Living a Legacy

Why is it that we all too often wait until we miss something before we truly realize how amazing it was? Maybe it’s just human nature to only comprehend greatness once it’s no longer available…but what a shame. There are far too few people who really make a difference in our lives (whether it be personally or professionally) every day – and they should know the impact they make long before they are treasured memories.

My Grandmother, Betty Hogan, is by far the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. She lives 3,000 miles from Southern California where my brothers and I were born and raised…yet she never let the miles stand in the way of being a remarkable Grandma. As children, she kept up with our activities through Mom and Dad, and occasionally asked for a short phone visit where she’d ask us about school, sports, and all the various activities in which we were involved.

Being a Grandma of adult grandkids could have made any normal long-distance Grandma fade into the background, or made her crazy by trying to keep up with us all. But not this Grandma – she stepped up her game and the phone visits with her own children turned to calls with us Grandkids, Skype sessions, and even Facebook interactions – still actively participating and making an impact on my personal and even my professional life. I often laugh when I hang up with her realizing she’s typically told me something I didn’t even know about one of my siblings. She’s on the ball.

My Grandfather put it best a few years back when he tried to explain the difference between himself and Grandma – “You see, your Grandmother cares about each and every breath you take…while I’m quite satisfied just knowing you are all still breathing”. Of course that doesn’t stop Grandma from dragging him away from his Tigers game to the computer to check out my newest blog post, or article, or photos. She’ll often even call me to tell me she read him my latest feature even if she doesn’t quite understand all the details.

I’ve used her in numerous examples of Cloud technology adoption – saying that if Grandma can do it, nobody has any excuses. We even had a great conversation one day where I explained to her that she already uses Cloud solutions as she pays her bills online, uses Yahoo! Mail, and is an avid Facebook user.

More than any other quality, it’s her selfless interest in our happiness that always causes me to stand in awe of my Grandma. She’s been in rehabilitation the better part of this year after an infection led to an ongoing problem with her hip, yet you would never know it from talking to her. She’s every bit as eager to hear about us as she’s ever been, and she finds joy in our success regardless of her circumstances. Her thoughtfulness and concern for what we’re going through (even if it pales in comparison to what she might be dealing with) is always obvious. I can’t imagine anyone could ever have a bad thing to say about her, and that, if you ask me, is the exact type of legacy we all should strive to leave. I’m so grateful that I know what an amazing blessing I have in her, and can only hope that when I grow up, I can be half the woman she is.

Six LinkedIn Photos to Avoid

We see them every day – the announcements in our news feed on LinkedIn saying that somebody “has a new profile photo” – and we’re all supposed to “Like” said new photo. Let’s get real though, as you scan through connections, and especially those suggested connections of “people you may know”, there are some pretty downright interesting profile photos! Today I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting my six least favorite LinkedIn photos.

The Wedding Photo

No, I’m not talking white dress & veil (although, I’ve see those too). I’m referring to the often fuzzy, usually dated-looking shot of a man in a tux (typically cropped extremely close on one side to remove the bride from the image). Not a good look.

The Glamour Shot

I admit, makeup is a WONDERFUL thing, but let’s keep in mind – LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional tool, not an advertisement for a boudoir photographer, Este Lauder, or Aqua Net. Keep that in mind when selecting wardrobe and makeup/ hairstyle as well as the amount of retouching & airbrushing used in post-production.

The High School Year Book Photo

There should be a field on LinkedIn where you have to insert the date an image was taken…once it hits, say, 10 years old, it should self-destruct. My advice: try to choose a photo that still looks like you. It will help you when you meet people in person if they know what to look for based on a realistic photo.

The Mug Shot

This isn’t your driver’s license or passport photo, people – SMILE! Let’s see some pearly whites! You don’t want to scare off your network or look like you have a tape measure on the wall behind you. Remember, this is often your first impression – make it a good, warm, welcoming one.

The Puppy Dog

Pets are cute. Babies are cute. Cartoons are cute. Would you include any of them on your resume though? Keep in mind that there are appropriate places to use more personal photos (Facebook, Google+, even Twitter). In my opinion, LinkedIn should be all about the professional impression you want to make on your current or future employer, and more importantly, on your professional network.

The No-Show

At least on Twitter you’re an egg. On LinkedIn you’re Jane or John Doe – ambiguous outline human figure afraid to show your face. I’m not sure which is more of a turn-off to me: someone with no photo, or someone with under 50 connections. It’s definitely a close call.

Well, folks – thanks for joining me on this ever-opinionated version of View From My Shoes. Now, excuse me – I’ve got to get back to my amazing photographer, Tina Anjozian regarding some additional touch-ups to my head shot.