by Skip Cohen
I'm almost always off-track from business and marketing on Sunday morning posts. And it's most often in the same general area - something that hit me and usually took my spirit to a great place. These days, anything that makes me laugh is a quick charge for my "battery."
Nick Vedros sent me a chuckle this morning, and I'm sharing it because so many of us can identify with the sentiment. What makes me laugh is my love for coffee but my inability to handle caffeine. But, of course, that doesn't stop me each morning from the great smell of coffee when Sheila puts the pot on.
I grew up drinking my coffee black because that's the way my grandfather drank it. It started when I was fourteen, and we went to this little hole in the wall down from his hardware store. I wanted to show him I was no longer a kid, and when he ordered a black coffee, I proudly said, "Make it two!"
Well, those days are long gone, but not the fun of the memories and sitting at "Kitty's" in Fairport Harbor, Ohio with my grandfather and two cups of coffee...black.
Fast forward to today, and I'm blown away by the cars lined up at the drive-through at Starbucks. And I'm trying to figure out when did $5 for a coffee become the norm, plus everything that's put into it. I also love it when I witness one of those knuckleheads described to the right.
And while it's not Throwback Thursday, I'm suggesting you find a memory and simply have some fun. Pick a moment from when you were a kid and just run with it. Then, share the story with your family, like I just did with Sheila.
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead. Whether it's over coffee or not, take the time to count your blessings. I'm so tired of people looking at everything we've lost over the last year rather than appreciating what we still have...and what's waiting for us in the future! And ALWAYS go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people you care the most about.
Happy Sunday...or Monday on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm trying hard to stay away from my usual topics related to photography. Still, the anticipation I'm feeling for upcoming events is making that impossible! I've been working on my presentation for ClickCon in Chicago, and after a year and a half of Zoom presentations, the excitement of being with old and new friends LIVE is almost overwhelming.
As I wandered through Adobe Stock looking for a fitting image to accompany today's post, the snail above became the obvious choice. The finish line represents anything we've been trying to do through the pandemic and the snail's pace - well, that's obvious.
What am I most excited about? Bumping into people, literally! I want to be around photographers, vendors, educators. I want to hear noise that isn't coming out of the speakers on my computer. I want to listen to the chatter in the air. I want to enjoy that unique vibrancy in everyone's voice as we appreciate the relentless pace we were on to get to where we could share our mutual passion for the craft again.
It's been one hell of a year, but on August 9, a group of passionate, enthusiastic artists are going to be together to keep the momentum going. It might sound sappy or even hokey to say, but I've missed you guys.
And there you have it - the excitement of stepping out of cyberspace and into the real world. Of course, it'll be a smaller show than 2019 was, but it's all relative to the new normal. And there's that old line from Mark Twain:
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog!
It's been a snail's pace to get to today, but we've stayed focus on the prize - growing together! And if you're headed to ClickCon - make it a point to pat yourself on the back. Despite all the challenges, you never let the flame of passion for the craft burn out.
Wishing everybody a day of heart-pumping anticipation of working back to a new normal. Even with the restrictions we still have, it beats being hunkered down alone! Have a great day - go for those eleven-second hugs with those people most important to you and give yourself credit - you held focus!
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
See you in Chicago!
by Skip Cohen
Remember, it's Sunday, and I do my best to stay away from business and marketing. It's my day to share whatever's bouncing around in my head, and it's therapeutic. I'm not sure whether it's my way of recharging for the upcoming week or cleansing my palate from last week's events.
While thinking about what I wanted to share this morning, I picked up a classic book a neighbor gave us as a joke, "Zen as F*CK" by Monica Sweeney. The book is hilarious, not for the faint of heart when it comes to profanity, but loaded with wisdom.
As we come out of the pandemic and so many of you are working hard to refocus and rebuild, I've been a little surprised at the number of photographers still bitter and stuck in analysis paralysis. If they were there by themselves, it wouldn't bother me, but the fact that they want to drag everyone else down with them does. Then there are those moments when we do it to ourselves - we allow the gremlins in our head to sap our energy and hold us back!
Monica Sweeney, in a section of the book, wrote:
Boredom and access to sharp objects are not a fantastic combo. While not everyone is a danger to society by running through life with miniature swords, there are times when you can feel like you're making haphazard decisions, running amok, and generally being a pain in the ass to others.
USE THOSE SCISSORS FOR THE BETTER! What are the things you can cut out that don't add anything positive to your world?
The last few weeks have been incredibly stressful. I sat here this morning pondering why. I've been running with scissors! If I learned nothing else through the pandemic, it's that all of us can get through anything with the right attitude. And we've all got the strength to walk away from the fights. From the battles with companies like Comcast to the news media to politicians and people in our lives who never put their scissors down - we're sometimes surrounded by too much negativity.
