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Be Honest

How Swinging a Hammer and Fetching Beer for Your Dad Are the Foundation of Entrepreneurship

By | Be Honest, Motivate Others, Take Risks

My Dad just butt FaceTimed me. I know it was a butt FaceTime as I am almost positive my Dad does not know how to FaceTime. I am not even sure he knows what it is. Anyway, the missed FaceTime from my Dad made me smile, and got me all nostalgic. I started taking a trip down old memory lane – when my Dad taught me everything I knew. Don’t tell him I said that though. I don’t want him getting a big(ger) head. He will likely get the cliff notes version of this BLOG post from my stepmom anyway.

I grew up in the time of no seatbelts, staying outside until the streetlights came on, wearing sunburns with pride as they represented a good day out in the sun, riding in the back of a pick-up truck all the way to my grandmother’s (like 30 miles and often in the dark), when chores were not optional or paid for and often included “get me a beer from the cooler”, you ate what you were given when you were given it, got ready for school and went to the bus stop on your own (from the age of 5), did your homework yourself, were responsible for your own grades and you didn’t talk back for fear of what was going to happen to you – with death being the best of all potential punishment options. And most importantly, you did not speak or make even the slightest sound during the weather portion of the news each night. Ever. For any reason. No matter what. I am not kidding. I am 44 and still refuse to speak during any weather forecast.

If our bikes were not put away, my Dad would hide them and tell us they had been stolen. If we didn’t put our toys away, they got thrown away – and they were not replaced. If we were told (not asked) to do something, we did it. If my Dad was working on the car, we were working on the car. If my Dad was working on the house, we worked on the house. If my Dad was working in the yard, we worked in the yard. When it came time to drive, we had to know how to change a tire AND the oil (we weren’t cruising down to the Jiffy Lube).

My Dad taught me a ton of life skills. He taught me:

  • How to swing a hammer (TIP: do not miss the nail as it makes a dent in the wood and absolutely do NOT hit the nail crooked as only idiots do that)
  • How to use a drill (uhmm, do not even tell me you stripped the screw – again you may die)
  • How to change a tire (it did not matter if it was snowing or raining or blazing hot with 100% humidity)
  • How to patch a wall (and sand it flush, by hand, and repaint it – this came in handy in my teen years after a few small social gatherings I accidently threw)
  • How to hang drywall (you know in case at age 8 I needed to build my own house)
  • How to shingle the outside of a house up on staging with no safety equipment (imminent death was always a few seconds away at any given time)
  • How to change the oil (and let me tell you, getting oil on the driveway, which was basically a dirt patch and not even paved was not an option you wanted to explore)
  • How to use tools (if you banged your thumb you waited until the project was finished for any type of medical attention which was likely a bag of frozen veggies from the freezer)
  • How to mow the lawn perfectly (if you left an “island” and your rows were not perfect then you were in deep shit)
  • How to sail a boat to Cape Cod (sometimes in gale force winds, 12-15 foot waves, and zero visibility – fear of dying was a regular event)
  • How to clean the bottom of that same 22’ boat (while it was IN the ocean and moving around on a mooring or anchor lol)
  • How to swim (by throwing me off a dock)
  • How to work hard (for 12-15 hours a day – tired and/or sick were not an options in our house)
  • How to earn a living (which did not include all the work you did for free around the house since you lived in it and all)
  • How to write thank-you notes (because being an ungrateful punk would get you a slap)

My Dad wasn’t actually a tradesman. He worked at the same company that manufactured heart and lung equipment for three decades. He wore a tie to work (sometimes with a short sleeved button down, but that is another story). He worked his way up from an entry-level job, to the boss. I remember his office – it was a MESS and had like seven ashtrays and at least two or three of them had cigarettes burning in them at any given time. He got to work on time every day, never left early and I don’t think he ever took a sick day. I was “lucky” enough to work there (as my 2nd or 3rd job as I always seemed to have multiple jobs) and various points filling tubes with some sort of stuff (probably poison) for hours on end. It was the worst, most boring job ever (sorry Dad, but it was terrible) – but my Dad would eat lunch with me sometimes. I pretended I didn’t care if we ate lunch together or not, but I did.

