How Was Your 2010?

Miss West Sound and 2 Miss Washingtons


I just wrote a brief synopsis of my take on looking at the year just gone by on my Monday morning memo titled, Extra Points.

Here is the gist of it. 2010 has been a tough year for many people. I get it. I’ve read the papers, watched the news, and heard the woes of many. However, I think every year has its own challenges, misfortune, and tragedy. How it affects you depends in great measure to your ability to adapt and change; your experience and perspicacity; and sometimes just luck.

Like you, I’ve faced my share of frustrations and challenges. I choose to take a look back at 2010 and offer up all the good things that shaped the year for me…

  • I traveled to San Francisco, Pittsburgh (twice), Las Vegas, and Denver and New York City for the first time.
  • I became accredited as an Alan Weiss Master Mentor.
  • I watched a lovely and moving ceremony as my daughter Mindy had her hands blessed as a junior nursing student at Franciscan University in Steubenville.
  • I started two new regular business columns.
  • I became a community sports blogger for our local paper.
  • I spent my first full year as a school board member.
  • Read terrific books like Tale of Two Cities (Dickens), Flyboys (Bradley), The Art of Racing in the Rain (Stein), and Win Forever (Carroll) to name just a few.
  • I took my youngest daughter Kelli back to school in Pittsburgh so she could continue her academic dreams.
  • Visited the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, OH
  • I watched Hall of Famer to be Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals play in Pittsburgh against the Pirates.
  • I was emcee for the Miss West Sound pageant and a judge for the Miss Moses Lake pageant – both out of the Miss American program.
  • I helped to charter a new Sons of the American Revolution chapter in my area (Capt John Paul Jones Chapter in Kitsap County) and became its first Vice-President.
  • I spent the last 6 months in my term as President of the Little Norway Toastmasters Club.
  • I enhanced my relationship with my brother and sisters.
  • Dropped 8 pounds and am fitter and in better health than I’ve been in a long time.
  • Started coaching basketball again as a volunteer at the local high school for the freshman boys team.
  • I learned many new things about both my parents, even after 46 years!
  • We added a new canine companion to our home – Bella.
  • I spent another great year with the love of my life, Barb. We live in a great part of the world in the greatest country (my opinion of course) in the world.

There’s more, but I won’t bore you with my details. I encourage you to look back and investigate your own past 12 months. What were your goals for the year? Did you meet them? Did you substitute them for other more important and weighty matters? What lessons have been learned, what new friendships forged, and what opportunities have been taken advantage of?

Look forward to 2011 with great anticipation. I am. My daughter Mindy is scheduled to graduate in May and I will be there with an air horn (or my big mouth) rooting her on. I will celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary with my high school sweetheart. I don’t know what we are going to do yet to celebrate, but I guarantee that I will think of something! I plan on running a re-election (or election – was originally appointed) campaign for the school board. I’m planning a trip to New York for Alan Weiss’s birthday party. I have one more course left to achieve my Certified Risk Manager designation and that will be completed early next year.

I also realize things can happen. My father has been diagnosed with bladder cancer and our plans are fluid based on how he responds to treatment. That will take priority over other issues, but we can’t stop planning our lives. Objectives can be set and goals put forth. Resolutions are big this time of year, but often curtail rather than advance our resolve. My resolution is the same as it always is. To have a positive outlook on life; to be doggedly persevering; to always look to solve problems and find opportunity; and to be the best husband, father, son, friend, and business associate I can be. And finally, to never take myself too seriously, find fun and laughter in life, and to enjoy the gift of each new day.

What about you?

I’d like to offer this blog for anyone who wants to share some of their dreams and aspirations for 2011. It’s always great to share with others, even if you don’t know them. I offer this venue for you.

Thank you for having been a part of my community. Let’s send off 2010 right and welcome in 2011.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

PNC Park in Pittsburgh
NFL Hall of Fame
Bella Weedin


At the Top of the Rock in Manhattan
with my girls in Pittsburgh
with Barb on our 24th anniversary dinner
with Dad and my brother, Les



Laughter is the Best Medicine

As many of you might know, my father has had some serious health issues of late. If you’ve ever gone through it, the result to the rest of the family is a lot of stress and anxiety to deal with. Laughter helps.

