Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

As I reflect on this past year, I am full of gratitude.  If I’m honest, some of that thankfulness is because the year is over because there were some difficult moments.  And yet, I’m still so grateful for the gift of life, for friends and family, and for those who have made a tremendous impact on me.  Mistakes, successes, failures, lessons, gifts, books, lyrics all blend together to prepare me for the year ahead.

Take time and listen to my gifted friend Michael O’Brien sing “Have Yourself a Blessed Little Christmas.”  I wish all of you a coming year full of blessings, friends, gratitude, and peace.

49 Christmas Quotes and Sayings

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For all of you celebrating Christmas, here is a collection of quotes and sayings to make you laugh, think, or remember. For those not celebrating Christmas, you may still enjoy some of the thoughts and sayings here.  Enjoy the season!

What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day. –Phyllis Diller

 

Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. –Johnny Carson

 

I stopped believing in Santa when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. –Shirley Temple

 

The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world and people keep sending it to each other. –Johnny Carson

 

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. –Buddy the Elf

 

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. –Victor Borge

 

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note saying: “Toys not included!” –Bernard Manning

 

A good conscience is a continual Christmas. –Ben Franklin

 

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas. –Peg Bracken

 

Pets, like their owners, tend to expand a little over the Christmas period. –Frances Wright

 

One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present. -Unknown

 

Love the giver more than the gift. –Brigham Young

 

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. –Harian Miller

 

That’s the true spirit of Christmas: people being helped by people other than me. –Jerry Seinfeld

 

The real Santa Claus is at the mall. –Lemony Snicket

 

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. -Charles Dickens

 

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. –Eric Sevareid

 

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. –Andy Rooney

 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. -Normal Vincent Peale

 

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. –Charles Schulz

 

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value. Charles D Warner

 

The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart. –Helen Keller

 

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men. -Luke 2:14

 

There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. –Erma Bombeck

 

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. – Calvin Coolidge

What I Learned On the Way to 200,000 Twitter Followers

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Slightly over two years ago, I decided to join Twitter.  I didn’t have a blog.  I wasn’t on Facebook (I’m still not really, but that’s the subject for another time).  I wasn’t a celebrity.

About a month after joining Twitter, I launched this blog in December of 2011.  Leadership Insights is now two years old.

Learning from Others

Learning how to use Twitter was my first goal.  All around me were experts.  My friend and best selling author and social media expert Michael Hyatt was encouraging me to join.  For some reason still unknown, his Twitter feed was embedded into my desktop even without me joining the service.  I was able to see him Tweet for months.  Many of those tweets made no sense because they were replies, but I learned by watching.

Then I attended a Preds game with another friend, best-selling author Karen Kingsbury, and her family.  Karen graciously sat with me, walking me through the ins and outs of Twitter and how she used it to connect with her loyal fans.  I think I was looking at her phone more than the ice during that game because I don’t even recall who won.

Yet another best selling author friend came to visit Nashville, and I sat with Margaret Atwood at dinner and received another tutorial.  Her use of Twitter was vastly different, and so I began to see how personal style was important.

That was the first few weeks, but many others with huge numbers of Twitter followers started to give me advice.

Jumping In

I began to blog and wrote a post on Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Twitter Any Longer; later I wrote 13 Tips for Twitter Effectiveness. Last year, I even wrote a note to Santa for my Twitter wish list.

Never did I think I would be near 200,000 followers in just over two years.

You think, well, sure you had all these amazing friends and that’s how it started.  I thought that, too.  After several friends with many followers sent notes to “Follow @SkipPrichard,” I thought I would be on the way.  The reality was that it barely moved my numbers.  Then, after a month or two, my followers started dropping.  I would get to 300, then go backwards.

Finally, I decided to not think about it.  My goal was not numbers but to really use the service to connect with others, to share, and to learn.

Random Learning

A few things I learned along the way:

You will get out of it what you put into it. The best way to learn is by jumping in.

Be yourself. 

Decide: What’s your purpose? What do you want to get out of it? You may just want to watch and listen.  You may want to share or meet new people.

Upload a picture.  Don’t be an egghead!

Have a follow-back policy.  Are you going to follow everyone back?  Be highly selective about who you follow?  It’s up to you.  Remember you can change your mind later.

Make sure your bio reflects your purpose. Make it clear why people should follow you.

Follow people you’re interested in.

Watch out for spammers.

It’s a resource.  Once I was in a camera store trying to decide what to buy as a gift.  A quick message to my friend and world class photography instructor @SkipCohen and I had my answer. Another time I was in New Orleans looking for some good gumbo. Ten minutes later we were in a restaurant ordering the best gumbo in the city.

Learn.  So many opportunities to learn.

4 Proven Ways to Boost Your Creative Genius

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This is a guest post by David Burkus. David is the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.  He is also founder of LDRLB and assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University.

For companies, creativity is the fuel for innovation and competitive advantage. For individuals, creativity is the key to quickly and effectively solving problems. But as important as creativity is, most of us don’t understand how it works and how to enhance our own creative thinking. Instead, we tell and retell a series of myths, faulty beliefs that serve as our best guess for how creativity works. But the implications of 50 years of research into creativity are re-writing many of those myths. The results might be counterintuitive, but they are effective. Here are four evidence-based ways to boost your creativity.

1. Copy

We tend to think of outstandingly creative works or projects as wholly original. But the truth is that most breakthrough creative works are the result of copying and modifying existing works. Microsoft and Apple both borrowed the design of Xerox’s Alto to build their personal computers. George Lucas copied the theme of Joseph Campbell’s “monomyth” and blended it with concepts and visuals from Akira Kurosawa films and Flash Gordon serials to create the blockbuster Star Wars series. Even on a smaller scale, ideas are made by the combining of older ideas. Research suggests that individuals whose brains make connections between various thoughts score higher on creativity tests. Start collecting ideas, testing possible combinations, and seeing what creative ideas emerge.

Creativity doesn’t just love constraints; it thrives under them. -David Burkus

2. Study a New Field

While our most difficult problems are often given to long-standing experts, the most innovative solutions don’t always come from these experts. Instead, individuals with a sufficient background in a field, but with additional knowledge from a diverse range of fields, are those ones who dream up breakthrough innovations. Paul Erdos, the most published mathematician in history, changed his field of specialization constantly. Erdos was known for showing up on the doorstep of future collaborators and exclaiming, “My brain is open.” He’d trade knowledge with his collaborators and move on to find new ones. Open your brain and start studying new fields; you never know which one your creative insight will come from.

3. Find Constraints