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Okay, before you sit down and decide on what extraordinary results you’ll achieve in 2011, please follow this advice:  progress is better than perfection.

What do I mean by that?  

Most people who don’t set goals on a regular basis usually wait for either New Year’s Day or their birthday and then proclaim, “This year is going to be different!”  They do the most important step, which is to write their goals down on paper.  Unfortunately, they write down their ultimate goals only…in other words, perfection.  Well, the problem is most people can’t go from their current position to perfection immediately.  If I tried to run the Boston marathon route tomorrow…well…I’d probably die!  

What people need to do is have a second column on the paper entitled, next level goals…in other words, progress.  You should start out by setting short-termed, next level goals.  What can you do in the next week or two to become just a little bit better than you are right now?  Going back to my ultimate goal of running a marathon, I could set a next level goal to run 2 miles twice this week.  This would be better than I am now and on my way to ultimate.  Get it?  Good.

When you start to achieve next level goals…no matter how small the goals seem…your confidence, self-esteem, and belief system will rise.  You’ll start to set bigger goals and you’ll become closer and closer to your ultimate goals.  Try it…and let me know how you do.  Want to learn more about this?  Visit  my website and watch my free videos on this subject.  There’s a whole mini-success course for you…for free…right now, along with all the forms (also free!) you need to identify your goals, set your goals, manage your time, and self-motivate.

Going after perfection from where you are now will usually overwhelm and defeat you.

Going after realistic next level goals that you believe you can achieve will motivate you and create the momentum to set even higher next level goals.  Soon, you’ll be at your ultimate level of success without even realizing it.  Have fun!

And if you need a coach to hold you accountable and teach you more about success, then contact me anytime.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Here’s wishing you ‘progress’ with your New Year’s Resolutions!


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Holiday Hours

We Will Be Closed on Christmas Eve

inConcert Web Solutions will be closed beginning on Christmas Eve Day through the weekend. Our office will reopen on Monday, December 27. All website maintenance requests and website changes that are requested within this time period will be completed upon our reopening in the order that they were received.

Enjoy your holiday and Merry Christmas!


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Tucked away in a safe place within the walls of my heart, is a vision of my Father, Christmas Eve some 23 years ago. I can vividly see the look upon his face because it was a look that transcended all expression. It was beyond gratitude or joy and it was as if he were recording our faces, our voices and acts to be filed deep within his soul. It was as if he had something to say, but couldn’t express it. I didn’t know what it was but I felt it to be profound and deep!

It was that Christmas that I learned something that I have since referred to as “The Gift”!

12 days later a family meeting was called by my Father and he obviously had something on his mind. With a heavy heart he shared with us that before he was released from the hospital ( a few days before Christmas) he was told that the cancer had spread and he was given 3 months to live. He explained to us that he didn’t want to ruin our holiday and wanted to give us the 12 days of Christmas.

That day a light bulb went off for me as I realized that on Christmas Eve, my Father was drinking it all in for the last time. Less than 3 months later, my Father passed away.

So let me ask the question for you . . . where’s “The Gift” in that? There are in fact many if you would do me the honor of reading on.

The first is a constant reminder that if my Dad could keep himself from wearing devastating news on his sleeve, perhaps I can keep whatever BS I’m going through off of mine! And let’s not to pretend that we don’t all have a little of that BS via the boss, the A-Hole who just stole the parking spot, the kids, the wife, the bills and for the “Bah Humbug” crowd . . . the season!

Whenever I’m guilty of wearing those things on my sleeve, perhaps I’m also guilty of getting in the way of someone else’s joy. Something for us all to think about next time we care to offer someone an invite to our pity party. Might be a “gift” in understanding that one!

The other “gift” is savoring the moment, involving all of your senses and living the holiday (and dare I say, our lives) as if this will be the last one. Someday we’ll be right!

I believe there is also a “gift” in catching yourself enjoying that moment. Don’t they call it the “present” for a reason? Personally, I think it sucks when we are enjoying a moment solely in retrospect! I triple dog dare you to catch yourself in the act of enjoying your life!

Gratitude is yet another gift that I have taken away from that event. Gratitude that I saw the moment when my Dad was savoring his last Christmas. In that moment, I was able to share something very profound . . . a moment when someone who had come to the end of their journey was counting their blessings!

Additional “gifts” come from that knowledge too. All of us have an expiration date. If you knew you were on your final 3 months, would you be filled with regret or gratitude? Perhaps there’s even another “gift” in starting, right now in positioning ourselves for a “regret free” life!

There’s still more, I promise!

If we can’t embrace gratitude, how about refusing to allow resentment to enter our lives? You know, not even once during my Dad’s final days did I get a vibe of bitterness that his life would be cut short at 65. Instead of anger that Christmas, Dad was thankful.

