Be Reasonable

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.

SoapBoxSample Jax Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler — Improv Comic or Sales Guru? Part 2

By | Be Genuine, Be Reasonable, Inspire Ideas, Motivate Others
If you read last week’s BLOG, you are probably just as disappointed as me to hear that Amy did not reach out to me and tell me how brilliant she thought the BLOG was. That probably would have made an awesome BLOG for this week, but since she didn’t, here is Part 2 as promised. Blame Amy.

The Not-So-Obvious Characteristics a Sales Person Should Have Part 2

Sales people need to have the answers.
Yes, and…when they don’t have the answers, it is ok to be the “one” who knows how to get the answers. Often sales people are too afraid to not answer a question or say I don’t know. This is super dangerous. Some of the most successful sales people achieve success because they know how to connect prospects with the right people to get the answers. Don’t try to be a know-it-all. Just try to be a know-where-to-get-the-info-all.
Sales people need to know how to answer questions.
Yes, and…they also need to be curious. Genuine curiosity can often uncover clients’ needs sales people may not even be aware of. Asking “why” or “how does that impact you” or “what have you tried before”. Asking probing or follow-up questions in lieu of just accepting a response at face value can be the differentiator between you and your competitor.
Sales people need to close the deal.
Yes, and…they also need to admit when they are not the right fit. Staying focused on closing the deal may lead to overselling, undelivering and ultimately winning a one-time customer. Instead, if you are not a fit, admit it, offer an alternative solution and remind the prospect what you are a good fit for and what types of problems you can help them solve. A prospect is more likely to come back next time around as opposed to buying an un-needed product or service a second time.
Sales people need to keep the client happy.
Yes, and…they need to be willing to push back when the client has unrealistic expectations. Scope creep, intentional or unintentional can kill a relationship. Be honest with your client about what they are asking. Don’t just agree to everything and assume you have to say yes. Sometimes, clients are asking for things they may not even need which gives you the opportunity to come up with a solution that works for the client and your own company.
Sales people need to know their numbers.
Yes, and…well they need to know their numbers. What is the goal, how many calls, to get how many proposals to close how many deals in how much time? What is the average deal size? How long is it taking you?
Sales people need to be confident.
Yes, and … they need to trust the knowledge they have already gained but they also need to be coachable. They need to be able to take advice from senior management, and have the flexibility to change their styles or adopt new selling techniques if their industry demands it.
Click here to read the rest of the not-so-obvious characteristics. If you have any of your own to share, tweet me @jax_rosales


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.

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.

SoapBoxSample Jaxbluedress

Accessories to Make Your Traveling Life Easier — All From the Dollar Store!

By | Be Reasonable, Create Value, Inspire Ideas | 1,965 Comments

My awesome outfit I wore for my Dollar Store Theme Party requiring all attire be purchased from the Dollar Store (yes, even the shoes). And the fly swatter in the background.

Traveling is something on a lot of people’s bucket lists — who wouldn’t want to see the world? It’s so glamorous … until it isn’t. From the crowds, to the boredom, to the extra fees, sometimes it can all be pretty unglamorous. Sometimes it’s actually the worst.

Early in my career I was all pumped up about traveling. Now, I’ll try to get anyone to go in my place. For me, it is part of the job and I have found there are definitely ways to improve your traveling experience. And, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on trendy accessories. Here are my Top Ten favorite travel hacks, all using items that can be found at the Dollar Store. I love the Dollar Store. I even throw a themed party at my house where everyone has to arrive in an outfit made from items at the Dollar Store. It was epically awesome. And you know how I love a good deal…