We've all got the power to use those scissors and cut out everything that doesn't matter. From annoying telemarketing calls to the nightly news to the battles on Facebook over things that in the long run are meaningless! Stop fighting with idiots with scissors because they didn't like one of the images you shared. Remember my favorite line from my old buddy Dean Collins, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
And there you have it - let's all stop running with scissors. Some of you NEVER put them down, and the result is crumbling self-esteem, a lack of confidence, and a creative spirit that's flatlined! It's time to get it all back. I know that's easier said than done, especially in a blog post - but the opportunities ahead to grow and change our lives are endless!
Wishing everybody a day that's loaded with good friends and moments that make your heart soar. After what we all experienced over the last year, it's not hard to create times loaded with more smiles. Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people in your life you cherish the most.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm staying off the topic of business and marketing, but not the importance of something I've written about so many times in the past - taking a break when you need one. I've written so many times about recognizing the signs when you're on overload. Yet, when following through on my own advice, I do a horrible job of walking the talk.
So, I disappeared for a week and just had a great time with Sheila, the pups, and absolutely no agenda. A few odd jobs around the house, relaxing and just enjoying wasting time. No big goals, only one post during the week, and for the most part, just a "slug-fest." Seriously, a garden slug had more profound thoughts than I did over the last week.
However, this morning I wanted to get out and just play with a camera for a little while and test out a pre-production sample of the new Platyball Elite. So, I went to the community day-dock with a LUMIX G9, the 14-140mm lens, a tripod, and the new ball head. The bottom line - what a kick! Even with the sky not cooperating much, I was blown away by the ease of use, the ability to level, and the technology built into this industry-changing new piece of gear!
The image I'm sharing won't win any awards, but it represents a lot for me. I was the client, and all I wanted to do was have a little fun with no particular plan except to be outdoors for a little while and enjoy life. It was that simple. I even grabbed a shot of neighbors headed out on their boat for a little fishing before the storm comes in today or tomorrow.
And here's my point - recognize when you need a break. Catch yourself before you crash and burn, even if it means wasting time.
Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.
Wishing all of you a terrific 4th of July weekend and time to kick back and enjoy everybody and everything in your life. And however long you need to recharge your battery - take it! Don't forget those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with those people you cherish the most!
Happy July 4th!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and while I try to be off-track from my usual daily post topics of business, it's photography that's the hero of Father's Day 2021. Looking back to my own early days as a father, along with missing my own Dad, it's old photographs that bring back memories. Put old photos together with "neurochromes," images you captured when there wasn't a camera around, and it's non-stop smiles all day long.
So, the fun of this morning is telling stories about my Pop. When I was a kid, he was the one dad who would tie a rope to the car's bumper and let us hook up our sleds as he pulled us around the neighborhood. Today he'd be in jail for child endangerment, but life was different back then. He was the pop who drove us around one July 4th, tossing cherry bombs out the window under bridges, alleys, and the arcade in the shopping center just to see how loud we could make them.
He was also that dad who, when something hit him as truly funny, he'd laugh until he cried. From the Three Stooges to watching Bobo Brazil and the Gallagher Brothers on Saturday wrestling, there was no better buddy to hang out with.
But most important of all, he was my best buddy. He was my best man for my first marriage, and he was the one person in my family to support me when Sheila and I got married in 2010. I remember thanking him for keeping an open heart through my divorce and later my relationship with Sheila. His answer? "When you love somebody, an open heart is your only choice."
And that was my Dad. While I miss him all the time, it's those photographs and videos we've got that keep his memory more than just alive. So often, I'll say to Sheila, "I wish Dad could see this," and her answer is always the same, "He does!"
So to all you dads out there, Happy Father's Day. Don't compromise on making new memories and capture them with more than just neurochromes. Nothing beats looking at old photographs and the memories they bring back.
And nothing tops Jodi Picoult's quote, which I've shared a few dozen times over the years:
“This is what I like about photographs. They're proof that once,
even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.”
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday, and time to savor your family, friends and those special moments that make life so worth living and remembering!
Happy Father's Day!
by Skip Cohen
My wife Sheila always checks out my Sunday Morning Reflections posts before they're published, and she hasn't been happy with my last few posts. "What happened to not talking about photography or business on Sundays?" has been the repeated question. And in all honesty, I don't know - I get up, sit down at my computer, and let my fingers do the walking on the keyboard. Coming out of the pandemic, I've been a little obsessed with helping to get photographers back on track.
Well, Sheila is my muse, and based on the Google dictionary's definition:
A person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.
Here's my point - there's Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays - but no Muse Day. No day where we kick back and spend a little time thinking about those people in our lives who inspire us. Sheila's my main muse, but every day there are people in our lives who, like Subliminal Man from old SNL shows, help to plant a seed of an idea, make us smile, and give us a little feedback on which path to choose in our journey.
