Trusting your personal GPS

While I have a lot of trust issues with the GPS on my phone, my personal GPS (Goal Pursuing Strategy) has never let me down. (OK, I know that sounds cheesy, but stick with me here. I’m making a point.)

Sure, my GPS has taken me on some wild detours; but in hindsight, it’s always put me exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Just like the Global Positioning System, your personal GPS works much like a map. There’s a starting point, a destination, and directions for getting from point A to point B. Occasionally, your GPS will change your course due to external factors like traffic or construction. You’ll have to make pitstops along the way for the necessities, like a bathroom or sustenance. Sometimes, you might just pull over to stretch your legs or to take in the scenery. Maybe you’ll stop to help a stranded motorist. Maybe you’ll change your destination altogether. Lots of things can happen on the way to achieving your goals. My point is that no matter how many times your route changes or your ETA gets delayed, you have to stay on the ride.

For me, my goal of graduating from college has been filled with detours. I’ve even arrived at a few dead ends. When it was overwhelming and heartbreaking and felt like more than I could manage, I stayed the course. I trusted my GPS, and it never let me down. When I was truly lost, it brought me to my husband. When I was laid off, it guided me to my dream job with an amazing family of coworkers. Every time tragedy struck, my GPS was there with an alternate route to my goals. It wasn’t the route I planned, and most of the time it took a lot longer than I expected (like, a few years longer), but I’ve realized that the scenic route has way better perks.

A few tips for the road:

  • Be courteous and considerate of your fellow travelers. You never know who is sharing the road with you, what challenges they’ve faced or where their travels are taking them. Be kind, but do not let people mistake that kindness for weakness. Be classy, whether you’re nurturing a positive relationship or severing a toxic one.
  • One thing you will not usually find in your personal GPS is shortcuts (a.k.a. cheating). Just as the scenic route has its perks, shortcuts have their penalties. And the more desperate you are, the more tempting the shortcuts will be. Just remember that if you are not proud of the path you took, you cannot truly be proud of the destination you’ve reached.

So, my fellow travelers (especially my fellow graduates!), as you embark on your journey to greatness, I hope the driving conditions are always pleasant. I hope your traffic delays are minimal and the cops always let you off with a warning. I hope you embrace the alternative route and find wonderful surprises along the way. Most of all, no matter how impossible your dreams may seem, I hope you stay on the ride.




Goin’ down to Chinatown

Dallas has noSapporo Ramen & Sushi shortage of fabulous restaurants, especially in East Dallas where we live. But when our friends from Austin came in town for the holiday, we promptly drove north to Chinatown.

Dallas’ Chinatown is not a huge community like those found in other major cities. This small retail area is located at 400 North Greenville Ave. where Dallas meets Richardson. It has a spectacular variety of Asian restaurants, including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Korean, in addition to salons, a bookstore, a gift shop and an Asian grocery store.

Chinatown is home to my very favorite restaurant, Sapporo Ramen & Sushi. I always intend to order something new when we come here, but the ramen is just too delicious for deviation. I highly recommend the Chicken Katsu, Chung Hua and Chiang Pon. No matter which flavor I get, I always order the udon noodles; I just love the texture. And the owner/manager/sushi expert, Sean, is one of the coolest guys you will ever meet.Once, a group walked into the restaurant with a whole fresh fish, handed it off to the staff and waited patiently as Sean worked his magic. He later delivered the artfully carved fish along with an elaborate seafood display complete with sushi, caviar, ground ginger and all sorts of other goodies. Apparently Sean has quite a following among foodies, and other people who really know their stuff about Asian food consistently praise Sean for his knowledge and skill. Tonight I watched him work over a fish with a blow torch. It was mesmerizing. You gotta respect a man who has mad food skills, runs a top-notch restaurant and wears T-shirts from some of the best rock bands in history. Also, he gave us the most delicious melon-flavored ice cream bars the last time we had dinner there. Two other big pluses: Sapporo is BYOB, and the prices are insanely reasonable. The total bill for our party of four was $31. Yeah.

Another notable restaurant in this area is Jeng Chi, which serves traditional, authentic Chinese fare. Their dumplings are wonderful! They also have a display case near the entrance with tons of tempting pastries. Tonight we stopped in before dinner just to get one of their rolled cakes that looks like a ginormous Swiss cake roll. The cake is so light and fluffy; it’s almost like eating a sweet, creamy memory foam mattress. They come in vanilla, chocolate and coffee. The boys wanted chocolate. I did not protest.

Delivering the PR goods with HARO

In the PR world, we’re constantly working to score press coverage for our clients. This doesn’t exclusively mean articles about a client, but also having clients featured in articles as a source.

Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, delivers more than 100,000 sources with nearly 30,000 reporters and bloggers. It is currently one of the fastest-growing social media services in North America, attracting thousands of new members each week.

Since the website’s creation in 2008, HARO has facilitated more than 7 million media pitches, marketing and promoting nearly 1,500 brands to the media, small businesses and consumers.

Not only is HARO an effective way to pitch stories and promote businesses, the service is offered at a great value. Basic memberships are free for reporters and sources, and include media opportunities delivered to a source’s email three times a day. Standard, advanced and premium memberships are also available and offer additional features, like alerts for opportunities that meet a subscriber’s keyword preferences and profiles to help journalists identify a subscriber as a source for their story.

For PR professionals, HARO presents our clients with a golden opportunity to gain added visibility and exposure across multiple industries. HARO’s tagline, “Everyone is an expert at something,” also describes how clients (or “sources”) can build reputations as respected thought leaders in their fields.

HARO creator Peter Shankman is recognized for developing new ways of thinking about strategic communications. The former Senior News Editor for America Online knows a thing or two about the stress of being a reporter. As newsrooms shrink and reporters’ jobs become increasingly demanding, HARO has now become the go-to resource for reporters who are looking for sources on deadline.