Category Archives: Personal

Worth The Wait

Remember Waiting?

All the buzz around Snapchat and its decline of Facebook’s $3 billion acquisition offer has caused quite a stir. But I’m not here to offer another analysis on whether it was a smart move or not. No, there are plenty of those articles written by people much smarter than I. Rather, I’m looking at the concept of the app and the demographics of the audience gobbling it up. I was reminded that Snapchat’s young Millennial users have “never known life without the Internet,” and thus, rarely a life with wait time. Hence the reason Snapchat – with text and photo messages that disappear in a few seconds – is so popular with this crowd. Everything is here, now. Blink – and you miss it.

I’m getting old, I know this. Because all of this news made me think about what a valuable lesson (multiple lessons, really) it was for me as a teen to learn to wait. Waiting is hard. And that’s what makes it so good.

Unlike today’s instant gratification, give-it-to-me now generation, my generation had to wait.

We waited for remote control TVs (my brother used to torture me if I didn’t get up and turn that dial for him).  We waited for real home cooked meals, prepared by parents who we had to wait for to arrive home from work (in the days when people didn’t work 24/7), and we had to wait for everyone to sit down at the table before we could eat. We ate together and everyone waited – and talked – for everyone else to be finished before asking to be excused.

We had to wait to use the phone. And when we finally got our turn, we had to wait for it to dial as it went around…..and around…. and around…  seven whole times before a connection was made!

We had to wait for our MTV. But it was totally worth it.

We had to wait for Casey Kasem to go through 40 whole songs to tell us every week what the Top song was. And we had to wait – two fingers on each the “record” button and the “play” button – for our favorite songs to be played so we could make a crude copy for home listening. On our boom boxes. Otherwise, we’d be waiting forever for the tapes (not the gift wrapping kind) to arrive in our local record store. Yes, I said record store. They were cool.

We had to wait to go shopping. At a store. For me, living in Wyoming as a teen, the closest mall was three hours away! No online shopping – which was probably a good thing for my folks.

We had to wait for mail. The kind that arrives in a mailbox on the street and has letters from people who wrote them. On paper. With ink.

We had to wait for photos. Yes, seriously. We took them, having no idea what they looked like and then we had to go drop them off at a store and wait, like, a whole week to get them developed. They were on this thing called film. And when we finally got them back, we couldn’t crop and edit and get rid of our red eye. Tragic.

We had to wait for movies. To arrive in theaters. Where we had to wait in line to buy tickets!

We had to wait for the coolest, latest books and posters, which we ordered through Scholastic school fundraising. And the day your shipment arrived in class it was so awesome! Because we had been waiting!

And I remember the biggest “waiting” lesson of all that my parents taught me. To not rush everything – to enjoy the wait. Because half the fun is in the anticipation. Before you know it, it’s over.

With instant access, gratification, delivery, results – what do today’s kids wait for? Do they know the feeling of anticipation, patience and reward? And if not, how will it affect their adulthood? Do they appreciate what they have because they get everything they want on demand?

I know I struggle with this in raising my children. They have little patience and short attention spans. It amazes me sometimes how they are constantly thinking of what’s next instead of enjoying what’s happening now – because they don’t want to wait even one minute for something they’re in the middle of.

Waiting is good. Does anyone else remember this feeling?

The Things They Say

Yesterday was the first day of school for my sons. At the end of the day I interrogated them like all good Moms do, including questions about girls.

“So, are there any cute girls in your class?” I asked my new third grader.

“Nope. There are no cute girls in the whole school.” he replied.

“Really?” I say. “Why, they won’t allow cute girls in?”

“That’s right,” he replies. “So Mom, you can’t ever come to school.”

Oh, this kid is good.

#40 of #365LifeLessons – Get Back Up Again

My beautiful son, you are entering middle school in exactly one month and three days. It will be a time of great change and great challenge for you. I won’t embarass you here with what I really think, but suffice it to say that you will need to learn to get knocked down, and get back up again.

This lesson in life will never end. Even now, at 42, I have to heed it. Yesterday was a tough day. I took some time to wallow in the way that I do – slow songs, dessert, a few private tears – but today I got back up again, I dusted off my knees and I got back out there. It’s what you do – you get back up again.

