Janet’s Whisper

July 27, 2010

Hanging proudly on my living room wall is a framed horse blanket. This is not just any horse blanket; this is the official Preakness #12 saddle cloth for the year 2007.

Only 11 racehorses qualified that particular year, but the official supplier of the blankets – my friend Janet – had made a couple extra: numbers 12 and 13. Number 12 – hanging on my wall – has the American flag and the official emblem representing colorectal cancer awareness to the left of the huge numeral 12 and, below the number, is my name: Erika Hanson Brown.

Number 12 was Janet’s final and most lasting gift to me. I received the gift blanket in the mail on the day of her death from the ravages of colorectal cancer: September 20, 2007. I was so very touched by her death on that day, and I am very reminded of her presence in my life each time I cast my eyes on my wall.

But I’m not only touched by Janet’s premature leave-taking; I’m angry about it. You see, I don’t believe that Janet should have died when she did. I believe that, had she heeded life-saving ideas from the urging of a friend of mine (Suzanne Lindley), she would be alive today – just as Suzanne herself is so very much alive today.

Suzanne, a 12 year “lifer” with stage iv colon cancer disease, has taken singular, thought-out steps to maintain her own life, resulting in her living – today – with cancer as a chronic disease. Yes, indeed, Suzanne fights on a daily basis for her life, but she is living proof of and a role model for the fact that this can be done!

Janet and I had similar cancer stories: both of us were diagnosed with stage iii colon cancer: mine was in 2002, and Janet’s was one year later, in 2003. Janet got in touch with me in early 2004 because she’d learned of similarities in our two diagnoses. She wanted to be guided by me in addressing our disease, and I was more than happy to be that guide.

What a privilege! Here was someone who’d had such a different career and lifestyle, yet we were “sisters” in the life and colon cancer. (We used to say that we were both “spleen-less”, because we were!) I both listened to Janet and I watched for her postings to our COLON listserv for news of developments with her. What I learned with dismay was that her disease was progressing. After she had recovered from the removal of her cancerous spleen, she learned that she now had lesions in her liver. Resection of the liver was very, very difficult for her, but she was able to recover from that additional surgery and bodily insult. Then there was more disease found yet again in her liver, and Janet was now expressing great fears about what was happening to her declining health.

As my best “warrior” tendencies have to do with checking into my own network, I then recruited my friend Suzanne to help me with delivering real help and guidance to Janet.

What developed from this connection made initially on Janet’s behalf was a threesome that talked daily. We were a gang of three that was determined to beat up this cancer; we were going to “show up and deliver” on Janet’s behalf. What had been a relatively unconnected acquaintance with Suzanne turned quickly into a daily catch-up and discussion about how to help Janet.

For my part, I was thankful to turn over the technical piece of my helping relationship with Janet to Suzanne – Suzanne is a proven case! Suzanne – a real “energizer bunny”- a walking, talking, traveling, helping, advocating, mission-driven survivor of so much cancer that she’s almost unbelievable – jumped right into the case and, with kindly prodding, attempted to guide Janet into looking at some life-saving therapies that she might consider adding to her roster of therapies.

Here’s where I get mad. While Suzanne had gone to the great trouble of getting Janet’s most current scans reviewed and accepted for possible treatment by one of the most highly-regarded radiation oncologists in the U.S., Janet’s physician – I now refer to him as “Dr. God”- reacted negatively to the idea when presented with it by Janet.

“’Dr. God’, Janet told us, ‘doesn’t think it’s a good idea for me.’”

A few days later, Janet reported to us that her “Dr. God” had a chemo clinical trial that he wanted her to consider, and that she had decided to accept that suggestion. The clinical trial – a crap shoot, at best – did her no good. It’s very possible that had she accepted the targeted internal radiation treatments at that time, her liver tumors might have been destroyed and she might be living today and still happily making those horse blankets for the Preakness Races. She just might be working alongside Suzanne in the delivery of HOPE to cancer patients.