Last night at our Toastmasters Christmas Party, we did a white elephant table topics gift exchange. While everyone was terrific, one member, Jim, brought the house down. Jim found a hilarious way to engage everyone and make us all roll with laughter. For me and my wife, this was excellent medicine!

When you find yourself in times of stress and anxiety, find a way to get humor in your day. A funny movie or TV show; a humorous book; or a Toastmasters meeting! Laughter is after all, the best medicine!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Don’t Blog Yourself into a Lawsuit!

Re-published with permission from the International Risk Management Institute. This article is published by them in their Personal Line Pilot newsletter…

The Internet is a fascinating place that is opening up new forms of social interaction, activities, and organization of information. Social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are creating revolutionary ways to interact with people all over the world. In addition, websites such as Amazon, Yelp, and Angie’s List allow people to post online reviews of businesses of all types. The explosive growth in these types of activities in the last few years is truly amazing.

These undertakings, however, have a dangerous element. Blogs and postings of a negative nature (even if they are true) can result in unpleasant and costly lawsuits against the author. Note that it may still take time before there is a good body of caselaw to support freedom of speech online in blogs, forums, and social media publishing sites. And remember that freedom of speech does not mean you can say anything you want anywhere. Freedom of speech implies responsibility; its use should generally be for the benefit of the greater good. So the following are some risk management tips to consider before posting or blogging negative comments on the Internet.

  • Check your facts carefully and thoroughly document your sources. Truth is a complete defense in a libel case, although you still may run into expensive legal bills defending yourself. If you find that your facts are incorrect, remove the inaccurate content and consider issuing a correction or retraction.
  • If you purchase a product online and have an unpleasant experience with the seller, it might be wise not to post a negative comment or rating on the website. If you do post an adverse comment, be sure that it is objectively written, based on solid facts concerning your own direct experience, and not written in an inflammatory manner.
  • If you are a blog master and someone is posting false and incendiary statements on your site, remember that you may be held liable for these remarks since you are the “publisher.”
  • Seek protection for your rights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, has a mission to safeguard the rights of those who use digital media and to provide legal guides to bloggers both large and small. It also offers helpful ideas to those bloggers and online posters to avoid libel suits.
  • Make certain your homeowners policy includes a personal injury endorsement to cover libel and slander suits. Most standard insurance company policy forms do not provide this automatically, and it can be added for a small additional premium. Also, consider buying a personal umbrella policy, which generally provides broader personal injury coverage.
  • If your blog is a money-maker, look into business liability coverage since the typical homeowners policy contains numerous business-related exclusions and restrictions. If you operate a small home-based business in conjunction with your blog or online business, consider requesting that a home-based business endorsement be added to your homeowners policy.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

Copyright 2010
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Are You “In” Only When It’s Easy?

I’ve heard a lot of commotion and concern lately as my local NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks, have floundered a bit of late. Early in the season when they were 4-2, everyone was buying in to the Pete Carroll mantra of “I’m in!” Basically, what it means is that when you express this pithy (yet powerful) commitment, it means you are all in with the team. No excuses, no complaining, no finger-pointing. It means you’ve made an all-out, all-inclusive commitment to the team.

That’s easy when things are going well. How about when they aren’t?

The concept of “I’m in” is best exemplified in tough times. Everyone is on board when you are winning and everything is rosy. The true test of character is if you are consistent when the going gets tough and the tough need to get going. I will leave it to Pete Carroll to influence his team. I’m here to hep you!

It begins at the top. Are you showing this type of faith to your organization? Are you exuding confidence and role modeling behavior for your employees, your clients, your supply chain, your investors, and your prospects? If not, the change begins with you. Now, you may or may not be the CEO, but attitude has a trickle-down effect. You can’t control what happens above you, but you can control yourself.

This concept of “I’m in” applies to all walks of life. Each member of the high school basketball team I help coach exclaims “Viking in” at taps the sign above the gym door when entering the court. What about at home? Is your home team committed to this concept?

