Archive for the ‘social responsibility’ Category

SlideRocket Contest Honors Muttville 3rd Place & $5000 Prize

April 17th, 2012

Kudos to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue & our amazing Marketing team that created this Sliderocket presentation that won the senior mutts 3rd place and $5000! Our dedicated, talented volunteers – Celine who crafted the engaging presentation, Kira who photographed all the lovely photos and who also is on the Tweet team, plus all the supporters who voted and helped spread the word by Facebook, Twitter and our email campaigns to get the votes that rose us to the top – an amazing example of social media marketing working for good!

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue knows how to market. One of the best presentations in terms of creating an identifiable (and lovable) brand, Muttville entertains the viewer and pulls at their heart strings at the same time. The judges loved Muttville’s visuals, particularly the backgrounds, coupled with giant, easy to read fonts that build with just the right tempo. And of course a fun music track keeps you watching.” Thank you Sliderocket!

We’ve been asking folks to Watch and Share to win this contest for 2 months! Please continue to watch and share simply to spread the joy of senior dogs!

BEHIND THE BRAND: Bald Barbie

March 30th, 2012

Bravo to Mattel, the makers of Barbie® for this very caring initiative that surely will have its place in Barbie history. A wonderful example of social responsibility from the 50-something year old gal! Truly this is more than just an act of social responsibility. It was a thoughtful decision for a corporation to not only produce  Bald Barbie, but, as stated in SFGate blog post:  “The doll, who will be a friend of Barbie, will be donated to hospitals treating children affected by hair loss throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company will also give dolls and monetary donations to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.”

We hope this act inspires other corporations to give in their own monumental ways. They all can, you know. They just need to find the value in giving.

Muttville voted Favorite San Francisco Charity in 7×7 Magazine: Behind-the-scenes of the Successful Marketing Campaign

December 28th, 2011
7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Our campaign was strategic, structured and relentless! Find out how we ran the successful marketing campaign that drove thousands of fans to vote EVERYDAY (that’s right!) for Muttville and led to being named San Francisco’s Favorite Charity in 7×7 Magazine.

The night that 7×7 Magazine announced the winner of their San Francisco Favorite Charity contest, the Muttville Team Leaders honored to be present at the announcement party, Patty Stanton, Anne Lauck, Caroline Kaps, and myself, along with our mentor, founder Sherri Franklin, were already beaming with excitement and pride to be one of the seven finalists in a room of amazing non profit organizations: Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California, Lyon-Martin Health Services, MYEEP, Minds Matter, Saving Grace Rescue, and the Asian Women’s Shelter.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue announced as winner of San Francisco Favorite Charity Contest in 7x7 MagazineWhen the announcement came and the big 8 foot check had Muttville’s name on it, we were floored, overwhelmed with happiness and joy, and most of all, grateful and honored.

Sherri really did almost fall to her knees from weakness as she smiled and tried to speak into the microphone!

As we look back on the day when we first received the announcement of a contest by 7×7 to win a grant generously donated by PG&E for $10,000, in October, we knew this was an opportunity for Muttville, not just financially but the connection to 7×7 and the potential press in 2012 could really bring us new exposure to a wider audience.

A social media and online email marketing campaign was in the works immediately. Since voting was everyday, we needed to be dedicated to daily posts and multiple daily tweets plus working in a newsletter campaign that didn’t pound our supporters over the head too often, nor did we want to put out too many messages to our subscribers and drown out important messages.

A few things to note about Muttville’s overall marketing strengths:

  • Muttville had a system and schedule in place for blogs and email marketing. Therefore Muttville’s communication with supporters via email and social media was very consistent. Subscribers already looked forward to our regular communication, such as weekly blog series Success Stories and Adopted Mutts of the Week, along with newsletters with stories from founder Sherri Franklin.
  • Our social media is always very active, with every blog post, event, and newsletter being shared to Facebook and Twitter immediately.
  • Our interaction with fans and supporters is also strong. Facebook interaction is on average 90% of posts, and Muttville engages with its fans on Facebook everyday. The Facebook page gains 100 + new Likes every week.
  • Muttville has outreach events every weekend, and is accessible both offline and online.
  • Volunteers interface with people in a variety of ways: events, traditional mail, email, and Social Media. And fosters meet potential adopters throughout the week, which means new folks being introduced to Muttville.

