Give me a good sharp knife and a good sharp cheese and I’m a happy man.

George R. R. Martin Author
You don't have to be a Big Cheese but Crackers will Help

You don't have to be a Big Cheese but Crackers will Help

Posted by martin.parnell |

I have just returned from a trip to the UK, where I visited family and friends in England and Wales. Whilst I was there, I indulged in one of one of my favourite foods, i.e. cheese.

When you mention British cheeses, most people probably think of good old English Cheddar, but it’s surprising just how many cheeses are produced there.

In Wales, the cheese making tradition goes back hundreds of years, but as farmers have learned to diversify, the country’s cheese output has grown to a point where you can easily stock a whole cheeseboard with everything from pungent soft cheeses to lemony blues and crumbly Caerphillys.

The Teifi company produces no less than 12 different cheeses, including eight different varieties of its acclaimed Gouda-style cheese with a dense, smooth and creamy texture, it’s sweet and mellow when young but develops qualities similar to Parmesan when aged. Another sought-after product is their Celtic Promise cheese – a mild Caerphilly-type cheese which has won more awards than any other cheese in Britain.

In England, you can find everything from Cathedral City, a brand of Cheddar Cheese to Cornish Brie, a handmade cheese made by Cornish Country Larder at their farm in Cornwall. Then there’s Double Gloucester, Wenslydale, Wookey Hole Cheddar, Dorset Blue Vinney, Sage Derby, Appledore, the list goes on. The British Cheese Board states that "there are over 700 named British cheeses produced in the UK."

Now I’m back in Canada and was delighted to find that my passion for the stuff can continue as, according to the National Holidays website, today, June 4th is National Cheese Day and they provide some of the history of cheese:

“Since cheese-making is a process that predates the written word, nobody really knows exactly when cheese was invented. While historians believe that humans began domesticating milk producing about 10,000 years ago, all that’s really known about early cheese-making is that cheese was made in Egypt and Greece for thousands of years.

Some historians believe that cheese-making may have been discovered accidentally when sheep herders stored milk in the stomach of an animal. This would have caused the enzyme found in the stomach of ruminant animals to coagulate the milk. The milk would have then separated into curds and whey. However, this is currently only a theory.

Historians know that by the time of the Roman Empire, cheese-making had become a widespread practice throughout most of Europe and the Middle East. There were hundreds of different types of cheese available to Ancient Romans and these cheeses were traded all over the Empire.”

The website also provides some “Cheesy Facts:

  • Roquefort, Brie de Meaux and Casu Marzu are cheeses that are illegal in the U.S
  • The European Union is the top producer of cheese in the world
  • On average, the French consumes about 60 pounds per person per year.
  • Germany comes in second with 53 pounds of cheese consumed per person per year.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, Camembert and Bavarian Swiss are the most popular cheeses in the world.”

On June 4, 2018, the Foodimentary website provided these tidbits of information:

  • There are over 2,000 varieties of cheeses.
  • The #1 cheese recipe in America is “Macaroni and Cheese”.
  • The terms “Big Wheel” and “Big Cheese” originally referred to those who were wealthy enough to purchase a whole wheel of cheese.
  • Chevre is French for goat and refers to cheese made from goat’s milk.

If you want to celebrate National Cheese Day, then all you have to do is to enjoy cheese in one of its many forms e.g. Cheese fondue, a grilled cheese sandwich or by sampling out a cheese you haven’t tried before. 

Just be sure that you don’t mix this holiday up with other cheese related holidays such as National Grilled Cheese Day, National Cheese Pizza Day or National Cheese Lover’s Day. After all, that wouldn’t be proper cheese etiquette.

About the Author 

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to'.

Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher and writer
How to Make Time for Success

How to Make Time for Success

Posted by martin.parnell |

One of the services I provide, in my professional capacity, is a workshop entitled “Unlock Your Potential”.  During the course of one of the sessions, participants are asked to set themselves a goal and to consider how they might achieve it. They are also asked to think of any obstacles they may encounter in the pursuit of that goal and what they might do to overcome them. One of the most common answers to this question is that they might not have the time required to complete their goal or, in fact, even get started. As with all things, if we truly want to accomplish something, we have to find ways to face the challenges they may incur and solutions for overcoming them.

When thinking about this blog, I remembered a quote I had seen some time ago that gave me pause for thought. It was written by H. Jackson Brown Jr., an American author, best known for his inspirational book, Life's Little Instruction Book and its sequel Life's Little Instruction Book: Volume 2 both of which made it to the New York Times best seller list. It reads:  “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”.

On theEntrepreneur website, software engineer, author, blogger and founder of WanderlustWorker.com, R.L. Adams wrote an article entitled 15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals. I have selected 5 of them to share with you here: 

Schedule email response times.

Turn off your email throughout the day. When your email is pouring in, it's easy to get distracted. Schedule time to read and respond to emails. If there's something urgent, someone will call or text you. But when you have your email open, those distractions interrupt your thought flow and it's harder to get back on track.