I think that “Dr. God’s” reluctance to recommend that Janet find additional help was tantamount to signing her death warrant.

Too, I think that Janet’s personal reluctance to disregard his advice and to follow her own path was tantamount to putting the final nail in her own coffin.

Janet’s last summer was a miserable summer for her, spent mostly drugged and bed-ridden. During her last week of life, she decided to try for the earlier-recommended liver-directed therapy. It was too late, however. She’d been an acceptable candidate before, and now she learned that she was no longer in that category because of the progression of her liver tumors and her failing health.

Janet’s story has turned me into a Cancer Warrior. Janet’s voice urges me to promote earnestly the self-advocacy necessary to take charge of our own journeys through cancer and other diseases. I want to spread the word to the cancer-diagnosed that there are many steps that we can take on this cancer journey that seems to have been chosen for us. When our own “Dr. God’” declares that this is the treatment they recommend for us, I want us to ask “Why?” I want our new patients to ask “What else?”. “Where”? “How?” “When?”

1. I want our medical professionals to be educated about all the additional therapies (beyond the scope of their own specialties) and to assist their patients in following whatever treatment path they choose.

2. I want personal choice to become every single person’s way of being and deliberate mantra.

3. And I want our survivors to be directed to those knowledgeable people with whom they can talk for education and support in this new way of life called “survivor”. (I’ll recommend here and now that they get directly in touch with YES Beat Liver Tumors – www.beatlivertumors.org. for exquisite and personal support.)

We need to help our patients think of themselves as Cancer Warriors. All of us – caregivers, survivors, patients, physicians, nurses – need to prepare to “do battle”, if we’re going to beat this disease.

Janet’s voice still speaks to me. She tells me that we’ve got a cancer war to fight. See this, and she’ll speak directly to you: http://pimlico-race-track.topictastic.com/video/cnn-hn-preakness-and-colon-cancer-awareness

I’m ready. Are you?

Erika Hanson Brown
Diagnosed stage iiic colon cancer, August 26, 2002
“Spleenless, “semi-colon-ed”, and NED 8 years, no recurrence

Official Preakness Saddle Blanket 2007


TRP’s Get to Know One Another!!!

June 24, 2010

Top Recommended Group Gets Together on the Phone!

Tomorrow at 7am “my” time (MDT), a group of no more than 25 of the TRP Group (LinkedIn) is going to meet, greet, hear one another’s voices, and discuss a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: the upcoming INNER GUIDANCE FOR LIFE™ Weekend Retreat in Boulder.

They don’t know it yet, but our Special Guest will be Greg Magick Bernstein, leader and guide for the weekend.

I’ve been promoting discussion of the topic (biz dev, intuition, and inner guidance) in discussion posts that I’ve put up in the TRP group.  It’s amazing to me that so many people seem to employ their Inner Guidance, and they are willing to discuss the pro’s and con’s!

Tomorrow’s conversation shoud be lively and fun! 

(Let me know if you’d like to join this group…..qualification is to have a minimum of 10 recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.)

Have a great evening!

erika hanson brown, STELLAR Connections LLC

"Official Coordination for The Inner Guidance Experience Weekend"

denver, co usa

303.780.9111

303.351.4103 – add’l voice mail

skype: erika.hanson.brown

erika@stellarbiz.com

 

subscribe to my blog:  connectoring.posterous.com

linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/erikahansonbrown


Top Recommneded Group’s TOP GUY: Ross Dodwell – with Tips!

June 22, 2010
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While Reducing Expenses: Go on Vacation!!

Talking about reducing expenses, how about tak­ing a vacation? You are probably saying, I thought we were talking about saving money here. We are. But, everyone needs a vacation from time to time, so while you are on the road to losing debt, it’s okay once in a while to take a short detour and enjoy the sights.