So, I'm declaring June 13, the second Sunday in June, as Muse Day and simply having fun with my main muse. While I've got a little work I need to do, it's going to be a slug day, relaxing and simply smiling more than usual. I want to do my best to focus on everything right in my life instead of getting caught up in the storms and bumpy roads.
Wishing all of you a terrific Muse Day! Take the time to let the muses in your life know they're appreciated. You know how to selectively focus your camera - well, this is about your brain and your heart. It's like focus-stacking your feelings to produce one incredible emotional moment, in focus on each aspect of a relationship.
And, go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs. I'm not sure there's ever been a time in our lives when they've been more important or needed!
Happy Sunday - Happy Muse Day!
If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor!
by Skip Cohen
As usual, on Sundays, I'm miles away from thoughts about business and marketing. My challenge is trying to connect a couple of different topics with how we've watched our butterfly population grow.
This year our garden has taken off, especially with Monarchs. Monarch caterpillars are everywhere we've planted milkweed - their nonstop favorite meal! Watching them grow and realizing within the next few weeks, we'll have a few dozen new monarchs is incredibly uplifting.
I couldn't help but think about that line, "If it wasn't for change, there would be no butterflies!" So there it is, my topic for today's post.
I started by grabbing my LUMIX G9 with the 30mm macro lens and headed out looking for "talent" to feature this morning. I found the two guys above right outside our patio. They're just about fully developed, being almost 2 inches long. Soon they'll morph into a chrysalis, and 10-12 days after that, there'll be a couple of new monarchs.
But I want to tie in the changes I've watched in the butterfly world to what's going on in our industry. I found myself thinking about the way the pandemic has had an impact on all of our lives. I've found myself just in much awe of people working hard to rebuild business lost over the previous year, as I am of photographers caught in analysis paralysis.
In a way, we've all become caterpillars, working to evolve into something different, and it's not without risks. Plus, everyone has to rebuild at their own pace, some taking longer than others to develop a game plan.
Growth only occurs outside your comfort zone. Now more than ever, it's time to reinvent yourself, starting with your outlook on the future. You can't develop that outlook and plan without kicking back and daydreaming a little - thinking about what you want your voice to represent.
You and you alone are the only person who can live the life that writes the story that you were meant to tell. And the world needs your story because the world needs your voice.
Wishing everybody a day filled with family, time to think about the future, and a little relaxation so that on Monday morning you hit the ground running - ready to keep rebuilding, take a few risks and shoot for the moon!
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
Ironically, through the year of the pandemic, most of us recognized we suddenly had time on our hands. Business for many came to a standstill for at least the first 60-90 days; then things started to change - everyone's focus became a little more precise with a wide depth of field, blurry in the background. You used the time to expand your skill set, think about your business, and strategize, and many of you worked hard in social media to build new relationships. It was also depressing, frustrating and confusing!
Like many of you, I found I was more in touch with friends and associates because I had the time to track them down. Facebook and LinkedIn became indispensable tools for relationship building and growth. And the phone came back into play for live conversations along with Facetime, Skype and Zoom.
Well, as we enter the first month of the wonder of post-pandemic life, there are too many of you jumping the gun and looking for life to get back to normal with the flip of a switch. I don't know if this is the right way to look at it or not, but I'm savoring every new day like a fine wine. I'm sipping it slowly and genuinely appreciating everything I missed over the last year.
Melody Beattie started me on this kick this morning:
The seeds of change grow gently, sometimes almost imperceptibly.
Birth takes time. Transformation takes time.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and we've got neighbors coming over for a very traditional afternoon of burgers, dogs, brats, and Sheila's famous macaroni salad. Throw in a few beers and wine, and it's going to be a perfect day to kick back and laugh. And trust me, I'll savor every moment.
So, if you're the kind of person who's rushing to get everything back to normal, appreciate the "baby steps" and take it one day at a time. Business is coming back; there's a greater sense of family and friendship in the world, and we've all been through the most brutal year we'll hopefully ever face in our lifetimes!
Wishing everybody a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and time with friends and family who you appreciate the most. I know it sounds sappy and hokey, but we honestly are all going through a rebirth - so enjoy each step of the way. And as always - those eleven-second therapeutic hugs are back with a vengeance.
According to Mindbodygreen.com, hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging (along with laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress. Here's the link if you want to read more.
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday morning, and like every day of the week, one of the first things that happen is that one of us picks the music to play. We've got one Alexa tower and four of the "hockey pucks," all playing throughout the day through various sound systems. From music by "Back to Earth" to Chris Stapleton, Jack Johnson, and even the Boston Pops, the house is always filled with music. But lately, Alexa hasn't been listening to any of the commands, especially when we want her to stop, pause or change stations. She seems to have a mind of her own.