My Top Ten Travel Hacks To Get You Through The Crazy

  1. Fill a Ziploc bag with anti-bacterial wipes to scrub away all the germs floating around. Airports are crowded and planes have very little personal space. Having these at-hand when you travel by air means you can wipe down the seats, the TV, or your neighbor. Even better, you don’t have to worry about what the person who previously occupied your seat was doing during their 5-hour flight.
  2. Make your own variety snack-pack with a plastic craft supply box. I don’t know about you, but I am always hungry. I have been known to spend $100 on airport snacks because I showed up without my usual arsenal of healthy food to munch on. You can pack a variety of goodies in these craft supply boxes. Even better – the small compartment sizes keep portions under control.
  3. Store your flat iron in an oven mitt. Packing in a rush? Instead of waiting for your hair appliance to cool down, just pop it in an oven mitt. Your clothes remain unburned and your lipstick unmelted. And you might just make your flight on time.
  4. Pack your necklace inside of a straw so it doesn’t get tangled up. You carefully picked out your jewelry to go with your outfits. Don’t spend the first 40 minutes of your trip in your hotel room untangling your favorite chain. Just slide the smaller end of the necklace into the top of a straw and leave the bangle poking out of the top.
  5. Keep track of your earrings with a button. I love this tip because it looks cute and makes me smile. Not sure why, but it does. It also prevents you from digging around in your bag to find that missing earring or accidentally leaving a pair of earrings behind on the bedside table. If you see a button laying around in your room, you know you have a pair of earrings to look for.
  6. Buy socks at the Dollar Store to store stuff in. Keep your hairbrush, bottle of ibuprofen (for the headache you will probably get), or shaving gel in Dollar Store socks and then pack them inside of your shoes for space saving. Or those chocolates you brought back from Europe – what? At least I stored them in clean socks before I put them in my shoes.
  7. Keep your headphones and USB cords tangle-free with tiny hair clips. I try to visit the gym regularly on every business trip, so having headphones is a must. (Check out my blog about staying fit when traveling for work.) Tangled-up headphones are just annoying. And don’t rely on the cheap headphones they provide you with in hotel gyms, usually only one of the ear buds actually works. Better to bring your own, and keep them ready-to-use by coiling the cord around your hand and clipping it in place with a small hair clip.
  8. Wrap your shoes in shower caps to separate them from your clothes. The best part about this tip is that if you forget to pack shower caps from the Dollar Store, you can get from from the hotel for free. If you travel with many pairs of shoes (like me, and every other woman in America), you can sometimes score a bunch of free shower caps in the hotel spa.
  9. Store your tablet in a beanie for scratch-free quick access. Your devices stay protected, and you can keep your head warm if the weather is cooler than you expected. Plus, I just look cute in a beanie.
  10. Keep your rolled clothes together with hair-ties or rubber bands. This tip has a dual purpose. 1. The clothes are squeezed together tightly, which gives you more room in your suitcase. (For shoes, obviously) 2. You can color coordinate your rubber bands to organize your outfits. It’s the trifecta of expert traveling — time-saving, space-saving and inexpensive!

Traveling doesn’t have to be a nightmare. A little planning and a quick trip to the Dollar Store can save a lot of time and trouble. If you have any tips of your own to share, tweet me @jax_rosales

Indecision – The Evil Accomplice of Procrastination

By | Be Clear, Be Reasonable, Inspire Ideas, Take Risks | 19 Comments




  1. the inability to make a decision quickly.



I am not a procrastinator by nature. I typically move fast and can’t stand to leave things undone. Some may even say I move maniacally through the day. But when I do procrastinate, it is typically linked to indecision.

When I just can’t figure out (aka decide) what to do, I usually end up in a tailspin pretty quickly. Doesn’t really matter if I am indecisive about something with big impact such as whether to hire or fire someone, or a small decision with little impact, such as what to eat for lunch. The end result is the same – procrastination. BTW, the small decisions are what get me.

When I am unable to make a decision, I’m in that grey area where nothing productive happens. I call it the hallway. Once I know what door I am going to go through, I can handle just about anything. But the time that I am standing in that hallway, trying to pick door number 1,2 or 3, is typically crazy-making for me. Indecision is the great time waster and there is nothing that drives me more crazy than wasting time – especially if you happen to be wasting MY time.

If you are having a hard time making a decision, chances are one of these are the culprit – or at the very least, a contributing culprit.

