PepperMill March 2016

Tim’s Breakin’ Bad Habits

The picture that accompanies this article was the catalyst for a hearty giggle—right out loud, in my office. I think it’s going to have a permanent home on my magnet board. I’d love to know the name of that tyke. For the time being, let’s call him or her “Chuckles.”

You just know Chuckles is going to rock your day. The positive aura around that kid is priceless. The fortunate truth is that at that age, there are very few inconveniences in life. Tasty eats, endless naps, giggles. It’s a fun agenda. But then life starts to get complicated.

Chuckles was the picture used in an article by Dr. Travis Bradberry. OK, time out. I want you to say out loud, “Dr. Travis Bradberry.” Cool name or what?—I’m thinking soap opera good guy. Did your voice go low when you said it? Do it again.

Anyway, Dr. Travis is the co-author of the number-one bestseller, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a provider of emotional intelligence tests and training. The title of the article featuring Chuckles is Things Science Says Will Make You Much Happier.

After the first five paragraphs or so, there is a quote that caught my eye. “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” It’s attributed to Aristotle. Not bad thinking, even in 300BC. The article says that a Dr. Sonia Lyubomirsky (not going to ask you to say that one—hard enough typing it), a psychology professor at UC-Riverside, is known among her peers as “the queen of happiness.” Think it’s on her business card?

To make a long story even longer, Dr. Sonia declares that about 50% of our happiness has to do with genetics, life circumstances will trip us up about 10%, and the remaining 40% is completely up to us.

It goes on to say that our happiness, or lack thereof, is rooted in our habits. Sometimes adopting new habits is tough, but breaking the habits that make you unhappy is much easier. I’m always for easier!

I encourage you to check out the full list of bad habits, and the details surrounding them, in the article. There are 13 areas and it’s very well-written. Takes ten minutes and I guarantee you’ll apply one suggestion today.

The very first one he mentions is “immunity to awe.” He points out that true awe is humbling. Awe reminds us that we’re not the center of the universe. Awe is inspiring and full of wonder, underscoring the richness of life and our ability to both contribute to it and be captivated by it.

It’s too bad we have to be reminded. Chuckles doesn’t.

Tim Padgett

“Nobody said it was going to be easy, and nobody was right.”
—George H. W. Bush

“The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it.”
—Bill Nye (the Science Guy)

Client Spotlight: Sebold Capital Management, Inc. Business Owner Campaign

Unrivaled service and undeniable expertise only begin to describe the capabilities of Sebold Capital Management, Inc.

The fee-only wealth management firm creates maximum value for high net-worth clients by putting their needs first; using a holistic view of their assets to help them accomplish their goals; and delivering refreshingly honest, straightforward advice while keeping clients’ priorities in sharp focus.

Sebold’s Annual Dinner Meeting is an event clients look forward to each year to gain valuable insight and advice in the form of a presentation from Sean Sebold, the firm’s president. The theme of this year’s dinner, “Putting Armor Where There Has Been No Damage,” became the foundation for a lead generation campaign, specifically targeting business owners, to entice high net-worth prospective clients to attend the event. By connecting the principle used in World War II to protect bullet-damaged planes with the concept of minimizing wealth risk by protecting assets in the right places, Sebold had the foundation to provide compelling, disruptive and useful insight to the dinner’s attendees. They turned to Pepper Group to bring the concept to life and help attract new attendees.

PG brainstormed several ideas that captured the theme in a way that would be compelling to prospective clients. The winning idea used metal invitations to drive home the key message of strategically armoring your wealth while also creating a mailer that would get the attention of the target audience. The indestructible, shiny invitations came in a sleek black envelope, ensured to stand out in the holiday mail, labeled with a simple message, “Join us for an invitation-only dinner & presentation.” The rest of the mailer reinforced the premium, exclusive feel of the event and gave the event’s most important details.

