Bicycle Helmets: Child’s Play or Serious Business?

Bicycle Helmets: Child’s Play or Serious Business?

The Center for Disease Control reports that: less than half of the millions of Americans who ride bicycles wear bicycle helmets. For example, a national survey conducted in 2001-2003 found that only 48% of children ages 5-14 years wore bicycle helmets when riding Older children were less likely to wear helmets than younger children.

In 2010 in the U.S., 800 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 515,000 sustained bicycle-related injuries that required emergency department care. Half of the injured cyclists were children under the age of 20. Ten-percent of the injured children, 26,000 of them, sustained a traumatic brain injuries.

As a bicycle helmet proponent, I want to remind all bicyclists to wear your helmets. Parents, set the example for your children.

Over 10 years ago, I was one of those adults who never wore a helmet, until the day I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as I rode my bike on K32, between Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

An accident can happen in a few seconds, however the damage to my brain lasted for a long time. Common words disappeared from my memory. I had difficulty with proper sentence construction. Severe headaches were frequent.

A TBI is the wound that no one can see. I was one of the fortunate to recover. I eventually regained my memory and about 99% of my vocabulary.

If you live in Kansas City, and your child receives a head injury and loses consciousness, even for a second, be sure you receive care and assessment from Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. They have an excellent head trauma program. My niece received excellent care and rehabilitation there following a head trauma from an accident in which a school room partition knocked her unconscious.

On our street, we are known as the Helmet House. We always have extra bike helmets for children who we find are not wearing their helmets or who have outgrown their old he;lmet. .

One of the 11-year old boys on our street skipped a helmet one day this past Spring and of course, he fell. Fortunately he only received some cuts and scrapes, but now we never see him without his helmet.

If your or your child received a head injury recently, you need to know how to recognize the symptoms of TBI and to visit a doctor if one has experienced a blow or jolt to the head. Some common symptoms associated with TBI are forgetfulness, problems concentrating, low-grade headaches that won’t go away, loss of balance, and lack of energy.

Even though the kids are heading back to school soon, there’s many more beautiful months of bike riding ahead. Protect yourself and your children. Wear a helmet!

It’s Back to School Time, Again?

coloringprojectSeptember is back to school time. My great-grandson began Pre-K this week. I was excited to watch his mom’s video interviewing him about his first day of school.

It was evident that both mom and dad had prepared him for the day. Wyatt colored a worksheet and knew the names of seven colors. He ate his entire snack (he’s not picky). In an efficient and quick demonstration, he showed mom how his teacher taught the class to wash their hands. In addition, he was awarded a sticker for completing his coloring assignment.

To summarize Wyatt’s day:

  1. He was prepared.
  2. Did the work assigned.
  3. Did not cause conflict or expect to be treated special.
  4. Followed the rules.
  5. Received a reward for a job well done.

If only we were all that prepared when we went to work. Is it time for you to get back to Business Basics?

To accomplish this, you’ll need to be honest and dig deep. Are you in such a rush to get to the first appointment that you take Short Cuts?

Don’t hope for a miracle or guru’s seminar until you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you prepared for the day? Did you look at the calendar to check what you’ve scheduled before walking out the door? Sounds elementary? I recently failed to do this, and relied on my memory. I pulled up at my Ophthalmologist’s office only to realize I was 24-hours early.
  2. Do you establish and accomplish priorities? Alternatively, did you do the easiest things first, never reaching to do the more challenging or long-range activities? There are few stickers awarded nor year-end bonuses paid for average performers. You might however, earn the office slacker nickname. 
  3. Do you get along with your colleagues? You’ve worked with those who act like Rock Stars and want to be treated as such. Often they are not great team players and add little to a successful organization. However, they require lots of attention.
  4. Rule Follower or Rule Breaker? Sometimes it’s necessary to be creative and initiate changes within the organization. If you are the Rule-Maker (boss), be sure all players know the new rules and how to achieve success within the system.
  5. Do the incentives fit the work expected from your team? For Wyatt, a sticker was a cool prize for coloring all the images and using a wide range of crayons. What’s the right reward for your work force? What motivates them? Money, flexible works days, bigger commissions, company stock awards, pizza, casual day, summer Friday afternoons off?

Going back to school can be fun; especially if you like the teacher and you make a few new friends.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!

Face Your Biggest Fears…Most of them Won’t Kill You.

Face Your Biggest Fears…Most of them Won’t Kill You.

Unless the chute fails to open. Alternatively, your tandem instructor decides not to pull the ripcord because he has a death wish. By now, you’ve probably guessed this story is about skydiving, one of my biggest fears.13592406_1049624141792932_7132323744764427168_n

Last year, at a luncheon of an organization of Business Women, the foursome at my table began to discuss “Bucket Lists.” My Bucket List at the time, included skydiving. I casually asked if any of the others had that on their list. Nancy excitedly said yes she had wanted to jump since she was 15-years of age. She volunteered to be my accountability buddy and would do a tandem jump too. Rats, there went the excuse of “I’d never do this alone.”

The other two women said they thought we were both a bit crazy but they’d cheer us on from a safe spot on the ground. Nancy and I researched jump locations safety records, instructors, prices and personal jump site recommendations. Excuses and delays caused us to push the jump into the summer of 2016.

Jump day, Sunday, June 5 arrived. The weather was perfect. However, I was on day 16 of the worst head cold I have had in years. I had every excuse to not go through with the jump. However, I knew that if I backed out that Sunday, the odds were extremely high that I would never reschedule the jump.

Forty years before, I had taken a parachute jumping class and never made the jump. For a stack of reasons mostly having to do with an extremely rainy spring, I never put on the chute and jumped.

Facing fears is a subject I speak about frequently in my keynotes. I love to challenge my audiences to be courageous and face fears. Here are a few of the fears I’ve faced:

  • The fear of not making payroll as a small business owner for 14-years.
  • At age 30, I quit my job, loaded my car with the essentials I thought I’d need to live and headed west with no specific destination in mind. I had clothes for 4 seasons, a tent, sleeping bag, propane cook stove and my favorite cookbooks. I saw five states and settled for the next three years in Boulder, Colorado.
  • In my 30’s, I traveled to seven European countries alone for six weeks.
  • As a single woman, I purchased my first home in my 30’s before that was a common occurrence.
  • After receiving a traumatic brain injury while riding on my bicycle, a few months later, I got back on the same bicycle and rode over the spot where the accident occurred.
  • I’ve para sailed, skinny-dipped, spoken in front of an audience of 1,000 and visited someone at a maximum-security prison where I was informed that most of the inmates visiting with their families in the cafeteria around us were murderers.

What I’ve learned is when I face any fear, I grow stronger. The next fear is always easier to face.

Marilyn Ferguson, the author of The Aquarian Conspiracy said it succinctly, “we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”

If you are anything like me, you yearn for freedom to live life to its fullest. No shortcuts or excuses, following the Nike slogan “Just Do It.”

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!



Listen: Be Brilliant

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Sir Winston Churchill

One of the biggest obstacles I find to successful communications is that as soon as we stop talking, many of us begin to plan our next opportunity to share our brilliance. When we’re toddlers, making constant demands for the starring role in our parent’s eyes may be cute. This process seldom succeeds in adulthood.

Whether selling, negotiating, networking to meet and greet new prospects, or simply relaxing with family or friends, the addiction to the starring role on life’s main stage can destroy careers and relationships.

Great two-way communication begins with an understanding of the payoffs connected to becoming a better listener. If current techniques work, there’s no problem. No problem. No reason to change.

However if you think you might be one who is “Listening Challenged” read further.

Consider these three benefits to listening.

  1. Listening demonstrates respect. It’s the right thing to do. Implement the Golden Rule of Listening: “Listen to Others as You Wish Them to Listen to You.”
  2. Avoid Misunderstandings. Becoming a better listener will save time. You’ll invest less time correcting mistakes that occur because of inattentive or faulty listening.
  3. Build Relationships. Good two-way communication builds trust and respect. Those are two essential building blocks for a business partnership. Who wants to work with an individual who monopolizes every conversation?

 The First Three Tools to Improve Telephone Listening Skills

  1. Eliminate or Decrease Environmental Distractions when making critical business calls.
    1. Turn away from your laptop or close it completely if it’s unnecessary for the call.
    2. If the call is made through the company phone system, silence your cell phone.
    3. Turn your mobile device so you can’t see those annoying pop-up reminders.
    4. If your work environment is noisy, move to a quieter spot like a conference room.
    5. Advise colleagues that you’re making an important call and a quieter environment is appreciated. This courtesy works to benefit everyone.
  2. Be prepared for the call.
    1. Reread previous call notes.
    2. Secure all computer and print resources if you’ll need them to respond to customer questions.
    3. Make sure you have a glass of water or other beverage available in case “dry-mouth” attacks.
    4. Get comfortable. If you sit up straight, not only will your mom will be proud of you, your voice will be more distinct, resonant and audible.
  1. Be Intuitive. Listen for pauses, quick intakes of air, hesitations, gasps, changes in pace, tempo or tenor.
    1. Additionally be aware if you begin to hear increased background noises on the prospects end of the line. If you do, perhaps this is a good time to ask, “Is this still a good time for our conversation.”
    2. Clients appreciate it when you are considerate of unscheduled demands upon their time. Accept that client conditions and schedules change.
    3. Give the client the option to reschedule the call to a more convenient and less stressful time.

As Stephen R. Covey warns, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Don’t be one of those people.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!