Well, it got me thinking about how many times a week I fight with a robot. This past week I fought with robots at Amazon, FedEx, Frontier Communications, and American Express. Even the telemarketing calls, most often from law enforcement fund-raisers, start with a pre-recorded message, often so real I start out thinking it's a live body I'm about to turn down.
For those of you old enough to remember, or just film aficionados, we're now living with the Hal 9000 from "2001, A Space Odyssey." This morning, no matter what I told Alexa, she wouldn't stop playing. And when I asked her why, she responded, "I don't know that one."
Ever notice how good it makes you feel when you finally get through all the prompts in corporate America and talk to a live body? I used to be grateful if they spoke English, but as more companies move Customer Service offshore, I'm now happy if I get around the robot and technology.
I've got no answers to solving the problems of communication in the world or my frustrations. I just wanted to point out how much we've given up to pre-recorded messages, single-button defaults, and logic when talking to the robots. However, I have discovered that no matter how much they take over the gateways to communications, there's still a certain satisfaction to using the F-bomb!
Wishing all of you a day of minimal frustrations and time to enjoy everyone in your life with an actual heartbeat. We're on the backside of the pandemic in most areas - so get back to those eleven-second therapeutic hugs. Take the time to cherish being alive, with people you love, and talking with friends whose only programming has been what's happened in their lives, especially when you were there.
Here's one to try on Monday morning, if you've got Alexa: "Alexa, skip to Friday!"
Happy Sunday...or Monday, if you're on the other side of the world.
View both of the Lizzy Gadd prints in today's post in the SCU Lightbox
by Skip Cohen
I started Sunday Morning Reflections as a way to clear my head for a new week and share whatever was on my mind, always away from my daily topics of business and marketing. Over my years in business, loving the industry as I do, it's always been enough to keep me inspired. Often accused of being professional photography's cheerleader, there's never been a day that I didn't find some sort of inspiration for my continued love for the industry.
But the pandemic came along, and as every paradigm in business shifted, it became harder and harder to focus. Business for many photographers simply disappeared, and as much as I practically begged readers not to give up, the destruction and often hopelessness was like standing on the sidelines during the Civil War, watching Sherman's March to the Sea.
Despite my frustration in finding ways to help artists stay focused, these past couple of weeks became a challenge - but then along came Lizzy Gadd! She's a talented artist who needs to be on your radar. It doesn't matter whether you like her work, only that you recognize what she's accomplished.
Lizzy's a fine art photographer who I met through my CMO role at Platypod. After seven years of developing her craft, she decided to create a limited edition gallery and put her very best work on sale.
Creating a catalog of her very best and most favorite images, she launched everything online on May 6 with a forty-eight-hour sale at 50% off.
In the first twenty-four hours, she accepted 90 orders for 150 prints - one of them, the image at the top of this post, which Sheila and I both loved, will be hanging in our dining room very soon.
There's a great anecdotal story about the bumblebee, who's designed completely wrong for flying.
"Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway!"
A little like the bumblebee, Lizzy set out to launch her fine art site, and sales exploded. Being a young photographer with somewhat limited experience, she had no predetermined negatives in her mind - she simply had incredible quality in her images, as well as her work ethic.
And here's my point - I'm inspired by Lizzy's work, her incredible outlook on life, her art, and her optimism. If you think about it, her timing couldn't have been better - she launched this aspect of her business at a time when the world needed to see something new. Coming out of the pandemic, everyone's tired of the restrictions of the last year, and in turn, tired of looking at the same old artwork in their homes and offices. Well, along came a new artist with a fresh outlook, and feel to her images.
I'm not writing this morning to help Lizzy sell more prints, but to have you look at your own world after the last year and find that point of inspiration that puts a smile on your face or, more important, in your heart. I've been in the industry my entire adult life, and I'm so proud to have friends like Lizzy, who keep pushing the edge of the creative envelope and reminding us that if we keep an open mind; nothing is impossible.
We're all a little like the bumblebee, but after the last year, nobody would blame us for thinking we couldn't fly!
Wishing everybody a day of inspiration - a day where you can do more than just refocus on something new with your camera, but a day where that Lizzy-like spirit can take over your soul and give you the optimism to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
As always, go for those for eleven-second hugs with the people you care about most. Remember, long hugs are therapeutic. You need them to establish the right frame of mind to get back on track with your life, your family, friends, and your business!
Happy Sunday, everybody...and to Lizzy Gadd - thanks for the inspiration you've given so many of us!
Alone we can do so little,
Together we can move mountains!
Sarah Petty and Family
by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections is always about something completely off topic from the business and marketing of photography. However, getting yesterday's holiday card from Sarah Petty got me thinking about one of the coolest relationship builders so many of you could be using right now.
Here's the short backstory: Sarah was late getting her holiday cards out and mailed them in February. On the front of the card, she printed "Better Late than Never." So, the card was lost in the holiday shuffle and got to my PO Box in late March. I don't use the box that much and picked the card up yesterday.
