I Don’t LIKE Being A Parent…

Standard

love it.

I became a parent about 70 days, 12 hours, 5 minutes, and 42 seconds ago. But, who’s counting?

Lillian James Hunter is a little over 2 months old and has already learned how to get what she wants with one look. Sometimes it’s a super-sad, super-cute pout, but sometimes it’s a look like this:

That Look!

You can’t resist this face. You just can’t.

I’ll be writing more about how parenting a baby is changing me for the better and bringing my wife and I closer, but I want to talk about something pretty intense for a second:

The kid is watching you.

All. The. Time.

Here’s the deal: Lily learned how to smile from watching our faces. She has her own emotions, but kids learn how to deal with their emotions by watching how we deal with situations. This is true even to the point of kids sensing our emotions, hopes and dreams.

Sound weird? It kind of is, but I was confronted by this truth from the following (totally awesome) video…

Kids know when you worry, they know what you hope and dream for and you’re their hero. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It’s just something you have to keep in mind.

I can’t wait until Lily is old enough to have conversations with us about her feelings (I’m sure there’ll be lots of those); to ask us hard-to-answer questions. We already love her so much even though she can’t do a thing for us (other than making us better people, scientifically).

I have much more to say, but I think I’ll just leave you with this:

"Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate." -Anonymous

“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” -Anonymous

 

How to Blow Up On Pinterest

Standard

How to Maximize Your Pinterest Potential

 

Many (if not most) businesses use Pinterest as a means of connecting with customers and building their brands and for good reason! Pinterest accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic. (Rich Relevance)

“This sounds great,” you might say, “But why am I not experiencing this boost from my Pinterest use?” I’m about to tell you why and what you can do about it.

Don’t just post pictures of your store, your product, and your staff. I’ve seen this too many times where an organization presents a very bland image on Pinterest and expects to generate buzz.

Think of it this way- if someone on Pinterest only pinned pictures of themselves, they would not have very many followers. That is not what Pinterest is for. But, if someone takes time to cultivate content that resonates with them, they have a higher chance of getting more exposure.

Pin things that are consistent with your brand, but not literally connected. For example, if you are a restaurant, go ahead and pin high-quality photos of your space and the food you serve, but also take the time to find content that you really love on Pinterest. If you’re an Italian restaurant, pin pictures of Italy, Italian traditions, etc. Give people a sense of what you are about, not just a literal description.

Most importantly, the key is passion and being willing to take the time to share things you’re passionate about.

{If you don’t have the time to manage your own Pinterest, or you need help getting started, email me: zach.hunter@gmail.com I’d love to help you bring new life to your brand}

Beauty Of Ashes

Standard

We talk about beauty out of ashes, but sometimes at the expense of the beauty in the ashes. How stunning ashes are, themselves. I don’t mean this simply in a bleak sort of minimalistic sense; that the white/gray/black stuff is starkly attractive like a white-washed room in a photo from an abandoned house on a Norwegian fjord. I mean the nature of destruction and reduction of an object by fire into almost-nothing. That’s beautiful.

Now, before you think that this is a psychopathic ramble about just wanting to watch the world burn, hear me out.I know two things:

1) We can only live in the present as it drifts into the future, and

2) Some things have to burn for others to be built.

You may find yourself in the midst of ashes, perhaps the ashes of things you believed to be true, a relationship, or a job… existential ashes. Don’t just move on. There’s beauty in them, just as beauty may come from them. Dig through the ashes, then rise.Image

Why You Should Listen To The Wrong Voices

Standard

If you want to be an innovator, you can benefit from listening to people who are wrong. Or at least, people who you think are wrong.

If you exclusively consume news media or blogs that affirm your specific political or religious views, you are limiting your potential to innovate and think abstractly You may have the creative drive of Picasso, but if you only choose to listen to the loudest voices in your personal school of thought, you’ll be as effective as the master painter sitting in a corner, patting himself on the back reciting: “Good painter… good painter.”

Pardon the cheesy example, but I’m sure you get the point. We, as humans, are creatures of comfort. We tend to take the path of least resistance. If you’re a staunch, right-wing Christian (who likes to party with tea, perhaps), you might listen to Bill O’Reilly and cheer aloud when he mocks the President. If you are a progressive, left-wing liberal (who scoffs at the idea of a higher power) you might get excited when Bill Maher bashes religion.

Here’s the point: both Maher and O’Reilly are experienced, intelligent (if verbose) media personalities that are extremely opinionated. If you listen exclusively to one extreme point of view, particularly one that you agree with, you rob yourself of the benefit of seeing how others view the world. By thinking differently, forcing your mind to understand someone else’s point of view (even if you can never agree with it) you train your mind to look for other solutions.  

Alternative points of view, and even contrary points of view, to our own, can be the exact catalyst we need to pioneer new, creative territory.

We all come with experience and expertise in different areas. You could learn about how to invest from a farmer, or how to be a better artist by talking to a trigonometry professor. You can discover the joy a carpenter finds in the grain of a beautiful piece of wood. Or, the nuggets a researcher unearths in a new survey. Open the circle of your network to include people who think differently, with different strengths and even different ideology and see what you might uncover.

BE A MAN! (it’s not what you’d think)

Standard

To all the guys out there: someone needs to tell you to man up.

Seriously.

But, I want to tell you that being a man has nothing to do with how you look or whether you cook or play football. It doesn’t matter whether you wear pink all the time or camouflage; if your favourite movie stars Bruce Willis or shows on Hallmark; if you do yoga or MMA or ballet.

I can’t believe that adults have to be told this: but the standard for who you are as a man and a human has little or nothing to do with your appearance or interests contrasted with the traditions of the culture in which you were raised. Don’t listen to the voices tugging on your identity in different directions if they limit your effectiveness in loving God and your neighbor. Brothers, true manliness is power under control. Exhibit self-control. Be a man.ChapterMemes_iii

To read more on this kind of self-control, check this out: http://www.amazon.com/Chivalry-Quest-Personal-Honor-Unjust/dp/1414376359/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Improvisation

Standard

I was hanging out with my friend Daniel and we had just eaten at Rasta Pasta (the tastiest Jamaican-inspired pasta I’ve ever had). Daniel had to cross the street to plug a quarter in the parking meter in front of his car. I was waiting on the other side of the street, when I noticed this guy crossing the street and shouting at me.

“Hey! Hey, man!”

uhh…

“What’s up!”

“I need a harmonica, man!”

I’ve never had someone approach me asking for a harmonica. I was intrigued.

I shook his hand, “What’s your name, man?”

“Donnie.”

We went into a nearby toy store and bought a red harmonica (in the key of C) for the man named Donnie that we met on the street. Donnie was super pumped.

“Look at this colour! I didn’t even look at it before we got it! Look- it’s like a brand new coat!”

He was stompin’ and riffing on that harp. His passion is grin-inducing. He stops to breathe…

“I’m not Loony Toons. That’s not Loony Toons. That’s called improvisation. It takes a real musician to improvise.”

He had me film this bright, shiny, red Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (that matched his harmonica) with his little camera while he played some more. We were both wearing denim shirts. That made us friends.

He was about to get a picture of us together but then said,

“I don’t want to be filmed, you don’t want to be filmed. LET THEM WONDER! Let the people wonder who the artist is! Let them wonder who the musician is. Let them fill it in with the imaginations in their minds!”

It was about time for us to go.

“One more?”

“One more.”

Keep it real, Donnie.