About Ginger Terrell

Ginger’s work experience spans several industries to include Business Development, Sales, Marketing & Advertising, Insurance, and Food & Beverage. She is the Regional Director with the Southeast division of The Referrals Group and is passionate about business and personal development. Ginger holds a leadership MBA from Liberty University and is best known for elevating the lives of others through C.E.I.R.S. (Connect. Engage. Inspire. Refer. Succeed). When she’s not wearing her business hat, she enjoys gourmet cooking, blogging, traveling, music, and reading. #PeopleMatter

Networking Groups: The Benefits of Exclusive Referral Groups

In the February 19, 2019 article, My Life as a Connector, I discussed the fact that referrals are hands down the most effective marketing tool a business can invest in. If one will fully immerse themselves in a culture of learning and excellence, and take advantage of every tool available, there is no room for failure. I always suggest a business person take part in several handpicked networking groups and attend with intention and goals in mind. These groups should include one exclusive, invitation-only referral group, a civic-minded group, a mastermind, a free networking group, and a social group. These five types of groups, if managed properly, will set you up for the best success possible. As with any group of people, there are benefits and challenges to keep in mind. This article will focus on the benefits of exclusive, invitation-only referral groups. The next article will focus on the challenges.

Sometimes these groups are often mislabeled as “networking groups,” however referral groups offer much more than general networking to include industry exclusivity, education, team building, public speaking skills enhancement, masterminding, and internal reporting capabilities.

Image Credit Flickr/Nguyen Hung Vu

The Benefits

1. Industry Exclusivity – The first benefit of membership is industry exclusively. For example, if you are a P&C insurance agent, no other P&C agent can join your group. Look for organizations that offer flexibility in this and who do not require members to break up your industry seat. If you offer an insurance solution that includes a variety of products and services, hold the seat. On the other hand, do not be afraid to bring in another professional who may overlap with you in a few areas as you may find you can work well together.

Photo Credit: MarsDesign, Inc.  Within each of these industries lies the possibility for various categories represented within your chapter.

2. Education – A second benefit is continuing education and training provided during each meeting. You will learn BEST practices and ways to develop your sales presentation that you won’t get from general networking groups.

3. Team Building – When you sit at the table with the same people consistently, you cannot help but become a team that is willing to fight to create referral opportunities for each other. A certain camaraderie comes from having a “home base” to return to over and over throughout the year. You become family. You learn to trust. You develop a reputation for having a great team of people on your side who are interested in servicing your clients well. Pick the right team, and you will develop a stellar reputation in the marketplace. Some organizations require each chapter to have 20 or more members to maintain membership; other organizations allow group autonomy and the ability to form smaller chapters based on their goals and vision.

Photo Credit: OnTrack International

4. Public Speaking Skills Enhancement – Let’s face it. If you have never been comfortable speaking in front of groups, it can be a little intimidating, however, the right referral group will set you up for success and help you develop these skills every time you meet. The better you get at presenting in front of groups of people, the better your sales skills will develop. Look for organizations that help you develop your elevator pitch as it will serve you well as you navigate the other networking opportunities around you.

Photo Credit: CNN

5. Masterminding – Look for groups that allow periodic departures from the regular meeting agenda to offer a mastermind session for members who are not receiving referrals or are experiencing a business challenge. Group success comes when every member is willing to help every person around the table to be successful.

Photo Credit: Score.org

6. Internal Reporting Capabilities – Referral groups will offer some type of internal reporting system within a website or app. Look for systems that allow you to enter referrals, track revenue, track face-to-face meetings, track recruiting goals, attendance, etc. You can only gauge success with up-to-date tracking.

Several successful referral organizations exist around the world and all offer different benefits. Some people prefer highly structured, weekly meetings within large group settings while other people prefer more intimate settings with some autonomy within a more flexible structure. Whichever you choose, be ready to show up, give more than you receive, and learn. Over time, the art of referrals and connecting will become like second nature to you and you will find yourself with a vast network of people you can rely on. Adopting Zig Ziglar’s philosophy of helping as many people get what they want will, in turn, help you get what you want. And you may find you rely less and less on some of the other networking events that tend to consume the time you could be using to continue cultivating the networks you’ve developed through the referral process.

