Meet as many people as you can!

I confess this is not something I would have thought to share with you. In fact, I’m that person who hates to meet people…not because I don’t like people; I’m just awkward in groups. I also feel uncomfortable trying to make small talk, and I’m terrible at remembering people’s names. I’ve done a better job of moving outside my comfort zone to meet people and talk to “strangers”, but it still make me feel uncomfortable.

So why then am I including this in my weekly memo? It’s because of something I read in the February edition of Inc., one of the magazines from Next Issue. In an interview with Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, he states that he thinks people can create their own luck and he suggests you do that by meeting as many people as you can and really getting to know them.

This reminded me of advice I gave you at different times when you were younger. Sarah did not know anyone in any of her classes when she moved to Osceola Middle School in sixth grade so I told her she was to come home each day and tell me the name of one person she met. Then I’d quiz her daily…who did you meet today? Tell me about her. After about five or six days of this, she finally told me about meeting Kemper. The plan worked out pretty well.

I used a similar strategy with Meghan when she went to UCF. Of course, she roomed with Tiffany so she had a friend, but she needed to meet others. Her instructions were a little different. I asked her to talk to three new people every day. I don’t think this resulted in any long-term friends, but she joined an accounting organization, met some students and professionals and became more confident and comfortable with people.

I’ve never really had to encourage Emily to meet people. In fact, she told me she wanted to go to the University of Miami because she wouldn’t know anyone there. She wanted to meet all new people; so I think she’d agree that by joining groups and meeting people she’s created some luck of her own. Whether working with the Baptist Campus Ministries or Delta, Delta, Delta she met many people and got to know them well.

So back to Tony Hsieh.

He says if you’re in an environment where you’re always running into people, the chances of one of those collisions being meaningful is maybe 1 in 1,000. But if you do it 100 times more, your odds go up. His advice: Meet lots of different people without trying to extract value from them. You don’t need to connect the dots right away. But if you think about each person as a new dot on your canvas, over time, you’ll see the full picture.

I think that’s great advice. My Dad may be the best example of getting out there and meeting people. I don’t think he’s ever met a stranger. He makes friends with people he meets at the horse races, garage sales, and at church. He doesn’t think about how someone he meets may help him further his goals. He just enjoys people…all people. Who would have thought he’d rent a motor home from the butcher at the meat market? I don’t think he expected to play golf with professional football players when he became friends with a coworker. And someone he met at the football booster club later gave Jeff his first job. He’s made some of his own good luck by being a people person.

Get out there. Meet a lot of people. Get to know those you work with. Join organizations. Go to the gym. Enjoy those random contacts and cultivate relationships. Work at creating your own good luck.


Go Green Step 1: Reduce


Yesterday I encouraged you to “Go Green” by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Today, I’d like help you make it happen.

First reduce water consumption:
Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers.  Wash only full loads of laundry or dishes. Wash your car so that the extra water runs in to the grass instead of paved surfaces. Follow guidelines for watering your lawn. It doesn’t take a lot of water to keep your grass and plants healthy. If you get really serious there are numerous ways to reuse water from baths and showers or by installing environmentally friendly plumbing fixtures.

Next, reduce electric usage:
Turn off lights, TVs, and other items not in use. Unplug chargers, toasters, and anything else that isn’t essential.  (I saw a woman swear she was saving over $50 each month just by unplugging electronics when not in use…sounds like an exaggeration, but saving money would be a good extra benefit.) Adjust the temperature on your water heater or better yet put it on a timer so you’re not heating water that you don’t need.

Don't forget to adjust your thermostat...maybe even invest in a programmable one.
Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat…maybe even invest in a programmable one.

Reduce fuel  consumption:
Plan your trips more efficiently. While buying a car with better gas mileage is a worthy goal, it doesn’t make sense to buy a new car just for the mileage – especially if you don’t need a new vehicle. I’m no poster child for gas saving vehicles. A Suburban can hardly be used as a good example of energy efficiency, but you have take into consideration your needs. If you need to pull a trailer, or carry more than two passengers, or transport items, or travel, you may need to make some mileage concessions to meet other needs. Carpool. Maybe you want to use a bike for some of your transportation. John and I rode bikes to work every day during the gas shortage in the summer of 1979. Of course it helped that we were working at a camp so dress clothes were not required. I also rode a bike to South Ocala to teach summer school one year. It really does feel great if you can do this, but if not, you may able to ride to the store or to a local restaurant or friend’s house. An interesting statistic: for every 10 miles you bike instead of driving, you reduce carbon emissions by 500 pounds. Just think how much I’ve saved by working from home!