Life and business aren’t always rosy. If you’re committed to your organization, your employer, your family, and/or your friends, then commit all out. Be “in” when times are good, and be “in” when times are tough. You’ll find that this builds strong relationships, strong character, and a strong spirit.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Crisis Management Response

Have you seen the video from yesterday of the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsing due to weight of snow prior to the Vikings-Giants NFL game?

Watch the footage below…

How would you respond to this crisis if you were a risk manager? The answer should lie in the work you did and the relationships you built BEFORE the event.

In any business, you must do what I term a “vulnerability analysis.” What are the catastrophic exposures you have? For the risk managers of the Metrodome, collapse from excess snow had to have been one. If that was the case, they would have a plan in place. I’m sure one of the scenarios involved if there had actually been a game going on at the time. Their response is as critical as the crisis itself. Their reputation is also on the line and in plain view of the world to watch.

Relationships in risk and crisis management are important. Being able to leverage relationships with media outlets, other venues (they are moving the game to Detroit), emergency services, and their supply chain is critical to avoiding severe consequences to an already bad situation.

You have to do the same. What do you do if the equivalent of a stadium collapse happens in your business? Who do you call? What relationships must be leveraged? Have you even thought about this?

For me, it’s very ironic that this happened a day after I finished my 3-day class on risk and crisis management. This is fresh in my mind and really shows the power of proper identification, analysis, control, finance, and administration of risk management. It also speaks to the importance of leveraging critical relationships to minimize damage to facilities and reputation.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Staying Current on Subscriptions

Funny thing. I think in the “old days” of hard copy subscriptions, people did a better job of letting companies know when they had a change of address. Today, I think we end up dropping the ball a lot.

I just received an e-mail from a subscriber to my newsletters advising me about her address change. I appreciate that because now I keep a subscriber, she continues getting value from me, and I don’t get any “bounces.”

If you find value in subscriptions you receive, make sure you let them know when you change your e-mail address. As a newsletter “sender,” I am going to add verbiage in mine to request when people change addresses to let me know. I don’t want to lose happy readers because they forget to send me a note!

In today’s technology, make it easy to receive and to get…send and request address changes on subscriptions and newsletters.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Left Holding the Bag

I was out last night walking both dogs. It was a cold, dark night (even though it was only 5:30), but it felt good to shake the cobwebs out and take a brisk walk. At the halfway point of our journey at the park, Bella stopped to deliver a package. As I stooped and scooped the package, I felt the second leash of the dual leash go limp. To my right, stood a now free Captain Jack. He had somehow done a Houdini out of his harness while Bella distracted me. I knew what was coming next.

I nicely beckoned Captain Jack, however that was his cue to start the chase game. I was still dressed in my slacks and dress shoes, and sporting an “I Heart New York” cap. Bella and I took off in chase after him, dragging his abandoned harness and carrying the poop bag.

There were numerous people out and about walking and by their homes. I yelled for help and they all did their best to coax Captain Jack to them. He knew the trap. He would bound at them and then away, heading towards the west side of the street that seems to house all the neighborhood dogs. He led Bella and me through backyards and lawns. I thought I had him once in a fenced yard, only to be foiled by a small opening that he slid through. Note – I’m still carrying the poop bag.

As Bella and I retreated back to the street side, I saw one of my helpers named Susan. I told her where Jack was coming out and I watched her gently go to the gate where the pirate dog was now waiting. She sweet-talked him into surrender and I now had my dog back. I was out of breath, disheveled, had an untied shoe (very dangerous according to every mother), and a bag of poop. I re-harnessed the fugitive and he and Bella dutifully walked home. I sensed no remorse.

I wish I had a moral for this harrowing story. I think my post today is for my sanity and your enjoyment. Maybe you can send comments on what message I can tie into this story that might relate to a speech, column, or article. You can always start off with the inattentive guardian of the dogs!

In the end, all’s well that eds well. We all got a little extra exercise and I got to meet the neighbors, although I can think of much easier ways to do both!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points Archive

I’m really pleased with the feedback I receive from my Monday morning memos titled, Extra Points. This is a reminder that you can access all past editions on this blog site, and by clicking here. I hope you will consider subscribing to this free service and receive it every Monday morning in your Inbox. My hope is that you will be inspired, moved to deeper thought, maybe agitated, and hopefully better off for having read it!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved