GIVING BACK – WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
I was struck the other day as I was thinking back about one of my niece’s many Christmas gifts this year, a book, the 35th year Anniversary Edition of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. If you have never read it, I highly suggest it as it has a great lesson for both young and old and it made me think even more as I was reflecting on this month of love, Black History and President’s Day and I thought to myself, what does it really mean to “give”?
I am sure in the season of Valentine’s Day we of course think of love and giving and receiving of gifts, cards, flowers, chocolates, etc. We might even go out on a limb and think of it being a month to think about our hearts and the hearts of others and giving of blood. (I strongly encourage this by the way! Having been the recipient of not one, but two blood transfusions in my lifetime, I encourage everyone to donate.) Giving blood is great gift and a very much needed one, any time of the year. You and your staff could make donating blood a quarterly or annual tradition – a challenge – and can really promote giving back to the community that gives so much to you and your firm!
Then there is Black History Month. There have been so many great gifts of time, service and talent that have come from the African American community. You and your firm should take the time to recognize those special people in your local community who have made a difference. I’m not talking about those who are already famous; I’m talking about supporting and recognizing those who make a difference locally, everyday, “the un-sung heroes” who really give back. Once again, by getting your staff and firm involved in this recognition process, you will be truly honoring and supporting the community that serves and supports you.
Finally, when I think of President’s Day, I think beyond the two President’s birthday days that we celebrate in February. I actually think beyond all Presidents to the men and women who serve in elected, appointed and volunteer offices here and abroad and to all of those who fight for our country all over the world. I think about what they give up, what their families sacrifice for us, what they miss each day to give us the choices and the freedoms we have. And I realize how truly grateful I am that they have been willing to make those choices, so that I can make mine freely.
And then, I think back to the tree and I think about what it truly means to give, when you give without thinking about the sacrifices. When you give without thinking about what it is going to mean to you or your firm in the long run in terms of how it will look, or whether it will be good “press” or PR. That is what it means to GIVE. Occasionally, we should all do a little of it. Not because we’ll feel good, or because it would make our parents or spouses proud, but because it would make the world a better place.
So, take some time to truly GIVE while you celebrate LOVE, BLACK HISTORY and those who SERVE our country. It will come back to you ten-fold whether you realize it or not!
CELEBRATE AMERICAN HEART MONTH
Once again February has been designated American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one killer of adult men and women in the U.S. Americans are encouraged to take time this month to learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know when to call 9-1-1. The American Heart Association website offers a heart attack risk assessment tool to help you determine your potential risk.
Many cases of cardiovascular disease are preventable. The two highest risk factors are inactivity and obesity. All ethnic groups are at risk. Some important heart facts from the American Heart Association & CDC:
• 1 in 3 American adults has one or more types of cardiovascular disease
• An average of 2,200 Americans die each day from heart disease
• Over 785,000 each year suffer a first heart attack; another 470,000 suffer a follow-up attack
• More women die from first heart attacks because the symptoms may be less obvious
• Seconds count – if you have some symptoms but are unsure, call 9-1-1
Learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack and ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. Visit the American Heart Association site at www.heart.org or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/heartdisease for some great information.
USING BOOKS TO MARKET YOUR FIRM OR BUSINESS
Easy access to the internet and the subsequent explosion of data has changed how most of us research subjects and obtain information that we need to do our jobs and live our lives. You must get noticed – and writing is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. There’s nothing better than “buzz”—you want people talking about you as an expert—it drives new clients your way; in many cases, clients you capture without spending lots of money to advertise. A big benefit of posting content on the internet with your name and web information linked to it: getting the search engines to pick it up.
You have a number of options, based on the amount of time you are willing to spend and (in some cases) the amount of money. These options include:
* Books – printed versions or e-books: use as give-aways at seminars and events.
* Articles – published in trade journals or posted online.
* Blogs – write your own or guest blog.
* Social Media Discussions – find a blog, LinkedIn group or online news articles that will allow you to comment as an expert.
Ready to get started? Here are a few simple rules that should help:
1. NO SELLING!
2. Write to the level of your audience
3. Relevant topics only and they must add value to the reader – what’s in it for them?
4. Use keywords
5. Include links to other relevant content on your site or others
6. Let your personality and the personality of your law firm come through
7. Be true to your brand
8. NO SELLING!
Can’t think about writing a book all on your own? Ask us about ghostwriting.