Breath of Hope

Breath of Hope: Biltmore, Chick-Fil-A, Annoying People and More

Hello readers!

Welcome to a new Breath of Hope! I enjoy reading quick tips and thoughts and even help to write “nudges” for a leadership app. So I got to thinking, with the change to a monthly Breath of Hope post, why not use a style of sharing the random things that cross my mind, path and desk in the course of a month? And with that comes, Breath of Hope: What’s Crossing My Mind, Path, and Desk.

I hope you enjoy these notes, in no particular order, and a video message as well!

A long-time friend (owner of an AirBnB in Wellford, SC) and I enjoyed a couple of days at the Biltmore Estate at the end of the month.   It’s important to get out of town occasionally, and I enjoyed the opportunity to tour the house, take in the Downton Abbey exhibit and absorb the mountain/valley scenery.  Have you gotten out of your normal environment recently? (See video below.)

Earlier in January, I won a free week of coworking at my favorite spot in downtown Greenville—Endeavor. It was a great opportunity for me to consider what is important in my workflow. Normally, I work from a home office, and try to co-work once every few weeks. But this time, I went for three straight days. I loved much about it, but also realized the importance of balancing time away from my home office with time in another location. Too many days in a row in either place makes for a less-effective approach to my work. I am fairly certain though I’ll be going to Endeavor a bit more often this year!

While at Endeavor, I attended a Collaborators and Cocktails event where Kevin Purcer, Director of Customer Digital Experience from Chick-fil-A spoke. It was a fascinating presentation about how CFA seeks to please the customer and keeps up with current trends in customer service.  Main takeaway? When you combine competence AND warmth, you have a winning combination for your business or professional work. 

A thought: every person you serve through your professional work, you also impact – in either a positive or negative way.

On and off since Thanksgiving (even Thanksgiving Day)  I’ve been working with Microsoft and then my website host, on streamlining my approach to email and tasks.  I’ve used MS products, especially Outlook, for much of my career. But now I have a more seamless online “office” that works well whether I’m in my home “cockpit” or at the dining table, or at a coffee shop, etc.  I use MS 365 for my business mail and routine tasks and have separated out two types of personal email. I can easily access my client-based email personas as well. It took time and effort and was sometimes frustrating, but I’m in a good place now. (Still on the lookout for a seamless option to integrate Google and Outlook calendars, though. Right now, I am using my Google calendar as primary and inviting my Outlook self.)

Wondering: who decided to put the “delete” option near the “rename” options in Microsoft? I worked on a huge project this month that involved changing the names of files and more than once I had to go into the recycle bin to retrieve a document I’d accidentally sent there by clicking on delete instead of rename!

As a person of faith, I choose to have God as a central part of my business.  This month, I read the book The Prayer Powered Entrepreneur by Kim Avery (you can purchase it through my bookshelf.)  I participated in Kim’s 31 days of prayer some time ago, and the book was written in part from that experience. I’m quoted in it and ws reminded of my own words of commitment that God be the CEO of this business.

Heard: “I’m not excited but ready.”  This was the reaction of a fine middle-school-aged young man at my church when I asked him about starting school back up after the holidays. What a mature and wise answer! What things are you ready to do even though you may not be excited about them?

A people challenge: I heard of a situation where a person essentially asked a colleague, “Tell me what you need from me” after she was already involved in a series of messages that explained what the group actually needed from her. Do you ever work with someone who won’t take the time to digest what’s been shared with them and expect YOU to just give them the marching orders? This can be related to their innate temperament. If they get overwhelmed by too much information, they may decide to ask someone else to filter it for them. This is understandable, but also annoying to those who DO take the time to read their email. Where do you fall? Emotionally intelligent people will understand and manage their personal reactions to stress and not expect others to handle responsibilities they should be taking care of.

Business Updates

I launched two additional services for those that don’t need a VA a lot, but a little.

  • One is a $25/month flat rate service where we cover a clear set of small tasks (i.e. less than one hour a month, but important, and that need to be handled monthly.)
  • The other is a Pay What You Want service, for one-time or occasional help (i.e. a strategy session, review of a document, etc.) An example … a friend asked me to review their resume and give feedback. The Pay What You Want plan worked great for that. For more info on our services, click here.

Freebie Focus

  • The February HOPE Hints page is available here and you may also enjoy the What I Love About Me exercise, relevant for February!
  • Free book: The Kindle version of my book, Boost Your Workplace Morale, will be available free February 5-9.  Click to add a reminder to your calendar

I’ll be back next month with another Breath of Hope, of things crossing my mind, path and desk. If you want to stay in touch more often, follow me on Instagram or friend request me on Facebook.  Enjoy this video greeting, and thanks for reading!


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