“The Gift” is also an opportunity for us to become selfishly selfless. It means finding a need, thinking beyond ourselves and giving unconditionally. How?

Giving of encouragement. Never, ever underestimate the power of giving someone the ability to take another round!

Giving of our time, our patience and our genuine interest!

Giving of our prayers . . . who doesn’t need a little spiritual good press?

The “gift” of forgiveness as well as the “gift” to remove our egos long enough to ask someone else to forgive us!

And in true “Charity begins at home” fashion . . . how about the gift of forgiving yourself for your shortcomings?

The final “gift” is the ability to take our own sad stories, challenges and speed bumps and somehow take a lesson from them. In that moment, you may have something that becomes “a gift that keeps giving”!

With that, I want to thank you all for my “gift” . . . the opportunity to share something personal and profound. I share it with the hope that it will breed numerous gifts for you!

Please take a moment to savor and celebrate the many gifts that surround you! They are there my friend . . . sometimes we just have to look harder!

Oh, and before I forget . . . Dad, thank you for “the gift”!

Wishing you and your family blessings of peace, joy and more “gifts” than could ever fit underneath your tree!

Happy Holidays from a humbled and grateful

Paul Castain

Peace!


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Tucked away in a safe place within the walls of my heart, is a vision of my Father, Christmas Eve some 23 years ago. I can vividly see the look upon his face because it was a look that transcended all expression. It was beyond gratitude or joy and it was as if he were recording our faces, our voices and acts to be filed deep within his soul. It was as if he had something to say, but couldn’t express it. I didn’t know what it was but I felt it to be profound and deep!

It was that Christmas that I learned something that I have since referred to as “The Gift”!

12 days later a family meeting was called by my Father and he obviously had something on his mind. With a heavy heart he shared with us that before he was released from the hospital ( a few days before Christmas) he was told that the cancer had spread and he was given 3 months to live. He explained to us that he didn’t want to ruin our holiday and wanted to give us the 12 days of Christmas.

That day a light bulb went off for me as I realized that on Christmas Eve, my Father was drinking it all in for the last time. Less than 3 months later, my Father passed away.

So let me ask the question for you . . . where’s “The Gift” in that? There are in fact many if you would do me the honor of reading on.

The first is a constant reminder that if my Dad could keep himself from wearing devastating news on his sleeve, perhaps I can keep whatever BS I’m going through off of mine! And let’s not to pretend that we don’t all have a little of that BS via the boss, the A-Hole who just stole the parking spot, the kids, the wife, the bills and for the “Bah Humbug” crowd . . . the season!

Whenever I’m guilty of wearing those things on my sleeve, perhaps I’m also guilty of getting in the way of someone else’s joy. Something for us all to think about next time we care to offer someone an invite to our pity party. Might be a “gift” in understanding that one!

The other “gift” is savoring the moment, involving all of your senses and living the holiday (and dare I say, our lives) as if this will be the last one. Someday we’ll be right!

I believe there is also a “gift” in catching yourself enjoying that moment. Don’t they call it the “present” for a reason? Personally, I think it sucks when we are enjoying a moment solely in retrospect! I triple dog dare you to catch yourself in the act of enjoying your life!

Gratitude is yet another gift that I have taken away from that event. Gratitude that I saw the moment when my Dad was savoring his last Christmas. In that moment, I was able to share something very profound . . . a moment when someone who had come to the end of their journey was counting their blessings!

Additional “gifts” come from that knowledge too. All of us have an expiration date. If you knew you were on your final 3 months, would you be filled with regret or gratitude? Perhaps there’s even another “gift” in starting, right now in positioning ourselves for a “regret free” life!

There’s still more, I promise!

If we can’t embrace gratitude, how about refusing to allow resentment to enter our lives? You know, not even once during my Dad’s final days did I get a vibe of bitterness that his life would be cut short at 65. Instead of anger that Christmas, Dad was thankful.

“The Gift” is also an opportunity for us to become selfishly selfless. It means finding a need, thinking beyond ourselves and giving unconditionally. How?

Giving of encouragement. Never, ever underestimate the power of giving someone the ability to take another round!

Giving of our time, our patience and our genuine interest!

Giving of our prayers . . . who doesn’t need a little spiritual good press?

The “gift” of forgiveness as well as the “gift” to remove our egos long enough to ask someone else to forgive us!

And in true “Charity begins at home” fashion . . . how about the gift of forgiving yourself for your shortcomings?

The final “gift” is the ability to take our own sad stories, challenges and speed bumps and somehow take a lesson from them. In that moment, you may have something that becomes “a gift that keeps giving”!