When time came to drive a campaign that required daily participation, we knew our fans would rally for us and we could be in the top 49. With every post reminder to vote, practically every single post was liked and commented. Folks even thanked us for the reminder! We diligently posted on Facebook every single day. We tweeted several times a day every day. We got a suggestion from a supporter, “Why not put it smack dab on your front page?” Why not? So we added it right below our call to action “doggie chain”. We let people know what $10,000 can provide to Muttville: much needed surgery for Timminy, physical therapy for Lady Tara, eye surgery for Casper. We strive to let folks know in detail where funds and donations are spent.

When the announcement that we made the Top 7 was made in November, we knew that we really had do turn on the turbo to maintain another month of daily voting pleas! This was important and we needed our supporters to know!
We launched the email marketing campaign and thanked our supporters for their daily votes, and kept the spirits high. Through the newsletter and the home page, Muttville’s website gave people the option to sign up for daily email reminders to vote. Hundreds of people signed up! So Muttville was reminding people by email, Facebook, and Twitter every single day. That daily activity was reaching over 5000 people with each reminder. That number doesn’t even including others forwarding on to their friends and social networks. We often received messages from our supporters saying that they sent daily reminders to others too!

The key effort in this campaign was simply communication. Our fans and supporters from all over the world were ready to help the senior dogs, we just needed to reach as many people as possible, and reach them EVERY DAY without tiring the message or nagging for support. Scroll through our Facebook page to see different ways we posted the message. Often it was casual, but we always included a personal note, and we tried to always “like” every comment to let fans know that we are always listening and grateful for the support. Interaction and engagement is key in maintaining and building an active social network. We want everyone to feel they are an important part of Muttville.

During this campaign we had other big announcements that launched: Our annual Matching Grant Challenge, plus Muttville’s first ever Pup up Adopt Shop. It was easy for the messages to get muddled or drown each other out, or worse overwhelm supporters. We kept each message and call-to-action separate and gave each its own voice. There was a different tone to each campaign as well as a different focus in its strategic effort.

Of course with all this flurry of voting, it is still a mystery how many votes we were actually receiving throughout the campaign. We were as nervous as the others as we awaited to hear the winning organization.  When we won, we knew who we had to tell first…our fans and supporters. Ready in the wings, Carol, Muttville’s website developer sent out a newsletter and updated the website’s home page within minutes, and we posted to Facebook with a photo:

7x7 Magazine Favorite Charity Contest winner Muttville Senior Dog RescueIt was really amazing to see the number of Likes posted within minutes and throughout the night! We could barely keep up reading the comments. And the 30 shares was just unbelievable! Keeping our valued supporters close to the excitement in the moment with Muttville was very important, and we could feel them right there with us, thanks to Facebook.

I’ve been asked by several organizations to give any advice and insight as to how Muttville got all those votes. I’d love to share social media networking tips with all who contact me. One thing that must be noted: dog lovers and animal advocates are some of the most passionate and dedicated folks I have ever known. Perhaps because the love of animals is one thing we all can relate to and have in common, regardless of culture, status, age, gender, or history. Muttville’s special niche, senior dogs, might also remind us all of our own mortality.

Its not over yet! We continue to thank supporters, keep them in the loop, and share Muttville’s successes with them everyday. We hope to share more news when Muttville is featured in the March 2012 issue of 7×7 Magazine and the organiztion can build new connections with the Bay Area, thanks to this special honor.

The Business of Saving Lives: Cause Marketing for Animal Welfare & Rescue Groups

November 2nd, 2011








Switchblade Creative Studios attended the 2011 “No More Homeless Pets” Conference, hosted by Best Friends Animal Society. As one of 5 representatives of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I was incredibly honored to not only proudly represent Muttville, but to be surrounded by over a thousand animal rescue advocates and over 40 rescue groups from across the nation.

Muttville team leaders with our mentor/founder Sherri Franklin (center). L-R: Ellen Lazarus, Anne Lauck, Sherri Franklin, Marie Macaspac. Patty Stanton

Marketing, branding, and social media are my specialties, so I was espcecially enlightened to be discussing these topics with a focus on animal rescue. It renewed my creativity and helped me see my work in new ways.  A great feeling was returning for lunch or a meeting with my crew and sharing what we had learned in the various sessions, from fundraising to events to volunteers. We were all fired up with ideas and couldn’t wait to get back home and put these ideas to work!

