Category

Be Honest

No More Pity Parties

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Motivate Others, Take Risks

My daughter Ella’s response to her Instagram troll

Flip the Script on Negative Feedback

Even though I am often mistaken for Amy Poehler, and have been asked literally more than one thousand times, “Do you know who you look like?” I am pretty sure I could never actually BE a celebrity. The “online digital” age we live in is a breeding ground for meanness. Generally, cowardly meanness of those who hide their keyboard and throw insults (often anonymously) any and every chance they get.

We sometimes forget people on the other end of screen are humans. Yet cyber bullying of businesses, peers, and celebrities is rampant in our society. My ten year old is a working actor in LA and I am not sure I will be able to handle it if she ever actually “makes it big”. My daughter was recently the victim of an online troll who spent hours (it must have taken all night) to post negative comments on about a year’s worth of Instagram posts. Things like “You are so ugly how are you a model?” or “I don’t even know you, you are irrelevant as an actor”. My daughter was a total champion and handled it like a pro. She actually said “Mom, for someone who hates me that much, they sure spent a lot of time going through all my pictures and on my account.”

If you are a regular reader of Telltale Ten, or know me in a business capacity, it is no secret that culture and employee satisfaction is really what motivates me. I’ve said it before (and at the risk of pissing someone else of), will say it again, I don’t care that much about Market Research. What I do care about is creating an amazing work environment where people are fulfilled personally and professionally and love to come to work every day.

Recently, I visited Glassdoor to see how we were doing. We only have a handful of reviews on there and they are mostly positive. Like 80%+ are great. But it seemed like I could only see the negative ones.

“Stakeholders should hire someone who actually knows something.”

Or how about this one:

Pros

“There are no pros because this company is awful.”

Cons

“Everyone hates their jobs, but the COO and most upper managers are never there to see it.”

Advice to Management

“Bring in a CEO who knows what they are doing.”

Can you say OUCH?? Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Why the heck is Jacqueline writing a BLOG exposing bad things people say about her and SoapBox?” Good question (give yourself a round of applause – I was also referred to as condescending and disruptive. Up to you to judge that one). When I read these, my heart dropped. My feelings were hurt. I wanted to fix it. I totally get that there will always be a couple of disgruntled employees in the wake of a super-fast growing start up. And I am not everyone’s cup of tea. But I am human, so it bothered me personally, but also made me hyper aware that maybe not everyone is happy and we need to do better. After reading the negative feedback I was faced with the following options:

A. I could have stayed butt hurt and thrown a pity party, feeling sorry for myself and wondering why the work doesn’t love me

B. I could have just got self-righteous and pissed off and dismissed the negative reviews as “irrelevant” people

C. Or use the feedback (albeit unsolicited) as an opportunity to self-reflect and then take action to improve

I choose C.

I went from being sad, to wanting to take an honest look at what improvements I can make as a leader, and what improvements we can make as a company. I called a meeting and those involved were quick to dismiss it as pissed off people who were terminated for not doing their job. I get it. That is probably true. But maybe, there are a few things we can tweak to make things better too.

So we have set out on a mission built around a WRITTEN plan for improving culture led by our Marketing Team. We identified potential areas of dissatisfaction, ways to gauge an ongoing pulse of satisfaction, put pen to paper and came out with a plan that we will be rolling out starting this month. I am SUPER excited about it.

As you move through your days, I urge you to

  • Be kind – in person and online
  • Remember that people (including celebrities, bosses and politicians – ok maybe not the last one) are humans with feelings
  • When ill words are said, don’t dwell, be strong and also look for the lesson

 

I’m Late! I’m Late!

By | Be Clear, Be Genuine, Be Honest, Motivate Others

I’m Late, I’m Late, for a Very Important Date

Cute for Rabbits, Not for People

 

Punctuality is the characteristic of being able to complete a required task or fulfill an obligation before or at a previously designated time. “Punctual” is often used synonymously with “on time”.

Punctuality can be the difference between coming across as a disorganized, disrespectful, self-absorbed moron (can you tell my position on this) or someone who has their sh*t together.

What people think about you when you show up on time:

This person respects me, my time, themselves and their time; and I appreciate that. I will not have to waste my dagger eyes on them today.

