What Does Your Social Media Activity Say About You?

One of my friends on Facebook recently shared this article published by Inc.com, “Mark Cuban: The Big Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making on Social Media.”  Although it was created nearly a year ago, the message is timeless.  Social media, for better or worse, has given its users a voice and the freedom to decide how to use the platforms.  Mark Cuban warns, “In the future, these digital profiles will provide more information on a person’s proclivities than just about any other current source of Big Data aggregation available.  So you’d better start thinking how to clean up your posts.”  What does your social brand say about you? If everything you posted or endorsed on the web was aggregated and used to create your profile, what would it look like?

Whether you’re are a Facebook OG, one of Twitters first tweeters, one of Instagrams first gramers or new to the social media game, every time you log in you are afforded the power to  influence the social stratosphere and build your personal brand. Every photo, video, meme, article, political figure, person, brand, organization etc. you endorse (follow, friend, post, like, tweet, retweet, favorite, share, gram, regram etc.) defines you.  As Cuban points out this data can be aggregated, ran through algorithms and used to create a digital footprint.  This information can be used by businesses, employers, and anyone in search of psychological profiles.  We don’t know who’s silently judging, analyzing and making decisions about our content without our knowledge.

So what can we do?  We can dump social media all together (not practical), invest in privacy apps (like the ones Mark has created), or exercise more discretion and social awareness on the internet.  Discretion seems like the most practical and inexpensive option.

I hope my aggregated social print looks something like this:

Before hitting, send, post, like, tweet, retweet, share, ask yourself: do I want to add this to my profile?

 

Photo Credits: German Shepherd Training , Brownsville Parks and Recreation, Nahcotta, GoDucks.com, The Shoe Game, Watson CPA Group, Bass Fishing Logo, imgkid, Costume Designers Guild, Living a Life Less Toxic, Love This Pic

Still Strong

In June of last year Devon Still was faced with one of the most terrifying foes – cancer.  The cancer hadn’t come for him but instead his four year old daughter, Leah.  She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, stage 4 pediatric cancer, leaving her with a 50/50 chance of survival.  Devon, 24 at the time, and Leah, 4, were in for one of the toughest battles of their lives.

My mother was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in November of the same year so I was especially touched by Leah’s story.  I found a great deal of inspiration and hope from a young father and his daughter courageously enduring the unimaginable.  Their positivity and tenacity were undeniably contagious.  Devon shared their story via social media (Instagram) and ESPN compiled the posts in a timeline starting with Leah’s diagnosis.

It was moving to see the out pour of support and all of those who rallied behind the Still family.  Most of all, the Bengals organization who signed Devon to the practice squad allowing him to keep his insurance and pay for Leah’s treatment.  Additionally, making his jersey available for sale and donating the proceeds ($1 million) to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for pediatric research. Devon told ESPN, “that was when I first saw the impact my daughter was having. She was just making so many people fall in love with her. There are so many things in this country that divide us, but to see people from all walks of life step up and purchase those jerseys, it was just amazing.”

During the course of her fight Leah has written a book, made appearances on Ellen, the Today show, she walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, won an ESPY and was featured on a Wheaties box.  “I remember the first video she did [with Hoda Kolb of ‘Today’], she called me right after and said, ‘Dad, I’m a movie star — cameras were following me everywhere!’ I think it kept her in good spirits and kept a smile on her face”

According to Devon’s Instagram Leah’s cancer is in remission she is currently undergoing radiation treatment.  While she is fighting her cancer he is fighting for a spot on the Bengal’s roster.  He’s giving his all to make the team but he’s still making time to support his daughter and those in need.  Today on Instagram he started #iAmStillStrongMondays where he will profile individual hardships in hopes of inspiring others and he shared recently he has been working on his Still Strong Foundation in his down time.  In an era where reports of professional athletes involved in domestic violence, sexual assault, DUI’s etc. are all to common it’s uplifting to hear of stand up guy like Devon.  He truly is using his platform and influence for good.