Many people live within a short drive of a national park or other tourist location. We live just over two hours from the beach, there you go! There are 22 million websites with the text “Cheap Hotels.” some of the larger ones are Expedia http://www.expedia.com, Travelocity http://www.travelocity.com, and Hotwire http://howtolosedebt.com/HW which also provides hotel “ratings.”

I am not particularly fond of just booking a hotel sight unseen, because you never know what it looks like or the neighborhood it’s in until you get there. I can remember staring out the window of our hotel all night long at our brand new Nissan Maxima sitting in the parking lot, hoping it didn’t get stolen.

Therefore, if you have never seen the hotel before, you may want to join AAA http://www.aaa.com. They provide tour books free of charge that have ratings on each hotel. There are other “rating” companies like Tri­padvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com and Hotels.com http://www.hotels.com. Most let you book the hotels di­rectly through their sites. It is important to shop around.

Another form of “cheap” vacation is to go on a cruise. It is obviously more expensive if you need to fly to the port, or if you drink significantly on board. Many cruise lines will now let you carry your own beer and wine on board. They do, however, feed you, boy do they feed you.

There are 1,970,000 websites with the text “last min­ute cruises.” by booking at the very last minute, most cruise lines want to fill their ships, and will “sell” the rooms at a discount. While you may not get your choice of rooms, you can surely cruise for less than the stan­dard advertised rate.

There are sites like:

Cruises.com http://www.cruises.com,

LastMinuteCruises http://www.lastminutecruises.com,

VacationsToGo http://www.vacationstogo.com,

CruseDirect http://www.cruisedirect.com, and

Cruisesonly http://www.cruisesonly.com.

We have used SmartCruiser http://howtolosedebt.com/SM as well, with good results.

You have to understand there are two different ways that cruise booking companies work. Some com­panies go in and buy, that is guarantee, that they will buy a certain number of rooms. Those rooms are then removed from the available rooms from the cruise line’s website, but that does not mean they are not available from the booking company that bought them.

Other booking companies only book the room that you are seeking, so they have somewhat less control on availability. The companies that buy large blocks of rooms want to get as high of a price as possible while not getting “stuck” with the room. The other companies make a profit based on the discounted rate they get from the cruise lines and what they “sell” it to you for.

Therefore the booking companies that purchase in­dividual rooms do not have as much flexibility in rates as the ones that guarantee the booking. At the end of the cruise booking period, the booking companies that have guaranteed blocks of rooms will even sell the room at a loss to not get stuck with it. They do this because they made enough profit on the rooms that they did sell. So you may be able to get a better deal with them. I will say, you need to do your homework, because there will be no sign on the website that says which business model a particular website is using.

I would be neglectful in any discussion about booking vacations if I didn’t mention one other site, and that is Priceline http://www.priceline.com.

The “ambassador of entertainment” in my house is my wife Lisa. We always said she missed her calling; she should have been a travel agent. She actually loves to shop for a bargain. Frankly, I can’t stand it.

You know, men go right into a store, buy what they came for and walk out. Women shop, peruse, hunt for bargains, use discount coupons, combine discounts, etc. It is not unusual for her to come home with an out­fit that she paid $10 for, which would regularly sell for $80 or even higher. She sees it as a personal challenge that she is going to win.

Priceline has an unusual busi­ness model. Sure, you can book hotels, rental cars, etc. through them like you do any other of the large websites like Expedia or Travelocity. The curve in their business model is they let you set your own price, a bid.

Now picture yourself an owner of a 200-room hotel which sells for $150 per night per room. If you were sitting there with 100 vacant rooms, which is better, to have the rooms sit vacant, or to “sell” them for less than the standard going rate, but fill them up? This is what makes the Priceline model so effective. You get to tell them what you are willing to pay for a room in their hotel. They either accept your bid and you get the room cheaper, or they refuse it, and there is no sweat off your back.

If your bid is covering their “cost” with some profit, there is absolutely no reason they won’t accept it. The “ambassador of entertainment” taught me this trick, along with many others. It works just as well with rental cars. The car either sits on their lot unused, or they ac­cept your bid and at least make some money for the day. Capiche?

