Big dreams, little steps..Rotary makes dollars & sence.

Big dreams and little steps, has been on my mind lately. Rejuvenating the health and POWER of a Rotary club has it’s challenges, but it took big dreams and little steps….over a period of time to do it. ONE step at a time…one dream and goal at a time. Day after day after day…..after day…..until we had a winning combination of projects and an awesome fundraiser, the Coup de Cascades.

Just like the little engine that could, we kept chugging along to rebuild hopes, dreams and projects for others. It is with gratitude and determinations that I have been able to endure this kind of dedication for 3 years. All the people that have joined the club in the past 2-3 years have inspired me to continue to keep pushing forward. An we did, and we won awards along the way. I am immensely proud, just like a mom with A+ kids.

Opening hearts, making big sacrifices and being the underdog, is not foreign to this Redmond Rousers ROTARY club. We have always been the loud rowdy ones at meetings….It’s the comments like WOW, I thought you guys were a BIG club, not just 15, that makes us smile with pride for the many awards we possess. Our responses are always the same…”Small but Mighty”…. & “WE Make a Difference”.

Come see us…bring a friend, or bring your business cards…network with other business professionals….get your name and business out there to do SERVICE to others….SERVICE ABOVE SELF…that’s what Rotary is ALL about. Come see us at the next Redmond Derby Days on July 13th & 14th. We will be making money at our hot Buttered CORN booth, or sign up to ride in our Coup de Cascades cycling Rides and or the 425mile RACE at . You can find us walking in the local parade….at 10 Am on Saturday at Derby Days too…..  Join us in the FUN!!!!  Come see us any Tuesday, hear a great speaker, eat dinner, learn something new…make friends. Rotary…we have it all.

Our weekly TwD Writers’ Conference

Yesterday’s session opened with the ritual passing of Deborah’s Chinese porcelain mirror into which we looked and said, “Mirror mirror in my hand, who was the leader of The Band?”

No wait. That wasn’t the question. That was my timid humorist identity making an appearance alongside the usually-out-front sincere-ist identity. Our actual ritual was to look ourselves in the eye and say, “My name is Liz and I am a writer.” (Sometimes I write new words, such as “sincere-ist;” I’ll bet other readers of this blog also have fun inventing words.)

I once posted that claiming my identity as writer has helped to unblock and animate some of my other identities that need to work together toward the common good of various projects and responsibilities.

Deborah, as a writer, writing coach, teacher, leader, guide, and generous-hearted person offers at our Tuesdays with Deborah sessions a seemingly limitless supply of techniques, such as the suggestion that we free-write. Every weekly session results in practical, useful, do-able writing inspiration. As Deborah says, “Authentic writing provokes.” It certainly does.

The weekly sessions remind me of writers’ workshops I have attended.

I have attended the four annual “Search for Meaning” Book Festivals at Seattle University. This year, I attended sessions by two poets, by a writer in the field of ethical leadership, and by a writer of many genres including humor. The festival takes place each March.

Recalling the surprising benefit obtained by this non-poet in a workshop led by poet Frances McCue, I wondered if she has scheduled any local workshops in the near future that I might recommend to TwD peeps.  I came upon a two-day writers’ conference offered by Whatcom Community College.

Weaving many threads together in this post, I am grateful for the weekly writers’ conference that TwD is for me (and I think for others). I value the experience, the relationships, and the writing encouragement. I note that my next opportunity to attend a McCue workshop would be at a $259 two-day workshop.  Wow!  That is a little “less” accessible in the commitments of time, driving, and money than the weekly TwD sessions that happen just up the street from my home, every week, accompanied by a reluctant but practical invitation to help cover the cost of the space by contributing something less than the cost of a movie ticket.

I am eager now to read everything that has transpired in this community space during the month of April.

Lighting the Way- A Season of Humanity

I was reading this tonight. I’ve read the stories before of course, but tonight it struck me as something to share. I have re-written most of it as it was longer and perhaps more spiritual in nature than is my own, but none the less I want to pass it on.

On Chanukah we light the Menorah and  each night add another flame – a new light. If you notice a house with candles burning in the window, chances are that it’s a Jewish family celebrating Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. The Chanukah candles in the window shine their radiance into the street. This represents our task to bring the light of morality not only inside our own homes, but also outward into the world.

