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Service Opportunities Abound…

There are many, many different things that go into determining the livability and quality of life in any community. One thing that comes to my mind is the strength and vibrancy of our local service organizations and civic clubs. These can range from non-profits providing for the needs of friends and neighbors, to those whose passion is protecting our pets and natural resources.

United Way of Wilson County provides funds and services to dozens and dozens of local agencies and organizations alone. I have long felt that we are a very blessed community due in large part to the hundreds and hundreds of individuals who give unselfishly to support these organizations. All work hard to use those resources for the benefit of others.

On top of that we have a large presence of our younger residents volunteering and serving others (and lots of times some serving up some great pancakes at their fundraisers too!) with their involvement in Boy & Girl Scouts. Just as we like to see new shopping, dining, and retail businesses open their doors and welcome us with perhaps previously unavailable products and services; it is equally as exciting to see new service opportunities in our community.

Most of us have grown up knowing of the Lions Club and the great work they do not only in Mt Juliet and Wilson County, but in many foreign lands around the globe as well. I would imagine many of us have generously donated our used and no-longer-needed eye glasses so that the Lions Club could then refurbish them for those less fortunate.

We are fortunate in MJ to have two Rotary Clubs and two more in Lebanon. Their mantra leaves no doubt what their mission is; “Service Above Self”. Rotarians and the great work they do have left an indelible mark on our community and that work continues today. Another service club in Mt Juliet is the Exchange Club. The Exchange Club is sponsoring (with the help of the Veteran’s Club and Del Webb) what promises to be an awesome event in MJ on Flag Day in June. I can’t wait to see what hundreds of American Flags look like when they are all flying proudly in row after row after row right in the heart of town!

And if that is not enough, there is more great news! As I write this there is a group of great folks working hard to start a new Kiwanis Club in Mt Juliet. Is now the time for you to consider joining a service club? Those interested in checking out the Kiwanis Club are invited to join them for lunch on Thursdays at Courtney’s. It is the perfect time to get in on the ground floor of a terrific club. These are but just a few of long list of wonderful organizations working hard every day to make our community so special.

 

For a list of local non-profit and information on how you can support their efforts, visit the Chamber website or email me. I’m available 24/7 at www.mtjulietchamber.com. See you right here next week! Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Heart of the Matter

I read recently that “you can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.” Apparently, Indira Gandhi originally spoke these words during negotiations over a border dispute in the early 1970s. When I read this quote on this particular day, it really stuck in my mind as a great motto for all of us in our everyday lives.

The book ‘Peace of Mind: Daily Meditations for Easing Stress’ mentions guests (twins) on a popular talk show who had cut off contact with one another. One twin related how her brother hadn’t talked to her for years even though they lived two miles from one another and they often passed each other on the street. On the show, the man told his sister that he stopped talking to her because he was mad at her about something and he wanted her to apologize, but she never did.

The author goes on to mention that staying angry at people, while it may not end a relationship, can severely damage your ability to connect with that person if you are not able to let go of negative emotions. While we can’t change the actions or behaviors of others that have caused us anguish, we can strive to reconcile the past with forgiveness in the present.

How can we let go of anger? Write a letter to vent your feelings, but don’t mail it. Or maybe simply remember good times with this person and identify their good qualities. Focusing on good instead of negative things can help you release your anger. If there is someone in your personal or professional life with whom you’ve experienced some conflict, be the bigger person and extend your outstretched hand, not your fist.

As far as I’m concerned, nobody says it better than The Eagles in their song The Heart of the Matter…“There are people in your life who’ve come and gone; they let you down, you know they hurt your pride; you better put it all behind you, ‘cause life goes on; you keep carrying that anger, it’ll eat you up inside; I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter; but I think it’s about forgiveness…”

 

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What’s Your “BHAG”?

A number of years ago I was attending a U.S. Chamber of Commerce program called Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Charleston in South Carolina. There were Chamber people attending from all across the United States. Sometime during that week I heard a speaker at the time ask that very question; “What IS your BHAG (pronounced bee-hag)?”. Needless to say there were a lot of bewildered looks from those of us hearing this for the first time.