This is person is reliable. They must have one of those fancy cellular telephones that tells them what time it is.

He/she is accountable for their actions, which makes me think they can handle responsibilities. Make them the CEO!

I can tell that this person is disciplined; they must exercise self-control over other aspects of their life. I bet they don’t do crazy things like lie about where they are and then post themselves at a different place on social media. #dumbass

He/she would set a good example for the other people on my team. (Or could replace that person who is always late.)

What people think about you when you show up late (like always late – not every once in a while “life happens” late. I mean serial lateness):

How rude! This person is wasting my time. They suck. They are self-absorbed and have no regard for others. I want to punch this person.

Now my schedule is thrown into total chaos. This is stressing me out, because I don’t know when I can eat. Do I have time to pee?  And I can never figure out why these people come running in all out of breath and frantic. I mean if they were rushing, wouldn’t they be on time?

I wonder what kind of reputation this person has. Probably not good. Just writing this BLOG is getting me all worked up. I need to get my Sharpie as I am crossing “friends” off my list as we speak.

This person can’t figure out how long it takes to get somewhere, and that is dumb.  I’m pretty sure there is an app for that. (That was sarcasm.) This person’s life is totally unmanageable.

Did they think no one would notice or care that they were late? This person must lack self-respect. They probably post absurd things on social media. #getalife

Don’t be late. Just don’t do it. Leave extra early and spend 20 minutes sitting in your car catching up on Telltale Ten posts. It’s a win-win.

Bonnie Tyler’s Guide to Grammar

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Have Fun

Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart, and I need you now tonight… For those of you who just sang this, I warn you now, it will not go away for days. It is now stuck in your head. You’re welcome.

Why am I talking about this 1983 hit song and what does it have to do with grammar? Listen, there are millions of articles, online classes, books, memes, etc. about grammar. If you are on social media, you know the majority of people don’t even know the basics. I have a visceral reaction to the misuse of grammar on social media. Read the comments on a controversial topic and you will get your fair share of grammar incompetency first hand.

I have all but given up hope that people will ever get the proper use of the basics such as their, there and they’re. And there is even less of a possibility that the human race will ever understand plural and possessive. I have seen thousands of “fights” on Facebook where one person insults another saying “Your an idiot”, only to be rebutted with “try taking a basic grammar class. You’re the idiot.” They don’t typically say idiot, but I’m trying to swear less.

Anyway, back to Bonnie Tyler. I have actually considered unfriending people over the use of “apart” and “a part”. It is especially annoying when it is business people. Time and time again, I see things like “I am so blessed to be apart of your life.” – well if you hate the person, and are NOT part of their life, then great. But if you really are happy to be a part of their life, you are saying the opposite.

For clarity, I have provided the definitions for you:

Apart — /əˈpärt/ (of two or more people or things) separated by a distance; at a specified distance from each other in time or space

A Part — /ā pärt/ a piece or segment of something such as an object, activity, or period of time, which combined with other pieces makes up the whole

Why does this tiny space between the a and the p occupy such a large space in my brain? Because this tiny space completely changes the meaning of the sentence. And most people are totally unaware of it.

For most of you, you can just eliminate apart all together. Unless you are some sort of romantic whose heart aches when you are apart from your lover. Or if you are a basket case and your life is falling apart. Or if you have anger issues and plan to tear someone apart. For the most part, humans want to be a part of – not apart from.

So what does this have to do with Bonnie Tyler? Well, when you hear that fabulous song, and it inevitably gets stuck in your head, let it be a reminder to you of the proper usage of a part and apart.

Lessons From a Lunatic

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Invoke Passion, Motivate Others

Why Your Office Should Be a Pet-Free Zone

It’s Toss it Back Tuesday — which just happens to fall on Teacher Appreciation Day. There’s a reason why we have Teacher Appreciation Day, and not Teacher’s Pet Appreciation Day. I wrote a blog last year about why teacher’s pets make me insane. As a business leader, I need honesty and authentic responses from my team. And like any good teacher, I know some lessons are worth recapping. Also, I needed an excuse to share my fifth grade report card with you. Ever wonder what type of student I was? It’s not always the “good” kids who succeed. Sometimes it’s the ones with bad handwriting who need to “work on self-control”.

Save Your Apple — No Teacher’s Pets Here

What I love: positive people. What I hate: insincere people. If you agree with everything I say, eventually I’m going to catch on that you’re telling me what I want to hear instead of what you really think. Your ideas and opinions have value, but not if you don’t share them. Saying yes to everything just makes you a robot. I prefer to work with humans. Until robots are better than humans – maybe then I will like them as much as humans.

I need people around me to push back. I need input. I am not always right. In fact, I love to be wrong as that means someone either 1) came up with a great idea or 2) saved me from a bad idea. If I knew all the answers, I wouldn’t be working at a Market Research Company (I can think of about 5 people who just read this and gasped – get over it. It is true).

Be a disruptor. If you are in first grade, this may not be the best advice. As a matter of fact, when I went to my daughter’s first grade open house, her teachers told me she was a lovely, smart girl. The teacher said she had no doubt Antonella would be President one day. As I was smiling with pride, the teacher quickly added “But she is not the President of my first grade class and we need to work on it.” I then smiled bigger.

Advice of the day: Say what you really think. Even if you think it may not be well received. I challenge you to do so. The people I admire most know how to disagree without being an annoying ass. I get so jazzed when someone pushes back, states their position and makes a compelling case for me to change – that is what makes a good day.
So as long as you are not in elementary school – go for it. Disrupt, disagree, drive change.

Minus May

By | Be Clear, Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Motivate Others

A Month of Not to Do’s

Less is More. I am not sure if I love or hate clichés. I guess it depends on the cliché. “Less is more” is a phrase from the Robert Browning poem “Andrea del Sarto, also called ‘The Faultless Painter'” published in 1855. Sort of ironic given the length of the poem itself.

There are lots of articles out there about how to minimize. Everything from clutter (check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up ) to your work week (4-Hour Workweek anyone?).

It’s no secret I like clever (some say corny) names, team-building activities, self-reflection and personal improvement. So, we have May, Minus May at SoapBox.  I challenged my staff to identify one thing in their lives they can commit to eliminating with the intent of improving their overall life. Together, we made a commitment to simplify our lives, with the hope that a small change can lead to big results, or at least send us in the right direction.

As an entrepreneur, I find one of the main traps startups run into, is setting goals that are unattainable or too general instead of chunking things down. The staff was asked to identify a goal, and then pick one thing to eliminate from their lives to help them get there. I love seeing these!

Nicole, Sales and Marketing Administrative Assistant
Goal: To save money
Minus: Her daily trips to Starbucks

Melissa, Recruitment Specialist
Goal: To have a more positive outlook
Minus: Complaining

Kevin, Online Panel Support
Goal: To reduce his cholesterol
Minus: Eating fast food

Cynthia, Manager of Community Experience
Goal: To live a longer, healthier life
Minus: Smoking cigarettes

Adolfo, Senior Project Manager
Goal: To save money
Minus: Drinking alcohol

Kalean, Bids and Feasibility Associate
Goal: To be more productive at work
Minus: Hitting the snooze button

Michaela, Bids and Feasibility Associate
Goal: Saving time and money
Minus: Shopping and buying necessary things

Adriana, Director of Marketing
Goal: To lose weight
Minus: Snacking at night

Myself, Lunatic, COO, Mom Blogger
Goal: Sleep a minimum of 8 hours per night
Minus: Cellphone after 11 PM

What are you willing to give up to gain?
Want to join in? Tweet me @jax_rosales #minusmay, and tell us what you will be giving up. Next month, we’ll share everyone’s experiences and results.

Top Ten Most Absurd Respondent Requests

By | Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Have Fun

If you’ve ever worked in Market Research, you’ll understand. If you’ve ever worked in any industry where you have to make people happy, you’ll understand. This is my Top Ten, all-time favorite, most absurd respondent requests.

10. You should do a survey about my cats.

We’re working on something even better. A survey for cats. We have to train them how to read first.

9. Please delete my address and my name and all the information you turned over to the NSA.

Just for the record, we don’t share our respondent’s information with anyone. Even if they ask us really nicely.

8. Can you make your online surveys compatible with Windows 95?

This request was from 2016.

7. I cannot remember my username, password, why I contacted you, or who you are. Why aren’t you helping me?

I’m guilty of losing/forgetting my account passwords all.the.time. But usually I can remember why I got the account in the first place.

6. What about something for the [random bigotry] member? Thanks Obama.

Obama told me to tell you,  “You’re Welcome.”

5. Where’s the $100 dollars I was promised for the a five-minute survey about my Rock, Paper, Scissors strategy?

Let’s settle this like adults. I’ll Rock, Paper, Scissors you for it.

4. Instead of a Walmart gift card sent to my registered email address, can you please submit a Western Union payment to this totally legit IP-masked Russian website?

Not sketchy at all.

3. I don’t have to tell you my age, location, or gender, and I ignore your emails. Why wont you send me surveys I can get paid for?

Usually our clients want to know who’s opinion they’re paying for.

2. You’re just a robot anyway so why should I believe you?

In my experience robots are very trustworthy. They haven’t been programmed to lie. Yet.

1. How am I supposed to complete your surveys if I don’t lie?

So you won’t stop lying until we stop asking questions? Noted.

In the mood for more ridiculous Top Ten Lists? Check out Top Ten Bizarre Client Requests and Top Ten Most Ridiculous Respondent Email Addresses.

Telltale Ten Does Tech

By | Be Clear, Be Honest, Create Value, Inspire Ideas, Invoke Passion

If you read my Telltale Ten regularly, you know that I like to write about a bunch of random things like buying travel accessories at the Dollar Store, or how to assess personality traits. I rarely write about topics specific to the Market Research industry. So you might be surprised to learn that I actually do know a bit about Market Research, the industry as a whole and what we are doing at SoapBox to stay ahead of disruption. The super cool people at Wakoopa (who also seem to know a thing or two) invited me to be interviewed as a part of their blog series called Behavioral Data Barometer. If behavioral data is what gets you excited, definitely check it out. If it is not what gets you excited, read it anyway and maybe you will find yourself excited (or confused – it could go either way).

What made you decide to go into passive metering?

When SoapBox launched at the very end of 2012, it was seemingly the most ridiculous time to enter the “online sample” space. The market was saturated and companies were fighting to sell $2 sample. We saw a unique opportunity to stay focused on the evolution of research, the convergence of technology and the changing behavior of consumers.

Passive metering has actually been around a lot longer than most researchers know. There were some forward-thinking early adopters, and then lots of chatter. Researchers tend to be slow to adopt new technology, but in this case, it was not only the technology (which has since caught up), but also the data. Researchers and marketers have a great appetite for understanding how people behave and make decisions online. Brands want to understand their audiences beyond demographic and attitudinal data; passive tracking data fills this need by showing how consumers move across the digital world with step-by-step interactions. Connecting actual digital behavioral data with demographic/attitudinal data, results in the high-depth, actionable insights clients want.

We recognized the benefit of contributing to the rise, understanding, adoption, shaping of best practices of passive metering. We were lucky to partner with a forward-thinking client who was ready to take risks and experiment, almost immediately following the launch of SoapBox. That experience really propelled us into passive metering and we are continuing to evolve.

How has SoapBoxSample incorporated ‘My Soapbox Meter’ in its panel model? How did it help/change your position as a panel provider?

We have a two-pronged approach. We do a lot of custom recruitment for our clients. They are typically looking for a very specific audience and want to meter them for a designated period of time. Sometimes, they are looking for passive data alone, and other times they want to incorporate methodologies like surveys or diaries. We also recognize clients’ desire for look-back data which was initially the driver for building our existing metering panel. The metering panel also helps with profiling, targeting and a host of other advantages – some of which we are still uncovering.

Where do you see the most valuable use cases of behavioral data?

There are two key areas we focus on with clients. The first is gathering a 360-degree view of the consumer journey. By gathering consumer behavior (as opposed to relying solely on recall) we can see the influence certain types of sites and apps (social media, review sites, coupon sites, etc.) have on the path to purchase. This helps our clients intercept their audiences with the right message at the right time. The second use case we focus on is building digital profiles of our clients’ target audiences. By understanding how certain segments use websites, apps, and search terms our clients can optimize their media spend to reach their target audiences at an improved ROI.

