This isn’t your usual “looking back and looking ahead” end-of-the-year post.

This also isn’t a post that will tell you much about business or marketing or photography.

What it is, though, is a post that will let you in on a little bit of insider info.

This insider info can be applied to your business, your marketing, and most importantly, your life…if you so choose to do so. I am not one to tell someone how to live his life, but I am one to tell someone of another option, another choice, another path that one could walk during his short time on this planet.

I’m not going to get all preachy on you. Don’t worry about that. I’m only going to tell you a couple stories:

Tragedy and Community

This week, my little town west of St. Louis, Missouri, was on the news. Not just the local news, but CNN, ABC, FOX, NBC, and probably a few other stations with capital letters in their names.

The Midwest area of the United States received days of downpour rain that filled the rivers, creeks, and lakes to overflowing. The waters rose above flood stage and continued to rise over several days.

Yesterday, the river that runs through my town and behind my house crested at 34.31 feet above flood stage, breaking the previous record set in 1982.

Flood of 2015 in Union, Missouri

Flood of 2015 in Union, Missouri

But along with the record breaking status came tragedy. Many area homes and businesses were flooded, displacing residents from their homes and others from their jobs. Major roads through town were closed as the river and creeks rushed through, effectively splitting our town in half and cutting others off completely from being able to leave their houses or go to work without a 30-40 mile detour around the closed roads.

Flood of 2015 in Union, Missouri

The Bourbeuse River runs through the middle of town, and the flooding effectively split the town in half.

In the midst of this tragedy, our community has pulled together. Friends and neighbors have rushed to help others to quickly empty their homes, racing the rising flood waters. And yesterday, our local Sonic Drive-in announced they are happy to hire as many displaced workers as possible from other businesses until the other businesses are able to reopen.

Area restaurants that were flooded include McDonald's, Jack-in-theBox, and the Jimmy John's that opened less than a week prior to the flood.

Area restaurants that were flooded include McDonald’s, Jack-in-theBox, and the Jimmy John’s that opened less than a week prior to the flood.

Both the Phillips 66 and Quick Trip were flooded out.

Both the Phillips 66 and Quick Trip were flooded out.

I wanted to help as well, so I used my skill set to do just that. As the river crested, I drove around to a few access points and captured the disaster on video and in photos. I posted them on Facebook and shared them with our community Facebook page. By evening, the posts had gone viral.

(See the video and full gallery of photos here.)

But the point wasn’t to create something viral. The point was to share information with people who were concerned about our community, and it did just that.

Comments from viewers expressed their thanks and appreciation for being able to see detailed information of how far the flood waters had reached and what parts in town were affected.

The Bourbeuse River invades the homes off East Main Street.

The Bourbeuse River invades the homes off East Main Street.

No, I didn’t get the super cool aerial shots like the news stations with helicopters and drones. I simply used my feet to get the story and my photo and video skills to share it as a service to my community.

Not everything you do in your business should be for the purpose of monetary gain. Rather, make special effort to give back to your community. Can you do what our Sonic Drive-in did and take on another team member or two who is in need of a little work? Or can you keep your finger on the pulse of your community and help share important information?

Update: By mid afternoon on this same day, the outpouring of help from our community was overwhelming and fulfilled our local area’s needs within hours. Our city asked for the community donations to be redirected to nearby areas who are also in need.

Corn and Inspirations

There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.

So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

– Author unknown

Friends, I’ve been giving you the good corn seeds here on my blog, and I will continue to do so.

I want to see you succeed.
I want to see the vacation rental industry succeed.
And I will use my skills and talents towards those goals.

So here are a few more good corn seeds to plant this year – a few new VR industry blogs and services who are also happy to share their good corn seeds with you as well. Check out their blogs at the links below and sign up for their newsletters so you don’t miss any juicy pieces.

And here is last year’s round up of good corn seeds so you don’t need to go searching for it.

Oh, and one more thing…

I want to challenge you to give away a few of your own good corn seeds.

You have a skill, talent, or resources that you can use to help your own community, whether it is your local community or your vacation rental community. Tell me in the comments below what it is and one way you can use it this coming year.

It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself. Proverbs 11:24-25

By the way, the best way to stay on top of all the good stuff is to get on my vacation rental marketing email list.

You can sign up right here:

Tyann Marcink
Vacation Rental Photographer
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