I hope his hard work pays off and he makes the Bengals roster but more importantly I hope Leah’s cancer remains in remission.  The world could use more Devons and Leahs but we’ll celebrate and cherish the ones we already have.

“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” – Stuart Scott

How can you help?  Show your support:

Still Strong Foundation: http://www.gofundme.com/m72dwcc8

I am Leah Strong (book): http://iamleahstrong.com/buy-the-book/

Still Strong (t-shirt): http://www.cincyshirts.com/index.php/cincyshirts/modern-cincy-shirts/still-strong/still-strong-devon-still-shirt.html

 

Mount St. Helens 2014

The night I received a group text from my father-in-law, gauging interest in a Mount St. Helens hike, I was a definite yes.  I was already training for Tough Mudder in August so a September 5th hike would align nicely.  I’m an outdoors enthusiast who is excited by adventure and new experiences so I was all in.  My brother-in-laws and some of their friends were in too.

We rented a cabin at the Lone Fir Resort the night before and all eight of us hit the trailhead (Climbers’ Bivouac) at day break.  Our hike would be approximately 10 miles round trip to a peak elevation of 8,365 feet.  The first two miles were relatively flat and heavily wooded.  After exiting the forest we began our ascent to Monitor Ridge.  The next 2,500 vertical feet were through a boulder field and then we climbed the last 1,000 vertical feet on ash and small rocks (“St. Helens Summit,” n.d., para 2-4).  This last stretch was the most difficult part of the climb.  I could see the top but it didn’t seem like I would ever make it.  I remember digging my trekking poles in the ground and pulling myself up all while being blasted by the wind.

The view from the top and the sense of accomplishment made it all worth it.  Being able to look inside the crater as well as view Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount Ranier was incredible.  We ate lunch at the top and snapped some photos before starting our descent.  The trip down became mentally challenging.  It felt like it took forever and I was beyond ready to sit down and peel off my boots.  After reaching the parking lot we headed to a restaurant for a celebratory meal and a brew.

Mount St. Helens is definitely one you should add to your bucket list if you haven’t already.  I can’t wait to start planning my next big adventure!

References

Mount St. Helens Summt – Monitor Ridge. (n.d.).  In Washington Trails Association online.  Retrieved from http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/go-hiking/hikes/mount-saint-helens

Tough Mudder 2014

After years of consideration my brother-in-law, Pete, finally talked me into committing to my first Tough Mudder.  We had a handful of Warrior Dashes under our belts so we decided it was time for a new challenge.  Comparatively, Warrior Dash is 3.1 miles/12 obstacles and Tough Mudder is 10+ miles/20+ obstacles.

Pete assembled the team, Mudder Truckers 2.0 (Pete, Micah, Mikki, Kurt and I), and we registered for the event in Lebanon, OR (advertised as Portland) in August 2014.  I signed up in January so I had 8 months to prepare.  My training included a combination of weight lifting (circuit training) and running.  Additionally, I participated in other races.  Pete, Micah and I did the Shamrock Run 15K in Portland and I did the Kids Dash 10K in Bellevue.  After the Shamrock Run (the trek up to upper OHSU and then the Chart House) I discovered I needed more leg work so I started doing hill training.  I also added push-ups to my runs (25 at the start, every mile and at the end) and started doing the 300 work out.  By August I was running as far as 11 miles and completing 300 reps in less than 30 minutes.

When race day arrived I was pumped and prepared for the experience.  As expected, the course was both physically and mentally challenging, but we all survived and finished together.  It is an event that inspires comradery and pushes you to do more than you believe you are capable of.  There were countless times I helped others or others helped me (both teammates and strangers).  Arctic Enema (gigantic ice bath) and Electro Shock Therapy (hanging wires with 10,000 volts of electricity) were exactly as advertised but the most challenging obstacle for me was Cliff Hanger – 1000ft+ elevation gain in less than a mile.  Overall, it was a positive experience, I’m proud of my team and I’m happy I tried it.  We are all signed up for Tough Mudder 2015 in Black Diamond, WA (Seattle) in September.  I can’t wait to do it again.