We also realized that Muttville has the talent and the drive to grow and become wildly successful. We were inspired by “Austin Pets Alive” and one of their directors, Dr. Ellen Jefferson. In just 3 years they grew to be the largest rescue organization in Austin amongst 80+ groups, and they now have their own clinic. What an inspiration! We thankfully had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Jefferson and tell her how much we admired their work.  We also had the opportunity to hear from several leaders in animal rescue: Rich Avenzino, a founder of the No Kill Movement and former director of SFSPCA,  Michael Arms, CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, and Becky Robinson, founder of Alley Cat Allies and founder of the TNR program.

What an experience. The business of saving lives – yes this is what Switchblade is all about.

Switchblade is excited to be attending this weekend’s No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas

October 20th, 2011

As part of our dedication to animal rescue and our role as Marketing Team Leader for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, We are very excited to be attending for the first time the Annual No More Homeless Pets Conference, organized by the Best Friends Animal Society and located in Las Vegas, NV. We’re excited to meet other rescue organizations and represent Muttville.  Along with Muttville leaders: Ellen Lazarus, Patty Stanton, Anne Lauck, and Founder / Executive Director, Sherri Franklin, we are looking forward to the presentations in store for the 50+ rescue organizations attending this year.

Additionally, Muttville is looking forward to being part of the launch of Sharingpet.com, a new social network for animal lovers and rescue advocates. Muttville will be part of their special showcase, demonstrating how their innovative online site hopes to increase adoptions and donations to rescue groups all over the nation, and eventually worldwide.

We’ll be reporting as much as we can while we are at the conference! Follow our hashtags #SeniorDogsRule and #11NMHP, as well as Sharingpet’s special hashtag #SAVE1mMORE.

Switchblade Creative Studios’ Marie Macaspac joins team of social network for animal lovers, Sharingpet, as Leadership and Outreach Advisor

October 17th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios founder, Marie Macaspac, has been dedicated to saving animals for the last 5 years as a volunteer, foster mom, and Marketing leader for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and San Francisco Animal Care & Control, and has now been given a great honor to be  part of the Sharingpet team as their Leadership and Outreach Advisor. Sharingpet.com is a new social network for “pets and the people who love them”. We’ve been excitedly preparing for the big announcement of its launch date, October 20th at the Best Friends Society’s “No More Homeless Pets” Conference, an annual event where over 50 animal rescue organizations gather in Las Vegas, NV to discuss the animal rescue cause and find new ways to ban together to save more animals. Marie will be there along with Muttville founder Sherri Franklin and 3 fellow team leaders, Anne Lauck, Ellen Lazarus, and Patty Stanton.

Perfect for Sharingpet’s site launch, Sharingpet has also spawned this challenge: Save 1 million more pets in one year, with the help of their social network and their tools, Virtual Adoption and the Buy & Give Shop. Virtual Adoption hopes to change how the world sees animal rescue and adoption, allowing anyone to help homeless pets. The Buy & Give Shop is Sharingpet’s tool that hopes to give rescues a new substantial way of raising money for their organization. Sharingpet coined this phrase, “AdoptiON Movement” to describe what they are confident will change the world for animal rescue in the United States.

This video beautifully demonstrates the Sharingpet mission. Marie was very glad and honored to be the narrator:

The “Save 1Million More Pets” challenge, inspired by Sharingpet from Sharingpet on Vimeo.

Why Failure is the Secret of Your Success by Suzanne Lucas

October 3rd, 2011







We found another uplifting article on success to start of the first week of October.

Thanks Suzanne Lucas, aka “EvilHRLady” for covering this topic, it truly hits the point! I get the same inspiration each time I read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

Originally publish for CBS Interactive Business Network: http://www.bnet.com/blog/evil-hr-lady/why-failure-is-the-secret-of-your-success/

What does it take to succeed? Apparently a whole lot of failure. Paul Tough, in the New York Times, reports educational leaders who believe that knowing how to fail is the secret to success. Dominic Randolph, who leads an expensive, top ranked private school in New York City, is concerned about students that have known nothing but success. He states:

Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful. Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.

These kids don’t know how to fail because they’ve never done it. Therefore, when things get outside their comfort zone, or they first encounter people more capable than they are, they have no skills for dealing with it. We talk a lot about hard work, but school grading generally ends up being based on how well you did on the test, not about how much effort it took to get there or how persistent someone was.

