A Little Laughter…

March 17, 2014

Life is unpredictable…one minute it’s going great. The next minute, it’s filled with challenges and adversity. There’s so much about life we cannot control. And, as we learn in Victor Frankl’s A Man’s Search for Meaning and throughout our lives, we are always in control of one important thing: our attitude.

I feel very fortunate to be helping out a great organization, The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH), with some social media and other marketing initiatives. In just a few weeks (April 3 – 6), their 27th Annual Humor Conference will commence in Vincennes, Indiana. If you have an opportunity, please consider attending the conference, it’s guaranteed to give you some laughs and teach you a thing or two along the way.

“You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.” – Bill Cosby

Laugh It Off: How Laughing is Beneficial To Your Health
Image compliments of Master of Science in Nursing Degrees

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In the world of social media, the word “friend” gets used quite a bit. Perhaps overused. Many of us get onto Facebook and Twitter to promote ourselves, our businesses, our causes, our points of view. If we’re lucky, we run into like-minded individuals who entertain, enlighten and make us laugh.

In some cases, we get a chance to meet our social media friends and followers in person and get to know the human being behind that avatar. Otherwise, we get to know these virtual friends through their writing, the information they share and any social media interactions.

Last week, I learned that a Twitter connection (and familiar face), Judy Martin (@JudyMartin8) passed away. Shocking to me for many reasons, but one of the main ones is that we had just communicated on Twitter days before her passing.

On the evening of January 28, I sent out the following Tweet:

A short time later, I got a response:

As a Twitter follower of Judy Martin’s, I enjoyed the information she shared about work/life balance, mindfulness and leadership. After her response to my Tweet, I got to know her a little better by spending 10 or 15 minutes reading posts on her website and listening to part of a guided meditation she produced. The topics she explored resonated with me and I gained a deeper appreciation for her work.

Her passing makes me realize that every day, whether in face-to-face communication or on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, we are leaving a legacy behind. There’s no telling how our stories, words, or a smile (even a virtual one) may help or touch another person at a time when it’s needed.

As I close this post, I realize it might be presumptuous of me to call her a friend – for I never had the opportunity to meet her in person. However, I do feel a deep sense of shock and loss at her passing. I’m sure this is an especially difficult time for those who were close to her. For an amazing tribute to Judy, please visit Lisa Petrilli’s The Sign of a True Leader: A Tribute to Judy Martin.


Aerosmith and Run DMC, Anthrax and Public Enemy, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. These are just some of music’s notable and unlikely collaborations. In these cases, and others like it, musicians come together from different musical genres and introduce their fans to a new sound. What results from this collaboration is often experimental, different, unusual. Many times it works, other times it does not.

As a fan of music from a young age, this collaboration expanded my musical horizons and opened my mind to new, different musical possibilities.

One band that has grabbed my attention through collaboration with other artists is The Roots. As house band for Jimmy Fallon’s late night program, they’ve had the opportunity to jam with a host of different artists. In the case with Elvis Costello, it worked. They’ve also released albums with John Legend and 70′s singer Betty Wright.

Tonight is Grammy Night and while I’ve long lost interest in who will win a particular Grammy, I love watching the musical collaborations between different artists from different genres. It sucks me in every time. And it reminds me that collaboration is something that can be applied to other areas of life.

How about you…what are some of your favorite collaborations, musical or otherwise?

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Book Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

January 7, 2014

As we celebrate the start of another year, many of us take time to reflect, create goals and make resolutions. The beginning of the year is a great time to do this and we feel like we have the opportunity for both a clean slate and a fresh start. While Mitch Joel’s book Ctrl Alt […]

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Public Speaking Excellence: Presiyan Vasilev

November 25, 2013

Members of Toastmasters have the opportunity to compete in various speaking contests after completing six speeches from the Competent Communicators manual. This happens first at the club level, then at the area level, then division and finally at the district level. Contestants who compete in the International Speech contest, if they win at all levels […]

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Lessons From an Astronaut

November 18, 2013

A couple weeks ago, while driving home from work, I tuned into the rebroadcast of Fresh Air on my local NPR station. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Terry Gross interview astronaut Chris Hadfield. Truthfully, I wasn’t too aware of Mr. Hadfield. I do remember viewing his version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the […]

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Taking Courageous Action

October 14, 2013

As an avid cyclist and a member of my local YMCA, I see a lot that impresses me: cyclists that blaze down the bike path in the stifling heat and humidity, runners with unstoppable endurance and weight lifters that can bench press twice my weight with ease. When I see these athletes in action, I […]

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Four Takeaways from Social Media Week Chicago

September 30, 2013

Webster’s Dictionary defines social media as “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal ideas and other content.” Social media as a term is not even ten years old (according to Webster’s), yet it continues to evolve and change. With this in mind, I attended Social Media Week […]

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The Positivity and Possibility of Twitter

August 26, 2013

Every other day, it seems, we hear of athletes, celebrities and professionals at all levels getting into trouble for something shared on Twitter (and other social media channels). I recently stumbled upon the FireMe site, which provides a real-time list of Tweets that can potentially get you into trouble. As I explore that site, I’m […]

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