The theme was carried on throughout other event materials, resulting in integrated messaging for the annual event. Two lucky Peppers were invited to attend the dinner meeting and were incredibly impressed by the content shared in Sean’s presentation as well as the unconditional support from current clients. As Pepper Group and Sebold continue to collaborate, the next step is to contact this list of prospects again, working toward Sebold’s goal of increasing their clientele. New sales materials are in the works to help continue sharing the story and value of the firm.

To learn more about how Sebold Capital Management helps their clients succeed, visit their recently redesigned website at

Role Model for All Ages

Every once in a while, someone drops a huge act of kindness in your face. It happened to me while working last night ... at a much needed time.

I was running audio services for a Centegra Health System event at Parabolic Midwest in Crystal Lake and there were two NFL players there to sign autographs and mingle. The headliner was former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, and all I knew about the other guy was that his first name was Nate.

As the line for autographs grew for Lance, I realized that “Nate” was standing right next to me at the sound board. A few fans knew who he was and were talking to him. In his back pocket was a woolen Green Bay Packers hat... so I had a clue (for once).

Quick Google search and I discovered that he was Nate Palmer, third-year linebacker for the team up north that I love to root against. I immediately called my good friend Ann who lives nearby, and she and her son Austin (world’s biggest Packers fan) grabbed their shoes and jumped in the car. In the meantime, I asked Nate if he’d mind staying a couple of minutes extra since it was not a sure thing that they’d make it before the event ended. I told him that the world’s biggest Packers fan would be so thrilled to meet him and he said he would wait.

Ann and Austin came running in just as the event ended and Nate gladly signed Austin’s Packers banner. After the two of them chatted for a couple of minutes (Austin of course knew that Nate had played his college ball at ISU), Nate leaned over and whispered in my ear. He asked me to keep Austin there while he ran out in the icy rain to grab something out of his car trunk.

A couple of minutes later, Nate came back in... carrying his 2015-16 game helmet, worn in the playoffs! He autographed it to Austin and gave it to him! Ann, Austin, and I totally would’ve floated to the ceiling if they didn’t have so much dang gravity up in Crystal Lake!

In the hours since then, my eyes have watered several times just thinking about what an incredibly kind act that was. After Ann and Austin left, I started to say to Nate that he had no idea how much that meant to Austin. Then I corrected myself after looking in his eyes and said “nevermind, I can see that you do know what it meant.”

Even though I’m a lifelong Bears fan, there is one player on that team up north that I will always cheer for!

Todd Underwood

Blazing Forward

From the way it regains its balance in the snow, to how it gets back up on its feet one mechanized movement at a time, to the way you think it’s going to steal your job, the new and improved Atlas robot will give you shivers.

Atlas was originally developed by Google-owned Boston Dynamics for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, a competition funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Held in 2012-2015, the contest aimed to develop semi-autonomous ground robots that can do complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments.

The first-gen Atlas robot debuted in 2013, weighed 330 pounds and was six feet tall. This new version is shorter (five foot nine inches tall), lighter (it weighs 180 pounds), and has a sensing system called LIDAR in its head that lets it estimate and measure distances.

When this video originally went viral last week, viewers complained about its hockey stick-bearing-tormentor. But remember, this “bully” is helping Atlas become a life-saving machine that can go into disaster zones and perform search-and-rescue missions, saving humankind.

Watch Atlas persevere here.

Sharla Davis

YouTubin’: Flag Obsession

It’s always fun to find a video that examines good design principles in an entertaining fashion. I was introduced to this TED video while attending the TEDx Naperville event last fall. It was shown in video form at the live event and received just as much appreciation as the on-stage presenters did. The star of this talk, podcaster Roman Mars, shares with us his comedic take on the successes and failures of flag designs around the world. These critiques and strategies translate to just about any area of design—worthy food for thought.

Chicago’s city flag gets a lot of attention in this talk too, so hit play for some hometeam appreciation!

Bet you didn’t expect to be a fan of vexillology when you woke up this morning! It’s amazing how many things we see every day and don’t even give a second thought to.

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood