Self-Improvement Tips

Self-Improvement Tips

In honor of National Self-Improvement Month take this moment to celebrate yourself and all that you have accomplished.  Challenge yourself and set goals to improve areas you have been wanting to for some time. No matter how big or small your goals are, here are some tips to get you started this fall.

1. Make Healthier Choices

We should all live for today but what about tomorrow?  Small changes in your diets can make all the difference. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.  It’s not always easy to eat healthily when you are busy and on the move but implementing an 80/20 rule is a good place to start. Try eating healthy 80% of the time. The other 20% doesn’t have to be perfect.  Little changes like eating an apple instead of a bag of potato chips with your sandwich are going to make a huge difference in the long term.

2. Find a Hobby

Learning something new requires patience and courage. Finding a hobby doesn’t mean you need to be good at it or master it.  Hobbies are something you enjoy and are meant to push your boundaries. Try different activities like reading, cooking, taking an art class or learning how to swim to see what works for you.  Having a hobby will help you stay busy, feel recharge and experience a sense of accomplishment.

Challenge yourself and look at registering for workshops and online courses to sharpen your skillset, or learn something new like a new software program. Whatever you choose, find an outlet where you can express your creativity and freedom of choice.

 3. Travel More

 Take on the adventure of planning small trips, and go to cities and see places you’ve never been to before – safely of course. Self-improvement is about pushing boundaries, so get going! Traveling allows you to escape the stress of everyday life. Discover and learn different cultures, see beautiful iconic landmarks and experience the beauty this world has to offer.  This can be a road trip or a trip to Eastern Europe (assuming borders are open for you). Going to a different environment can be a positive experience and taking in scenic views can give you a sense of peace you’ve been craving.

4. Inspire Others

A great way to improve yourself is to help others along the way. When you focus energy on helping others reach their potential and dreams, you will reap the benefits and accomplish more than just helping someone else. One way is to volunteer as it will humble you and allow you to find a purpose outside your everyday activities. More importantly, you will learn a few things about yourself and you’ll find that the gift of giving is the best gift of all time.

5. Adjust Goals

Take time to reflect on your own growth and see your progress and where you might need to adjust. Evaluate your goals and cut back on what is not working.  It may help to get a second opinion and get new ideas on how to achieve your objectives. Turn new ideas into new strategies and learn how you can be more efficient in achieving your goals.  Change is hard but to get moving in the right direction it is necessary.

6. Be Your Authentic Self

Start today to be yourself and love who you are.

Don’t allow pressures from the traditional media, social media and peers make you feel inferior.  Learn to let go of what’s outside of your control by focusing on what you can control.  Instead of asking yourself what you don’t have, ask yourself what you do have and be grateful for them. Stay confident even if life has thrown out curveballs. Those twists and turns in life will only make you stronger and self-worth always pays off in the end.

In Conclusion

There’s no wrong way to improve yourself as long as you’re happy with the end results.Working towards the best version of yourself doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an investment that takes time, focus, and dedication but the benefits will be worth it.  I hope this month inspires and motivates you to take positive steps towards your goals.

There’s no better time than today to create your best self.




How to Build a Culture of Recognition

Whether We Are In The Midst of a Pandemic or Not

When employees are recognized for their hard work, employers will see an increase in engagement, productivity and retention. A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 72% of respondent’s ranked recognition given for high performers as having a significant impact on employee engagement. Here are some ideas on how to build a culture of recognition.

1. An employee recognition program should always be linked to a company’s mission and values.  Companies that are able to align employees around those principles through praising and recognitions will inspire them to live and breathe the spirit of the company. This in turn helps to build a unified corporate culture and makes it clear to individuals how their hard work helps to achieve company goals. Did you know, according to Forbes, disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year!

2. Take the time to praise and make it personal. Verbal praises are still powerful but it’s also important to write about employee’s recognition in the company’s newsletter, website and other communication channels.

3. Provide opportunities for every employee to contribute to the recognition program. Unfortunately, some employees don’t get the opportunity to be recognized due to the nature of their job roles or lack of expectations. According to Forbes, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. Engaged employees are more likely to show up every day with passion, purpose and energized to perform their job responsibilities.

