Monthly Archives

February 2017

The Honeymoon is Over…

By | Be Clear, Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Invoke Passion

If you are a regular reader of the Telltale Ten, then you probably caught Jacqueline’s New Year’s Eve post about how she doesn’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. While I agree with her (and I’m not just saying that because she’s the boss) that traditional New Year’s Resolutions turn people into short-term fanatics before they inevitably give up, I don’t think they’re entirely useless. In fact, sometimes people actually succeed at what they set out to do. Now that we’re approaching the end of February, we are in prime-time resolution abandonment season. Leftover Valentine’s Day candy… St. Patrick’s Day booze—It’s all calling our names.  But maybe it’s not the resolution that leads us to failure, maybe it’s our perspective.

The (New Year’s Resolution) Honeymoon is Over

Every love story starts the same way… two people fall madly in love— they date, they get married, they go on a honeymoon— and then life gets real. We often treat our New Year’s Resolutions the same way. We adopt a new habit or quit an old one, thinking that it will “complete” us. We stop smoking, we drink more water, we go on a diet… And we start the year off with a brand new attitude, in love with the idea of our new and “better” selves.

I kept my resolution simple this year: drink a gallon of water a day. At least it sounded simple. I was out by the second week of January. I quickly realized that frequent water drinking = frequent trips to the bathroom, and my schedule just couldn’t support it. And you know why? Because I was approaching my resolution as a habit rather than a lifestyle change. A habit implies a lack of control, but a lifestyle is something we’re committed to living out every single day because it’s a part of us. We don’t quit after one moment of weakness. So what happens now that my New Year’s Resolution “honeymoon” is over? Rather than kissing my commitment goodbye, I’ve decided to kiss-and-make-up with them. I’ve decided to start thinking of my resolution as a part of my lifestyle instead of a temporary habit.

My expectations may have been too high at first… A gallon of water every day is a lot. But I can confidently say that I’m drinking way more water than I did last year. And that lesson transcends just a little New Year’s Resolution. While the “honeymoon phase” feels nice for a little while, a meaningful relationship is always better. And while we’ll never be perfect, we can always be better.

Top Ten Most Ridiculous Respondent Email Addresses

By | Be Genuine, Have Fun, Invoke Passion, Take Risks

When I talk about what I do for a living I sometimes say that I am in the business of  buying and selling people. This statement sometimes causes shock and alarm. I then have to explain that I work in Market Research, and part of my job is to find people to help companies answer their business questions. Occasionally the people we find are a little…eccentric. How do I know this? Just take a look at some of their email addresses. Here is my Top Ten list of the most outlandish respondent email addresses.

10. MirandaBananaPanda@

I’m trying to imagine the thought process behind the creation of this email, my name is Miranda, and I love pandas and bananas?

9. CrazyDrunkMouse@

Is the mouse both crazy and drunk or is his drunkenness making him crazy?

8. UndeadClownJuggalo@

I have no idea what this might mean, and I’m too scared to google it.

7. GagaForGaga@

I’m just picturing a person dancing around in their bedroom in a full Lady Gaga costume. (Hopefully not the one made out of raw meat.)

6. LlamaFarts15@

Did the llama fart 15 times or is this the 15th llama farts email address?

5. Mr_Squishy@

Notice this one has an underscore, I’m guessing Mr.Squishy was already taken?

4. JohnsBeerMoney@

Hoping that this respondent isn’t drinking beer while he’s taking surveys, and that the beer is his reward for a job well done.

3. VegasAlien2001@

An alien who lives in Vegas who likes to fill out surveys in their free time? I guess that’s one way to learn about earth culture.

2. SexyBeard88@

Is the email address of a person who gets really excited by beards, or someone with a beard of their own that they enjoy? Maybe both.

1. SneezeTushy@

Try to avoid visualizing this one. It’s a head scratcher.

Balance: Not Just for Acrobats and Accountants

By | Be Genuine, Invoke Passion, Motivate Others

In a recent conversation with a friend (the paid professional kind), it was pointed out to me that many of the personality traits that serve me well, also can work against me. This individual, who shall remain nameless, then went on yammering about the importance of finding balance, and managing my personality traits so they can work for me, and not against me. The whole “balance” word sent me into a tizzy in general, but it DID remind me that assets and liabilities are not just accounting terms.

As a personal mantra, I am continually seeking growth in all areas of my life. This includes emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and physical. Some days I have it all dialed in (Ok, I almost never have it dialed in across all of these categories but one can dream). Some days I am just way, way off. I learned long ago that our behavior is a combination of personal characteristics, some that can be adjusted and some we just have to deal with. The inherent behaviors that make us who we are, can often sit on the asset or liability side of our personal balance sheets.

When we think of people we admire and respect, we each have our own description of what that person is like, based on our assessment (or judgement) of their personality traits. When we think about the things we like about ourselves and the things we want to change, it would seem straightforward. So how do we get tripped up? One way we can gain a new perspective is to consider these common personality traits, and how they each can be an asset or a liability depending on the situation.

Quick thinking – The ability to make decisions quickly (especially in a startup environment) is crucial. This helps with solving problems, pivoting when obstacles are thrown your way, answering a client’s questions, speaking in public. It makes business meetings less sucky in general and can help fill your belly when faced with the “what should we eat” question. All good stuff right? It can also save you from overthinking and procrastination – two of the biggest productivity killers and fear feeders I can think of.

But can’t this also be a “negative”? Think for example of that boss that just made decisions without knowing the facts? Or the person who never listens to anyone else because they just have to plow through things. Or the worst ever – the person who chooses a restaurant without even consulting Yelp or some other review source.

Hardworking/Determined — I know what you are thinking, how can being hardworking work against us? Well…. I may just know a thing or two about this. The ability to push through hard things helps us in all aspects of our life – personal and professional. I am often admired for this while at the same time this is a huge liability for me and leads to (sometimes destructive) imbalance.

Sometimes you have to put on the brakes, take a break, not push too hard, let other people handle things, ask for help (see more about asking for help here). You simply cannot always be, always on. You will burn out and surely throw yourself off from any chance of emotional, physical and spiritual balance.

Outspoken — I love a person with a strong opinion, someone who tells it like it is, someone who is willing to disagree and generally anyone who speaks their mind. It is a quality I tend to greatly admire. On the other hand, no one loves a loudmouth, chronic complainer or someone who doesn’t know how to shut up (stop rolling your eyes at me right now). If being outspoken means you can’t listen, aren’t open to other’s ideas or input or don’t know how to just be quiet, then it totally becomes a liability.

Lazy – This word is instantly labeled as negative. Except maybe by lazy people. Associated with sloth, sluggishness and general indifference or lack of desire to do things, there is also a danger in overdoing it. Everyone needs some downtime every once in a while. I should note, this is such a challenge for me personally because I also think of rest, self-care and general relaxation as that bad L word. Because I have a negative connotation in my mind, I tend to ignore the importance of a lazy Sunday afternoon to reset.

Analytical/Strategic –  Those who have the ability to break down a problem, look at it from different angles, add perspective and add value right? True and … sometimes this can be a liability. Overanalyzing things, avoiding decisions, causing things to go on and on and on (you get the point) can be unproductive, not to mention annoying. Also, some “issues” are deserving of deep analysis and consideration while others are not. Sometimes you just have make a freakin’ decision and move on.

When you are feeling unbalanced emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially or any other “ally” take a quick inventory – where are things sitting on that personal balance sheet of yours? What is working well for you? Conversely when you are out of balance in any one area, what is not working? What can you do to move that thing from the liability to the asset side of the balance sheet?