June 13, 2019

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Working Parent? A Mentor Can Help.

We’ve touted the benefits of career mentorship over and over again, and you may or may not have jumped on board and found yourself a mentor of your own. But if you’re someone who just welcomed a new addition to your family–hello, baby!–this might be the perfect time to take the plunge and find a mentor–more specifically, a working parent mentor.

A mentor is somehow who guides you along your career path by dishing out advice and feedback that can help you overcome obstacles and identify your strengths. As a new parent, you need that kind of assistance now more than ever. Your mornings just got more complicated, your end of day routine just got more regimented, and you’re dealing with things like daycare, illnesses, and possibly less sleep than you’ve ever experienced. But the workflow doesn’t stop.

A working parent mentor is similar to a professional mentor but more specialized. “This person is your go-to contact with insights to help you navigate your way through the minefields you didn’t even know existed,” says The Muse in an article titled A Working Parent Mentor Can Make All the Difference In Your Career. Ideally you’re looking for someone who’s been through it all before but is still close enough to remember the challenges. Someone with a kid or two a few years older than yours is a great example. And if he or she works in your field or at your company, even better.

This person will hopefully provide guidance in both work and life and won’t be afraid to share the truth behind the curtain. Being a working parent is a physical and mental challenge. There is so much new parents learn in the first few years that you may as well fast track some of that hard-earned knowledge and incorporate the tips and tricks from others into your daily routine. At the very least, set up a coffee or lunch date and glean some hacks from parents in your office.

There are resources online that can be helpful as well:

  • add an insightful website like Fatherly to your daily reading list
  • sign up for The New York Times Parenting newsletter
  • search local Facebook groups like “Engineering Moms” or “St Louis Dads”

How do you balance being a working parent? Comment below!

Image via Tilman Zitzmann/Flickr.

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June 11, 2019

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Soccer Legend Brandi Chastain + Cutter Insect Repellent

Last month, we held a Cutter Insect Repellent Soccer Clinic hosted by soccer legend Brandi Chastain. The skies were blue and the kids learned new soccer skills. We had so much fun giving back to the St. Louis community!

“I want to give back as much as possible, so when Cutter Insect Repellent called and asked if I wanted to do a clinic with them, I thought ‘Cutter’s from St. Louis, they understand their community, they are involved at the grassroots level,” said Chastain. “The fact that Cutter is sponsoring U.S. Soccer, and the fact that they are willing to come into the community with me, that’s a win-win.”

Read more about the event here.

#TeamCutter #TeamBrandiChastain

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June 6, 2019

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How Perfectionism is Killing Your Career

You’ve heard it before: “Done is better than perfect.” But if you’re a perfectionist, you likely guffaw at sayings such as this. After all, you’re a step above the rest–done is just good enough, it’s not great. And you are great. That’s how you distinguish yourself and keep your career propelling forward. Right? Well, truthfully, you might be wrong.

Consistently outweighing the expectation of others might seem like a great achievement at first glance. But the problem with perfection lies in the fact that nobody can meet your expectations–not yourself and not your coworkers. It adds an unfair amount of stress to not only yourself but also to your relationship with others.

Perfectionism also blinds you to the strengths and contributions of yourself and others. Compassion, not condemnation, is the name of the game. You’ll be a much more pleasant person to work with–and a happier one too–if you’re not constantly berating your own work or the work of others.

Read more about why you should steer clear of perfectionism over at Forbes

Image via Little Kits/Flickr.

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June 4, 2019

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Spectrum Brands Gives Back in Orange County, CA

On May 17, 2019, we joined Habitat for Humanity of Orange County for their Leaders Build Challenge. According to their website, “Leaders Build Challenge is a one of a kind event that gives participants a chance to experience camaraderie, competition, and celebration. This one-day event will allow prominent OC business leaders to build a Habitat home side by side amongst other influential leaders in various industries. It brings business and community leaders together to build homes, to network, and to compete with one another: all while helping Habitat OC build homes, community, and hope.”

Based on the findings in a recent report, housing prices in Orange County are 356% higher than the national average. The goal of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is to offer affordable housing to local families, helping them pursue home ownership. And we were happy to be a part of this cause! Thanks to Phil Szuba, Sr. Vice President & General Manager of our Hardware and Home Improvement Division (HHI), for capturing these pics at the event!

Phil shared his thoughts on LinkedIn stating, “Participating in a great leadership build with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County with a few of our leaders from Kwikset, Baldwin and Pfister – great to give back to this organization. Competing with our friends from Fluidmaster – go green team!”

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County said on Facebook, “Thank you to all our amazing #LeadersBuild2019 corporations and community leaders who helped us achieve new fundraising goals and impact more families than ever before. Affordable housing is becoming possible because of you!” What a great event! Thank you to everyone who participated on behalf of Spectrum Brands. Real leaders wear hard hats! 👊

Photos via Habitat for Humanity of Orange County CA and Phil Szuba.

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May 30, 2019

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Selling Yourself with the Present-Past-Future Formula

Whether you’re headed to a networking event or on your way to a job interview, you know you’ll have to talk about yourself. It’s not an easy thing to do. But there is a formula you can follow that demystifies the process and makes you sound extremely prepared and put together.

It’s called the Present-Past-Future Formula. The Muse sums it up well in article called A Simple Formula for Answering, “Tell Me About Yourself”: “First you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.”

If you’re attending a networking event, start by stating your name and what you do at which company. Follow that with a summary of what your last position was, and finally finish with what you hope to gain out of this networking event or this particular conversation. Perhaps you’re hoping to better familiarize yourself with the industry or you’re looking for new vendors to assist with an upcoming project. It may sound like a lot, but three sentences is the perfect amount to state who you are and what your purpose is.