Many of todays issues and problems make us feel helpless. Certainly the economy has many of us on the brink. The impact we make feels inadequate to the sheer scale of these tragedies. War, terror, homelessness, poverty, illness, famine. There are six billion people on earth. We are but grains of sand on the surface of infinity. How then can we make a difference?

For me Chanukah has several messages. One I don’t think enough about is as follows:   We repair the world in small steps, light by light, act by act, day by day. Each act mends a fracture of the world.

A youth was picking up starfish stranded by the retreating tide and throwing them back into the sea to save them. A man went up to him and asked “This beach goes on for miles, and there are thousands of starfish. Your efforts are futile, it doesn’t make a difference!” The boy looked at the starfish in his hand and threw it into the water.

“To this one,” he said, “it makes all the difference.”

That story captures a fundamental idea. We can’t fix the world all at once. We do it one day at a time, one person at a time, one deed at a time. A single life, say our sages, is like a world. Save a life and you save a world. Change a life and you begin to change the world.

We call this Tikkun olam, perfecting the world. Judaism believes that it is no accident that we are here, at this time and place, with these gifts and capabilities, and the opportunity to make a difference. We are here because there is a task that only we can fulfill. We can never know the ripple of consequences set in motion by the slightest act.

Another famous story goes like this. This is actually a myth that has been perpetuated over the years and is not true. But we draw so much from telling stories like this. It is our way of illustrating to ourselves the impact a person can have. Even if it is just a story.

One day, so the story goes, a poor Scottish farmer named Fleming heard a cry for help from a nearby bog. There, caught up to his waist in black muck, screaming and struggling to free himself was a terrified boy. Farmer Fleming saved the youth from certain death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s modest home. A rich nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy. “I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.” “No, I can’t accept money for what I did,” the Scottish farmer replied. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door. “Is that your son?” the nobleman asked. “Yes,” the farmer replied proudly. “Please let me provide him with my own son’s level of education. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll surely grow to be a man we will both be proud of.”

Farmer Fleming’s son attended the best schools, graduated from Medical School in London, and became known as Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered Penicillin.

Years later, the nobleman’s son was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill. It reads like one of Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”.

But true or not it shows us our own need for seeing that we can have a greater impact and often we may never even see the results of what we do. Our acts make a difference, sometimes all the difference in the world.

Maimonides, one of the great Jewish sages said “One act can change a life, and transform a world.” How so? Our acts trigger a chain of consequences – psychological, spiritual, and historical – that reverberate in incalculable ways. Could Farmer Fleming have known that this would change his son’s life, and that his discovery of penicillin would save so many others? Could Fleming have known the rescued child would one day stand to save the world from fascism?  Obviously not. He could not have known it because the human future is inherently unknowable.

We are here, now, in this place, with these people, in these circumstances, so that we can do the act or say the word that will light a candle of hope in a dark world. “A little light,” said the Jewish mystics, “drives away much darkness.” And when light is joined to light, mine to yours and yours to others, the dance of flames, each so small, yet so beautiful together, begins to bathe the world in the glow of the divine presence.

That, for me, is one the Chanukah messages I hold close.

Holly days

It really and truly is Holly days time! On my walk yesterday- a cool crisp sunny December day in the Pacific Northwest- I noticed a beautiful holly tree/bush along the side of the road. I was surprised and delighted to see it. I am living in an area that was forest until about ten years ago. It has been developed into a community, with efforts made to maintain some forest and trails around. Seeing this holly gave me hope that this was actually happening.

What a gorgeous and interesting plant holly is! It’s an evergreen plant, so while other plants around are brown and dormant, this plant stands out. Its shiny leaves are the power and heartfelt emotions of green. Its brilliant berries are the courage and passion of red. It even stands out among the evergreen trees. Don’t let the beauty fool you though. This is not a frail plant. The branches are sturdy and straight. The shine of the leaves is a tough coat that protects it, as are the sharp point on the ends of the leaves. Clusters of berries among the leaves appear to be permanently attached; loved by birds, poisonous to people.