The Priceline model won’t work if you absolutely need to be in a specific location on a specific day, or if your bid is so low the company won’t recoup their costs. However, if you’re flexible with your dates, this is a great way to shave a few dollars off your vacation expenses.

Did you know that most hotels will give you incentives to stay over Sunday night, when most rooms are vacant? Anyway, my wife will spend weeks on end searching for the best deals before we book a vacation. Isn’t she great? I get to go on nice vacations, while spending the least amount possible, becoming or now staying free from debt. You can too, but you will need to find your own ambassador of entertainment!

 

 

 

 

erika hanson brown

STELLAR Connections LLC

“connecting leaders – for biz”

denver, co  usa

303.780.9111

303.351.4103 – add’l voice mail

skype: erika.hanson.brown

erika@stellarbiz.com

 

linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/erikahansonbrown

  

“…..word of mouth epidemics are the work of Connectors.”   Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point

 

 

 

 

Posted via email from Connectoring® Strategists


Top Recommneded Group’s TOP GUY: Ross Dodwell – with Tips!

June 22, 2010

Top Recommneded Group’s TOP GUY: Ross Dodwell – with Tips!

While Reducing Expenses – Go on Vacation!!

Talking about reducing expenses, how about tak­ing a vacation? You are probably saying, I thought we were talking about saving money here. We are. But, everyone needs a vacation from time to time, so while you are on the road to losing debt, it’s okay once in a while to take a short detour and enjoy the sights.

Many people live within a short drive of a national park or other tourist location. We live just over two hours from the beach, there you go! There are 22 million websites with the text “Cheap Hotels.” some of the larger ones are Expedia http://www.expedia.com, Travelocity http://www.travelocity.com, and Hotwire http://howtolosedebt.com/HW which also provides hotel “ratings.”

I am not particularly fond of just booking a hotel sight unseen, because you never know what it looks like or the neighborhood it’s in until you get there. I can remember staring out the window of our hotel all night long at our brand new Nissan Maxima sitting in the parking lot, hoping it didn’t get stolen.

Therefore, if you have never seen the hotel before, you may want to join AAA http://www.aaa.com. They provide tour books free of charge that have ratings on each hotel. There are other “rating” companies like Tri­padvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com and Hotels.com http://www.hotels.com. Most let you book the hotels di­rectly through their sites. It is important to shop around.

Another form of “cheap” vacation is to go on a cruise. It is obviously more expensive if you need to fly to the port, or if you drink significantly on board. Many cruise lines will now let you carry your own beer and wine on board. They do, however, feed you, boy do they feed you.

There are 1,970,000 websites with the text “last min­ute cruises.” by booking at the very last minute, most cruise lines want to fill their ships, and will “sell” the rooms at a discount. While you may not get your choice of rooms, you can surely cruise for less than the stan­dard advertised rate.

There are sites like:

Cruises.com http://www.cruises.com,

LastMinuteCruises http://www.lastminutecruises.com,

VacationsToGo http://www.vacationstogo.com,

CruseDirect http://www.cruisedirect.com, and

Cruisesonly http://www.cruisesonly.com.

We have used SmartCruiser http://howtolosedebt.com/SM as well, with good results.

You have to understand there are two different ways that cruise booking companies work. Some com­panies go in and buy, that is guarantee, that they will buy a certain number of rooms. Those rooms are then removed from the available rooms from the cruise line’s website, but that does not mean they are not available from the booking company that bought them.

Other booking companies only book the room that you are seeking, so they have somewhat less control on availability. The companies that buy large blocks of rooms want to get as high of a price as possible while not getting “stuck” with the room. The other companies make a profit based on the discounted rate they get from the cruise lines and what they “sell” it to you for.