He went on to explain that was simply an acronym for Big-Hairy-Audacious-Goal. I believe that question is even more important today than it was back then. I’d also suggest that BHAGs are just as relevant in our personal lives, our professional lives, and they can also be especially important as we look at our community. If you have never heard of BHAGS, you just might be hearing more and more about them in the future because I feel very strongly that without them, we will look back someday and ask ourselves how we let these remarkable times slip away without realizing our true potential as a community. I do not know what your BHAGs are, but I do know that everyone ought to have a say in the future of our community.

Perhaps your BHAG for our community is that we are known as the “city of parks and greenways”, maybe it is a county known for “the highest teacher salaries in TN”, what about 40 city tennis courts instead of 4, what about a state of the art library that is the envy of the entire Southeastern U.S., maybe a new senior citizen center that is like no other around, or even an Olympic sized swimming pool with water slides and picnic areas, or how about something as basic as becoming the first 100% Handicap Accessible Community in Tennessee? The list goes on and on; each obviously has a price tag; maybe even two price tags if you consider the price tag of not having it.

What if instead of listening to all of the reasons we cannot have this or cannot have that, we started asking ourselves how we CAN have it! I would even suspect that if the truth were known, there are others who also share the same BHAGs. Maybe one of these days when you are enjoying your next morning cup of coffee or a sweet tea on one of these upcoming hot afternoons, ask yourself; “What IS My BHAG?” I’m available 24/7 at www.mtjulietchamber.com. See you right here next week! Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Wines and Prayers…

As we head into the Month of May and take a look at everything going on around us, a few things begin to emerge as VERY large items on the Chamber radar screen. Speaking of Wines…by now I am sure that you have heard a lot about the 10th Annual “A Toast to Tennessee” Wine Festival coming up on Saturday, May 11th at Nashville Shores from 12:00-6:00.

Our presenting sponsor this year is once again TDS Telecom. We also wish to thank our other major sponsors; Mt Juliet News ~ Lebanon Democrat, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, CedarStone Bank, and A+ Storage for their generous support in helping to host this event; without the help and support of our sponsors, this event would not be possible.

This year we will have a record 25 wineries at the festival and ticket are going fast! Along with the wineries providing free samples of over 200 different award winning wines, there will be artisans, specialty food vendors, music, free seminars, food, free parking, and one of the most relaxing days you can imagine; all of this while leisurely strolling around beautiful Nashville Shores with new and old friends. This is one of only a few such events held annually in Tennessee where wine not normally available in wine stores will be available for purchase by the bottle or case.

Advance tickets are still available online at www.atoasttotennessee.com or by stopping by the Chamber of Commerce Monday – Friday 8:00-4:30. And of course, group sales are also available. Not sure what to get that special Mother’s Day gift? Problem solved; tickets to the Wine Festival will be a sure hit. If you really want to make it the perfect weekend, Holiday Inn Express has a selection of festival packages including rooms and suites. See you at the Festival!

And speaking of “Prayers”…are you on the guest list for the Annual Prayer Breakfast? If you have not yet made your reservations and you would like to join us; please order your tickets (id="mce_marker"5 each) online using the Chamber Website or call the office. This Annual Event will be held on Thursday, May 1st (this is recognized as the National Day of Prayer) at Cook’s United Methodist Church from 6:30-8:00. Please bring a friend, family member, co-worker, or other special guest and enjoy a very uplifting and inspirational message from Former Wilson County Sheriff and noted Author, Sheriff Terry Ashe, who will be delivering our keynote message.

So whether your desire is enjoy a fine wine or you are simply need for prayer, it would seem that May is going to be just the month for you! I’m available 24/7 at www.mtjulietchamber.com. See you right here next week, Mark Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Twenty Five Years and Counting...

Do you remember what you were doing 25 years ago this month? Unless it was a time marked by something special or momentous in your life, it may have just been…well…1988. For me, it was a turning point in my life which would lay the groundwork for the many blessings, family, and friendships which I am so grateful for today. Yes, that was 25 years ago this month and my-oh-my how things have changed since then!

After managing the McDonald’s for two years, and working as a Cracker Barrel Manager for another 2 years, I decided to pursue business ownership. After an exhaustive search, I ended up purchasing a lawn care franchise. It was when I bought that business and before I even had my first customer that I was referred to the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce, which was then located in a far back corner of what was the inside mall area at the Valley Center (H.G. Hill Food Store) shopping center. Betty Stephens was serving as the Executive Director. If you have not yet had the pleasure of meeting her, add it to your “Bucket List”, because she is indeed a rare bird and your life will be richer for it. Her enthusiasm and passion for the Chamber was so contagious that I was hooked from the very first day. The Chamber is a great place to get involved and truly make a difference in your community.

In 1992 I was asked to serve as a board member. I was blessed to be joining a great group of community leaders such as Phil Smartt, Don Henderson, Drs. Mike and Peter Davis, Glenda Binkley, Phyllis Robinson, David Hinton, Sheila Wren, and many others. As the Board Chair in 1995, Phil Smartt asked me to follow in his shoes (an enormous job that I was humbled to even attempt) as the Board Chair in 1996. I just could not seem to get enough of this business and all of the great things that go with it. In the fall of 1998, when the opening to be the Director became available I decided to sell my business and work for the Chamber on a full time basis. We knew at the time that with all of the ground work that had been done by so many true leaders and entrepreneurs; our future was very bright. And while to some it would seem that the fruits we are enjoying today just somehow popped up in the last few years, those who know the whole story realize that as the old saying “We sit under the oak tree today because of the acorn that was planted years ago” is oh so true.

So now is the time to ask ourselves that if we are a resident of our community, a business person and even a community leader, what will the oak tree of the future look like? I guess that will be determined by the seeds we plant today. If we are sitting on the sidelines hoping that Mt Juliet will be the type of community we are proud to call home, and are hoping that others will just do it for us, then perhaps we need to take a hard look at the role each of us can play. Let’s all commit to getting involved in the process (not sure how, call and ask me!) and help to make sure that when we are sitting under the oak tree in 2033 we can look back and know we did all we could to insure we are as proud as we can be. I’m available 24/7 at www.mtjulietchamber.com. See you right here next week, Mark Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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May I Borrow Your Rolodex Please?

While that may sound like an unusual question, it is one which should and does get asked quite often at the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has many benefits and often times they may be seen as intangible, which can make them seem as being too difficult and cumbersome to be of direct benefit. As an organization, we want to remind folks of ways they can take advantage of the Chamber. And this leads me back to the question; “May I borrow your rolodex please?”

One of the benefits which I encourage you to take advantage of is to use the contacts which are readily available to you. Most people who spend a few minutes at the office are very surprised at the amount of information readily available. I want to expand on how using your “Chamber Contacts” may be of benefit to you should you need help with issues relating to your local government.

The Chamber meets regularly and works closely with local government leaders on your behalf to discuss matters of concern. It is the belief of the Chamber that having regular and meaningful dialogue with our city leaders is beneficial to all concerned. Mt Juliet is governed by a City Manager type government. Mt Juliet has 5 elected officials; 4 Commissioners elected by district to represent approximately ¼ of the city and a Mayor elected at large to serve the entire community. This elected body then hires a City Manager or “CEO” to run the day to day operations. As Mt Juliet’s City Manager, Ken Martin and his team of department heads are a very valuable resource for helping local businesses and residents with matters of concern. City Leaders (both elected officials and non-elected officials) and Chamber representatives work together to make sure our local businesses are represented when dealing with issues which affect them. Sometimes these issues are relatively minor and can be resolved with a single phone call or personal visit to the right department. Other times the issues are much more involved and require a longer period of time and much more work to get resolved.

Whatever the situation may be in your particular case, I encourage you to use the “Chamber Rolodex” to help you whenever needed. One of those “intangible” benefits of having access to local decision-makers can be turned into a very tangible benefit when you are able to use this resource to help you in your time of need. Depending upon the matter at hand, it could be a City, County, or State issue. Whatever the case may be, we are happy to help you; all we ask is that you give us a chance to work for you. So of course the answer to the first question is…Yes, you certainly may borrow the Chamber Rolodex!

Anyone needing assistance is encouraged to visit us online for a complete contact list of important names, numbers, and direct email links. We are available 27/ at www.mtjulietchamber.com. See you right here next week, Mark Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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If You're Not at the Table, You're on the Menu...

I was recently at a Chamber conference and heard the old saying, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!” We all got a chuckle, but it really made me think about why people are asked to be at the table in the first place. What makes someone the kind of person who gets invited to the table? I asked some key people in my business circles and this is what they had to say:

  • Having something interesting to say. Don’t you relish sitting next to someone who always has something interesting to say? For most of us, an invitation to any table comes with some lead-time, so there is no excuse not to have some interesting topics in your back pocket. Even an introvert can do this!
  • Knowing what’s going on in your industry. People enjoy hearing about new, fresh trends and ideas. This boils down to staying curious and being open to new types of thinking and new ways of doing things. This is how you create a reputation of being an expert in your field, and become a person whom others seek out to hear about what’s coming around the corner.
  • Being genuinely interested in other people. People love to be asked what they think about things and what ideas they have. Those we find the most charming are usually those who have the ability to draw us out and make us feel special and interesting. When you purposefully listen, you create trust and rapport. People who create trust and rapport get invited back to the table.

To make sure you always have a place at the table, whether that’s social, work, leadership or otherwise, ask if yourself if you’re demonstrating the types of characteristics of those who are sought after. If you’re not, then get out of your own way and start making changes today!

Ask yourself these questions: How have I demonstrated my strengths and capabilities? Are my communications skills, written and oral, as proficient as they should be? Do I have the ability to engage others and get things done? Have I established a strong personal brand of presence and competence?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you may be your own worst enemy. In today’s business world, you’re either moving up or moving out, so be sure to take the proper steps to always keep moving onward and upward. How do you do this? One of the best ways is to engage three mentors, one within your organization, one within your industry, and one completely outside of both, all with unique (and candid) insights on your core strengths and weaknesses. Another way is to profile the leaders you wish to model and then identify the gaps of your current abilities and where you would like to be in the future.

 

How are you staying off of the menu?

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Things My Cat Taught Me

Anybody who knows me will admit that I’m a cat person. I just don’t like dogs jumping all over me, licking my face and slobbering all over my hands. I prefer to sit quietly with a cat who, rather than invade my space, simply shares it.

Missing my old cat (Chloe) recently, I found myself looking back fondly and reminiscing about old times, such as the night (at about 10 weeks old) when she crawled out an open window and onto the roof only to find herself at a loss as to how to get back down. So, there I was in my pajamas at 10:00 at night, climbing up a ladder to rescue her. And another time when after being declawed, she jumped up into a chair only to slide down the side because she had lost her grippers. She looked at her paw with a quizzical expression on her face and shook it hard as if saying, “Why aren’t you working?”

Chloe met me at the door every day when I came home from work and never missed an opportunity to jump up on my bed to wish me a good morning. Looking back on the good memories prompted me to make a list of all the things I learned from her that can apply to everyone in their everyday lives:

Stretching is good for you

Wash your hands constantly

Purr when you’re happy

Enjoy a good nap every day

You’re never too old to play

Take time to sit quietly by yourself

Greet your loved ones when they come home

Brush your hair every day

Long nails aren’t necessary

Take time to sit in the sunshine

It’s funny how we can learn things from people and animals who are supposed to be learning from us. I guess if we keep our eyes open for these types of opportunities, there’s no telling what kind of wisdom we might glean from those around us.

Garrison Keillorhost of the public radio show ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ once saidCats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.”

Maybe the best thing my cat taught me was to give myself permission to simply enjoy the present moment without feeling guilty. That, and there is not enough masking tape in the whole world to really ever get all the cat hair off your couch.

 

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Not Sure Where to Start?

For those familiar with many of the resources available at the Chamber, this might a bit of a reminder. But for those who are unfamiliar with the wide range of services provided by the Mt. Juliet Chamber, I’d like to invite you to keep us in mind when the opportunity arises to help you. At the Chamber, we really do not make or produce particular “widgets” or have a cash register to sell products. At the Chamber, what we strive to do is to connect those with available goods and services with those who are in need of such; and of course we work to make sure that these transactions continue to grow. It is these transactions in any community that are the fuel that keeps the local economy running.

A very valuable service provided by the Chamber (available to everyone in the community) that I’d like for you to be aware of is how we can help you connect with your elected officials. The Chamber provides a weekly Legislative Update which includes a complete list of important bills working their way thru the legislative process at our State Capitol. These updates also provide you with direct contact information for those House & Senate Committee Members who will be deciding the fate of these bills. For those that are interested, these updates can save you a lot of time and are a great way to stay informed. The Chamber of Commerce is also a great place to start if you are just not sure where to look but know you need to get in touch with someone who can help. Depending upon where you live your issue may need attention from someone at the city or county level; or perhaps both. Our elected officials representing us at the State level are also very accessible and actively support our efforts to assist in providing opportunities for personal visits at open meetings hosted periodically by the Chamber. For those needing to contact your elected officials in Washington, that information is also available at your fingertips if you visit the Chamber’s website.

Sometimes trying to get in touch with the right person, or even knowing who the right person is for a particular matter, may seem like a very daunting task. Let us help steer you in the right direction. We would like to be your “connection” and we invite you to give us a try if the need arises. Anyone needing assistance is encouraged to visit us online for a complete contact list of important names, numbers, and direct email links. We are available 24/7 at www.mtjulietchamber.com.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Where Did All of the "Pepper" Go?

That may seem like a bit of an odd question, but given that in recent years I have considered myself to have that "distinguished salt & pepper" hair color. Now we all know that is really just a way of saying the brown is about gone. Considering that I am sometimes lovingly referred to as "Old Gray" or "Mr. S & P", I have to wonder, just where did all of my "Pepper" go anyway?

Now before you say, "well Mark, it probably just runs in the family", let me tell you that my father still has a nearly full head of brown hair. So why are the gray genes picking on me? Some may stay it must be stress. Well, it does get a bit hectic and sometimes (just like everyone else), I am getting pulled in several different directions at the same time. Deadlines need to be met and not enough hours in the day; BUT stress...no way!

Many of us also know of friends and neighbors dealing with family illnesses and others have loved ones serving in the military and are living 24/7 in harm’s way so we can enjoy things like ball games, and Easter-Egg Hunts…now that’s real stress! Please join me and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers Sometimes I think it is easy for us to take advantage of how well we really have it, and to lose sight of what is really important. When I stop and think about how truly blessed I am, I need to try and get better at being thankful for all of the many blessings I am privileged to enjoy each and every day.

Coming up in just a couple of weeks we will be celebrating the Easter Season. I hope everyone will find time to pause at least for a few minutes and return thanks for the many blessing we enjoy. So, as I was running a comb through my mostly gray hair getting ready for a day of meeting new folks and spreading the good word about our community, I thought about what message I might share with you. I paused for a minute and while I was looking in the mirror, I noticed that most of the pepper is gone and one of these days in the very near future I am likely be called simply "Mr. Salt." I am going to try and keep a healthy perspective on things and not let it stress me out. After all, in the great big scheme of things, I am one lucky guy! Hey, come to think of it, having a bunch of salt up there may be better than having nothing up there at all in my case.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MJChamber or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Abraham, Martin and John

Even though there has been some good music written in the last few decades (and I’ve got a lot of it downloaded on my ipod), I still most often listen to tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. It may be that I’m a bit nostalgic and listening to this older music takes me back to a simpler, freer time. But I also have to admit that songs written back in those days actually had something to say. They weren’t necessarily just a catchy tune. These singer/songwriters were storytellers. The words meant something.

One of my favorite tunes, “Abraham, Martin and John,” was written in 1968 and first recorded by Dion, reaching #4 on the U.S. Pop Singles Charts. This song was re-recorded by Andy Williams, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and Marvin Gaye and was subsequently performed by Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Bon Jovi, Emmylou Harris, Tori Amos, Whitney Houston, and Bob Dylan.

“Abraham, Martin and John” is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans - all icons of social change - namely Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. Each of the first three verses features one of the men named in the song's title. For example:

“Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin? Can you tell me where he's gone? He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good they die young. But I just looked around and he's gone.”

The fourth and final verse mentions Robert "Bobby" Kennedy and ends with a description of him walking over a hill with the other three men.

After recording the song, Dion came to realize that this socially conscious piece was a reflection of the state of the world. “I realized that what these four guys—Lincoln, King, and the Kennedys—had in common was a dream.” Dion stated. “It was like they had the courage to believe that a state of love really can exist. ‘Abraham, Martin and John’ was a way of reminding people that they could aspire to great things, even in the midst of tragedy and confusion.”

Hearing this song makes me wonder what dreams and aspirations I might have once had and why I’m not doing anything about that. Is it just too easy to go to work every day and not get involved? Am I simply getting too comfortable with my life as I know it? There is another line in this same song that says “Someday is going to be one day soon.” Wow, if that doesn’t create a sense of urgency, what will? If not now, when?

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Cookies & Our Community

Like many other folks, this is the time of year that we look forward to getting our chops on a box or two (or three) of those delicious Girl Scout Cookies. Many of our local businesses provide high pedestrian traffic areas for Girl Scouts to earn troop funds by selling their wares. Recently it dawned on me how the Girl Scouts and our community share a common message.

We have all heard the Girl Scout song that says “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.” Perhaps at no time in the history of our community has this message been more relevant to everyone calling Mt. Juliet home. Just like a Girl Scout being encouraged to make new friends and keep the old, our community must practice this same message. No group or organization in Mt. Juliet is more excited about living and working in such a growing, thriving, and prosperous community than a committed Chamber of Commerce. Many of these businesses quickly become our “new” friends, often becoming vested members of our community and supporting the local economy.

However, I feel very strongly that we will all benefit if we can find that balance between making new friends and keeping the old. In this case, we must not forget those who have been our friends for a long time; you might even call them “gold.” And for a community whose fiscal lifeblood is the collection of sales tax, shopping local is even more critical. With nearly each and every purchase we make, we all have many choices. I often ask people, when was the last time you stopped by to check out one of those businesses that you drive by every day on your way to somewhere else?

Now with a brand new five-lane highway connecting the north and south ends of our community together, it’s pretty easy to get from one end to the other in no time at all. I’d suggest that you might be missing out on a “golden” opportunity to support a local merchant; perhaps even one that has their name on the back of your child’s baseball jersey. You might even get lucky and be able to pick up some Girl Scout Cookies while you’re there. And just like the Girl Scout Promise says, we need to embrace our new businesses but remember the old ones too. After all, no one can ever really ever have too many friends, or for that matter too many cookies! For a huge Business Directory of how to find all of this Silver & Gold; visit www.mtjulietchamber.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1695 Hits

All Boats Rise With the Tide

 

While 2012 was a tremendous year for the both our Community and the Chamber, 2013 is already on track to be even better! There are residential, commercial, retail, and distribution projects currently under construction and set to open soon, with more in the planning and development stages. Something we are particularly excited about is that this growth is coming to all corners of our community. The old saying “all boats rise with the tide” could not be more true. Equally as important as the new growth, is taking care of and improving upon what we currently have to offer. It is very exciting to see businesses re-investing in our more established areas and deepening their commitment to our future. 

What Does the Chamber Actually Do? There are, in fact, a lot of misconceptions about a Chamber. For example, there are those who believe that a Chamber gathers statistics, prints nice brochures, answers inquiries and advertises what a great place we have to live, work and enjoy the good life. They are right, up to a point. We do all these things, and proudly so. All of these jobs are important. But they are not why the Chamber is here. They are fringe benefits of the Chamber, the things we do as a matter of routine because they need doing and we are good at them. The primary functions of the Chamber, though, go far deeper than those niceties. The Chamber of Commerce is a catalyst ...a common vehicle through which the enlightened mutual interests of all segments of the community work together for the common good of the total community. A better community means better business and we are working for a better community for everyone here. That's why we do what we do. Which brings us back to that original question, what do we do?

There is, in the final analysis, one reason for the Chamber of Commerce to exist and that is to do whatever is necessary to keep this area's economic condition such that people will be willing to risk their resources here in the hope of making a profit. Everything else is either a means to an end, or just the frosting on the cake.

In any community, it is from the profitable operation of business that all other benefits are derived. Only by succeeding in this fundamental goal can we provide the jobs and produce the wealth to finance all of the governmental, civic, cultural and charitable needs that our community is faced with every day. We do a lot of diverse things to accomplish that primary goal. The offices of the Mt Juliet Chamber of Commerce are located at 46 West Caldwell Street in the heart of our community. Feel free to stop by anytime or visit us online at www.mtjulietchamber.com.

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Are you a Tomato or a Bean?

In the book Soul Feast, author Marjorie Thompson compares human beings to plants. She states that in order to grow properly, tomatoes need to be attached to stakes and beans need to suspend from strings. Without the support of these stakes and strings, their blossoms wouldn’t have the space - and the sun - they need to flourish and they would most likely wander aimlessly and/or lie on the ground and rot.

I had never really thought about it this way before, but after much careful consideration, I realize she is totally right! Humans really are a lot like tomatoes and beans! Not only do we sometimes share the physical characteristics of these plants…some of us are short, some of us are round, some of us are long and some of us are lean, and sometimes we are red from the sun or green with envy. However, the way we most closely resemble tomatoes and beans is that we, too, need structure and discipline in order to curb our tendency to wander, plus we need the support of a community of friends and mentors because we just can’t go it alone.

We need collective wisdom since no one person ever has all of the answers. We need to surround ourselves with others working toward a similar goal so we will get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push ourselves a bit further than we would have done on our own. We need people who believe in us more than we believe in ourselves on those days when big goals seem impossible and we most want to give up. We need divergent views since we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu said “God created us differently so that we could complement each other.” I believe he's right in that it takes a lot of different people with different personalities and skill sets to make things run smoothly. With a brand new year looming, what better time to take a look at the status and strength of your stakes and strings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2111 Hits

Education-Is-A-Key To Website Success!

With the improved usability of websites over the last 24-36 months (Content Management Systems in particular) and the integration of Social Media  with websites, it has become apparent that education is becoming a key to having a successful website.

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  2449 Hits
2449 Hits

Are You Getting a Bad Rap?

One of our basic human needs is to communicate. Communication is how we exchange information, share life, connect, and get to know one another. Even though text messaging has earned a bad rap with experts saying it ruins social interaction, writing skills, and expression, it remains an inexpensive and convenient way to keep in touch. Text messaging is the #1 most popular way American adults communicate today and statistics show that 25% send and receive between 11-50 texts a day.

Most of us have experienced the frustration with smart phone auto correct when we type one word but a different one pops up instead and totally changes what we meant to say. I’d like to share some autocorrects I found in a Google search…..

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2067 Hits

Spaghetti Sauce and Toilet Paper

Several years ago, my daughter Autumn and grandson Landon were on their way to pick up a few groceries and head home for the evening after a long day at work and school. Hoping to involve Landon in the process, Autumn asked him to help her remember two important items: spaghetti sauce and toilet paper. Well, much to her surprise, he repeated this over and over, out loud, as they walked into the store. He was bound and determined to be responsible enough not to let his mama forget these two very important items. As you can imagine, many people smiled at the sight of a skinny little freckle-faced redhead walking into the store reciting “spaghetti sauce and toilet paper, spaghetti sauce and toilet paper.”

Memory tricks become even more important the older you get. I’m already experiencing the embarrassment of walking into a room for something, seeing something else that needs to be done, and then forgetting why I walked in that room in the first place! Since I work at a job where it’s important for me to remember names, it’s been imperative that I develop some good memory tips. And the best tip is...you guessed it...repetition.

When you first learn a person's name, say it three times in your mind. Repeat it back immediately out loud, such as "Nice to meet you, Bradley” and make it a point to use their name several times during the conversation with them. Don't worry, they won't think you are crazy. The sweetest sound to anyone's ears is the sound of their own name!

Another good tip is to make an association between the person's looks or personality and their name. I was having trouble remembering whether a woman’s name was Janice or Janet, so I used the tool “Janice is nice” and it has stuck in my mind ever since. I used the same tactic with a guy named Tyler. For the life of me, I could never remember his name until I pictured him wearing a tie (he's very stoic and conservative) and now his name is forever embedded in my memory.  

The key is, do whatever works. The only one who will know about it is you, so have fun with it!

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2120 Hits

ROMI… “Return On Membership Investment”

I’d like to add one little letter in the old ROI acronym to make it very specific for your “Membership” with Chamber of Commerce. Most businesses, organizations, individuals, churches, schools, and volunteers either want or need to see some type of return on investment for the dues they pay to be a member of the chamber. In fact, the last time I looked I did not see a single member that just sends in their dues payment each year with the hopes of getting nothing in return; everyone expects at least something.

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2089 Hits

Chamber Coupons, Calendar Updates, and Daily Deals

This week I’d like to use our time together to remind you about a couple of Chamber Benefits and let you know about a new program that will likely be rolled out in the coming weeks.

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2027 Hits

“Sign Replacements on North Mt. Juliet Road”

This message is primarily directed to those who have a sign needing to be replaced on North Mt. Juliet Road or to those who know someone who needs to replace their sign due to the recent expansion of the road. With the completion, it is now time to start the process of getting our permanent signs back in place.

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  2007 Hits
2007 Hits