Second Guessing

While second guessing is second nature to some people, it can be crippling. Assuming you have done your diligence in making your initial decision, GO WITH IT. Move forward. Fear is often the driver behind second guessing. Don’t let the fear freeze you.

Overweighing a decision

There is only so much time you can spend looking at things. Make a list of pros and cons, do your research, talk with a trusted partner. After that, you are pretty much going in circles. A wise woman once told me the most dangerous neighborhood I can hang out in is the one inside my head. There may be no truer true than that. I can talk myself in and out of ANYTHING and drive myself insane.

Asking Other’s Opinions

This could help you assuming the person, you ask is 1) actually helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy and 2) you actually listen to them and take their advice rather than just ignoring them. There may have been a time or two where I asked my husband, “this one or this one” only for him to pick one and then me to continue to hem and haw for hours longer. Or pick the opposite – don’t do that. That means you are being a pain in the ass.

Putting it off

Procrastinating about making your decision leads to procrastination. See what is happening here? You’re just going around and around in circles.  Staying up all night thinking about things doesn’t help either. That only makes you tired.

The Decision is Not Yours to Make

Sometimes the decision is just simply not yours to make. Maybe it is none of your business, or maybe it is simply not in your hands. In that case, you just have to wait and see what happens. Tip: Don’t try to figure out all the possible outcomes. If you don’t have input and you are not in control, you will waste a lot of time doing that. Whatever is going to happen will happen anyway no matter how many hours you spend trying to predict it. Unless you are a fortune teller. Then you should predict it since that is your job.

There are lots of articles on how to face indecision. We’ve included some of our favorites below. Just make sure you are reading them with the intent of improving the skill of decision making and not just putting a decision off.


10 Proven Ways to Overcome Indecision — Inc.

5 Steps to Overcome Indecision — Simple Life Strategies

How to Deal with Indecision — Pick the Brain

4 Tips for Dealing with an Indecisive Boss — The Muse

7 Ways to Conquer Indecision — Forbes


Bottom line. In order to get shit done, you have to make a decision.

Work Out Road Show

By | Be Reasonable, Inspire Ideas, Motivate Others | 16 Comments
  • Running around the ruins in Rome!
  • Warm up in front of the Chicago skyline.
  • My running buddies in Nice, after an intense training session.
  • The Ritz Carlton gym in New Orleans. And my two suckers...I mean co-workers.
  • Free water in hotel gyms!
  • Dead tired, but sporting my SoapBox gear.


I love to workout. I am one of those annoying people who talks about it, takes pictures doing it, and of course, broadcasts my workout accomplishment of the day on various social media channels. I also travel a ton for my job – mainly to tradeshows and conferences. I find ways to work out on the road. People think I am just magically motivated to fly to some exotic location and workout. Truth is, it doesn’t work like that. I often have to trick myself into doing it.

Yes, I’m exhausted after spending 10 hours in an exhibit hall and would rather network, eat free food, drink free drinks or sleep during down time. Oh, and let’s not forget that despite being away, business is still going on back home that needs my attention.

I hear things from people who claim they want to work out while traveling all the time like “I can’t.  I don’t have time. I have jet lag. My day is too full. I ate too much, or I drank too much (yes, people use this as an excuse not to exercise – counterintuitive I know).”

News flash. If you want to work out on work travel, you can. Here is a few of my tricks to trick yourself.

Find a partner, AKA sucker

Some of my most favorite workout moments have been on business trips – with other colleagues, employees and attendees. I’ve run through Rome with a colleague, ran through Nice and visited some awesome, and not-so-awesome workout rooms. Find the crazy exercise fanatic in the group, or someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves to you, and tag along with whatever they’re up to. I’ve brought employees to work out and watched them puke. (Yes, really) (Go SoapBoxers Go)!

