And So It Begins…

Random thougHope Word Handht – Life is full of restarts.

What I mean is that we are ever learning and ever growing in our understanding. And when we take a step back and look at something we’ve done over and over and over and over again, we realize there’s another way.

I asked a co-worker the standard ‘How’s it going?’ small talk and I was blown away by his response :

“I’m living the high life! And loving it!”

His enthusiasm was palpable and contagious. And so I’m deciding to try to catch this enthusiasm.

It’s a long lost friend that I thought was always with me until I realized that there’s more.

No hype, no gimmicks, just a fresh view at the world around me.

There’s hope!

Forget about tomorrow – today can be an awesome day (even if it’s approaching midnight). Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Allons-y!

Utilizing Choice – An Optimist’s Tool

Drama MasksIs it possible to choose to be happy?

I mean, if something bad happens to you, can you decide to feel happy instead of angry or sad?

What would you think the typical optimist would say? “Yep. Sure thing. Do it all the time.” Even though I’ve heard similar responses, I submit to you that this is a false statement.

You cannot choose to be in any state of emotion let alone happiness.

Now what a minute?! That doesn’t seem right…or does it?

What do we actually choose when we are able to find peace in a difficult situation? Or conversely, if you feel angry about something? Is it the emotion?

Try feeling an emotion right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

If you actually succeeded in recalling an emotion, it’s because you thought of a memory (or imagined a memory) and you began to recall the emotion you felt at that moment. It’s what we actors call emotional recall.

So what does this “trick” have to do with being an optimist?

Well for starters, it’s important to know where emotions come from. For the most part, emotions spontaneously happen whether we want them to or not. Emotions aren’t good or bad. They just are.

How we respond to those emotions varies based on our personality, life experience, values, etc. Our thoughts are the main driver that shape how we deal with emotions, how we view them, and what actions we take (or don’t take) because of that emotion.

Here’s a classic example.

Someone critiques your work. It could be a parent, teacher, boss, spouse or whoever. You are very proud of your work and yet this person has found a way to pick it apart finding flaws everywhere.

Most people will feel defensive, hurt, angry or something similar. That’s okay. Recognize that feeling and then choose what to think.

Perhaps you can think of how everyone’s a critique so don’t take it personally. Or as an optimist you could think how much better your work can be with this new feedback. Or how wonderful this person is to think of you highly enough to want you to be better.

After enough repetition of changing your thought pattern (whether in reflection or real life situations), your mind will gravitate towards those thoughts more easily the next time it actually does happen.

And the interesting thing you’ll start to recognize is that as your thought patterns change, so does your emotions.

Now let’s bring this full circle and talk about choice again. We do have some control over what thoughts we think. If we don’t like the thoughts that are in there, there are methods and techniques to replace them with new thoughts.

This is easier said than done. I mean people make a full-time career over helping people change their mindset.

It can be done.

You simply need to choose to do so. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do have a lot of experience trying – both as an artist and in my personal life – and maybe I can share something in following posts that you can use.

I’d love to hear from you on how you make choices in your life. I’m not talking about decision-making. I’m talking about that simple act of going from off to on (or vice versa) after a decision is made – choosing to following through with a decision. Thanks.

Is Disqus SEO Optimized?

DisqusOver the weekend I was helping someone with her blog and recommended Disqus for the blog’s comment platform. Comments are very important to her and she asked if Disqus was SEO optimized.

I was stumped!

SEO optimization is something that I’ve studied, but I wasn’t as familiar with comments as I wanted to be.

From reading a marketing page from Disqus, I saw that it claims to be SEO optimized and that its comments are “organically crawled unlike any other comment platform.”

That’s fine and dandy, but I couldn’t find anything to back it up.

On a random night many moons ago, I remember finding a YouTube video of someone stepping through Disqus and how dodgy Google crawling was on its comments. Granted that was a while ago. Maybe Disqus is better now?

An FAQ page talked about how Disqus was now an iframe and how it supposedly helps with SEO, styling and privacy.

The iframe is part of our solution to provide full indexing of Disqus comments by Google and other search engines, without having to duplicate content on your website (e.g., through a WordPress plugin).

I’m not sold yet. Let’s ask Twitter.

Waiting for his reply, I did some due diligence and did a Google search on my site with a keyword that was only in a comment.

Eureka! Google found it!

That’s some good news since I use Disqus and love it. However, there are still some lingering questions.

Digital Marketing Manager at Disqus Amanda Nudelma stepped into the Twitter conversation and said iframes can be crawled, but this is always at Google’s discretion. If you want to be 100% sure, load comments in HTML.

She continues by adding that WordPress loads comments automatically in HTML. See full Twitter conversation here.

Disqus SEO Tweet

The confusion comes from Disqus’ FAQ page where it says that the new Disqus iframe platform delivers no duplicate content on your website (e.g., through a WordPress plugin).

So which one is it? Is there no duplicate content or are my comments loaded into the HTML?

I’m not going to stop using Disqus, but I want to know so I can speak intelligently about it to others seeking advise.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Such a Lonely Word

Honesty

If you were to give one word to someone looking to excel in life, “Honesty” may very well be that word. Living in denial robs us of our ability to overcome our challenges because we aren’t willing to face them for what they are.

It’s easy to justify ourselves because it sometimes seems that honesty is nowhere to be found.

“I should. I could. I would.” – Stop it.

Life is too short for excuses. There is so much potential. Sure it’s impossible to do everything, but don’t let that stop us from doing what we can.

Face the world and attempt to see things as they really are. And don’t forget to pray for help to see clearly.

