Well it’s that time of year again when we reach out to friends and family to let them know that they are important to us. It’s even better when we can spend some time with them. We love this time of year because it reminds us that family and friendship is what it’s all about.

During the year, it’s easy to get wrapped up in work, carried away by “making progress,” and becoming so focused that we forget to say, “Hey, you’re important to me” to the people that matter most. But no matter what your faith, the holidays force us to put on the brakes and spend special time with those we love. In fact it’s an institution that is hard to ignore. If it’s not the familiar holiday music, it’s the decorations everywhere. They’re all signaling us that it’s time to get back to basics, it’s time to touch base, and it’s time to be a real human being again. And do it quickly before this year is history!

Thank goodness for this annual reminder!  Sure, it always seems like it arrives way too fast and we’re always unprepared. As the clock counts down, we may even feel pressured to visit friends, buy presents for family, and call everyone we can’t see. But wait! Let’s get back to what’s really going on here. We’re being reminded by these holidays to show appreciation for who’s really important to us in our lives.

And if we haven’t connected as much as we would like to during the year, we are reminded that this is our last chance before the year is over. In the process, we are also reminded how busy we have become that we may have inadvertently relegated some important relationships to a lower priority than our work, career or projects. In fact, if it wasn’t for the holidays we may even lose track of some of those important relationships. We ourselves certainly fit into that profile more than we would like to.

But this is what we are all working for; this is what we all have at the end of the day and the end of the year, family and friends. So try not to see it as a chore and don’t feel under pressure. Be grateful that you have some folks that you care for and who care for you. Be grateful that you can spend some time and show them that you truly appreciate the relationship you have with them, even if you don’t express that during the year. As far as business is concerned, it’s OK to hang it up for a while. You have permission to take some time to give and receive appreciation!

We want to take this opportunity to give appreciation to each and every one of our readers, all of the students of entrepreneurship who have listened to us, all of the professors and academicians who have hosted us, and all the organizations that have brought us in to keynote their events over the past year. We wish you all the happiest of holidays and the very best for you and yours for the New Year. And yes, you are important to us!

Happy Holidays!

Michael and Bonnie


Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.