That's the front of her card above with Sarah and her family. There's something about opening a card like this in April, months after it was meant to be sent. It simply made me smile. I won't deny for a second I'm one of Sarah's biggest fans, but the idea of sending a holiday card out of the usual timing sequence is remarkable.
I've written a lot about relationship building being your top marketing tool, but this takes it to a different level. This past December holiday season, everyone was scrounging for a bit of faith in the future. While we're still not out of the woods, things are better for most of us today. We're slowly returning to a level of normalcy, and little by little, every day, things improve.
So, why not send out a card to your clients and friends to celebrate? Why wait until December to wish people peace and prosperity? I've shared the idea of holiday cards in July in workshops in the past. Still, this year the idea has a little more strength. There isn't a better way for you to remind your target audience you're there for support and to be their number one resource for all their imaging needs.
Wishing everybody a Sunday filled with things that help you bring back a new level of normalcy. And let's not forget those eleven-second therapeutic hugs I used to write about. They've been on hold for the last year, and they couldn't be more needed or important right now.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken.
by Skip Cohen
I rarely, if ever, miss a Sunday Morning Reflections, but this morning biz took over. I'm helping Larry T. with a Platypod presentation this afternoon for CanAm Expo. Then tomorrow night, I'm doing a program for the Professional Photographers of Northeast Ohio with ideas for recovery after the pandemic. However, I don't want to mess up my almost perfect track record.
I might be a little late, but I'm staying off-topic from business and marketing with a theme that's been on my mind a lot lately - listening to my heart. I'm not sure if I can blame it on Melody Beattie because coming out of the pandemic, I've been doing a lot of my own soul-searching. Like many of you, I'm trying to define my business better and strategize over what I'd like to do in the future.
My challenge is - I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!
Listen to the voice of Your Heart by Melodie Beattie.
Cultivate the art of listening to your intuition, your inner voice. This is the guidance of your heart. It's a voice that speaks differently from the one in your head. The heart whispers softly; the head prattles loudly.
The head has an agenda for our lives. It chatters away boldly, but its vision is limited. It leaves no room for the mysterious workings of the universe, nor does it take into account the side trips we need, to get where we're going, where our souls need to go. It's the voice that says, This is the way it's going to be.
The heart, the inner voice, speaks differently. Sometimes it whispers. Sometimes it pulls. Sometimes it pushes. It's spontaneous, in the present moment, and often a surprise. The heart takes into account what has to be done and the best way to do that. The heart takes emotions into account - the way things feel, the way you feel, the wisdom of your soul. The heart leads us into and through the lessons we're here to learn.
Cultivate your inner voice. Practice listening to the whispers of your heart. Practice trusting your intuition, what you really feel, what you really know. Practice until that voice is the one that you hear.
Be patient. Be gentle. Let yourself learn to hear the gentle and trustworthy words of your heart.
Here's the bottom line, we're all in search of confirmation that we're on the right path, but so often, we're searching for answers when all along they're right there in front of us...in our hearts. We just have to learn to listen.
Wishing all of you a day when your heart speaks to you, and you hear it! There's an extraordinary feeling when you know something is right. And with more people getting vaccinated, it's time to get back to those eleven-second hugs I used to write about! So, hug somebody special to you and let them know how important they are in your life.
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the planet.
Chance favors the prepared mind!
by Skip Cohen
Years ago, I started stepping away from marketing and business topics on Sunday mornings, feeling it was my day to write about anything I wanted. Today, I'm staying true to that goal and sharing the pure joy in my role as a new "parent"!
Four years ago, we planted a butterfly garden in the back corner of our yard. We've had plenty of butterflies, but for the first time we spotted a monarch chrysalis a week ago. I got such a kick out of it that I made it my header for my Facebook page.
A few days ago, entirely at random, Sheila went out to check on the new addition. All I heard was, "Get a camera!" So, while I missed the opportunity to get a time-lapse, I did manage to get a few still shots. The first one above is minutes after coming out of the chrysalis. You can see the wings still crumpled up from the confinement. Five minutes later, they were flattened out, and our new addition was flying all over the garden.
It's hard to find the words to describe what we were both feeling as we watched the butterfly emerge. As I wrote the other day, there's something wrong in nature when a butterfly only lives two to six weeks, but a cockroach can go for two years! Regardless, nothing can take away the absurd feeling Sheila and I had at becoming new parents.
My point this morning couldn't be more simple - I almost missed the moment because I was off doing other things. Thanks to Sheila, I was at least there with a camera before the activity was over. There's so much going on in our lives every day; when we don't stop to look around, we miss so many memorable moments.
We are so busy watching out for what is ahead of us,
that we don't take time to enjoy where we are!