But wait, don’t we want to hire those people who are naturally brilliant and don’t need a lot of hard work to be successful? Well, sure, except that if they don’t know how to fail they are going to be awfully difficult to work with. We hear this complaint from those who employ Generation Y. Many of their parents (and their schools) saw to it that failure wasn’t an option. Everything was fixed or extra credit given or forgotten lunches brought to school.

It’s not a phenomenon limited to the newly graduated, though. One of my HR colleagues who, at the time, was head of HR for the Research & Development side of a a major pharmaceutical company, lamented to me how much he hates the whining at performance appraisal time. “I have a PhD from Harvard, so I can’t be rated ‘average,’” they would say. Never mind that everyone in the department had a PhD from a top ranked school. There wasn’t a whole lot of willingness to find out what changes they needed to make, just the assertion that because they were considered exceptional in the past, they should still be considered exceptional today. An “average” performance rating was utterly devastating and difficult to get past.

It doesn’t actually allow for a whole lot of growth when you refuse to entertain the idea that you should be doing something differently. Some people would rather find a new job rather than fix the problems they are having with their old jobs. Risk taking wasn’t an option. If success wasn’t guaranteed, they wouldn’t try it.

At the other side of the academic world is David Levin, who is the head of KIPP, a network of charter schools, whose student’s families don’t earn even the $38,500 a year that Randolph’s students pay in tuition. They focus on inner city, low income kids and have a stated goal of having 75% of their students achieve a 4 year degree. (They are currently at 33%, which is considerably higher than the 8 percent average for kids from low income families.) They haven’t reached the stated goal, so Levin is open to the idea that he needs to do things different—accept that in some areas he’s failed. Tough reports:

As Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. Those skills weren’t enough on their own to earn students a B.A., Levin knew. But for young people without the benefit of a lot of family resources, without the kind of safety net that their wealthier peers enjoyed, they seemed an indispensable part of making it to graduation day.

The ability to bounce back from failure is a key point. But, what if you’ve never failed? What if your parents fix every problem you ever have? What if you never gain this valuable skills? Then you’re far less likely to have true success. If you’ve never had to try again and again, are you going to assume that the problem is unsolvable if you fail the first time?

Lots of people live charmed lives as long as their parents are pulling the strings or they put themselves in places where success is almost guaranteed. Except that anyone in the working world today knows that failure is not only a possibility it’s a high probability. Businesses fail. Entire divisions get laid off, regardless of how brilliant any individual employee was. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying to figure out what the problem in the darn code is. If you’re a one try and you’re finished type of person, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, you won’t succeed.

And what happens if you’re one of those people who has never failed? Never had to face disappointment and pick yourself up by your own bootstraps? It can be disasterous. But, to succeed you must be able to fail and recover from failure.

That means you must be willing to take risks, listen to others, and admit where you could improve. Arguing over a performance appraisal instead of listening to what your boss is trying to tell you are key indicators of someone who is unwilling to learn. (Not that all bosses’ assessments are accurate, but those appraisals tell you what your boss is looking for. Disregard that at your own peril.)

Perhaps even those of us who are long finished with school can learn something from people who are trying to educate our children.

How Switchblade Became Experts in Marketing for the Animal Friendly Community

September 19th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios is proud of our work with animal welfare/rescue organizations, film productions, and pet-related businesses that volunteer or support animal causes,
and/or donate their products and services.

small club: big adventures for small dogs

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Switchblade Became Experts in Marketing
For Animal Related Causes & Pet Lovin’ Consumers

When I left behind corporate life and started this company in 2007, the first thing I was excited to do was volunteer with animal rescue organizations. No longer living within a demanding 60+ hour a week job, I couldn’t wait to explore the options. Becoming a volunteer at the San Francisco Animal Care & Control was the perfect introduction to the animal rescue world. It became an important part of my routine and I welcomed this new community of animal loving folks. Shortly before my first orientation at SFACC, my life also dramatically changed when Jazmin, my soulmate canine companion of 11 years, passed away at the age of 14. Losing Jazmin motivated me to give even more in memory of her and our life together.