The Need to Write

Ever feel like your life is going too fast that you don’t have time to do anything? That’s how I’ve felt over the last several months.

I can’t complain too much. It’s been a fun, crazy ride so far at Domo and it’s very exciting to be a part of that.

Now let’s take a breather, pause a little, and reflect.

Not much is coming to mind right now except the idea of writing more often. The very act of writing out my thoughts helps me slow down and regroup my energy.

What now?

I don’t know, but I feel good right now. I just finished watching the first day of General Conference and received the call to serve my fellow man.

Start with my family of course. Then reach out and find even the smallest of opportunities to help someone out. I’ll have fun figuring that one out.

How do you find ways to serve in your busy schedule?

Abraham Lincoln and Domo Awesomeness

Abraham Lincoln on a bear with a machine gun holding Domo

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Picture inspired by Jason Heuser.

Optimistic Myth: It Could Always Be Worse

Linus says Pain looks great on other peopleHave you ever heard someone say, “At least it isn’t raining” just to hear some thunder and feel the first drops of a thunderstorm?

I’ve often questioned why people use the “It could always be worse” idea to help them feel better. In essence we are trying to feel better at the cost of others’ misfortunes.

And the nagging question keeps coming back to me – what if it already is the worst it can be? Taking it to its natural conclusion, when you actually hit the bottom, it gives you the sense that it is now okay to be angry and pessimistic.

The point I’m trying to make is that using the “It could always be worse” technique to help you feel better and more optimistic is flawed.

There IS a better way.

Although I completely admit to having used this technique before, it’s not the “Optimistic Tool” in my “Toolbox of Life” I reach for anymore if I can help it.

Stay tuned to my attempt to share my wisdom on being an optimist. I’m still gathering my thoughts, but I like where this is going.

Question: Do you have any “tools in your toolbox” that work for you (or doesn’t work)? Please share below.

An Optimist’s Perspective

Every cloud has a silver lining

In light of recent events, one might find it easy to get discouraged. However, like every dark and gloomy cloud, there is a silver lining – a glimmer of hope.

Now before you discount this as wishing thinking, I must disclose that I am a self-proclaimed optimist and I have real world experience in this since I made my decision to be an optimist at the age of twelve.

That’s right, optimism is a choice.

I’m also a realist and I don’t ignore the real, hard facts of life.

The difference for me is that I choose to view those real, hard facts in a way that allows me to make a decision with optimism.

Okay, so with all the bad things that happen in the world, how can you be optimistic about your life or the human race? Stay tuned, as I will attempt to distill my years of experience as an optimist into a blog post series.

Question: What is optimism to you? I’ll give you my definition forthcoming, but until then please comment below.

Crowdbooster – Accessible Social Media Analytics


For all those data lovers out there, you are going to love Crowdbooster. It provides business-class analytics and it also has a free version for individual accounts. So plug in and let the data-fest begin.

Targeted Recommendations

Don’t know how to grow your reach and influence and get the Klout score you’ve always wanted? Let Crowdbooster recommend who you should reach out to, what sites to tweet about and when is the best time to schedule your tweets.

I’m a newbie and Crowdbooster is still learning my social profile so it is only giving me what seems to be pretty generic times to get the most out of my tweets. I bet it will change as it gets to know me better (and I become a more regular tweeter).

At-a-glance analytics

This measures potential impressions, retweets and replies in a slick bubble map fashion (and for you data geeks, there’s a table view as well). Use this data to observe which tweets get the most retweets and analyze why.

This is pretty straight forward and not bad for a free service. I would like to see some comparison with tweets from other people who tweet about the same type of stuff or just get tons of retweets. The compare and contrast would give greater insight into how to improve my tweets.

Deep audience insights

This is hyped up, but it’s still useful. It shows your top retweeters so you can easily see who loves your content and shares it with their followers. So in one place you can manage your relationship with your top followers and then try to find more like them.

It would be better if there were a way to interact with those people right there. A static report is nice, but doing something with it is better.

Other Tidbits

Other services have a content scheduler, but with the recommended time to tweet, it’s that much better than other schedulers.

For an individual user, this is pretty cool. It lacks enterprise functionality for it to be a serious business tool, but it’s okay for startups and small companies. That being said, I wish it could track your personal Facebook profile and not just a Page. It’s probably because it uses Facebook insights to get its data and I don’t think that’s available for Facebook profiles.

Question

What do you use to track your social impact?

Alice Hansen – God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Alice Hansen with BabyIt’s never easy to lose someone your love. One of my friends lost his wife (33 years old) just days after delivering their third child (and only girl).

Tears swelled up during her funeral service yesterday as I remembered her and thought of the loss her husband and family faces.

I first met Alice during my undergrad where she accompanied one of my musical theater classes. I remarked how pleasant she was to work with and how good she was at reading the actors, which is a hard skill in my opinion.

It was years later that I would meet her again in line to get some BBQ at a BYU MBA opening social as her husband was starting the program with me. The first thing I recognized was her shining smile.

Her husband is also an accomplished pianist and he accompanied me during the MBA talent show. He’s a true professional.

I only mention that because I can only imagine the richness they both shared with music and I bet he will feel close to Alice every time he plays.

I don’t pretend to understand the pain he’s going through right now with the loss of his beloved wife and the struggle he will undoubtedly go through in raising three kids on his own.

My heart pains for him and his family. My thoughts and prayers go to them. I pray that their pains will heal and that they will feel comfort from our Savior Jesus Christ. For it’s only through His atonement can families be together forever.

Joyous will be their reunion after this life is over.


If any of you wish to learn more about Alice or help the family she left behind, please visit the Alice Hansen Family Fund.