With that, I want to thank you all for my “gift” . . . the opportunity to share something personal and profound. I share it with the hope that it will breed numerous gifts for you!

Please take a moment to savor and celebrate the many gifts that surround you! They are there my friend . . . sometimes we just have to look harder!

Oh, and before I forget . . . Dad, thank you for “the gift”!

Wishing you and your family blessings of peace, joy and more “gifts” than could ever fit underneath your tree!

Happy Holidays from a humbled and grateful

Paul Castain

Peace!


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Hey Dude . . . mind if I call you dude?

Just wanted to thank you for mentally checking out because of the holidays. I love that.

And the way you justify it by telling everyone that no one is around, no one buys and how everyone else is mentally checked out . . .

Just makes it so much easier for me to outwork you.

And even if you are in fact, correct and my efforts fail to yield immediate results, I’ll be several weeks ahead of you and enjoying a little something called momentum come the first week in January.

And sorry for talking with my mouth full . . .

I was busy eating your lunch!

Thanks again and let’s do this again next year!

Love ya, mean it

Your Competitor (actually Your Competitor was my Father’s name, you can call me competitor)


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Hey Dude . . . mind if I call you dude?

Just wanted to thank you for mentally checking out because of the holidays. I love that.

And the way you justify it by telling everyone that no one is around, no one buys and how everyone else is mentally checked out . . .

Just makes it so much easier for me to outwork you.

And even if you are in fact, correct and my efforts fail to yield immediate results, I’ll be several weeks ahead of you and enjoying a little something called momentum come the first week in January.

And sorry for talking with my mouth full . . .

I was busy eating your lunch!

Thanks again and let’s do this again next year!

Love ya, mean it

Your Competitor (actually Your Competitor was my Father’s name, you can call me competitor)


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Web Resolution – Part 2

In Web Resolution – Part 1 we discussed the relation of website design resolution and how websites display on particular size monitors. One of the other factors considered when planning a design for a website is whether the design is a static design or a fluid design. Now that the screen sizes and resolutions have standardized (for now) in the 1024 to 1280 range, the majority of websites are designed as static designs at or around 1000 pixels in width. A static design simply means that the major design elements of the site stay in one position, even when the size of the browser window or the resolution of the screen changes. A fluid design is simply as it sounds, the website is fluid, changing with the size of the browser window.  There of course can be many issues relating to this approach and as stated earlier it typically not necessary.

In regards to the resolution subject, in addition to the overall resolution of the website for viewing on the screen, there are several other areas that need to be considered when planning out a website design, specifically how are graphics, photos, and text going to be used in the site and are they going to be used at a later date for other applications.

One of the first questions to ask yourself when preparing to do a website is, are these elements I create for this website going to be used in other projects down the road? And even if there are no plans to do that at this point, you can usually count on your need to use the graphics you’ve created for a brochure to be printed down the road. The last thing you want to do is have to use graphics created at 72dpi for a brochure design. So, here are some hard and fast rules:

  1. Vector VS. Raster

    This graphic was scaled up from a 72 ppi document, on the left it was scaled up as a vector, on the right is was scaled up as a raster (image). See the difference?

    All graphics you are creating for a website should be done in vector format utilizing a program such as Adobe Illustrator. This is absolutely paramount if you are doing a logo design which will be used in a variety of different ways over time. The files can be exported to a lower resolution and smaller file size for the web, yet accessed and manipulated easily if you need to put together a print piece which requires high resolution graphics.

  2. Any images you require for your design should be purchased at a minimum resolution of 300 ppi if there is any chance of the images being used for future print work. The images typically would be resaved to 72 ppi to be used in the web design.
  3. It is particularly important that text is kept in a text form and not converted to graphics whenever possible. Keeping text in a text form helps to strengthen the SEO value of your website so the site can be found by the search engines. Keep in mind that if you utilize various fonts in the graphic design of your logos, websites, or print materials and decide to convert those fonts to graphics so they can be edited, you should make note of the fonts that you used for future reference.

Finally, one of the things we do at inConcert Web Solutions, Inc. is make sure that our clients have access to all design materials, files, fonts, etc. that were used in the creation of their media. I can honestly tell you that over the years I have gained many customers due to the hard line attitude that some ad agencies, graphic designers, and photographers take towards the protection of the original work. Our attitude has been and always will be that you hired us to do the work, paid us for that work, so it’s your property, no matter how you want to use it. We have found in the long term this is the best approach if you want to keep good, long-lasting clients.