Remember:

  • Time really does heal most wounds
  • Things always get better, even when you feel like they never will
  • When we’re down, the only way to look is up
  • Rely on those who love you in both the good and the bad times
  • Talk about issues with someone you trust – don’t internalize it
  • God does not give us anything that we cannot handle
  • Middle school – and who  you are now – does not define you, I swear!
  • Be true to yourself and be good to yourself – and demand that others are, too

Vince-1

Part of the Series What I’ve Learned, What I’m Learning – #365LifeLessons

#39 of #365LifeLessons – Be a Good Sport

Michael Jordan was undoubtedly an amazing basketball player. But you know what made him even better? His attitude about his team and his understanding that regardless of how great an individual he was, he was better with his team.

I’ve got two points today about being a good sport, inspired by the video below form MJ.

1) As awesome as HE was, MJ always focused – and still does here – on the TEAM. We could all use some of that mentality – how do I help the TEAM win? What’s my role in making the TEAM amazing? Who won? Who lost? The TEAM. If you’re focused on the ME in TEAM – at work, in sports, at school, at home, etc. – you don’t get it. (If you’re my sons reading this, I hope I raised you to totally get this video.)

2) Be respectful, always. As an individual, display respect for your coach, your teammates and the opposing team – even if you lose. Work hard and don’t cheat. Accept your losses as gracefully as you celebrate in your wins. Be an example as you go. Never forget where you came from.

As a society, we need to push harder to cultivate and demand respect and behavior from ANY athlete – from grade school to the pros. If we didn’t tolerate and cover up bad behavior just because someone’s a good athlete, perhaps we wouldn’t be facing sad news stories like the one coming out of Boston today. I’m sure Hernandez displayed some bad behavior or anger management issues along the way that should have been addressed before it resulted in what, allegedly, is now murder.

Our society has become so obsessed with winning that we’ve forgotten what true greatness means. Greatness is natural, not forced. Greatness is inspiring, not intimidating. And greatness is what you will achieve if you follow the right path.

Part of the Series What I’ve Learned, What I’m Learning – #365LifeLessons

#38 of #365LifeLessons: Life Isn’t Perfect, But @SteveTobak Says It Can Be Successful – And Happy

My last blog post over the weekend was a facetious response to a conversation happening on my Facebook page. The conversation centered around how open one should be on social media – should we treat it like a holiday card and pretend that everything is always good – only posting the highlights of life? Is it okay to admit when we’ve got troubles? Why do people Vaguebook? With the cross of business and personal relationships, the opinions vary.

I’ve been asked many times – especially in interviews about being a female entrepreneur – how I manage to be so open and honest with some aspects of my life while also running a business. I remember at a conference a few years ago, one woman said she really admired how I talked about having kids – as though admitting that fact would be hazardous to my career. She said it inspired her to open up to clients “a little” and admit she has children. (That issue is a whole other blog post topic.)

Like everyone else, I’m just trying to live a balanced life. I don’t have all the answers and a lot of times I need inspiration, too. I found this interesting list of Six Ways to Be Successful & Happy, including “Quit trying so hard to get somewhere; Build Real Relationships and Do One Thing at a Time” by Steve Tobak at Inc Magazine. I thought it was a fascinating list, one which fits into the theme of building both a successful work and personal life. Consider it today’s lesson.

What I’ve Learned, What I’m Learning – #365LifeLessons

37 of #365LifeLessons – Finding Your Passion

Finding your passion can be, believe it or not, hard work (especially for work). Start with making a list of things you enjoy & things that make you happy. And remember, these things can evolve over time. It’s better to make a conservative living doing something you love than to be wealthy doing something you hate. Here’s someone who says it a whole lot better than me, by the way: I Can’t Get No (Job) Satisfaction

25-36 of #365LifeLessons – Music, Exploration, Apologies

25) They say business isn’t personal, it’s just business. But when it’s such a major part of someone’s life, it is indeed personal. Remember this both when you’re employer and employee, and act accordingly.

26) Learn to say you’re sorry but don’t be overly apologetic (you know those people who say “sorry” about everything they do… yuck.)

27) Explore before settling down. There’s always time to settle down.

28) Pack light and bring a credit card.

29) Learn to play the guitar. It can bring you solace when you’re alone, entertain a group of friends and warm up a campsite, a party or even a date.

30) Send her flowers for no reason at all.

31) Call your Mother weekly. 😉

32) Plan to learn a new skill every year. Even if you never again apply it.

33) Create something with your hands – a tree house, a go kart, a desk, a house… something that will always make you proud when you look at it.

34) Learn how to be alone.

35) Write it down. Visit it again in a few days, months, years… you’ll be amazed at your perspective.

36) Don’t keep up with the Joneses. It’s a boring game that no one ever wins.

What I’ve Learned, What I’m Learning – #365LifeLessons