Volunteering at the SFACC was a joy, but coming home to any empty place with no pets depressed me. I started searching local dog rescue groups where I could foster. I used PetFinder and googled “dog rescue groups”. Searching through the dozens of listings, I gravitated towards dogs I thought were probably “less adoptable”, either because of age or health concerns. I searched and found the saddest looking dog within 50 miles, saved by Wonder Dog Rescue. She was a 40 lb 9-year-old cattle dog mix with the saddest story I have ever heard. And she was indeed the saddest dog I ever met. I named her Frida.

frida jedi switchblade creative studios

frida and jedi

I also sent an email to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue to inquire about fostering. It turned out Muttville was in its first year as an official 501(c) organization. We luckily shared the same neighborhood. Another plus for me was its focus on senior dogs. Muttville Founder  Sherri Franklin instantly became my hero and mentor,  and “Muttville Manor” my second home. My first foster dog was Jedi, a chihuahua mix with irresistible big brown eyes. Jedi and Frida joined my home and it felt warm and inviting to me once again.

My role with Muttville quickly grew into so much more than fostering. I had just left a career as a designer and marketing specialist for 11 years, working myself to the bone, so that part of me wasn’t going to change! I basically took over as Muttville’s marketing lead and designer.  The opportunity to combine my talent and skills with my passion to save dogs was invigorating! The role gave me the opportunity to work with more inspiring individuals behind Muttville: Board President, Jane Goldman, the V.P. of Lifestyle Marketing at CBS Interactive and founder of CHOW.com., and Muttville’s web development engineer, Carol Balacek. Five years later, they both continue to mentor and inspire me and are great influences to me as a business owner. As the Director of Marketing & Design for Muttville, I continually learn from the organization’s other team leaders who contribute their expertise in fundraising, public relations, event planning, and grant writing. As a team, we regularly collaborate and develop innovative strategies, challenging ourselves to improve upon the previous successes.

Muttville leaders at the 3rd Annual Moolah For Mutts

L-R: Jane Goldman, Chris, Sherri Franklin, Deanne Franklin (behind Sherri/Marie), Marie Macaspac, Carol Balacek, John Mounier

Four and a half years and 100 foster dogs later, my passion has led me to be a proud member of a community of inspiring, dedicated folks who have specialized their businesses and organizations in animals. For fellow pet-friendly business owners who create products or offer services or produce films, the most important aspect we have in common is our need to contribute to animal rescue. For those special leaders who successfully manage a rescue organization, who inspire a community to support their causes, I am honored to be a part of their work.

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“Nine Things Successful People Do Differently” by Heidi Grant Halvorson

September 12th, 2011

Originally published in Harvard Business Review at http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/02/nine_things_successful_people.html?cm_sp=most_widget-_-default-_-Nine%20Things%20Successful%20People%20Do%20Differently

We love this list of advice, and thought it was a great way to start the week. You may be in for a stressful week, like me, with deferred tax returns and mortgage or rent due. Let’s start out on the right foot! Get more get advice from Heidi on her blog, The Science of Success at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Also follow her on Twitter @md311.phpwebhosting.comhghalvorson

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals. Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’ll work out for 30 minutes before work.”) Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don’t know how well you are doing, you can’t adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist. When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit. Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren’t particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking …. well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don’t. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (“If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.”) It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don’t try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don’t put yourself in harm’s way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., “Don’t think about white bears!”) has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.
If you want change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like “If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.

It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist, and author of the new book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). She is also an expert blogger on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today. Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Follow her on Twitter @md311.phpwebhosting.comhghalvorson

The Start of Something GIGANTIC! Brian Barneclo’s Systems Mural Project

August 29th, 2011

Systems Mural Project by Brian Barneclo in San Francisco

You never know how exciting its really going to be until the paint goes up on the wall. Brian Barneclo completed his first week on the largest canvas he’s worked on, The Systems Mural Project located on 7th at Townsend in San Francisco. We’ve been on his team of advisors, helping to raise funds for the project since last year.  Brian has been confident that everyone will get motivation once he starts painting, and now that the time is here, we are definitely excited! Switchblade’s offices aren’t far from Brian’s canvas, so we’ll be dropping by, walking dogs, throughout the project.

Keep up with Brian’s latest updates on Systems Mural’s Facebook page

UPDATE! The mural was completed in September 2011. .Check out the new website, sfmural.com

CONGRATS TO BRIAN!!!