Therefore the booking companies that purchase in­dividual rooms do not have as much flexibility in rates as the ones that guarantee the booking. At the end of the cruise booking period, the booking companies that have guaranteed blocks of rooms will even sell the room at a loss to not get stuck with it. They do this because they made enough profit on the rooms that they did sell. So you may be able to get a better deal with them. I will say, you need to do your homework, because there will be no sign on the website that says which business model a particular website is using.

I would be neglectful in any discussion about booking vacations if I didn’t mention one other site, and that is Priceline http://www.priceline.com.

The “ambassador of entertainment” in my house is my wife Lisa. We always said she missed her calling; she should have been a travel agent. She actually loves to shop for a bargain. Frankly, I can’t stand it.

You know, men go right into a store, buy what they came for and walk out. Women shop, peruse, hunt for bargains, use discount coupons, combine discounts, etc. It is not unusual for her to come home with an out­fit that she paid $10 for, which would regularly sell for $80 or even higher. She sees it as a personal challenge that she is going to win.

Priceline has an unusual busi­ness model. Sure, you can book hotels, rental cars, etc. through them like you do any other of the large websites like Expedia or Travelocity. The curve in their business model is they let you set your own price, a bid.

Now picture yourself an owner of a 200-room hotel which sells for $150 per night per room. If you were sitting there with 100 vacant rooms, which is better, to have the rooms sit vacant, or to “sell” them for less than the standard going rate, but fill them up? This is what makes the Priceline model so effective. You get to tell them what you are willing to pay for a room in their hotel. They either accept your bid and you get the room cheaper, or they refuse it, and there is no sweat off your back.

If your bid is covering their “cost” with some profit, there is absolutely no reason they won’t accept it. The “ambassador of entertainment” taught me this trick, along with many others. It works just as well with rental cars. The car either sits on their lot unused, or they ac­cept your bid and at least make some money for the day. Capiche?

The Priceline model won’t work if you absolutely need to be in a specific location on a specific day, or if your bid is so low the company won’t recoup their costs. However, if you’re flexible with your dates, this is a great way to shave a few dollars off your vacation expenses.

Did you know that most hotels will give you incentives to stay over Sunday night, when most rooms are vacant? Anyway, my wife will spend weeks on end searching for the best deals before we book a vacation. Isn’t she great? I get to go on nice vacations, while spending the least amount possible, becoming or now staying free from debt. You can too, but you will need to find your own ambassador of entertainment!

erika hanson brown

STELLAR Connections LLC

"connecting leaders – for biz"

denver, co  usa

303.780.9111

303.351.4103 – add’l voice mail

skype: erika.hanson.brown

erika@stellarbiz.com

 

linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/erikahansonbrown

 

“…..word of mouth epidemics are the work of Connectors.”   Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point

 

 

 

Posted via email from Connectoring® Strategists


Untitled

June 21, 2010

Check out registration for this life-changing opportunity, upcoming in beautiful Boulder, Colorado!!

Hosted in a perfect setting, this will be a size-limited group. 

Registration only available to the first in line!

Call now!  Let’s learn to be led to our right personal path by our own inner guidance.

(I look forward to spending this important quality time with you.)

 

erika hanson brown, STELLAR Connections LLC

"Official Coordination for The Inner Guidance Experience Weekend"

denver, co usa

303.780.9111

303.351.4103 – add’l voice mail

skype: erika.hanson.brown

erika@stellarbiz.com

 

linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/erikahansonbrown

Posted via email from Connectoring® Strategists


Announcing – Guest Blogger and Top Recommended Rob Berman!

May 26, 2010

Hi, all!

Moving forward on this blog, I will be featuring – amongst other things – invited Guest Bloggers from the Top Recommended Group on LinkedIn.

Our first in the series is Rob Berman, one of the first people I “met” (by phone) upon becoming the Manager of the TRP Group.

Enjoy!  (He has lots of tough questions for us here……)

20 Questions a Manager Should Ask Themselves

 

Do you remember the old game of 20 Questions?  Managers and owners of firms should regularly stop and take stock of where we are as managers.

 

Here are some questions you should answer for yourself.  Only you know the answers, so be brutally honest.

 

What is your unique value proposition within the firm?

Do you always follow the “rules” or do you occasionally throw out the “rules?”

What is your greatest weakness?

What are you doing about mitigating your greatest weakness?

What have you done lately to improve your skills as a manager?

Do you have an open door policy?  If yes, do employees take advantage of it?

Have you delegated all the work that you can?

Do you hold group meetings to share information in both directions/

Are you a micromanager?

Are you a “big picture” manager?

Has your management style changed for the better or for the worse?

Do you spend disproportionate time on tasks you like and less time on tasks you do not like or enjoy?

Do you consider the per hour cost of employees when assigning tasks?

Do you have a personal development plan for yourself?  Is it in writing and being followed?

Are you consciously acting as a positive role model for your staff?

Do you act as a goodwill ambassador for your company?  If not, then who does?

Who is your most promising employee?

What are you doing to grow that most promising employee?

Are you a solo decision maker or do you consult with others for their input?

How are you using technology to better manage?

 

The Takeaway

Managers and owners manage many aspects of their businesses.  Remember that we need to manage ourselves as well.

 

Those are the ideas for consideration.  What do you think? 

Do you ever stop and think about how you manage?

Did you find answering these questions helpful?

What other self-exploratory items would you add to the list?

 

Rob Berman
Link with me on LinkedIn: http://www/linkedin/in/rcberman 
Read my Blog: http://www.rob-berman.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rcberman

erika hanson brown

STELLAR Connections LLC

"connecting leaders – for biz"

denver, co  usa

303.780.9111

303.351.4103 – add’l voice mail

skype: erika.hanson.brown

erika@stellarbiz.com

 

linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/erikahansonbrown

 

“…..word of mouth epidemics are the work of Connectors.”   Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point

 

 

 

Posted via email from The Connectoring® Strategist


It’s Not Who You Know…….

February 3, 2010

What IS it that differentiates some networkers as “connectors” and others as “all the rest”?  Why do some appear to be able to navigate the ups and downs of life, skipping – as it were – with nary a beat and smiling all the way?  What “school” did they attend?!! 

The CONNECTORS learned well the direct benefits of creating their own networks built of solid “nodes” or “building blocks”.  These “nodes” inform the most basic strength and structure of their network: WARM RELATIONSHIPS. Those relationships – both as a group and individually – are responsive to them.

You, too, can learn about important steps you can take to build, maintain, and retain warm relationships as you gallivant through your own life!

Join us  – Connectoring® Strategist Erika Hanson Brown (“It’s All About Relationships”) and Career Blogger Anne Maclachlan ("Here’s Why") – for a lively overview of networking’s finer points by  introducing yourself to Brown’s Connectoring® Verities.  

Erika Hanson Brown (STELLAR Connections LLC – “connecting leaders for business”)  http://erikahansonbrown.posterous.com/, will be providing tips for presenting the authentic you in your network- building, while she presides over the discussion of how to convert your contacts into valid connections. Anne Maclachan will provide the expert guidance for the production, creating polls and queries directly relatable to the subject at hand.

The date: This Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. PST, 11 a.m. MST, 1 p.m. EST. 

Click on the link below on Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. PST, 11 a.m. MST, 1 p.m. EST for this unique opportunity to learn more about relationship- building as THE tactic to use in productive networking. 

http://annemaclachlan.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/networking-is-it-really-worth-it/ 

IT’S NOT WHO YOU KNOW; IT’S WHO CALLS YOU BACK!™

erika hanson brown

STELLAR Connections LLC

"connecting leaders for business"

denver, co  usa

303.780.9111

skype: erika.hanson.brown

erika@stellarbiz.com

 

linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/erikahansonbrown

the connectoring® strategist blog: http://erikahansonbrown.posterous.com

 

Posted via email from The Connectoring® Strategist