It is said that Holly stands for protection and luck, especially during bleak times. People in the past planted holly by their homes for that reason, and brought branches into their home during the winter months. It also is a symbol of stubbornness. Being stubborn often gets a negative rap…but if you think of it as remaining sharp and bright and determined even during times of dark and gloom, the connotation changes. As I have often been told that I am very stubborn, I choose to use this positive connotation…and it is not surprising that I love holly.

So get some holly into your homes! I have seen holly for sale in beautiful bouquets with other evergreen branches. If you are getting it from nature somewhere make sure that you have a sharp knife or small saw as the branches are tough. Be gentle with the bush, take only what you need from an inconspicuous spot and remember to say thank-you! Let it bless your home with luck, protection and stubbornness, and offer you some happy HOLLY days.




Funny, Clever or Direct?… which one am I ? Maybe None.

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Kelly Kyle……a Business woman, ARTIST, Photographer, Blogger, Wife, Sister, Step Mother, Friend & Rotarian. Writing for blogs is relatively new for me in the past 2 years….although I loved creative writing projects in school since I was a kid. As an adult, when the mood struck me I would write about a trip here or there…or write long holiday letters to family and friends telling of stories and places I travelled. It’s a wonderful giggle to look back at what you wrote 10, 20, 30  years later. Maybe something to post in a future story.

I think what I am most known for lately, is my community and humanitarian work with ROTARY. Caring about people and pulling for the underdog, is what I love to do. More specifically, the Redmond Rousers Rotary Club, of which I am the Current President, seems to get my foot in the door, when talking to people. I’ve taken on an unusual 2 year term as Madam Pres. Continuity, is a big part of being successful at any venture. When I stepped in as President on July 1st, of 2010, I had the enormous task of re-developing a club that was almost defunct. We were standing on our last leg of hope with only 5 members….and it was my job as the new President, to somehow, “save the club”. So, I looked at this, as one of my biggest tasks at hand. Recruiting and setting some outrageous GOALS, then followed.  #1,  If we did not have people ..AKA….BODIES… in those seats, who cared about “community”, then the club really was finished. So, I decided to stick to this #1 goal. I struck out one day, hitting the streets, getting to know my community. I met a man who changed the course of my life and it is ultimately, why I am writing this now. My world had a radical paradigm shift & everything in April of 2010, changed. Enter Social Media. This was 3 months before I became president and a few weeks after I had gone to  P.E.T.S., Rotary’s President Elect Training Seminar. Saving our club’s community history & “Rousing” club image, was fresh on my mind. Blaine Millet, of WOM10, walked into my life that day, and started talking about Social Media Strategies. I was all ears. I knew nothing about it…but it was different, it was edgy, it was NEW.  I liked what I heard. With blogging, we could control our future, not someone else’s view of it. . After going home and doing some research, how could I not be interested…this was the future of business and communities everywhere. Social Media was coming on strong, and anyone who wanted to be “IN THE GAME” had better jump on….So I did. I bought into the plan. Now all I had to do was convince the other 6 in our club to do the same.

I giggle a little, because then, some 20 months ago… I really did not know what Social Media was. Not compared to now, anyways. So I quickly approached the club board members, all 4 of us, and told them, not asked, but told them my plan to revitalize the club through a social media strategy and campaign. I was passioate. I must have been hopped up on caffeine or something, or doing a little jig…. cause all I got were wide eyed stares. I might as well have been talking about little green men from Mars!. It was an uphill battle during my 15 minute talk of fame, with hands slapping on the table, and a wild voiced presentation. But in the end, I persuaded them, or maybe just scared them or wore them out. I don’t know. But, they gave my ideas and me a chance to do something I believed in…even if I had only heard of it less than one week ago. But they did not know that.

I was allowed to spend money and time on what was perceived, a selfish project for ME. So, with that said, I got a little help from my new friend, Blaine in producing the effects of a well thought out plan. We were to use social Media to attract new people and to do good with our Rotary content. Nothing else the club had tried over the past 4 years, had worked, our numers were down to critical mass 7. The number of committed members were right there, only 3 staring back at me. We were in the position of being down, but not out.