What do you see as the main challenges when dealing with behavioral data?

One of the major challenges about passive metering data is that there is a ton of it and it is totally unstructured. Some of that data is incredibly valuable and relevant to the research objective and some of it isn’t. It takes time, experimentation and the willingness to dive into the unknown to find the connections between seemingly unrelated data points. The idea is to help brands understand their customers by taking millions of tiny details that, when seen as a whole, paint a vivid picture of their customers and their underlying motivations.

Another challenge we deal with regularly, is that most often the clients asking for “metering” data don’t understand the methodology yet and often try to make it fit where it doesn’t, or assume it is the Holy Grail of research data that can answer any and all questions about what people are doing online and on their devices. This is a struggle as there is really no checklist for what metering can/cannot do. Well, there are some checklists on what it can’t do, but the newness, combined with the complexity is a brand new challenge. Clients have to work in partnership with their providers, take risks and be willing to delve into the unknowns to get the magic nugget of information.

How will the growing importance of mobile affect passive measurement?

Opportunities for brands to connect with people, and for people to connect with brands increase as we spend more time on our mobile devices, and we have more devices in our hands. Each item (computer, phone, tablet, wearable) offers researchers another window into people’s online lives. Passive metering is the most effective way to find out what people are doing without disrupting the process, and I believe it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

How will passive metering influence sampling, data collection and surveying?

I think the research industry is beginning to recognize the value of passive data collection. What remains to be seen is to what extent passive data will replace traditional surveys, how often it will be used in conjunction with traditional surveys, and how data integrations from a variety of sources (survey, transactional, customer, 3rd party, passive) will be leveraged. At SoapBox, we’ve had a lot of success with blending methodologies to create innovative solutions to help answer client’s business questions.

For me, the most unexpected (and potentially disruptive) shift I am seeing is that sample providers, and/or data collection providers in general, are moving away from being order takers of pre-determined research approaches by full service agencies or end users/brands, and now have a seat at the table in designing and contributing to the research approach. It is super exciting to see collaboration from the start of a project to the end.

Is there any advice you would give the market research industry?

My advice would be to stay as lean and nimble as possible. Now is the time to dive in and start even though things aren’t all “figured out” yet. Those who wait and watch, will be passed over. With the coming advances in AI and Machine Learning, the market research industry will certainly be faced with major disruptions — more than we think, and earlier than we expect. We all need to hone our adaptation skills to survive in this business environment. I say learn how to anticipate the ever-changing needs of the industry and be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.

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.

Treadmills, and Yoga and Slides…Oh My!

By | Be Honest, Have Fun, Invoke Passion, Motivate Others

Chyla is our new Social Media Marketing Intern. While I’m out here at SampleCon debating the future of sample, someone decided it would be a good idea to leave her in charge of the blog. The experiment paid off, and Chyla came up with a timely and insightful blog post about what millennials really want in the workplace. (Hint: it’s not just STUFF.)

Millennials & Workplace Culture

Everyone seems to be obsessed with creating a standout company culture these days. From treadmill desks, to unlimited vacation days, to gourmet cafes, there are lists and tips all over the internet trying to teach companies how to be more like the Googles and Zappos-es of the world by incorporating this stuff into their organizations. There’s also a multitude of articles about Millennials and what we really want. According to these articles, I want a lot of stuff.

The truth is, most of us just want an opportunity to carve out our own paths. Not that long ago, another SoapBoxSample Millennial, Sullivan, wrote a guest blog about his transition out of college and into the workforce. Like him, I’ve been learning a lot. We have been labeled as the generation of “entitlement”, but I (and most of the other Millennials I know) just want to work hard and grow like my parents did. So what does that mean for workplace culture?

1. We don’t need a yoga room… We need to not be overworked. I would rather get my work done and leave the office than spend part of my workday doing downward dog.


2. We don’t need a slide… We need to enjoy the work we’re doing. Sure, even adults like to have fun—so why shouldn’t the actual job be enjoyable?


3. We don’t need a game room… See number 2.


4. We don’t necessarily need treadmill desks, but it would be nice to not be glued to a regular desk all day. Here at SBS we even have a plank challenge throughout the day to get the blood flowing. It’s that simple.