A Friend Who Inspires

I spent the day with Jennifer. We actually go back to the early 1990s and passed each other like ships in the night as our various circles intertwined with one another throughout the years. We recently reconnected via mutual friends and have struck up a friendship.

If you follow my Favebook page and/or blog, you know I’ve been writing a series of posts regarding the fact that I aim to surround myself with people who are better than me in some area because they have something I want, and I want to learn how to get it. I respect their integrity, mind, ethics, goals, vision, heart, challenges, triumphs, stories, experience – all of it.

They are real, honest, open, willing coaches, and philanthropic minded. They make a difference.

Jennifer is one of those people. She has overcome incredible odds and I admire the fact that she’s a GREAT mom to two amazing, intelligent, fun 10-year-old twin boys.

I am focused on health and wellness these days, and she is better than me at that. She’s committed to gym time and walking and some biking, and today after we finished a somewhat healthy (ha ha) brunch at Syrup and Eggs we struck out to catch a trail. She’s an incredible motivator and everytime I’m with her I feel the need to walk and talk. This particular Sunday she wanted to show me her favorite bike trail, but alas, all the trails are closed near the Riverwalk due to flooding.

So we looked for a back way in, and the picture you see of her with the security guard is what happens when you try to bypass the flood and he stops you, but is so nice he looks up another way in on his own Google Maps. 😃 We tried that route, but it too was still underwater, so we ended up at the walking bridge, which was still beautiful.

The other thing I love about Jennifer is she stays engaged, even when she has an A.D.D. moment, she will come back to the topic at hand to finish the conversation or answer your question. She’s a great conversationalist (sometimes I struggle with conversation), so she helps me stay engaged and #fullypresent. I am free to discuss anything I want to without fear of what she will think, and she ALWAYS has a great perspective to offer. I love her mind.

Jennifer makes me want to continue being a better woman. She makes me want to keep pursuing better health and good, solid friendships.

Thanks Jennifer for being you. I’m glad we found each other in the good space we are both in these days.

Yet another experience you can’t put a pricetag on.

#peoplematter

What’s in a Name?

Photo Credit: chuttersnap, Unsplash

In 2017 I began pondering conversations about names. I observed several friends take back their maiden name after divorcing from brutal marriages. And some chose to select their own last name as a reflection of the identity they were never allowed to celebrate. I have nothing but complete respect for those choices because I’ve heard their stories, and they have survived beyond what they ever should have had to endure.

These are strong women. Creative women. Women who work hard and play hard. They’ve raised great children and poured their lives into what most of us were told was “ordained and approved of by God.”

Over the last several years, I’ve been given a great gift that has completely reversed my childhood worldview. The more conversations I have, the more I realize I am among a generation who always felt misunderstood, who were criticized for the questions we asked, who were sent messages that obedience was the key to a right relationship with God, all the while being taught He was gracious but we were never shown grace by those who taught it. We’ve always had this silent camaraderie until now. Now we are speaking up. We are reclaiming who we are. We are realizing we are enough and that Jesus really is as gracious and compassionate and merciful as we were taught, only now we are the ones extending those traits to each other and the world around us. And sometimes so much so that we get accused of being too tolerant, too free, too left, too ____________.

Photo Credit: Olivia Snow, Unsplash

So back to my original thought on names. I celebrate and believe in this newfound freedom to be a generation that is waking up out of a suffocating religious mindset, and we are allowing ourselves to not start over, but rather turn to the next chapter with fresh perspectives.

Some people ask why I kept my married name after my husband left me in 2014. They think I should be more than happy to go back to my maiden name because of the bad memories attached to it. But here’s the deal. There are bad memories with my maiden name as well, so what’s the difference? I’ve built the next few decades of my life on this name. I’ve earned three degrees in this name. I’ve built a myriad of personal and business networks in this name. I’m determined to make good by this name because it’s not my identity as a divorcee, it’s the identity that God used to bring so much healing and new insight into my life.

Will I ever choose a new name? I don’t know. For now, I’m happy just moving forward and never correcting the majority who mispronounce my last name. So in a way, it’s already been changed by default.