Calvin & Hobbs
I know the pandemic has had an impact on all of us. Hunkered down, we've all worked to protect ourselves and our families - but even while isolated, there are still moments to capture, savor and appreciate. Take a minute right now and look around you and look for those "butterflies" about to emerge! Sorry, it's hard not to get sappy with this stuff.
Wishing everybody a perfect day ahead and time to anticipate and be part of memory-making moments. They're all around us if we just change our priorities and notice them.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday, and while I'm off-track from marketing and business, my thoughts this morning will hit home with many of you.
One of the only publications I read anymore, which comes in hard copy every week, is The Week. My Dad got me started years ago, and it's my ongoing link to the outside world. In last week's publication in their regular feature called "The Last Word," the article shared profile stories of what people feel after a year in isolation.
The article originally appeared in The Washington Post and was used with permission in The Week. The title of the article was "One year of isolation," and the subtitle says it all:
At the anniversary of the pandemic, said The Washing Post, we have all had to get used to living apart. These are some of the stories of a year in which travel, school, ceremonies, and even touch disappeared.
I'm sharing only the subtitles related to each person in the article to set the stage for my point this morning.
Well, the article was incredibly reflective. It got me thinking about the last year and what I've missed the most. We're an industry built on a foundation of capturing memories. Yet memory-making moments suddenly became so limited. There were minimal opportunities to capture. But for me, most of all I've missed contact with friends.
It's that excitement in the air at a convention and the hugs that come with seeing people you've missed. I've mastered Zoom, Skype, and even Facetime - but nothing beats a live hug. Nothing tops the laughter and pure joy of reuniting with people you love, respect, and have shared chapters of your life with.
But over the last year, the glass was always half full, and in place of that time directly with friends, Sheila and I found we grew a little closer every day. We got to know each other better, and the two pups became a project to maintain the change in lifestyle and loss of freedom.
So, what's the piece of the puzzle over the last year you missed the most?
The pandemic's grip is slowly loosening, and we're getting back to normalcy, but I'm not sure what normal really is after the last year. There's certainly a deeper appreciation for so many things we took for granted.
Wishing everybody a day to recover those pieces of your puzzle you've been missing for the last thirteen months. Make it a day to bring back great memories and, most important of all, more smiles in your life. And let's get back to those eleven-second therapeutic hugs I used to write about.
Only when normal things are not normal anymore,
do we realize how special normal things are.
by Skip Cohen
I'm staying true to my one consistent rule on posting Sunday Morning Reflections - they're never directly about business. I always run amuck, rarely with any preconceived idea of where I'm going!
Today is definitely a celebration and one that I hope many of you are repeating now and into the weeks ahead. For the first time in over a year, we had a return to normal last night with good friends Rose and Nairn' at a favorite restaurant in Sarasota. Four good friends who hadn't seen each other in over a year because of the pandemic - but dinner in a normal setting, lots of laughs, a drink or two, and truly a celebration.
Ironically, it was also the first day of Spring. Like pictures people have been sharing of trees in bloom this weekend, a great friendship also came back to life! We didn't lose touch, but being hunkered down, we so missed the contact. Masks in and out of the restaurant, but once at our table, the outside world disappeared.
We're a long way from what normal used to be, but those first "baby steps" were terrific, right down to no masks, hugs and clinking glasses.
The world is a long way from getting back to normal, but with all four of us having both vaccine shots, for an evening, the pain, sadness, and loss of freedom over the last year disappeared in a wave of love and friendship. I'm big on metaphors, especially on Sunday mornings - it was the light at the end of the tunnel we've all been waiting for - now it's time for the rest of the world to catch up. I've written a lot over the years about the importance of friendships, but it wasn't until we lost access to our friends did I really appreciate how vital they are to the richness of our lives.
Wishing all of you a day filled with smiles and especially hugs with friends who have had their shots! It seems like a funny way to say it - but your health and safety still need to be kept in focus. However, there's no way to describe the feeling of how a jumpstart helps to get your emotional battery back to a full charge!
And to Rose and Nairn' - sure do love you guys.
Happy Sunday - Happy Spring - Happy Journey on the way back to NORMAL!
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things!"
by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections is always off the topic of business and marketing and often pretty random with what's running through my head. Add in the challenges of the pandemic, and suddenly things I'd rarely think about become relevant.
Everyone talks about how much the pandemic has created a greater appreciation for things we used to take for granted. Well, there you have it, my points this morning - friendships and cell phones!
For over a year, Sheila and I have stayed true to a policy of hunkering down. (God, how I've grown to hate those two words!) We haven't gone anywhere, not even for carry-out. Like so many of you, we miss our friends. As we countdown the days to the two-week wait period after getting our second vaccine, we've already made dinner and lunch plans for the weeks ahead.
One of the key things that kept us going over the last year was keeping in touch via the phone, which grew into Zoom, Facetime, and Skype.