5. We don’t need themed or quirky collaborative spaces, we need functional collaborative spaces. Don’t get me wrong, teams are awesome! But wouldn’t it be weird working on the set of “Up” after a while?

It’s not so much about the stuff. We don’t need it. I honestly don’t care if my job prepares gourmet food for me or supports my fitness goals. I can go to Chipotle or join a gym for that. What I care about is the opportunity for growth and the emotional intelligence of my leaders. I care about doing work that matters. SoapBoxSample doesn’t have a giant slide in the office or yoga breaks in the middle of the day. What it does have is an awesome group of people who are kind, open, and passionate about the work they’re doing. The opportunity to learn and grow from a company like that is way better than any treadmill desk could possibly be. Sure, the stuff is nice, but it’s the intangibles that really matter.

When Life Kicks You in the Ass

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Be Reasonable

Five Things I’ve Learned

We have all gotten our butts kicked at one time or another by life. It is inevitable. Things just simply don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, even tragedy strikes. Today marks the two-year Anniversary since my life-changing automobile accident. I won’t go into the all the gory details, but there have been countless obstacles and challenges over these past two years. None of this was planned. Even after it happened, I had no way to predict the latent effects.

I have learned a lot. I have had to learn patience, acceptance of the unknown, I have had to learn things don’t go as planned or as I want them. I have also had to learn that things don’t move in Jacqueline time. They don’t even move at ½ Jacqueline speed.

People ask me all the time how I do it. I am not really sure I have much choice. I get a lot of comments on how I am inspirational or strong. Truthfully, it is hard for me to see any of that as I feel like I am a mess all time and am having to constantly to adapt to my health limitations.

Some would say it is not in my DNA to give up. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that some days I don’t feel like giving up. I have had to be super open to learning, and using some new life tools in order to not to be in an eternal state of losing my mind.

Even when I’m scared, I can show up for life

I am scared all the time. Scared of the unknown, scared things won’t go my way, scared that I won’t get better. I am human. But I have learned to show up in the face of fear. Maybe things won’t go away, maybe I have to leave early, maybe I say or do something dumb, maybe I hear bad news, maybe things will never be the “same” again. Doesn’t matter. Feeling scared doesn’t have to have impact my actions. It is human nature to go into avoidance mode, when faced with fear. Unfortunately, avoidance rarely solves the problem.

It’s OK to say no

I have had to say no to everything from business meetings, to trips to friend’s birthday parties and everything in between. I have missed out on a lot. I probably have avoided just as much as I have missed. It was so, so hard for me to do this at first – it still is. I want to say yes. The simple truth is, that right now, I am just not able to. Some people have been disappointed – None more disappointed than myself. That’s OK. My ego has been hurt. That’s OK. I struggle with it daily. That’s OK.

Self-care is not selfish

I have to take care of myself. I can’t take care of my family or my business if I don’t. This is so hard for to me to justify to myself. Every single time I ignore self-care, I end up in a worse place than I would have been if I just took care of myself. This may mean sleeping in, missing an event, exercising, meditating, a quiet lunch with a girlfriend, a hobby, a good cry in my bed – whatever it is, I have to do it. For me, it is mainly rest and restore. I have to shut down – it is tough when I feel like I am already missing out on so much due to health issues. I sometimes believe that “being sick and injured” counts as me time – IT DOES NOT.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness

What? Now you are talking crazy. I should be able to handle it all; run a company (or two), grow a company at warp speed, run a family, be a good Mom, wife, and friend, keep up with my health and exercise, – oh and write a weekly BLOG. It goes on ad infinitum. I was FORCED to ask for help and I hated it (still do). But I have learned that asking for help gives others an opportunity to stand up. Asking for help means I don’t have to go it alone. Asking for help means I am …. human. Asking for help means I am strong.

Even when I don’t know what will happen, I can still just do the next thing

So it turns out my magic eight ball doesn’t work (the toy kind you shake and gives fortunes like “the future is certain” you who were thinking otherwise). I have no idea what is going to happen in the future – nether do you. I do know, that I can show up and do the next thing in front of me. I can tackle on small thing at a time and focus on the action rather than result.