I had “won”, but only after a long 15 minute “rant”, that I like to call my “passion”, coming out. I had sealed my fate…good or bad, and I was headed in a unknown and untried direction for a Rotary Club. I could feel all 3000 pair of eyes on me as I tried something new. I felt a little numb & like Christopher Columbus setting out to find a new world. (Funny, some days, it still feels a little like that first day over and over again, but now with a familiar, ring to it.)  It has been 18 months now, and praises, awards and accolades later… I am the district 5030 supper star. I was awarded the ROTARIAN of the YEAR award for our district of 3000 people…and 54 clubs. AWE inspiring stuff. There is a U-tube video, on our site, of me on stage…that looks like a “deer in the headlights” version of me as I accepted my great award. I count my blessings of gratitude and I guess being a trailblazer and new explorer is something I like, and never gets old for me. I love being adventurous, and in this instance it worked out well with my personality and my sense of wanting to change the culture of ROTARY….in the community, and in our world.

Proud? Damn straight…I am. I feel like the Queen of my Castle….Momma of my flock, and worth every minute I spend…working on making a better life for kids and families in need. Every time I have a bad day….I think of others who sleep in tents, or who do not have enough to eat, or who do not have a family to love them. I know I make a difference, and am extremely proud of what WE do in Rotary….helping others. I guess, I really don’t know how to do anything else, any better…or I would do that.

So, to conclude this story and bring you up to date on what happened after my 1st year as President, July 1 2010 to June 30, 2011… I recruited 23 new people into our club. WOW….that is amazing, even for me to re-read that stat. An unbelievably rare accomplishment at any level of recruiting in a  Rotary club, especially when I didn’t know what Social Media really was. We won 3 more awards, the Presidential citation,the literacy zone and district awards, made a lot of new friends, made my mom proud and made a great story to tell my grand children someday. So, that is the good news. The bad news is that all of the newbies did not stay in Rotary. Some of them decided it wasn’t the right fit, long term for them…although they liked the club. Some lost their jobs, & moved away…But MOST of them stayed. Our Club now has 18 solid members in it. I have the good fortune to say, they are all now friends of mine.

SIDEBAR: I forgot to tell you about the catalyst to this story….and it matters, so here is why I decided to do what I did. One of my beloved and dear friends in our old club of only 8 people, was Russ. My longtime buddy of 10 years,  Russ Newman, suddenly died after a heart bypass in Feb 2010. 3 weeks before his surgery, he shuffled into the meeting like an 85 year old man does occasionally, but this time he looked different. I said to him, “Russ what’s the matter, why are you walking so slow?” He said to me…”well, my Dr. says I have a bad ticker and I need surgery”.  We proceeded to talk for 10 minutes about him and all he had going on. Who would feed his parrot ,was a big decision, I recall. He then pulled me close to him gave me a hug, and said to me, “Kelly-Girl”, (his nickname for me) “You are going to be the best Rouser President EVER!”. I was taken back by his confidence in me…and told him I hoped so, but I doubted it. We had had some really good ones in our past 20 years….like him, Bruce, Eric, Tom, Lisa and others. But somehow, his faith in me, was real, and I could feel it. I remember I cried hard when I found out he died in the recovery room after the operation. I was just making plans to go see him in the hospital, when I heard the news. I had lost my buddy, my pal, my one biggest fan & supporter in this presidential run….of a year in my life. What was I gonna do now?….I cried some more. Then a few days later, I went to P.E.T.S….and found the courage & faith he had told me about. I found my deep LOVE of Rotary and WHY I was there, training to become the new president. I was trying to revive an old dead club into a new alive club again, and it was going to be a lot of hard work. After this amazing weekend, I was now up to the challenge. Russ’ words stuck with me…as they do today and everyday. He was and is a BIG part of why we are still here…and if I could reach out to tell him, thank you, this is what I would say. “Russ, Thank You, from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and faith in, Lil ole me. Love you, Kelly Girl”