If you’re on a job interview, this formula becomes even more important. It’s a great way to open up the interview on a great note and direct the conversation in your favor. Again, you’ll seem very prepared and put together. After all, you can never assume that each person who interviews you has memorized your resume but this little pitch gets everyone on the same page. Who are you and what are you looking for? That is the ultimate goal.

What’s your Present-Past-Future pitch? Comment below!

Image via Hernán Piñera/Flickr.

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May 29, 2019

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25 Years with Spectrum Brands!

A huge congratulations to Jim Van Noort who celebrated his 25th anniversary with Spectrum Brands this month! Jim is a Director of Sales in our Mississauga, Ontario office near Toronto. We’re lucky to have you, Jim. What an achievement! Here he is pictured with his manager Phil Hanson who has been with the company for 29 years!

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May 28, 2019

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How to Leave the Work Stress at Work

If you’re struggling to find that perfect work-life balance (and honestly, who isn’t?) there is one tiny habit that can give you a major step in the right direction. It all comes down to leaving the stress at work so you can enjoy your time at home. Easier said than done though, right? But it’s worth a try.

Here’s the trick: an end-of-the-day routine can send a signal to your brain that a) work is done and b) you are leaving work and c) you will soon be entering a work-free zone. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. According to the Harvard Business Review, a short routine or ritual can “lower our anxiety before we engage in high-stakes performance tasks, increase our enjoyment of the activity at hand, and even help us recover faster when we experience failure or loss.”

Here are some ways you can reclaim your time and retrain your brain to let go:

  • meditate for two minutes in your car before driving home or once you pull into your driveway
  • read a compelling book or listen to a favorite podcast on your commute home
  • scroll through your favorite family photos at the end of each day to signify it’s now family time
  • take a post-work pre-home trip to the gym
  • pull over at a scenic overlook or go for a short walk to decompress for a few minutes before heading home
  • prepare for the following day at the end of today’s workday so you aren’t fearing or dreading what’s to come

How do you “clock out” of work each day?

Image via Ronel Reyes/Flickr.

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May 23, 2019

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Why You Should Never Brush Off Positive Feedback

Are you good at accepting compliments? Or do you tend to brush them off? But when someone gives you negative feedback it can get stuck in your mind forever. Right?! It turns out that there is more than one reason to embrace positive feedback.

According to a popular Harvard Business Review article, “receiving affirmation is a powerful way for us to grow, particularly when it comes in the form of stories describing moments when we are at our best.” It turns out that “people remember criticism, but they respond to praise.” So the next time someone gives you a compliment, dive in. Ask follow-up questions and don’t shy away from trying to better understand the details surrounding the positive feedback. Ruminating in that success may lead you down a path of future successes.

But you don’t have to wait for others to sing your praises. On a personal level, you can analyze and study previous feedback in order to propel your future self onward and upward. A follow-up Harvard Business Review article called To Become Your Best Self, Study Your Successes, outlines some steps for incorporating this practice into your career:

  1. Take inventory of any positive feedback that you have received in both your personal and professional life.
  2. Write down all positive feedback you receive moving forward in both your personal and professional life.
  3. Review this feedback regularly whether it’s in a notebook or digital file. Make it a part of your daily or weekly routine.

What do you do with compliments when you receive them?

Image via Chris Christian/Flickr. 

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May 21, 2019

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One Simple Step That Can Make You Instantly More Productive

We’re eternally searching for ways to be more productive. One of the biggest pitfalls of productivity is that we often do tasks that keep us busy but don’t necessarily accomplish the actions we need to get done each day.

A great example of that is sending emails. We feel like we’re chipping away at our to-do list but did that email really accomplish anything? Is sending a request into the abyss and waiting for a response really that productive? Especially when it just ends in more questions and a drawn out conversation? Or even worse, it gets lost in the shuffle and never read?

The good news is there is a super simple step you can take to avoid this mess: don’t send that email. Instead, step away from the computer and make a face-to-face request. Why? The Harvard Business Review found that a face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than an email. Thirty four times! Can you even imagine how much more productive that is?

As the study found, in-person communication is just more effective than text-based. You can apply this to the workplace by walking over to a coworker or boss to ask a question instead of sending an email. Or setting up a meeting to discuss a bigger request instead of relying on typed words to do the dirty work. You’re more likely to get what you want when you’re sitting face-to-face.

Read more at the Harvard Business Review.

Image via Chase Elliott Clark/Flickr.

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May 16, 2019

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GloFish Raises $84,000+ for WellAware!

Could you give up showering for a week? We’re so proud of our GloFish crew for going on a shower strike to raise $84,000+ for Well Aware, an amazing organization that is working to provide clean water in Africa.

What’s a shower strike? Every April, supporters around the globe give up showering until they reach their fundraising goal. The money goes toward building life-saving water systems in East Africa. It’s also a reminder to appreciate how easily we have access to clean water when that’s just not the case around the world.

GloFish has been a proud supporter of global access to clean water since inception. GloFish® fluorescent fish were originally created by scientists at the National University of Singapore to help identify toxins in water. By adding a naturally-derived fluorescence gene to the fish, scientists hoped to quickly and easily determine when a waterway is contaminated. Scientists soon realized the public interest in sharing the benefits of this research, which led to GloFish fluorescent fish.

Watch this Fox2Now St. Louis video to learn more about the Shower Strike straight from one of Spectrum Brands’ own. Read more about GloFish’s partnership with WellAware here.

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