Rescued

When my wife (Lindsy) and I first started dating she said, “You know the crazy cat lady? Well one day I’m going to be the crazy dog lady.”  Although I laughed, I knew she was only partially joking.  The only thing up for debate was when; five years from now, 20 or maybe even 40?  I’ve always had an affinity for animals, but Lindsy revived my affection for dogs.   It’s a good thing, because her three year old Chihuahua (Riley) decided to test my patience.  It took six months to convince little Riley I wasn’t going to harm them and I was worthy of consideration for a long term role.

During the course of our relationship Lindsy and I talked about owning other dogs but the timing wasn’t right.  We love Riley to death and she is wonderful but her disdain for other animals would make it difficult to add another pup.  Additionally, our living quarters at the time wouldn’t allow another animal. Finally, we weren’t willing to commit the time and money needed.

Years later and after moving to Washington, we eventually reopened the discussion.  We were living in a place with no animal restrictions, we decided Riley could use a forever companion (even though she would hate it at first) and we were finally willing to commit the necessary resources. Great!  Now what were we going to get?  Lindsy was leaning toward a small-to-medium size dog like a Corgi or Australian Shepherd but I wanted a German Shepherd.  I was drawn to the beauty, intelligence, loyalty and quirkiness of the breed.  Aided by adorable GSD puppy pictures online I was able to convince Lindsy to see things my way.  We both knew we wanted it to be a rescue and preferably a puppy.  We figured it would have a better chance of accepting Riley as the pack leader (alpha) if it learned its place early.  After months of searching, responding to ads and applying for nearly every rescue in the state of Washington I found a match! I was approved for a puppy that had been found with her litter-mates abandoned in an orchard and nursed back to health by staff at a local prison.  Although I couldn’t formally adopt her for another 4-6 weeks, so I continued to monitor the rescue website.  They posted a beautiful German Shepherd puppy (approximately 8-10 weeks), Calypso, who had been abandoned on the side of the road with her brother and sister who was available immediately.  She was the one!  I called the agency and snatched her up the day she was posted.  A couple days later (the soonest they would allow us to come get her) we drove to Othello, WA and picked up our sweet Abby girl.  It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and we are so happy Abigail (Abby)  is now such an integral part of our forever family.

Lindsy is Brew Crew Official

On August 16, 2013 Lindsy and I exchanged “I do’s” at Youngberg Hill Winery in front of our family and friends.  It was an incredible feeling to share such a monumental occasion with people that have loved/supported me on my journey (some from the very beginning and others at different stages).  As Geoff (our officiant, brother-in-law and one of my groomsmen) pointed out it was likely the last time all of those people, collectively, will ever assemble again.  Such a unique and epic moment!

Everyone told us it would go fast but there was nothing we could have done to prepare ourselves for just how fast it went.  My advice to anyone on the big day is to live in the moment, enjoy every second and smile. We spent nearly a year planning everything down to the smallest detail and then it was over in a matter of hours.  It was all a whirlwind but I hope everyone had as much fun as we did.

kiss the bride we did it

Thank you to our parents Jerry & Joni, Steve & Lisa and Jody & Teresa for loving, supporting us and making it all possible.  Thank you to Geoff for such a heartfelt and meaningful ceremony (I might not remember everything you said but I’ll never forget how I felt).  Thank you to our wedding party for supporting us and for standing next to us.  Thanks to those of you that gave such thoughtful speeches.   Thank you to all of our wonderful vendors who made our vision a reality:

 Ana (http://www.annajayephotography.com/)

 Hailey (http://www.zestfloral.com/)

 Craig (http://www.haagensonscatering.com/)

 Colin & Casey (http://www.wedding.com/pro/videographer/west-grant-weddings/260884)

Aaron (DJ)

And of course, thank you to all of our guests for making the trip and sharing in the experience.