For example, I had a great day yesterday with my good buddy Kevin Gilligan. We're doing a program together today for ClickCon Nation. It was initially to be presented LIVE on stage in Chicago. However, working with Kevin and catching up repeatedly during the day with text messages was the next best thing to a bro-hug.
My day ended with him and me doing a Zoom review of our program today, which ironically is about finding balance with all the different hats we each wear. But for me, while the purpose of our presentation is to help you stay focused on your dreams, the best thing for me is working on a project with a good friend.
And my love for my phone, even though it's not a "real" camera, came out of a picture I sent Kevin yesterday while Sheila and I were out doing a couple of errands with the pups. Lucy is a "wind-dog," while Belle is more timid, but that doesn't change her love to muscle in on whatever Lucy wants to see.
Remember, I warned you about the randomness of today's post - but it's all those little things I used to take for granted that have become more important.
All of us have friends we've missed, but have we done our best at keeping in touch? Do they know we miss them? Friendships aren't little things, but the pandemic has heightened my senses when it comes to keeping in touch. As a result, I'm more in tune than ever before over the role, so many of you play in giving my life more meaning.
To so many of you who have put up with my phone calls, texts, and messages over the last year - thank you for being there! And to Kevin - what a kick to consider you such a great friend - I've done a lot of workshops and programs over the years, but this one with you today is pretty special.
Wishing everybody a perfect day ahead! Make it one that's filled with appreciation for those special friends in your life, and share a few pictures here and there - even if they're only captured on your phone!
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're hanging out on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and if you've followed me for even a short time, you know I'm about to run amuck from the topic of marketing. Sunday is my day to step into the world outside business, and with the pandemic slowly (very slowly) moving behind us, I was thinking about how Sheila and I got through it.
Like most of you, we've been isolated from friends and family for over a year. We chose to hunker down and ride out the storm. I have fewer respiratory issues than Sheila does, so I've been doing the food-shopping, typically at 7:00 am on Sunday mornings - before the no-mask wonders show up. We've cooked every meal at home, mastered a couple of fun cooking techniques, and put on the "Covid 15," which we're walking every morning now, trying hard to shed.
Through this entire nightmare, it's time I paid tribute to our therapists, Dr. Lucy and Dr. Belle. I wrote about losing Molly the Wonder Dog in February 2019. Like everyone who loses a dog, I was devastated. Nine months later, we decided it was time to get back into the dog world - only this time it was two fur-balls joining the family.
For the first three months, just about every day, I questioned our decision. Most of the time, Sheila and I would look at each other and say, "What made us think at our age we could handle two puppies?" Then we'd laugh and refocus on training.
When the pandemic hit in full force, the four of us really did become a family. Our days kicked off with getting the girls out, typically our morning walk around the neighborhood, and on and off through the day, it was puppy playtime. They've filled our life with chuckles and an occasional scream - but big smiles every day.
Over and again, I've thought about how lucky we are to have them with us, and the love for these two knuckleheads just keeps growing. I thought our experience was pretty unique until I called our vet to get them in for their annual checkups and shots. I was told that through the pandemic, "Everybody got a pet!" As a result, they're five months behind on available appointments.
That brings me right to my point - our pets help fulfill our lives. While there are no words to describe how much we've missed friends and getting together, our "therapists" have kept us focused on laughing and smiling every day.
Sheila and I got our second vaccine shot this past week, and there's finally light at the end of the tunnel. But over the last year, it was Lucy and Belle who helped us stay focused on our hearts and, in fact, each other.
Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole!
Wishing everybody a day loaded with smiles and hope for the future and a return to some level of normalcy. It's going to be slow, but still faster and the right direction away from what we've all dealt with for the last twelve months. And if you've got a pet therapist, dog, or cat, they deserve a couple of extra treats today because they guided you through the storm.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
We can't always control the timing of our plans, but we can have fun along the way.
Friends don't care if the project is finished; they just want to be a part of the magic of life.
Look at things from a new perspective. Laugh. Be grateful you're where you are at this moment.
Don't worry about trying to hurry the future along. Look for the joy in life now.
by Skip Cohen
Part of the fun of writing Sunday Morning Reflections is simply heading into any topic that moves me at the moment. Well, I just spent almost an hour staring at my computer and thinking. Along the way, there was plenty of procrastination as the pups wandered into my office to play. I got down on the floor to participate in the pure joy of a let's-abuse-Dad moment.
That's when it hit me, how downright awful the last year has been, but how proud I am that we made it through it all. And while it's still not over, we got our first vaccine shot, got out yesterday to the mall, and did a few errands. It was a day of just routine chores, but it was part of Melody Beattie's "magic of life."