OK …so, back to the story of the newbies,…..Some of them listened to me and followed my urgings to start new committees, and to become new members within district committees and events. We even tackled a BIG new project together: Our new WORLD CLASS signature event, the Coup de Cascades. Our Bicycle fundraiser to help eradicate END POLIO in the world, just went viral with the news that we are now a RAAM qualifier. Some members I know better than others, but all in all, we are working towards a common GOAL; to make our community a better place, to live, work and do business together…through Service Above Self…our ROTARY motto.  Once again in our 21 year history, the Redmond Rousers Rotary Club is on the Map, literally. Our newest venture in Social Media is an ad placement on the 4th AVE MAPS…a new advertising piece that is an interactive MAP of the area for residents and new people in town. Microsoft has put their TAG in it for people to use as a scannable device to go to different websites to see more info about the companies in the MAP.  We plan to use it to attract more attention to our 425 mile Coup de Cascades biking event in Aug 18th & 19th of 2012. Along with that, it will be a great way for people to find out where we meet and come see us for dinner on Tuesday evenings at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse. We meet at 5:30pm at 16600- N.E. 80th in Redmond. Hope to see you too for a FREE dinner with new friends. bring your business cards and a smile!. Check out our speaker schedule to find someone you might like to hear, and come on down…. we’ll have a seat for you.

Kelly Kyle – Artist, Humanitarian, Friend

Writers Block

I’m sure an experienced group of writers like this has never faced writer’s block. Yeah, right!

As I sat there and stared at a blank screen, knowing what I wanted to write about, yet unable to put a single sentence together, I faced a barrier; I could formulate thoughts but something got in the way of putting them down on paper. Writing at times can be so easy, but other times it can be so hard.

So, I sit here trying to get my creative juices going, again. I remember a story about a runner who set to lofty of goals. He always wanted to run further than what he did yesterday. His psychologist offered him a change in view. His suggestion was to run one block today. Tomorrow, his goal was to run less than he did today. If he felt like running further he could, but his goal always had to be run less than he did the day before. If he felt like running further, he could choose to do that. This change in goal allowed him to reframe his success. He no longer felt like he had to go further today than yesterday. He could now just enjoy is running. He could  enjoy his daily success as opposed to his nearly daily failure if he didn’t run far enough.

I’m going to try something different to face down my writers block. I always struggle with not being good enough. And here I find myself in a group of “writers”. Surely my stuff won’t be good enough. My stuff is might be judged as crap and no one will like me.

That’s a load of crock on so many different levels. I’m trying, and that’s all that matters. And even if my writing is horrific, I’m sure everyone’s not going to disown me. I’m sure some of you will have encouraging words for what I write. Some, God forbid, may even like it. Gasp! Let’s not forget, I’m doing this for me. Sorry folks, I’m not going to let your judgments get in the way of what I want to do.

So I’m resetting my lofty goals. My goal, in the words of William Forrester, in Finding Forrester isn’t to write the next great American novel, my goal is to write. It doesn’t really matter how good it is, my goal is to write. Heck, I might even surprise myself.

So, when I get back to the story I was working on, my goal will be to write the crappiest sentence I have ever written. If I do that, I will have succeeded. No matter how hard I try, it probably won’t be the crappiest sentence I ever written. It might even be kind of good. If so, that’s great. My next goal will be to write the second crappiest  sentence I’ve ever written. If I do that, I will have succeeded. No matter how hard I try, it probably won’t be the second crappiest sentence I have ever written. It might even be kind of good. If so, that’s great. And so on, and so on.

So, sorry folks, you won’t be getting the next great American novel today. Instead, I will fight my writer’s block by trying to write the crappiest stuff I’ve ever written. I can almost surely guarantee you that it won’t be the crappiest stuff that I’ve ever written. I will have  redefined success and I will have successfully defeated my nemesis, writers block. And if it’s considered okay or even good, all the better!

It Just Doesn’t Matter

I love goofy movies.  The sillier the better.   I also love certain comedians.  I will see almost anything they are in.  Bill Murray is one of those guys.

Bill Murray’s impassioned speech in the movie Meatballs in 1982 to the underdog campers is a classic motivational speech.  I was surfing channels last weekend and was so happy to bump into the movie just a few minutes before the speech. Don’t you love how the universe works that way?

This time in our lives is so overwhelming it was like calling up an old friend and picking up a conversation that is woven together through the decades.