Pre-plan your workout time

Check out the agenda in advance and plan your workout time into your schedule each day. Even if it is just 30 minutes, that is ok. If you wait until you get there to find time, I can almost guarantee you won’t. I plan my time slot for each day along with what I am actually going to do. I plan a workout for each day, knowing that I may miss one. If you are only there one day, don’t use this tip. 30 minutes actually accounts for only 2% of your day. Really? 2%. C’mon, you can do it.

Network in the gym.

So I will admit I hate talking to people when I work out. But… people who work out, tend to have an affinity for others who work out. Even if you don’t recognize someone as being a fellow conference attendee, you may notice when you see them later. They may turn out to be your next biggest client. There’s no telling where opportunity may strike. A great networking moment is just as likely to happen in the gym as it is anywhere else.

Or, you can get super bold and dye your hair platinum-whitish-grayish and people will recognize you – that’s what I did. Or you could just wear branded gear in the gym (branded with YOUR company, not Nike). Also, you might just avoid one of those awkward elevator moments with another attendee gets on the elevator and there is a weird silence. It is way better to have a “hey, I saw you in the gym today” moment.

Accountability from Afar

If you have a trainer or just a friend who’s into fitness, have them text you a workout AND agree to text them back once you are done. Or post it all over social media if that is how you rollIf you don’t have any fitness friends (or friends at all) you can find 10 million “hotel room” workouts online. I am guessing you know how to google.  In case you “don’t have time to google” here are a few links.

20-minute Hotel Room Work Out (Nerd Fitness)

The Ultimate Hotel Room Work Out (Shape)

Vacation Work Out (Men’s Fitness)

I am obviously feeling extra thoughtful today.

And just because I love you all so much, here is my “I am too cheap to buy hotel water and drink a gallon a day” tip.

Fill up your water bottle in the hotel gym because it’s free.

Most of the gyms are open 24 hours. The water is free. And cold. And paying $6 for a small bottle of Evian is pure insanity. Free water is an unadvertised perk of that hotel occupancy fee you see on your bill – or at least it is as far as I am concerned.
Have your own tips for staying fit while traveling for business? Tweet me, @jax_rosales

HALT — Stop, In the Name of Love

By | Be Clear, Be Genuine, Be Honest, Be Reasonable | 25 Comments


In our business and personal lives, we have to undoubtedly deal with confrontation – both planned and unplanned. It may be in person, telephonically, electronically or even telepathically (that may be stretching it, but sounds cool). We can choose to ignore it, let it control us or actually respond in a productive way. Probably the worst thing to do, is just react in the moment without actually thinking it through. Then all kinds of messes are created. I have found practicing the self-discipline to Halt, has saved me many a heartache. And when I don’t halt, well then someone ends up not very happy.


bring or come to an abrupt stop.

a suspension of movement or activity, typically a temporary one.

Since I am a dork, I thought an acronym for HALT would not only bring us back to out 7th grade study habit, but maybe, just maybe, help one poor soul not make an ass of themselves next time they are faced with confrontation.

H. Hush

Take a deep breath. Yes, seriously. Besides the fact that breathing allows more oxygen to travel throughout your body, that brief pause may save you from that Reply All in CAPS or raising your voice.

A. Ask

Taking the time to ask these questions may just help you with H and L. What you can constructively contribute or learn will get you further than “how can I win?”.

a. What can I learn here?
b. What is my part in this?
c. How can be helpful or turn this into a productive exchange?

L. Listen

Hear what the person saying. Listen, seriously. In order to actually hear, you have to do three things. 1) shut up 2) stop focusing on your clever comeback and 3) pause and give the person to a chance to say what they have to say (even if you already know it is idiotic). Listening, can actually diffuse a tense or heated state without even needing to say anything. Trust me, my staff has this one mastered.

T. Thank

Whaaatttttt? Are you serious? Yes, I am. This is part of learning, to respond and not just react. Note; there is a difference between reacting and responding – look it up. I swear they are not the same thing.

The Muse wrote an article in Forbes; they mentioned another great element that is worth implementing – “Thank him or her for sharing feedback with you. Don’t gloss over this—be deliberate, and say, ‘I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.’ Expressing appreciation doesn’t have to mean you’re agreeing with the assessment, but it does show that you’re acknowledging the effort your colleague took to evaluate you and share his or her thoughts.”