Ultimately, all those things he taught me, were priming me to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t know it at the time and he probably didn’t either – although he may claim it was all some well laid-out plan he had. He taught me through actions, behavior and tough lessons. He taught me:

  • Excuses will not get you anywhere in life
  • We have to do a bunch of shit in life we don’t want to – it’s just part of the deal
  • How to be self-sufficient and support myself
  • To take responsibility for my own actions
  • Accountability and follow through are paramount – finish what you start
  • Persistence and resilience – life will knock you in the teeth
  • The importance of a strong work ethic and putting in a day’s work for a day’s pay
  • Manners and respect

My Dad, Big Jim as we call him (he is not big, but he can be loud and has a big personality) was not the most nurturing. He was harsh, definitive, boisterous, opinionated and strict. He was constantly shouting things like:

  • Use your head for something besides a hat rack
  • Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades
  • If you want to cry, I will give you something to cry about
  • I brought you into this world and I can take you out and make another one just like you

And perhaps his most famous saying “proper prior planning prevent piss poor performance” – at five years old, I didn’t even know what those words meant, but I knew the saying. I always thought he made that up. He didn’t. But he liked to say it, a lot. And I am glad he did.

He made his fair share of mistakes. Many things he did (or didn’t do) would get parents today arrested in a heartbeat. His main goal was to make sure my brother and I were halfway decent people and, productive members of society who weren’t entitled assholes. I think he did ok.

If I Could Change One Thing

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Invoke Passion

Ok. So if I were actually granted this wish, I might choose a different one. But right now I am super fired up, which is code for pissed off. I have done a lot of self improvement work, and one thing I feel like I’ve changed, is limiting the amount of time I spend obsessing over what other people think of me. Everyone cares about this to a certain extent, and we should. But if other people’s opinions, approval and/or acceptance of us becomes a ruling force in our lives, we stand to live a very unhappy existence.

News flash. You (and me and all of us) can’t control other people. I know you may be thinking to yourself you can, but ultimately you can’t. You can’t control what other people think or feel about you. You can’t control how other people (adult folks anyway) act or don’t act, what they do or don’t do etc.

When I think about all the time in my life I have spent worrying about this person or that person, it is crazy. It took getting hit by a car (literally) to let go of some of this. I simply don’t have the time or energy or health to put into that obsession with other people. You either like me, or you don’t. You want to be my friend or you don’t. I want to be your friend or I don’t. You want to work for me, or you don’t. Basically, the toxic people had to go – either out of my life completely, or at least out of my mind. Sorry, toxic peeps don’t get my energy or my emotions any more. I’ve taken away your rights to control my mind.

However, there are times I still find myself letting toxic people sneak back in my life somehow. I cant even hold them responsible. They are toxic and don’t get it. Most toxic people have a common trait – they are so self-obsessed they don’t even know they are toxic. They believe their problems in life, relationships, work (basically any and all areas of their life) are someone else’s fault. Basically, anyone else in the world, except them, are to blame. I’ve got news for you, if you run across more than one asshole in a day, you may want to check yourself. I feel sorry for these people actually, as if everyone else is to blame, you will be perpetually unhappy. Your life will be full of drama, chaos and disatisfaction. If you have energy for that sh*t, then keep on keeping on, as they say. Whoever they is. People do say that right?

Today I found myself totally fired up by someone. Even worse, it was like a 20-word text. I completely lost my sh*t. My body temperature rose, I started gritting my teeth, I typed and erased like 80 replies to the text, and then proceeded to act super mature by yelling and screaming a bunch of not-so-nice insults. I even screenshotted the text and sent it to a friend. Cause I’m that mature – and don’t you know I have suffered injustice and you should all feel bad for me?

I have a lot of people in my life who love and care about me. They accept me for who I am. They love, or at least put up or ignore, my crazy. They don’t make me feel bad. We mutually support each other. They enhance my life and I try my damn best to enhance theirs. So why, oh why, do I let that one person, who doesn’t matter one bit, get me all worked up? Because I am human. I am not perfect. I let my character defects creep up. I can ignore the dozens of people I care about and focus all my time and energy on that one pain in my ass – or a I can get mad, say a bunch of bad words, write this BLOG and let it go.

You should too. Free yourself from the crippling grip of those people who suck your energy. Let them go. I assure you they will be fine. They will just glom on to that next person who will tolerate their stickiness. I can pretty much guarantee it.

A Micro Dose of Motivation

By | Be Honest, Create Value, Inspire Ideas, Motivate Others

What Motivates You?