Good Works Defined

Photo Credit: YouVersion Bible App

The tenth verse in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians is a great reminder of the Biblical perspective of what exactly we were created for. As a career and business consultant I hear the questions of “why am I here” and “what is my purpose” all the time, and regardless of what your spiritual beliefs are (or aren’t), I think this is a verse everyone can resonate with. We are created to do good things during our lifetime on earth.

What exactly can “good works” look like? I’m sure it’s the medical professionals putting in countless, tiring hours to ensure their patients are well cared for. Legal professionals who fight to ensure their clients are represented well as they look for justice and peace. Parents who work hard to provide for their children. Spiritual teachers who do their best to rightly divide the myriad of soul issues we all struggle with. Business professionals who do a myriad of good work to bring market awareness, to coach and train, to keep our economy running smoothly. And yes, even our politicians (they happen to be human beings as well) who have a huge responsibility to figure out how to maintain law and order (don’t judge them until you’re ready to put your own opinions and words into ACTION).

Photo Credit: rawpixel, Unsplash

And what about those who try to do good by their friends and partners and spouses? Good works can abound in our relationships with each other.

Photo Credit: Caleb Gregory, Unsplash

It can also be the cashiers in our stores and food establishments who often put up with our hurried impatience and self-righteous attitudes at times (don’t act like you’ve never done it) or the waiters who endure our bad tipping habits after church (preach!).

Photo Credit: Valentin B. Kremer, Unsplash

You see, everyone has the capacity to decide to do the right thing no matter what their profession, religion, politics, or circumstances are.

What GOOD are you doing in your corner of the world these days?

The Space Between: My Yoga Retreat Experience

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a local yoga community’s spring retreat at Rising Fawn Gardens. The focus word of the event was innervate – to stimulate to action. I started the first yoga practice of the morning and found myself deeply emotional and in tears. This was not my first experience of deep emotions during yoga. Last year I attended one of my therapist’s restorative yoga classes and was profoundly impacted by the acts of human touch, cocooning, and nurturing that took place. I am not a touchy-feely person, so consider yourself someone I trust if I give you more than a one-handed hug!

I had to take a break from the yoga and descended to a safe room where I laid on an infrared blanket and drank a deeply spiced tea. What I realized as I began to ponder why my emotions were so gut wrenching is that 1) I have equated human touch and invitations to trust with mostly sexual trauma, and 2) I was raised in a religion that equated yoga with evil, and it has placed me in a defensive posture. However, what I am discovering is that while I don’t subscribe to the historical roots of yoga, I do see benefits within its 8-fold path to better health and wellness no matter what religion you do or do not affiliate yourself with.

After spending some time alone praying and thinking through these things, I returned to the group and participated in the next event which was a group hike where we were encouraged to consider “the space between” – the space between winter and spring, spring and summer – and as each person set out on the path, one by one, the person behind allowed the person in front of a space of approximately 20 feet before following. We were encouraged to pay attention to the feel of the ground under us, the new blooms popping up, and anything else that caught our eye or gave us reason to pause. We were also encouraged to consider the dead debris we encountered and to consider what dead debris in our lives could be used as “mulch” to bring new things to a richer, better experience?

I walked through much debris – fallen trees and branches mostly – and I noticed that the stronger, larger trees were holding up the smaller ones that had fallen. Despite the mostly naked branches, there were patches of deep green moss here and there and the gentle sound of a river just steps away.

At one point I panicked because I couldn’t see a clear path ahead and everyone was out of sight. I tried one path and realized it wasn’t the right one. A fellow sojourner tried the same path and we both encouraged each other to get back on the path intended for our walk.

All of a sudden, I came upon a large clearing. Green grass. Blue skies. Beehives. People milling about feeling the ground underneath, looking up, contemplating. As I turned to walk back, it struck me that the walk was much easier because I had traversed this way before. I also noticed new growth that I had not seen during my trek in. The growth was there all along – even amongst all the debris – but I had been focused on trying to just make my way through uncharted territory to notice.

At times, sojourners had stopped to rest and meditate along the river. No one approached them or told them to get up and make it to the clearing. They simply let them be and let them rest and let them do whatever they needed to do to settle their own hearts and minds and bodies. What an incredible visual to just allow people to be where they are without expectations or judgment.