Reduce use of paper, plastic, and packaging:                                                                                                                      Eliminating paper plates and other disposable eating utensils may not be practical everyday, but make an effort to use these products rarely instead of daily. Use fewer paper napkins and paper towels. You might even consider using cloth napkins. (You know you can use them more than once.) Fewer paper cups, plastic bottles, and no Styrofoam are goals to set. These are easy ways to make small changes in your habits.

The single best change I’ve made in recent years: reading digital content. We no longer need to recycle the two newspapers that were delivered daily and haven’t sacrificed access anything since we can access the information on the computer, iPad, even the phone if you can tolerate reading on such a small screen. Next Issue eliminates stacks of magazines with expanded digital content, and since receiving a Kindle for Christmas four years ago, I rarely purchase a book in the traditional format. If it’s not available digitally, then it’s time to make a trip to the library.

While the purpose of these tips is to conserve resources, they also result in saving money. Just last week I got our lowest utility bill in the 25+ years we’ve lived in this house. With five people and a pool, we’ve had utility bills as high as $600. Last week, for the first time, I received a bill of less than $200. In fact, only $167, of which $41 are for services and fees-not related to water or electric use. Of course, we’re down to two people and the pool is gone, but it sure feels good to save money, water, and electricity. Going green saves green too.

Thumbs Up for Next Issue

The Next Image icon
The Next Image icon

The alert on my calendar indicates that it’s time to make a decision about Next Issue. Three weeks ago I signed up for the free trial of the Next Issue app and since I entered my credit card information at the time, I set an alert to make sure I cancelled before being charged. Now, three weeks later, I’ve decided to keep this app. I’ve read more magazines in three weeks than I’ve read in three years.

The Basic Plan includes unlimited access to over 70 titles including one year of back issues for each title. Better yet, the print content is enhanced with digital features which make for a better reading experience.

I knew I’d read Real Simple, HGTV, and Southern Living, but I’ve also enjoyed Fitness and Health.  What I’ve found most surprising is how much I’ve enjoyed reading Fortune, Money, and Inc.

A few of the titles available on Next Issue
A few of the titles available on Next Issue

Occasionally, I pick up a magazine while waiting in the checkout line at Publix, but they don’t offer the selection; and I can’t remember the last time I drove to the bookstore to purchase a magazine.

The best surprise so far has been Inc. It’s a magazine I’d never read but have thoroughly enjoyed…reading three back issues. So the verdict’s in. I’m going to keep this app. The $9.99 monthly payment is less than the cost of any two magazines purchased at the newsstand, and I’m able to share it with my family since the subscription can be loaded on five devices.

This one earns a thumbs up!

Next Issue earns a thumbs up.
Next Issue earns a thumbs up.

Next Issue

The Next Image icon
The Next Image icon

Last weekend I downloaded a magazine app called Next Issue. They offer a one month free trial, and even though I had to enter my credit card information so it could be charged next month if I fail to cancel (something I usually refuse to do), I felt it looked like something I would enjoy. So, I downloaded, registered, and set an alert on my calendar to remind me in three weeks to cancel if I decide this isn’t a service I’ll use.

Next Issue offers unlimited access to digital editions of popular print magazines. Entertainment, craft and hobby, family and parenting, health and fitness, food and cooking, business and finance, and automotive are a few of the categories included in their collection. Money, Southern Living, Fitness, and Real Simple are among more than seventy-five titles available. And not only do you have access to the current issue, but to all back issues for the past twelve months.

I’ve read Southern Living, Fitness, Eating Well, Rachel Ray Every Day, Bride, and Real Simple since downloading. I know for sure I’ll never go back to print editions. I’ve always hated the way magazines stack up, but I have a difficult time throwing them out… which is no longer a problem. (I never would have purchased six magazines in one month!) But the best thing about the tablet editions it the extra content. Videos and interactive features make the digital format much better than the print.

A few of the titles available on Next Issue
A few of the titles available on Next Issue

Now for the bad news. The cost of monthly access is $9.99 for the basic plan – all of the magazines I’ve mentioned and a total of about fifty or $14.99 for the premium plan which includes additional weekly magazines like Sports Illustrated, Time, People, and The New Yorker. But despite the price, I think I’m going to continue the subscription. I’m currently paying for three magazine subscriptions at about $60 per year so if I use that toward Next Issue that pays for six months. As a bonus I won’t have magazines spread all over the house. And finally, the app can be downloaded to five mobile devices which means all members of my family will have access to all of the basic content. Now that makes the monthly price a bargain for me…especially because there’s no continuing commitment. I can cancel at any time. I’m looking forward to adding magazines to my reading list.