Eliminate bad habits.

One of the biggest time-wasters we have are our bad habits. Whether it's Netflix binge-watching, excessively surfing social media, playing games, going out frequently to drink with friends, or so on, those bad habits take away the precious little time that we do have. Use your time wisely by eliminating your bad habits if you're serious about achieving big goals in life.

Take frequent breaks when working.

One study suggests that you should work for 52 minutes and break for 17. You might not have the luxury to do that. But you should take frequent breaks. If you're an entrepreneur working for yourself, this is crucial. It's easy to run on fumes and not even know it. Keep your mental, emotional and physical states at peak levels by breaking frequently.

Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day.

Every single evening before bed, make a list for the next day. Look at your goals and see what you can do to help move you closer. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. But by making to-do lists, you're effectively setting goals for the day. Daily goals are easier to achieve while helping to move us towards the longer and bigger goals. But that happens by creating to-do lists. 

Turn off social media app alerts.

Incessant social media app alerts aren't helping you with your time. It's definitely hurting you. Turn them off. You don't need alerts every moment or to know everything happening with your friends. It's not important. What's most important is to have some peace of mind and be better able to focus on the task at hand.

Adams also addresses the issue of finding balance between your professional and personal lives:

“One of the biggest problems that most entrepreneurs have isn't just in how they can get enough done in such a demanding market, but also how they maintain some semblance of balance without feeling too overworked. This isn't just about achieving and going after goals around the clock. This is also about quality of life.

Balance is key. If you lack balance in your life, you're going to feel stressed out. Even if you're able to effectively juggle your responsibilities, without proper balance you're going to eventually reach your breaking point. So, it's important to not only follow a system that will help you get things done, but also one where you prioritize personal and family time.

Don't forget to do things like take a walk in the park or just sit and listen to your favorite music with headphones on, or paint a picture, go on a date night and so on. That's more important than you can think. And when you do that, you achieve some semblance of balance. Life is short. So don't ignore those things while you reach for your bigger goals”.

As inferred in the quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr, Adams, also, is of the opinion that :

“No matter who you are, your age, income, gender, race or religion, you have the same amount of time as the next person.”

If you find a way to manage your time effectively, there will be all the hours you need to achieve your goal. Don’t let the idea that you won’t have enough time prevent you from taking the first step. If time becomes an issue, find strategies to help you make time or manage, more efficiently, the time you have.

It would be a great pity to abandon a dream because you see time as a constraint. Many people have achieved great things without having any more hours in their day than you or I. Don’t be afraid to seek support in managing day-to-day responsibilities. If you share your goals, you will usually find people who are willing and able to help you achieve them. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

 

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Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling.

Deborah Day, Canadian film director and writer
How to Rejuvenate your Business if you Want it to Flourish

How to Rejuvenate your Business if you Want it to Flourish

Posted by martin.parnell |

At breakfast, this morning, my wife and I were looking out across our back garden and commenting on how lush everything is looking. It seems such a short time ago that the smaller trees were just spindly sticks, looking quite forlorn in their brown surroundings and now they are covered in rich foliage in a sea of varying shades of green. 

This should come as no surprise as it is something that occurs year after year with the deciduous trees, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how this transformation takes place. Of course, this couldn’t happen if the roots and trunk of the tree weren’t healthy. 

The whole process is a rejuvenation. New branches and fresh green leaves that keep the tree growing and spreading. It’s also something that happens in a healthy business. Core values and basic ethos may stay the same, but a company needs to rejuvenate, in order to grow and flourish. 

Trees need the right soil, light (sun) and water (rain) in order to flourish. Your company needs the right environment too. So, you need to provide that if you wish to develop and succeed.

Firstly, you may need to do an assessment of where your company is, at the present time. You could ask yourself the following questions. In order to help you with some answers, I have put references to previous blogs which can be found on my website: /blog/ 

Are you well situated, both physically and technically, to compete?

Is your premises coping with demand? Is it time for a re-design? (Apr. 17th. 2018). Is your online presence up-to-date, providing the right information and will it appeal to potential customers? The introduction of new technology can be daunting for some employees See my blog entitled - From bins to strategies, how to accept changes in the workplace (Apr. 10th. 2017). 

Do you have the right staff to make progress happen?

Are your team leaders and other employees fulfilling their roles? Do you need to make changes – bring in more staff, offer incentives? - Count on the things that are worth counting (Feb. 13th. 2017) and Good management requires the skill of communication (Apr. 4th. 2017).

Are you keeping up with or surpassing the competition?

Are you gaining more customers or are stuck in a rut and need to make some changes as to how the company is promoting itself? - Take action now and boost your company’s success (Sep. 11th. 2016) and Juggling ideas to make you get noticed (Sep. 19th. 2016). 

Never be afraid to seek out the opinion of others, your workforce are a valuable resource when it comes to finding out what’s working or not. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input as the feedback can prove invaluable, even negative feedback can be of value - Why asking for feedback in the right way is of most value (Jan. 9th . 2018) and How to see negative feedback in a positive light (Feb. 12th. 2018). 