Two days ago, we met a neighbor for the first time. We've been waving and nodding to each other for years but never actually talked directly. We were out for a walk, and so was he and his wife. It was great to finally meet him, and as we walked away, I looked at Sheila and said, "Oh my God, we shook hands."
Just go with me on this. Think about the last year and the level of isolation we've all been through. Even though we immediately grabbed the hand-sanitizer when we got home, we'd shaken somebody's hand! It was terrific and seems so damn stupid to write about.
Here's my point - all we've got is RIGHT NOW. It's this very moment in time we need to appreciate. We can't do anything about the mistakes we made yesterday, and spending time wishing we could turn back the clock only wastes the energy we could use to live today to its fullest. I still love looking in my rearview mirror, but only to give me the energy to create more memories.
Two of our honorary "kids" sent us the picture of Sheila and me above. It was an all-u-can-eat snow crab night at a restaurant in Sarasota. The four of us were out together. It was two years ago, and it helps set the tone for today - Smiling more and bitching less.
There's so much we all took for granted before the pandemic. Now is the time to appreciate the pure joy of the littlest things - from a handshake to just a run to the market. Like everyone else, I know I've wasted time wishing things were different. I miss friends, family, and freedom - but as it all slowly starts to come back, I'm not going to waste a minute not smiling.
Wishing everybody a Sunday filled with time to feel great and appreciate the moment - right now!
You can dream a little dream or you can live a little dream.
I'd rather live it, 'cause dreamers always chase but never get it."
"No Regrets," Aesop Rock
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world. Wherever you are don't waste time on yesterday and tomorrow isn't here yet. Just savor today!
by Skip Cohen
It's a very short post this morning, but as always, a long way from my "day-job" and nothing about marketing and business. When I'm stuck for something to write about for Sunday Morning Reflections, I grab a book off the shelf. This morning I randomly grabbed a quote book, "Nothing is Worth More Than This Day." I thumbed through the book, and the quote below called my name!
Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate,
lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can't put your feet on,
never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline,
don't overlook life's small joys while searching for the big ones.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.
We've been hunkered down just short of a year. While we do miss friends and all those random freedoms we took for granted, the pandemic has taught us to appreciate what we have instead of being depressed over what's missing. I'm not suggesting it's been easy, but between Skype, Zoom, and the phone, we've been able to keep in touch with family and friends.
Here's my point - slowly but surely, we're getting through the vaccine challenges, and finally, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. At the same time, we've all learned something, and, ironically, it's all about focus! Focusing on "life's small joys while searching for the big ones."
Hey, it's a little hokey and definitely sappy this morning, but it's my blog. LOL
Wishing you a day filled with appreciation for the smallest things in your life that make you smile. For me, it'll be the fun of making French toast in a few minutes and breakfast with Sheila. In a post the other day, I shared some information about smiling - "According to scientists, smiling causes an influx of positive emotions that help in relieving stress and lowering your blood pressure. Each time you smile, you benefit your health and happiness."
So, make it a day jam-packed with things that make you smile. Let's all be Alfred E. Neuman for a day!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and if you're new to the SCU blog, I always stay away from business and marketing with Sunday Morning Reflections. This morning, I'm definitely running amuck because I'm tired of people who have lost their sense of humor and sarcasm.
Back at the start of the pandemic, one of my most favorite artists and good friend, Gilmar Smith, created the self-portrait above with Platypod. At the time, people were hoarding toilet paper. I even found a classic and relevant one-liner on the Internet:
"If you bought 144 rolls of toilet paper in preparation for a 14-day quarantine,
you probably should have been seeing a doctor long before coronavirus."
My good buddy Nick Vedros, is one of the funniest people in the industry. He's always capable of finding inappropriate humor any place it's needed. He sent me the piece on the right.
Then there are one-liners all over the Internet, and here are a few of my favorites:
"I’m not talking to myself, I’m having a parent-teacher conference."
"A mask isn't a political statement, it's an I.Q. test!"
"I finished Netflix today!"
"Back in my day, you would cough to cover up a fart. Now, with COVID-19, you fart to cover up a cough."
"Pollen still coming out during a global pandemic? Bitch, read the room."
I'm not making light of the challenges of the pandemic. But as Congress wastes millions of dollars on impeachment proceedings (all televised too), I can't help but wonder what would happen if all that money was put into better distribution of the vaccine. Or, how about lunches for kids who aren't in school, support for the homeless, or a program where the elite in government took the same average pay cut as their constituents?
And long before the Internet there was plenty of sarcasm about Congress...
"It could probably be shown in facts and figures,
there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress."
I guess that's always where I seem to cross the line. Why is it when an old fart like me makes a valid point, he becomes a curmudgeon?
Wishing everybody a day of smiles mixed with some well-placed sarcasm. I know there are days when there's not a whole lot to laugh about, but it's our sense of humor that will get us through this mess!
"30 days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest have 31,
except for March which was infinite."
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.