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How Am I Going To Get It All Done?: A Thanksgiving Reflection

(disclaimer: this is not a blog about cooking a turkey!)

Have you ever heard the expression, “The days are long, but the years are short,”? It’s true of parenthood, and also of running a business. Sometimes I blink and a month has gone by! When you’re juggling work, dinner, the kids’ soccer practices, the dog, the laundry, the bills and the raking those endless piles of leaves, it’s easy to get mired in the day-to-day and forget all about your big picture goals. 

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who practice self-reflection and regularly takes a step back to reflect on my big picture goals. And, since it’s nearly Thanksgiving, this seemed as good a time as any. This is rough, but here goes:

Who I Was

When I first started Listed Treasures, I would often act hastily, making rash decisions that were based on emotion, rather than facts. I once sent an angry email when I thought I had gotten ripped off by a friend. Instead of taking the time to understand the numbers better, I just reacted. I assumed the worst of my friend, and I hurt her. I regret that.

Why was I so quick to judge and so knee-jerk in my responses? Did I think I needed to have all the answers right there on the spot? Was I afraid that I’d appear unprepared or unqualified if I didn’t react immediately? And why did I think she would take advantage of me? I know now that behaving so rashly limited my success. I’ve realized it takes both confidence and humility to respond to someone upsetting you with, “You’ve given me a lot to think about.” Even saying a simple, “Hmm. I’m not sure about that yet,” can be an appropriate and diffusing response.  Getting the last word in is only necessary in a hip hop battle. 

It wasn’t until I released control and began to trust people that real growth (and success) truly began. And when I say “real growth” I’m talking about my company growing, my family growing and, most importantly, my sense of my own potential expanding. It’s a big step, but important step to learn to delegate and to allow people to help you.

Who I Am Now & Where I’m Going

Confidence is a tricky thing. It’s the thing you need most to succeed, and yet, you can only really learn about it through failure. I learned to take my time, listen carefully, and wait until I have all the information before I respond. That’s growth! (Or basic adulthood?)

My big picture goals now involve scaling up Listed Treasures to be able to serve more clients more efficiently.  We’ll keep the same business model, but grow it exponentially. This is a scary amount of growth! I know it’s the right direction, but I wonder how I’m going to “get it all done”. 

How Am I Going To Get It All Done? could be the title of my memoir. The thing is, though, from all my life’s gaffs and blunders, I now know exactly how I’m going to get it all done. The only way I’ll achieve my goals is to lean on the talented people I’ve hired. And not only that, I have to get out of their way so they can perform. That means letting go, trusting, and placing my confidence in them. My team regularly provides encouragement, calls me out when needed, and ensures I “pace” my dreams with what’s realistic. It’s only fitting that I do the same for them.

Now What?

Now I call my team and tell them how thankful I am for them.  I infuse my work and home life with the question: what kind of neighbor, friend, parent, daughter or boss do I want to be? I focus on being a leader, and telling everyone, and not just on Thanksgiving, how grateful I am for the opportunity to learn from them. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Goodbye Harrowed, Hello Halloween!

Fall got a late start, and sometimes it feels like the weather these days is reflecting the state of my home. Unpredictable, too hot, and, some days, just plain weird. And, like Mother Nature, this mama is playing catch up to bring my family into fall. Translated: we’re in a mad dash to get Halloween costumes together and throw up our motley assortment of decorations!

Let’s talk about Halloween. (Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to be an historical analysis about the day with religious or pagan descriptions. It also isn’t going to be a tirade against candy. I’ll leave that to the dental blogs.) Love it or hate it, Halloween is approaching, and, bear with me, I believe it offers A LOT for kids and grown-ups alike. I believe it can bring out the best in us. And, if you ignore Halloween, it can make you a bitter, seething adult. 

Halloween, for me, was an opportunity to forget everything: every emotional hang-up, every deadline looming, every thought I have and just focus on fun. The fun of assembling a costume you can’t wait to put on for a party you can’t wait to get to. The fun of thinking about how that character/object speaks and will I want to speak in an accent this Halloween to be fully thematic? The fun of getting candy (I’m partial to Twix), and ripping it open to eat the first one mid-trick-or-treating. The fun of making brain-shaped Jell-O and seeing my friends’ reactions to it. The fun of looking like someone else for a day. 

But I haven’t done any of that in a long time. I’ve focused on my kids and their fun. Between running Listed Treasures and being a mom I sometimes find Halloween to be a chore. Another thing I have to do. It seems I forgot about the brain Jell-O. I stopped celebrating Halloween for me

My neighbors have reclaimed their Halloween fun. They decorate like the ghost of Vincent Price is coming to town, and throw adult get togethers in the cul-de-sac with adult beverages and Halloween-themed snacks. We recap the trick-or-treating and costume making debacles, we tell our kids “No more candy!” while we sneak Reese’s ourselves, and, most importantly, we laugh. We laugh so much. And usually, I do it all in my regular, boring jeans and sweatshirt.

Before kids, I really went all out on my costume. I have a long history of extraordinary costumes, including dressing up as early career Britney Spears. I even performed a lip sync for a gymnastics gym full of kids! I also have a tradition of dressing up like the person that invited me to the party when I do go to a Halloween party.  It’s REALLY fun to see the looks on the hosts face when they see me in character as them! I act the part too!

I haven’t dressed up in a few years. It’s been a big enough task to get my kids into the costumes of their dreams. But this year, I’m reclaiming my right to have fun on Halloween. Don’t happy parents make happy kids? And if that’s not a saying I’m going to start saying it and make it one. 

This year, I’m going to dress up. I can’t tell you what my costume will be because it’ll probably be an eleventh hour effort. But I’m making the commitment! 

Let’s reclaim Halloween and have a real night of fun for ourselves. Come on and dress up, too. Tell me your costume–or send me a pic! Happy Halloween!