If you come to the conclusion that your business is ailing, don’t give up, as with that ailing tree, rather than just chop it down, see if it may be worth salvaging. After all, it may just need a little pruning or extra nourishing – How to diagnose and cure an ailing business (Mar. 14th. 2018).

I hope some of these blogs may be of use and may your business and just like the trees in my garden be rejuvenated and continue to flourish. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.

Steve Martin-American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker, and musician
How to Make the Right Impression with the Correct Use of Words

How to Make the Right Impression with the Correct Use of Words

Posted by martin.parnell |

As a professional speaker and author, I always endeavour to ensure that I am making the correct use of words and phrases. Therefore, I was interested to read the issue being addressed by The Media Coach, Alan Stevens, (alan@mediacoach.co.uk) in his latest post on 21st. June. 

Alan is well known for his sound advice and insight into the workings of the media and the ways in which speakers can improve their presentations. His posts are always enlightening, amusing and well-worth a read. These are his thoughts on this particular subject:       

Are you a pendant? No of course not, since that's a piece of jewellery. However, you may be a pedant, concerned about the correct usage of words. I admit to slight tendencies in that direction, though the fact that every week someone spots a typo or grammatical error in this ezine means that I'm not too fussy at times. Anyway, here are some words that speakers use incorrectly from time to time (not you of course). 

  • Disinterested/Uninterested. The former means impartial, the latter means unconcerned. A football referee should be disinterested, but not uninterested. 
  • Flaunt/Flout. Flaunt means to show off, Flout means to ignore. 
  • Imply/Infer. You imply something by your speech or actions, but you infer omething from what you hear from others. 
  • Tandem/Parallel. In tandem means one after another. Parallel means side by side or simultaneously. 
  • Literally/Figuratively. Literally means something actually happened, so "I literally died" is clearly not true (unless one listens to ghosts). 
  • Bated/Baited. A fisherman waits with bated breath to see if a fish takes a baited hook. 
  • Foreword/Forward. A foreword is the introduction to a book. Forward is a direction. 
  • Appraise/Apprise. If you make a judgement, you appraise. If you are simply informing, you apprise. 
  • Principal/Principle. The former means most important. The latter is a fundamental belief. 
  • Ironic. This is commonly mis-used to mean co-incidental, when it actually means "counter to expectations" Here's a perfect example, from Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." 

Of course, you may, already, be aware of all of these, but it’s always worth checking a correct pronunciation too. Even if you are using the right word, it matters that you say it correctly. 

Another issue is the common misuse of phrases. On The Inc.Life website, contributor, Christina DesMarai addresses this in her post on July 11th. 2017, entitled 43 Embarrassing Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make. Although, as the title suggests, DesMarai gives 43 examples, I will share 10: 

1. First-come, first-serve
It should actually be "served." Without the d, the phrase above suggests that the first individual who arrives will be the one who serves everyone, which is not the idiom's intent.

2. Irregardless
This is not a word. It's simply "regardless," as in "Regardless of what you think about grammar, you'll look silly if you use it incorrectly."

3. "Me" as the first word in a sentence.
I hear people saying things such as "Me and Brandon met at Starbucks this morning" all the time, even though it's always wrong. "Brandon and I met at Starbucks this morning" is correct.

4. Emigrated to
"Emigrate" and "from" always go together, as do "immigrate" and "to." To emigrate is to come from somewhere, and to immigrate is to go to somewhere. "Colin emigrated from Ireland to the United States" means the same as "Colin immigrated to the United States from Ireland."

5. Slight of hand
A "slight" is an insult, whereas "sleight" indicates dexterity or cunning. It's why "sleight of hand" is commonly used in the world of magic and illusion.

6. Baited breath
When I think about bait, worms and lures come to mind. The first word should actually be "bated," which stems from the verb "abate," meaning to stop or lessen. So, if you're trying to say that someone is holding his breath, you can see that "bated breath" makes the most sense.

7. Wet your appetite
"Whet" means to sharpen or stimulate. As such, the latter spelling is more appropriate.

8. Make due
"Due" means "owed," and that's not the intent with this idiom. "Make do" is the proper way to say that you're going to get along with what you have.

9. Peaked my interest
To pique means to arouse, so the correct phrase is "piqued my interest," meaning that my interest was stimulated. While the incorrect way it's written in the heading may suggest that someone's interest was taken to a high level, it's still wrong.

10. Per say or persay
Both are incorrect because the Latin phrase which means "in itself" or "intrinsically" is spelled "per se." The best communicators speak and write clearly and concisely and probably avoid phrases like this one anyway.

DesMarai asks the question: “When someone uses grammar incorrectly do you make an assumption about his or her intelligence or education?” She comments that “Like it or not, words, spelling, and punctuation are powerful and can leave a lasting impression on others.” 

Something to think about next time you’re writing or speaking and you want to get it right!

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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