I have used this clip for sales team trainings in the past when we talked about competition.  A  bit stressed from the week, and a little down because I didn’t feel like I accomplished all I set out to  – it was exactly what I needed.  Watching it, laughing out loud and finding myself smiling for hours afterward I realized just how important it is to re-frame and refuel.

Enjoy!  And thanks, Bill – you tickle my funny bones.

Joni Kovarik


Cherish Conversation

Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of talking with many ‘local’ business owners, people who serve the ‘local’ market and those trying to figure out how to reach the ‘local’ marketplace.  Along the way, I re-discovered my own need to engage and connect, and was happy (grateful even) to take a few exits off the ‘information highway’ to rest, get inspired and talk for a while.  I had coffee, I broke bread, I laughed, I learned, I pushed ‘silent’ often, I ran into an old friend and I connected, truly connected with some amazing teachers.

Although, I work daily in the online world and continue to be fascinated by the digital tools we have available right now (and the ones coming our way daily) this experience reminded me to slow down, breathe, listen and really cherish a good conversation. All this online stuff is great, but I deeply hope that nothing will replace the good old face to face or voice to voice conversation.  I move on in my journey even more encouraged to continue my quest to understand how I can help local companies build bridges between where they are today and where they want to go through the ever illusive art of conversation (and a few cool tools as well!)

From these conversations, three key themes emerged across all of these conversations.  They show up as both concerns and keen insights.  I know looking at them from both angles will help me as I continue to explore how best to help my customers be found, be known and be heard.  My hope is that you find them useful, too.

1. Be Found – Tails and Tales:
Keywords have long tails, and that is good…search engines like them. Use them freely.  Stories sell, use words/text as links. Use them often site to site, page to page.

2. Be Known – Self:
Put your “self” forward, it is more powerful than just a product or being all business all the time.

3. Be Heard – And Don’t Disappear: 
Shhhh, I am listening actively and I will be here for you.

I know I said three, but here are six really good extras…

1. Time:
Find me time…to keep my social pages up to date without affecting the important time with customers who are actually in my store.

2. If:
If it is relevant to me I will come, if it is personal to me I will stay, if it is meaningful to me I will come back.

3. Be Social: 
It is not about ‘doing social’, it is about being social.

4. About Them: 
It is NOT about me, it is about them.

5. Simplify: 
Make it simple for your audience to relate to, to do, to understand, to engage.

6. Baby Steps: 
Crawl, walk, run.

Until next time, take an exit off the information highway, slow down, grab some coffee, find a teacher, listen, learn, enjoy the art and the heart of each conversation.  After all, doesn’t everyone want to be found and known and heard?  I know I do.

Joni Kovarik
BizDev Consulting
& Powering RelyLocal

Building Enthusiasm in Tough Times

The key to pulling everything together in tough times is to develop unlimited enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm is the element that inspires us to greater achievement and success.  You can sell your ideas, your products, your services or yourself to others if you approach them enthusiastically.   With enthusiasm you can move the mountains of doubt and negative thinking from your life for good.

Enthusiasm is the second most contagious thing in the world today.  Do you know what the first most contagious thing in the world is today? It is “lack of enthusiasm”

Most people find it is very easy to be enthusiastic when everything is coming up roses.  It is when you have one of those days, when you only open your mouth to change feet, it is difficult to remember you are an enthusiastic person.

Lack of enthusiasm on your part or those around you can affect how everything goes during the day.  Have you ever been really enthusiastic in the morning, but when you got to the office someone was sick, another got a ticket coming to work, another just ached all over?  How did your enthusiasm hold up?  What do you do when you’re surrounded by unenthusiastic people?

The best trigger I have found is putting a red dot on your watch.  The average person looks at their watch a minimum of 30 times per day.  When you look at your watch the red dot will trigger your subconscious tape of enthusiasm and will break through the negative atmosphere.

We use a red dot on your watch because it will remind you:  “I Am a Ball of Fire!!!”

A sure way of maintaining your enthusiasm is to associate with enthusiastic people.  All of us need a support group of one sort or another.  You should have a support group of enthusiastic people.

If you use the “Red Dot” and associate with enthusiastic people you will become enthusiastic and you will build lasting enthusiasm that will carry you through the tough times and magnify the great times.