4. Enlist superiors to recognize performers by concentrating less on quality control and focusing more on praises for a job well done. According to Quantum Workplace’s report, 60% of employees said managers are most responsible for implementing employee engagement strategies. Getting a pat on the back from an immediate supervisor is crucial to employee’s morale because supervisors know when a job is done well.  Employees want and need to be reminded that their work has purpose and meaning.  Remember great leaders make people feel valued and important.

5. Facilitate peer to peer recognition in your culture. This allows employees to engage with one another and empower them to have a voice. Millennials especially prefer to build strong reputations among their friends and co-workers.

6. Lastly, implement a rewards program at your organization. Your recognition program must fit into your company values and culture. A reward program allows employees to earn points and then cash them in for gifts at a later time. Everyone in the organization can participate and no one will be left out. A rewards program differs from a cash bonus because cash is viewed as an extension of income and used for bills, fuel, groceries, etc. and is soon forgotten. Items employees purchase on a rewards program fulfill personal wants that an employee would not otherwise justify purchasing.

Showing appreciation to your employees will make your organization a better environment to work in and in return attract and retain the best talents. The 2020 State of Talent Optimization states that on average, 47 % of high-performing employees left their company last year. Being appreciated is just not a paycheck at the end of the week anymore.

Let us help recognize your employees!



Fall Travel Destinations
Fall Destinations


Fall is typically the time of year to find lower prices, fewer crowds and cooler weather. If you've been holding off on booking a vacation, now is the time to make your move. Come experience the cool air, changing colors and get some much needed time off. Here is a list of some of the best travel destinations and must see activities to do. 

Asheville, NC

The city is an unexpected gem known for its vibrant art scene mixed with Southern charms and traditions and unforgettable scenery. Come discover why Asheville is known as a quaint little mountain town, Hipster Haven and Beer City USA. This town has a little something for everyone.

Must See: 

            Biltmore Estate

This vast French Renaissance-style estate of George Vanderbilt has a storied past dating back to 1889. The estate is considered America's largest private home, the 250-room estate – with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and a whopping 65 fireplaces  You will be blown away with the view of  8,000 acres of gardens and the estate includes 2 ½ miles of walking paths to take in the charm.

            Asheville Urban Trail

Come sightsee and take in downtown as you walk through the 1.7-mile-long trail and are swept away as the city showcase its unique history. The trail’s 30 stops are marked with a public sculpture that captures an important person or moment in the area's history. 

            Pisgah National Forest

Over 500,000 acres of lush greenery, Pisgah National Park offers hundreds of miles of trails to explore. Discover beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes and appreciate the great open outdoors.

Grand Canyon, AZ

If you are looking for some unforgettable natural scenery this is the place to be. The conditions in the fall make this place the perfect destination for hiking. The Grand Canyon is one of the oldest national parks in the US and still astonishes visitors with its unique color combinations, geological wonders and rock formations.

Must See: 

            Grand Canyon Village

Grand Canyon Village is home to Yavapai Point, which is one of the best places to view the canyon and all its glory. Ideal for those who’d prefer not to camp but still want to stay within the park.

            North Rim

Rugged, isolated trails and sparse facilities is as good as it gets for those wanting a challenge. The beauty in this area is that it will likely remain relatively underdeveloped therefore keeping the atmosphere peaceful and quiet. If you venture here make sure to swing by the 8,803-foot Point Imperial and take a picture of the highest point on the North Rim.

            Bright Angel Trail

This trail is a little more than 6 miles long one way. Make sure to pack camping gear and carry plenty of water with you if you plan on going all the way to Plateau Point. The reward will be one of the best views of the river you have ever set your eyes on. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

This national park is home to multiple hiking trails, cascading waterfalls and all kinds of wildlife. During the fall you can see true autumn colors as you make your way through the park on a scenic excursion.

Must See:

            Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap sits at an elevation of 5,046 feet which is the lowest drivable pass in the park. Load up the family and get ready for a roller coaster ride in your very own car.

            Sugarlands Visitor Center

The center features extensive natural history and exhibits which includes a film about the park. Make sure to stop by first to load up on information, rest and don’t forget to visit the local gift shop to purchase a keepsake of your time here.

            Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

This trail is nearly 6-miles-long, offers stunning mountain scenery and provides access to two of the region's most popular waterfalls: Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. Explore historic log cabins and the remains of a mountain village, the Roaring Fork Cemetery and an array of wildlife from birds and deer to black bears.

Acadia National Park, ME

Spectacular is the only way to describe autumn in Acadia National Park. This national park on the coast of Maine attracts leaf peepers from across the country every year. Cooler temperatures will make the park's challenging hikes more enjoyable.

Must See:

            Cadillac Mountain

Come discover the tallest mountain in the park, and the tallest mountain on the North Atlantic seaboard. Don’t forget to set your alarms to catch the sunrise as Cadillac Mountain is the first point of the US to greet the rising sun's rays from early October to early March.

            Park Loop Road

Adventure out and take a quick tour to discover all the wonderful sights and trails. Popular spots like Sand Beach, Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff can all be seen on Park Loop Road.

            Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond will leave you mesmerized as you set your eyes on crystal-clear waters that mirror the surrounding mountains. The picturesque atmosphere will leave you speechless.

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe is a colorful city, bursting with a rich history including Gothic cathedrals, Spanish-influenced architecture and buildings that date back to the 16th century. If you have a flare for the arts, love of authentic cuisines, and a passion for culture make sure to book a trip here.

Must See:

            Canyon Road

The area is touted as an art lover's mecca because there is more than 100 art galleries along the street and you'll find everything from jewelry and pottery to sculptures and paintings. The street alone is full of vibrant and lively colors that will leave you wanting more.

            Santa Fe Plaza

The plaza, which is a National Historic Landmark, hosts Indian and Spanish American cultural events and shows. Come experience the lively atmosphere where there is always something happening, whether it's a parade, a market or a festival. 

            Santa Fe Opera House

The Santa Fe Opera House is a world-renowned venue. Guests can arrive early before the show and many often do, specifically to tailgate in the surrounding parking lots with picnics, gourmet meals and drinks. Be prepared to see people dressed to the nines, sipping on sparkling wine and enjoying the good life.

Sab Diego, CA

In the fall San Diego’s average highs hover in the 70s. Experience some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and get lost in your thoughts on a secluded sandy stretch. There is plenty to do from soaking up some sun to surfing or head north to hike the trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. 

Must See:

            Balboa Park

Home to the famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is a great place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. Here you can adventure out and wander around the park's many gardens while admiring the intricate Spanish-Renaissance. The park also features a cactus garden, rose garden, a Japanese-style garden as well as a palm tree canyon, among many others.

            Mission Beach & Pacific Beach

Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are one giant connected shoreline in San Diego. The beach is a popular spot in San Diego for surfing pros and beginners because of the high and lows of the beach waves

            Coronado Beach

Calm waves makes this beach a popular destination with families and couples due to its mile long shoreline, clean sands and peaceful setting. Come and rejuvenate you mind, soul and body at Coronado Beach.

Fall is just around the corner. Temperatures start to drop, leaves start to change colors and flight and hotels start easing up just a little bit. If you didn’t get a chance to travel in the summer, this is your time to escape the crowds, social distance and discover beautiful new destinations.


Let us help get you there!



Critical Decisions

Should I cancel my hotel block and event?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations and attendees to make the difficult but critical decisions to cancel or postpone. The decision not only has significant financial implications but affects all individuals involved. Many people are left asking “Should I cancel my hotel reservations and event?”

Here are some factors that will help you determine whether or not to cancel.

If you are like most event planners who are under increased pressure to cut costs, consider a drive-to destination. If you have the highest concentration of attendees in a particular region, you might choose a centralized location that so you can be as close to your attendees as possible. Furthermore it can be more cost effective to drive than to fly, and it can also be more convenient.

The first step is to find out what hotels are doing to ensure attendees feel safe and secure. Some hotels, like Four Seasons, continue to invest in apps that further allow guests to control how they engage with others – limiting face-to-face thus giving guests the flexibility for contactless engagement throughout their stay.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts collaborated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International on enhanced health and safety programs called Lead With Care. The program focuses on procedures, behind-the-scenes measures including thorough employee training, additional food handling protocols, and enhancements to ventilation systems and other back-of-the-house operations. Here is an example of the detailed new measures Four Season is doing to combat COVID-19.

Enhanced Cleanliness

  • Each Four Seasons property is appointing a Hygiene Officer focused on implementing enhancements to already stringent procedures
  • Rooms disinfected daily with EPA approved products and will have black light inspection by room attendants
  • Focused re-training programs for Housekeeping Teams on all cleaning protocols Public areas cleaned hourly with extra attention to frequented areas including front desk counters and public restrooms
  • Four Seasons COVID-19 Advisory Board to explore an array of options to equip properties with the latest tools and technology, including electrostatic spraying, ozone technology for air purification and/or UV technology for HVAC systems

Heightened Guest Safety and Comfort:

  • Lead With Care kits placed in each guest room providing masks, hand sanitizer and sanitization wipes with additional masks supplied on demand
  • Social distancing measures embedded in all services for guest protection, including appropriately spaced fitness equipment, modified spa menu and services, contactless check-in and housekeeping services
  • Restaurants and bars may operate with reduced capacity to ensure adequate space and socially distant set-up
  • Nearly all restaurants providing a-la-carte service with digital menus wherever possible
  • In Room Dining offering contactless delivery outside guestrooms along with sustainable, single-use packaging
  • Four Seasons App and Chat providing guests with real-time, contactless interactions with employees from their own device on nine global platforms and in 100+ different languages

Empowered Employees:

  • Lead With Care training building on Four Seasons legendary service model and diligent attention to detail, ensuring Lead With Care procedures are delivered in a thoughtful, attentive manner that balances guest safety with personal reassurance and comfort
  • Training focused on educating and empowering employees to deliver the enhanced health and safety program with confidence, passing on this care to each and every guest and resident
  • The COVID-19 Advisory Board advising on the global training program for all employees including: ensuring employees have a well-informed understanding of the disease and its transmission, providing guidance on appropriate social distancing and use of personal protective equipment, as well as physical and mental health monitoring and support
  • Grounded in emotional intelligence, employees are undergoing behavioral training, ensuring empathetic, personalized care and connection are not lost in the absence of close contact and limited face to face interaction.

(Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts)

Similar to the Four Seasons, Hyatt properties have their own initiative called Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment.  To learn more about their program, click the link below.

In addition, The American Hotel & Lodging Association has launched a program called Safe Stay to develop a series of best practices for the industry. This new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience. According to the U.S. Travel Association recommends contactless or low-touch solutions around check-in and payment for goods and services. Hotels like the Viceroy Hotels & Resorts is now using Amazon Alexa in some properties to control the technology in guest rooms.

The U.S. Travel Association has also launched a new Travel Confidently Toolkit to help travelers do their part while on the road or in the air. The toolkit features industry guidance for the health and safety of all, more information can be found at the link below.

In conclusion

Before canceling your hotel stay or meeting venue find out what extra steps they are doing to give attendees and guest the extra peace of mind, both in-room and during your event. Ensure adequate sized meeting & event space to allow for social distancing and speak with your contact to confirm safety procedures, such as seating, F&B and activities.

The key to determining which is best in a particular situation is to be transparent to your attendees and determine your overall meeting goals. Also, remember that this is an evolving situation. It's crucial to follow guidelines set by your state and your health care provider. Continue to practice safety measures no matter where you decide to go. 

Let us help get you there. 



Shawn's Travel Blog


Colorado Springs

We are living in a new normal and learning how to adapt to new traveling requirements has been a part of the learning curve. The sites at travel destinations have not changed and it is still possible to enjoy the experience.

In flying from Dallas to Colorado Springs we chose a direct flight over a connection in order to limit our person-to-person contact and stay within social distancing guidelines. The flight had mandated empty seats. At the airport you can clearly see a difference compared to six months ago, not only less people milling about but also the attention to cleaning. Wearing a mask feels different, but it isn't a deal-breaker for me and everyone working for the airlines just seemed happy to see us travel again. We received warm welcomes from everyone through the plexiglass barriers. Overall, the flight to Colorado Springs was uneventful and the new cleaning and distancing standards by the airline made us feel comfortable.

Amtrak to Baltimore 

Traveling on Amtrak and seeing the western states from the view of the rails is still a bucket list experience. There are some differences in the food service and the trains purposely are only half occupied, but for us we chose a Bedroom Sleeper cabin so that we could observe social distancing. The gorgeous views are the same while traveling through the mountains. The biggest difference we noticed was while eating in the dining car, with the new paper menus and being served on plates and bowls that can be thrown away after each use. The food was good and the staff was amazing.

I do recommend getting out there and seeing the world or just seeing more of the United States and continuing to help support the economy. There are amazing people to meet.

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