Upon returning to the house, the facilitators had prepared a beautiful, earthy meal for us. A salad comprised of spicy greens, pickled ginger, and various seeds. Fresh rosemary crackers and a slow cooked jalapeno dressing and cilantro dressing added a delicious surprise to each bite. There were also two soups, a portobello leek and a tomato lentil. Fresh cream and asiago cheese served as accompaniments. Three selections of deep, rich teas made from herbs and spices offered different healing options to the body. The communal ritual of eating deeply healing and satisfying food while soaking in the sunshine amongst a tribe of people who value health and wellness and connection touched me in yet another profound way.

The day ended with a restorative yoga practice (which I’m happy to report that I actually finished without deep emotional exhaustion), and everyone sitting in a circle to share their greatest takeaways of the day. A sweet dark chocolate treat awaited us as we left to return home.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a funny story. My various tribes joke that I can’t go anywhere with running into someone I know. I truly thought I had registered for an event where I wouldn’t know a soul except the facilitators. A woman walked up to me at the end of the day and said, “I thought I recognized you. I worked for you 12 years ago.” Sure enough, she had. We will be catching up in the days ahead.

In closing, I do not know about my fellow sojourners’ faith, religion, or lack thereof, but for this day I was able to connect with them on a journey of humanity walking on the very clay that I believe we were created from. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells us that God reached down into the clay and formed the first human into His own image and then breathed into him the breath of life, which made the human a living soul. I found it interesting and deeply humbling that I was able to connect with this tribe at just the basic human level of my existence, in the quiet, surrounded by the very earth we come from, without the need to be anything other than #fullypresent.

The Measure Of

Photo credit: William Ivan, Unsplash

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear states, “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to become a good measure. In our data-driven world, we tend to overvalue numbers and undervalue anything ephemeral, soft, or difficult to quantify.

We mistakenly think the factors we can measure are the only factors that exist, but just because you can measure something doesn’t mean it’s the most important thing and just because you can’t measure something doesn’t mean it’s not important at all.”

This is true not only when tracking personal habits but also in business, social, and church settings. You may hear terms like LARGEST, MOST, IN THE HISTORY OF, and the quantifiers could continue. What you don’t hear about is attrition rates, unqualified credentials, returns and exchanges, and lack of true structure and solid reporting measures.

As humans we tend to gravitate toward anything that claims to be “the best,” and anything that has a form of competitive nature to it or promises some chance of “win.” Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to win that flashy new car or vacation or night out on the town or healing or favor (ouch!)?

In my experience, it comes down to two things: integrity and consistency. If you build with those two factors in mind and refuse to lure others into a bait and trap situation that over promises but under delivers, you will look back 5 years later and realize you are exactly where you wanted to be with people who value you as a person rather than just being their bottom line. Furthermore, you will be known as a person others can fully trust, and that is something you really can’t measure.

A Yellow Balloon

LOVE this photo of Josh Cropp and his wife, Natalie. The traditional blue and pink “expecting” balloons offset by a pop of yellow sets the tone for the excitement written all over Natalie’s face. Josh – the practical one – cracks me up with his sensible grin. I’d love to have seen thought bubbles rising up with what was going through his mind.

As I discussed in another post, I aim to surround myself with people who are better than me in some area because they have something I want, and I want to learn how to get it. I respect their integrity, mind, ethics, goals, vision, heart, challenges, triumphs, stories, experience – all of it.

They are real, honest, open, willing coaches, and philanthropic minded. They make a difference.

Josh is one of those people. He’s a wealth advisor, and while, yes, he knows more in that arena than I do, the one thing that continues to draw me to his office for a quarterly check-in is his high skill of execution. We met today and discussed the fact that I’m a creative at heart (yellow balloon). If you know anything about creatives, we get nothing done unless we surround ourselves with those who can help us execute a plan of action. That’s Josh. He has fantastic philanthropic ideas and genuinely cares for and loves the communities he lives and works in. He loves his family. He’s a good friend. He’s a long hauler, seeing the end in sight and knowing what it’s gonna take to get back to the basics to stay on target with the mission.

He provided great feedback regarding not only some business goals we work on together in another setting, but also some other civic minded future opportunities I am considering as I continue to hash out who I am post loss of loved ones, former career dreams, etc.

Thanks Josh for being a solid guy.

Yet another experience you can’t put a pricetag on.

#peoplematter