleagues. For me, it serves as reminder to intentionally reach out and when I get no response repeatedly - those folks should not be surprised that I end our "friendship" on Facebook. I'd rather not know anything and have no contact than  pseudo "know everything" and have no real interactions.

Twitter, on the other hand, has been a great facilitator of information for me, my business and my network. Surprisingly, I've also had some quality exchanges and made some great connections.

That stated - I love these social networks because I am social at heart. They just amplify my normal way of being. I am saddened yet encouraged to read the Harris piece because it validates Relationships Matter Now, LLC mission. People - now more than ever - need assistance building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Let's be wise in how we use social networks. Let's commit to using them to enrich our lives with others vs replace our lives with others.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vacation is Necessary Family Time!

Sponsored By

Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine and Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

All these seem like great options - except the tent.

Now that both Barreto kids are school age,  2010  marks the first year that we are regulated to vacation time with everyone else and boy, does it stink.  We just spent much more on plane tickets for two upcoming vacations around Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve simply because of the timing. But I wouldn't change it because vacation has become a necessary ritual for the Barretos.  I'd even go so far as to say it's a necessary ritual for all families.

Whether it's a "staycation",  a Griswold-like road trip or flying away to an exotic locale or cruise–families absolutely need the opportunity to unwind together on a regular basis. Because like in all other relationships, families need the following:

Rest from the everyday routine that weekends cannot truly give
To spend time together in another environment
The opportunity to huddle together and just love on one another 24 hours a day for however many days
Build traditions unrelated to a specific place

These are a few of the wonderful fringe benefits we have encountered as we've vacationed together over the last 10 years.  Through tough times, and through times of plenty we have always made it a priority to spend time together, away from home.

So what would be Ultimate Vacation for the Barretos?  There was no agreement between us when asked.

My nine-year-old daughter and I were in agreement that Australia would be our ultimate vacation. My husband suggested a tour around the Mediterranean, including stops in Greece, Spain and Italy and not necessarily  a cruise. My five-year-old son said LA would be his ultimate vacation (and he should know since he had a blast there a few years back).

So unless some big windfall hits us or my new business suddenly lands 10 new clients, I don't see any of the aforementioned ultimate vacations in our immediate future.  With that in mind I asked the team again, what would be our ultimate vacation? The answer may surprise you but we unanimously said our ultimate vacation would involve good food, no work and most importantly, each other.
This is us celebrating Evan's 4th birthday at Walt Disney World.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yet Another Lesson From the Arm(ageddon)

12 weeks ago, my right arm just stop working. Without much fanfare or warning.

One week ago, a diagnostic MRI was performed on that same arm and revealed a growth sitting on my  radial nerve causing havoc. Arm(ageddon) is almost over and I'll be headed to surgery soon.

All the time in between was spent treating symptoms of a problem I did not have. Truth be told, I was in shock at what the hand specialist told me. His words rang in my ear for days and I woke up the other night thinking about this and how this lesson is applicable in other areas of life.

Specifically relationships.

Don't wait "11 weeks" to do the "diagnostic work" on the issues you have in your relationships. Take the time to stop and find out the source of the problem before you ever treat any symptoms.

Seems simple, but stop and think to yourself–when was the last time I actually stopped and attempted to look beyond what I see in front of me when faced with difficulty with others?  It is human nature  just jump in and start  “fixing"  the "problem". Even when the "problem" is not completely defined or understood.

While my bum arm was an extreme case that rarely happens in medicine (or so they tell me), I know from experience that this behavior is common in human relations. So I challenge you to get at the root of whatever ails your interactions with others.

Self- reflect.

Be empathetic.

Get outside help (like my hand specialist that was called in late - imagine if they hadn't called him?).

Whatever you do - don't keep treating a problem that you don't truly understand.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

3 Ways Starting a New Biz is Similar to New Love

Over the last 90 days, I've had some familiar feelings that I have not had in exactly 10 years.

You see,  it was exactly 10 years ago in August that I met my husband in a Best Buy on a Sunday afternoon -  just thinking about it gives me chills.

The uncertainty among strong gut that "this is it".
The risk.
The heart outside your body feeling.

 I have been feeling all of the above,  all day, every day since I incorporated Relationships Matter Now.  I am convinced that the same ingredients found in new love   appear in the same form when one is starting a new business venture.

This Is It

We all know the feeling of utmost confidence living amongst traces of uncertainty.  In some areas, we move forward without thinking while other areas paralyze us.  The attraction is strong  and we can completely explain why moving forward is the best option for us at this time.   Heady certainty and giddy joy pushes us through the moments of doubt. “This is it” in love and business is the most exhilarating and terrifying statement all at once.


Perhaps one of the most  frightening part of both love and entrepreneurship is the risk.  Risk of rejection and risk of failure keep many from venturing into love or business.  Yet the endeavor of both involve so much risk that only the brave truly push through and make it happen.  The key is making the risk a calculated one. We do our homework. We look at options. We compare and contrast our intended as rigorously as our business idea. We don't overanalyze yet we move forward knowing that only great risks pay great rewards.


When you choose to love or start a new business, you are opening yourself up in ways you'd never imagine.  You literally feel as though a part of you is completely outside your control and it's true. However, it is essential to be vulnerable. It is in those vulnerable places where you really find out what you're capable of and believe me, it is much more than you think. The other really cool thing about vulnerability is the fact that it forces authenticity.   It is impossible to be both vulnerable and fake at the same time.  When you are real and true to who you are and your core beliefs, you cannot fail in love or in business. Should the relationship dissolve or the business go bankrupt - the rich life lessons you learned are invaluable and become part of your story AND contributors to your future success in both areas.

So ten years later - the love for my husband is no longer  new.  It is richer, deeper, battle-scarred and most importantly, enduring.  Only time will tell what will happen with Relationships Matter Now LLC.   My experience with love tells me gives me the hope that my experience with business will be equally good.