The night may or may not have ended with Lindsy and I teaching everybody how to Dougie.

dougie

It truly was the best day ever.

best day ever

New Year & a New Venture

Since I left my recruiting career in Portland, Oregon to move to Olympia, Washington I was in need of a new position.  I decided now is the right time to use all that I have learned over the years and leverage my entrepreneurial spirit to create my own opportunity (a lifelong goal of mine).  After brainstorming with Lindsy’s mother, Joni, and her step-father, Jerry, we decided to combine our talents and launch a wood furniture and decor business.  Joni has over 15 years of experience in painting, Jerry has over 20 years of experience in wood working and I have over 10 years of combined experience in business/marketing/sales/wood working.

Since do it yourself (DIY) is so popular I decided on the name Done For You (DFY) Design.  I created a logo that includes both our name and the red barn where we work (our shop).

DFY-Design-Logo-11-for-car-magnets

My personal blog is on wordpress so since I am already familiar with it I decided to build our site using wordpress.org.  Check it out here.

We wanted to be as environmentally conscious as possible so we included refurbishing and repurposing in our offerings.  Places like Ikea, Target, Fred Myer etc. offer nice furniture and décor but most of it is not made with real wood.  Therefore, we offer hand crafted, locally made, high quality, solid wood furniture and décor at an affordable price. Our major differentiator from local furniture suppliers is that we offer unique custom solutions.  For convenience, our products can be purchased either in person or online.  We can ship smaller items anywhere in the US.

DFY Design LLC combines many things I’m passionate about: business, marketing, designing, creating, and craftsmanship.  I hope this proves to be a fruitful venture because it is something I really enjoy.  Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way.  If you are ever in the market for hand crafted wood furniture/décor or are looking to network I would love to hear from you.

Engaged & Moving to Olympia

On Nov. 2nd 2012 I took the plunge!

I always knew someday I would marry Lindsy but I wasn’t in a ​rush​​ because I wasn’t too thrilled about the expense and stress ​of it all.  After seeing my sister marry and then her brother I finally decided ​now was the time.  We had been looking forward to a trip to Mexico in November for several months so I wanted to do it before our vacation.

​Since buying a ring pop and running off to elope wasn’t an option I knew it had to be something special.  I remembered Lindsy saying a song we really liked ​(John Legend – Stay with You) would one day be played at her wedding so I decided I was going to do something with the song.  I elected to make a picture book of our relationship with the lyrics of the song on each page.  On the last page I used a pic I took of our chihuahua Riley and the black ring box with the caption, “Will you stay with me?”

Lindsy’s wonderful aunt Kristi owns a jewelry store (Tony’s Master Jewlers) and was able to help me find the perfect ring.  I had to take a Friday off of work to run up to Olympia so I could select the ring undetected.  Kristi ordered the ring I wanted and she even engraved “Stay With You” on the inside.  I elected to propose on a random Friday night because I didn’t want her to be suspicious.  I selected Nov. 2 because my sister and brother-in-law were coming to visit and I wanted them to help me out.

My master plan was to have them light some candles and spread some rose petals while Lindsy and I were dining at our favorite restaurant (a Cena).  It all went off without a hitch!  When we got to our place I presented her with the book and then got down on one knee after she flipped to the last page.  It took her longer than I had expected but she finally said yes.  She was in shock I suppose.

engaged

We elected to get married in McMinnville, OR on 8.16.13.  Shortly after our engagement I left my job in Portland of 5 years and moved to Olympia Washington.  Lindsy was offered a great opportunity so we decided to make the leap.  2013 will be an exciting year.  Now I will have to buy a fishing license in both Oregon and Washington.  Thanks to all of those have supported and helped with the transition.

Hooked

Phil and I continued our “50 places to fish near Portland” journey through Spring, Summer and early into Fall.  We crossed Blue Lake from the list and ventured to Cullaby Lake on the coast.

I also added the following to my arsenal:

Shimano Curado Low Profile Baitcast Reels

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Casting Rods

Abu Garcia Black Max/Vengeance Baitcast Combo

Spiderwire Waist Pack

Here are a few photos from our trips:

On one of our last outings of the year to Hagg Lake Phil hooked into a 5+ pound monster (pictured above).  Way to go Phil!  Great ending to 2012 season.

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