If you would like the other person(s) to change how they have spoken to you, now is the time to think of how you can help them communicate with you better. Try something like” “Hey I hear what you are saying (see the H in Halt) and I want to make this situation better too.” Using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ is a crucial communication tool. It’s the ‘wax on, wax off’ secret to successful communication.

Have some tips of your own to share? Even if they are not in the form of a clever acronym, I’d love to hear them. Tweet me @jax_Rosales

Let It Go – Helpful Advice, Not Just an Annoying Song

By | Be Reasonable, Take Risks | 24 Comments

My daughter, Antonella, is going to start 5th grade tomorrow. Every year for the first day of school we take a picture. We stand in front of the same tree, holding the same sign. Well, obviously the grade on the sign changes; but other than that, we stick to the system.

It is now 7:47 PM, 12 hours before the 5th grade commences, and more importantly our masterpiece  photo is taken. And, BOOM, she comes in and drops the bombshell of all bombshells. My beautiful Antonella has decided she wants to make her own sign. Yes, her OWN sign. Oh, and in case you haven’t figured out what this means, allow me to bring it home for you. It means the 5th grade sign will not match all the other signs!

What. The. Hell? The continuity of lovely matching signage for every first day of school, is now ruined forever. When I add the picture to my Facebook collage  EVERYONE is going to see it doesn’t match. Doesn’t she know this is crazy? If I post on Instagram, at least people can’t zoom in. Maybe they won’t notice. But what if they snapshot and then zoom in? This can’t really be happening.

Thankfully, I have learned to pause when agitated (I don’t always do that, but here’s a testament to my growth). Instead of insanely yelling how crazy this idea is, and that there is no possible way we can have a 5th grade sign that doesn’t match, I instead took a deep breath, paused, and asked how I could help. Turns out, I can’t help either. No matching sign and I am not allowed to help. This is madness.

As a boss, I am continually working on letting go. I am a work in progress when it comes to accepting that other people may have a different way of accomplishing the same goal. Their style, language and approach may be different.  I am consistently resisting the impulse to tweak or change EVERY SINGLE THING someone does. Believe it or not, I make a conscious decision each day to do this –  my main goal is growth, if I close the door to new ideas and opinions, the employee will never grow and nether will I.

Don’t get me wrong, I still jump in a lot. There are certain things I will always be maniacal about. I am doing everyone a favor by making sure they have funny stuff to talk about at my funeral someday. I do feel this has also been my biggest area of improvement over the last few years. The people who have worked with me long enough can attest, that I have grown immensely from where I started. Now, before I jump,  I implement the following list in my head (and being me, it comes into use over a dozen times per day.)

  • Is the task and/or objective ultimately being achieved?
  • Is the employee (or friend, daughter, husband etc.) getting it done in the appropriate time frame?
  • Can others that need to, understand the process and the result?
  • Are we meeting the budgets?
  • What ways can I coach and help support the individual as opposed to just dictate?
  • How do I give feedback when the first pass isn’t so great and not just take the task back?
  • Could their way be better? Can I learn something new?
  • Is there an opportunity for me to enhance or collaborate?
  • Am I going to die of embarrassment? – Ok, this one is more about the sign, but it does apply to marketing stuff too.

As a leader it is essential for me to understand where my areas of improvement are. I make an effort to surround myself with the people, in and out of the office, that will (respectfully) tell me where I can be a better me. I am a student first; I never want to stop learning. Growth is one of the most exciting aspects of my journey. I never want plateau or prevent a chance to be a better me for myself, my family or my business. If I get to that point, I need to find a better challenge. Or just have someone kick me in the ass.

Holy Bombshell. During the course of writing this BLOG it has also come to my attention that Antonella will not be wearing the black skirt. She will be wearing the blue one – AND WITH SNEAKERS. Not the new ones, the old ones. I may actually die.