As a startup leader, a HUGE part of my job centers around motivation. Convincing a group of super smart (and highly likeable) individuals to come join a startup, isn’t always easy. And once I convince them to join, I have to make sure they want to stay.

Motivate Others is one our Telltale Ten and SoapBox was founded on those ten principles. Motivation is key. But what does that mean? Where does motivation come from? What gets people motivated, what keeps people motivated, and how can we use motivation to accomplish our goals?

I have learned over the years, that motivation is not a one-size-fits-all. It is different for everyone. I feel like I get to know people pretty well, but you don’t know what you don’t know. After a recent TedTalk Tuesday lead by our Director of Systems and Programming, Aaron Cole, I got super excited to learn more about what motivates the staff. He talked about his motivation to complete his goal of running a marathon on all seven continents and shared his experience about running his most recent marathon in the Outback. I was inspired to learn more about what motivates others on my team. Instead of relying on my perceptions, instead I went with the direct approach and I asked my staff to tell me what motivates them. Sometimes the simplest (and most obvious) approach is the best.

What surprised me was that it wasn’t only big things (like feeling accomplished or helping the community) that motivated people, but small things like walking a dog, or hazelnut coffee. For me, I get really excited by an accomplishment as small as using up the last bit of a tube of chap stick (like seriously, do you ever get to the end of a chap stick before you lose it or it melts or your kid or your dog eats it – no right?).

The point I’m trying to make is that motivation can come in big and small packages. Maybe one of the items on this list will be a micro dose of motivation for you this week. Now the next challenge begins for me as a leader. How do I help make sure the staff is experiencing those things that make them happy and motivated?

Aaron Cole
Director of Systems

Food
Run clubs
Competition
Destination Runs

Adriana Hemans
Director of Marketing

Personal growth
Creative expression
Financial independence
Travel

Allison Flowers
Research Director

Making my kids proud
Making others feel good about themselves
Having a can-do mentality 

Andrea Sipos
Project Manager

My family
Animals
Nature

Angela Pack
Senior Account Executive

My child’s happiness
A clean & organized house
Helping in my community

Dan Parcon
VP, Operations

My faith
My child
Making a difference in the world

Elinor Gaida
VP, Research & Analytics

Coffee
Music
Walking a dog
Meeting with friends and family

Jacqueline Rosales
Chief of Operations

Connecting with close friends
Doing something nice for others
Organizing/Cleaning
Laughing

Kevin Moran
Support Specialist

Humor
Keeping promises
Food
Exercise (occasionally)

Michaela Petersen
Project Manager

Bettering myself
Broadening my intelligence
Contributing to the team

Paul Janowitz
CEO, icanmakeitbetter

Family & Travel
Improving the community
Hard work

Sam Ashburner
Project Manager

My new house
Exceeding my own expectations
Hazelnut Coffee

Sandeep Babu
Operations Manager

Travel
Culture
The little things
Finding fullfillment from helping others

Savanna Ayala
Bids & Feasibility Associate

Wine
Laughing
Food
Books
Alone time

Trina Martell
Project Manager

Expanding my knowledge base
Creativity of any kind
Music
Sharing knowledge
Kindness

Take a step back and ask yourself what motivates you. Write it down. Post it where you can see it and when you are feeling a little unmotivated, try one of things on your list to get you out of your funk.

Live a Strong Sideline Game

By | Be Honest, Have Fun, Motivate Others

This past weekend, my husband Marco road in the Tehachapi GranFondo event. The event is ranked as the #1 GranFondo in California and #13 in the nation. For those of you who don’t know what a GranFondo is, it’s a long-distance road cycling event. The courses at this particular one range from 18 to 104 miles. In short, it’s an event for road biking maniacs.

After suffering injuries from a car accident that prevented me from continuing to run road and obstacle course races, my husband and I took up road biking. It is an addictive, expensive and super uncomfortable sport – not for those who aren’t willing to suffer a little discomfort “down there”.

After years of chasing me around the country, waking up at the crack of dawn to see me start a race, and then standing around waiting for me to finish, Marco and I embarked on this new journey together. He instantly fell in love. Like he loves it. For me, it was something I could pull off with my injuries and still be competitive, still get the high from tackling a long distance, and still get pumped up about at an event.