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Web Resolution – Part 2

In Web Resolution – Part 1 we discussed the relation of website design resolution and how websites display on particular size monitors. One of the other factors considered when planning a design for a website is whether the design is a static design or a fluid design. Now that the screen sizes and resolutions have standardized (for now) in the 1024 to 1280 range, the majority of websites are designed as static designs at or around 1000 pixels in width. A static design simply means that the major design elements of the site stay in one position, even when the size of the browser window or the resolution of the screen changes. A fluid design is simply as it sounds, the website is fluid, changing with the size of the browser window.  There of course can be many issues relating to this approach and as stated earlier it typically not necessary.

In regards to the resolution subject, in addition to the overall resolution of the website for viewing on the screen, there are several other areas that need to be considered when planning out a website design, specifically how are graphics, photos, and text going to be used in the site and are they going to be used at a later date for other applications.

One of the first questions to ask yourself when preparing to do a website is, are these elements I create for this website going to be used in other projects down the road? And even if there are no plans to do that at this point, you can usually count on your need to use the graphics you’ve created for a brochure to be printed down the road. The last thing you want to do is have to use graphics created at 72dpi for a brochure design. So, here are some hard and fast rules:

  1. Vector VS. Raster

    This graphic was scaled up from a 72 ppi document, on the left it was scaled up as a vector, on the right is was scaled up as a raster (image). See the difference?

    All graphics you are creating for a website should be done in vector format utilizing a program such as Adobe Illustrator. This is absolutely paramount if you are doing a logo design which will be used in a variety of different ways over time. The files can be exported to a lower resolution and smaller file size for the web, yet accessed and manipulated easily if you need to put together a print piece which requires high resolution graphics.

  2. Any images you require for your design should be purchased at a minimum resolution of 300 ppi if there is any chance of the images being used for future print work. The images typically would be resaved to 72 ppi to be used in the web design.
  3. It is particularly important that text is kept in a text form and not converted to graphics whenever possible. Keeping text in a text form helps to strengthen the SEO value of your website so the site can be found by the search engines. Keep in mind that if you utilize various fonts in the graphic design of your logos, websites, or print materials and decide to convert those fonts to graphics so they can be edited, you should make note of the fonts that you used for future reference.

Finally, one of the things we do at inConcert Web Solutions, Inc. is make sure that our clients have access to all design materials, files, fonts, etc. that were used in the creation of their media. I can honestly tell you that over the years I have gained many customers due to the hard line attitude that some ad agencies, graphic designers, and photographers take towards the protection of the original work. Our attitude has been and always will be that you hired us to do the work, paid us for that work, so it’s your property, no matter how you want to use it. We have found in the long term this is the best approach if you want to keep good, long-lasting clients.


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When you have an opportunity to connect with someone (traditional or social networking) do you utilize a strategy to maximize your efforts or do you simply hang out in one place and hope for the best?

Today, we’re going to talk about how you can dramatically accelerate your networking efforts!

Linkedin:

When you connect with someone on Linkedin, slow down and take a moment to view their profile and see where else they network. If you see a Twitter account, check it out and consider connecting with them there. Do they have a Facebook Fan Page or personal account? Might want to consider connecting there or simply “liking” their Fan Page. Do they blog? You can subscribe to their RSS feed.

Note: If you aren’t following your client’s and prospect’s blogs, you are missing out on an opportunity.

Twitter:

Have you considered sending some of your key contacts a Facebook friend request or Linkedin invite? Or do you just let the communication happen there?

Linkedin and Facebook:

Do you sign your name with a handy dandy, clickable link to your site?

Here’s how I do this on Linkedin.

Let’s say Jamie just sent me an invite. Now hopefully, you know by now, that you don’t just accept, you respond and interact! Here’s how.

Jamie:

Thank you so much for the kind invitation.

Wishing you continued success!

Respectfully,

Paul Castain

http://yoursalesplaybook.com

Note: The http:// in front of the website makes it clickable. Don’t make the mistake of just using a standard “www.”

The point of me putting a link to my blog is to offer another opportunity for Jamie and I to connect. It also gives Jamie an opportunity to check out Uncle Paul anonymously, on his terms.

Your Auto Signature In Your Emails

I would highly recommend that you include your social networking contact info in your auto signature. Again, it offers another opportunity for people to not only connect with you, but check you out on their terms.

Note: Do you pay attention to the auto signatures of your prospects and clients? Might be a social networking clue for ya there dude!

Networking Events

Do you look up those face to face contacts from networking events on the social networking platforms?

Oh and the opposite can work too. Do you you take your virtual network and network in real time?

Here’s the point folks

When we connect on multiple platforms, the “getting to know you” process can be accelerated and when you really think about it

The best relationships you have in your life are not exclusive to just one place, are they?

Today, you are cordially invited to slow down and really think about where else your contact likes to be “social”!


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