The very best thing about it (and Marco may have a very different opinion on this since he is way better than me and I am pretty sure I hold him back) is that it is something we were finally doing together. Training together, riding together, racing together. Now, only Ella, my daughter, was stuck getting up at the crack of dawn and waiting around for hours (I mean hours) for us to finish. And I am ok with that as she is a preteen and pretty bratty on occasion, so it is like secret parent payback mixed in with a little inspiration – good parenting if you ask me.

Anyway, let me get to the point. Tehachapi is our favorite event of the year. It is seriously awesome. It is well organized, there are pro riders there, the course is amazing and crossing the finish line is a true experience thanks to the announcer and cheerleaders. And this year, I couldn’t do it. I just was not physically well enough to pull it off. I wasn’t even able to do the “fun” ride which is 18 miles. I was out – sidelines for me this year.

Despite being sad, resentful and at times totally pissed off that I was not able to do it, my job was to be encouraging, supportive and my husband’s #1 fan. No. Matter. How. I. Felt. This was now about being the best cheerleader I could be. Not about me – all about him. It meant:

  • Making sure he had all his gear and nutrition for the ride
  • Waking up suuuppper early and not being an asshole about it
  • Hauling my butt to the start line with Ella – it was 45 degrees and partly dark
  • Watching the hundreds of cyclists gather and keeping a smile despite feeling total bummed
  • Taking 6 zillion photos of his journey and updating every stage on social media
  • Driving to the rest stop to see him pull in after the 20 mile mark to help him reset
  • Waiting for FIVE hours for him to finish (OMG – I have been doing this shit for years and it is NOT fun. I can’t believe how many times Marco waited for me – granted, running is usually way shorter but still….)
  • Ensuring he had an easy way to get showered and fed within an hour of finishing
  • Not making it about me and being an ass (did I mention not being an ass?)

So here’s the deal. Sometimes you need to be on the sidelines supporting others. Whether it is in your job, your relationship or friendship, just do it. Go out and help someone, support someone. Make someone else feel good. At the finish line, I didn’t have to work at all to be soooo pumped up and excited for him. I genuinely was! I felt so much excitement and inner happiness for his accomplishment. It is amazing how turning your attention outwards to someone else is a surefire way to get off your own pity pot and be useful. And the admission price? Your time and a positive attitude. That’s it.

Any Good Idea Must Have a Cool Hashtag

By | Be Honest

I find new things inspire me all of the time. Whether it’s a great newsletter, (The Hustle, anyone?) the words of a colleague, or a pair of Hulk Hogan gamma grip fists (I am not kidding just ordered these), my upstairs thinking machine is constantly roaring.

Company culture is not cultivated top down. It may be born at the top, but it raised from the inside up, down, in and out. I definitely have some quirky ideas. Some turn out to be good, and some not as good. Personally, I am most inspired when I see others passionate and inspired. Instead of always showing off to my team the things that inspire me, I love to know what my team finds inspiring.

This year we started a new thing called TED Talk Tuesdays. The idea really started as what I thought would be a cool hashtag – you have to admit #tedtalktuesdays has a ring to it. But seriously. I love TED Talks. I watch them, share them, I incorporate them into company meetings whenever possible – one day I aspire to give one.

TED Talk Tuesday is a super simple, yet powerful team event. Each month, a different team member picks a TED Talk to share with the company.  They give a couple minute overview of the talk and why they chose it. Then, we watch it together (some team members are in the office and some remote) – once it ends we have an unstructured group discussion.

Sometimes we walk away with a new sense of gratitude, or purpose. Sometimes we can’t stop talking about the speaker’s eyebrow situation (click here to see) when we should be talking about the message that was so inspirational and hit home on so many different levels. Either way, we get to know each other better as a team. I LOVE seeing what people pick. It has yet to be predictable, and also yet to fail in awesomeness.

This is one of my favorites: Running forward to alleviate homelessness: Anne Mahlum www.youtube.com/annemahlum. I showed this one at an annual all-hands company meeting a few years ago. I love the feeling of watching a video and feeling such strong emotion and connection to the screen. Watch it all the way through to make sure you get to the “Why do we should all over ourselves” part. So. Freakin. Awesome.

Follow us on Twitter to make sure you never miss out on the team #tedtalktuesday picks each month. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

SoapBoxSampleVidCon

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.

SoapBoxSample Bonnie Rosales

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.