Progress not Perfection… Really? Really.

Dear Readers,

Last week I made a post about the importance that of connection.

Ideally, that means ALL the time, but as I pointed out last week, we are so busy with life, work, school and you name it, you are probably busy with it!

So the goal is 9 minutes a day with your child partner or both.

The first three minutes when they wake up.

The first three minutes when you pick them up from school.

The last three minutes before bed.

I got really excited about this because it sounded easy.

”Beware things that seem easy, they will actually challenge you the most” – Professor Haston

So I am here to humbly report the failure to achieve perfection of this goal last week. To steal a phrase from my improv days, “I FAILED”

And, I did make progress. Not the first day,  I had plans so I only got to see her during one of those times, I had dinner with my family, so I was able to “Mom” “Wife” and “Friend” YAY! Jeremy cooked and I thanked him and helped him feed her. Tuesday I was super tired from the day so I did not do anything to make those three minutes special with husband or child. Wednesday, I had an unexpected (hello life!)) errand that I had to run and that caused me to just have bedtime and We read her book and tucked her in so progress.  On Thursday, when I picked her up from Dad’a work, (he picked her up from school) I asked her how her day was and asked, “Are you ready to go?” and I waited and from the backseat, came a decidedly strong, “GO”

Great moment!!!!!

All this to say, I made progress last week, and it’s hard. It may seem like I am being hard on myself, but really I am not. I am saying what happened and what I want to be different about what happened.

That’s gathering data, and experimenting with better ways to connect with the people who matter most.

For example, today, I came home and totally forgot about those three minutes right when I got home. I had battled traffic and was not in the greatest of moods so I changed into my mommy clothes and came back out in a far better mood, so THEN I was able to connect better with my family.

Better connection to others starts with you being more in tune with you.

Before those all important three minutes, check YOUR emotional temperature. Are you filled up or do you need a little extra self-care before giving to others?

Put another way, the first time you do something, you are pretty much guaranteed to suck at it. So “embrace the suck” (like Brené Brown says) and do it badly, but don’t let that stop you from ACTUAL progress in the pursuit of perfection.

Think About It.

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(Above- Child dismantles room instead of napping) she is quite pleased with herself)  Definitely not perfect…

 

Three Times A Day For Better Connection!

Dear Readers,

As a manager of people, including my child, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to connect with people in the hustle and bustle of the daily messages and busyness of life because of course the goal is spending as many “connected” moments as you can have with your kid or partner, and we all have lives to live and jobs to do, so you have to pick your moments. A few months ago, I was doing some of this “ways to connect” research and found this article which discusses three key points to better connect with ( a child) or perhaps a partner.

Ready? Here it is!

In a nutshell?

You can VASTLY improve your relationships 9 minutes a day, 3 minutes at a time.

3 minutes at the start of the day (when you first wake up)

Those first 3 minutes when they or you get home from work/school.

The last three minutes before bed.

Don’t take my word for it, here is some more tips from the source.

The Nine Minutes that have the Greatest Impact

I have a confession, I am not tge most patient person in the world. I am not even the second most patient person in the world. I am likely the 11,119th patient person in the world. All of this to say, I work on being patient every day, and some days, I am GREAT at it, and some days I am REALLY bad at it, and I am reminded of something our doctor told us.

“I have two kids and I mess up ALL  the time. I tell them, “Mommy is working on that, and she is having a hard time”

That stopped me in my tracks, I mean this was my doctor, who is a pediatrician! She takes care of kids for a LIVING! So if she screws up, and admits it, what makes me think I am going to be better.

However, nine minutes a day? I can do that! It’s tangible, it’s concrete and it’s something I can do. I chose these pictures below because each one represents a moment of connection or truly “being there” and connecting with my partner or my child.

Maybe your relationships are perfect and you don’t need tweaks or connection tips, but I highly doubt that this wouldn’t improve even the best of relationships.

Do you think it might help yours?

Think About It.

Lean into Joy, not Impostor Syndrome, that guy sucks!

Dear Readers!

I am excited to share with you that I have moved to a new company and a new role!

Ripe with possibility and challenge! I am doing my best to feel it all, and experience it all.

Brené Brown says, “Lean into the joy” or “’ What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch”

Impostor syndrome or as it’s alternately named, Vulnerability threatens to overtake my joy.

ImpostorSyndrome -“Hey, Jennifer, Why would you choose to do something new, what makes you think you can do that?

Me- Oh Hi!  You are right on schedule! You are here to tell me all the things I am scared of, glad to see you are consistent, every time I do something new and different you show up. My studies and experience tells me that “FEAR” only shows up when you are doing something that matters, so thanks for showing me I am on the right track!

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if that’s how it really went? That’s actually my fantasy of how it goes…

Truth? Most of the time, Impostor Syndrome shows up, crashes on the couch, eats all our food and watches the worst television show ever (loudly) and proceeds to tell us often and loudly how badly we are screwing up something that we have never even tried!

Our only job when this happens is to refute those lies with truth.

Sample-

Impostor Syndrome-“Who are you to do (big, scary thing)?

You- “Who am I not to?

Impostor Syndrome- “Why did you wait so long to do ———? It’s too late?

You- On the contrary, this is the perfect time, and I am right where I need to be.

Impostor Syndrome- “What if you are wrong?

You- “Then I will try something else. You can’t scare me from doing new things, because even if I fail, I learn.

Impostor Syndrome: Huh. I can’t really argue with that. (Slinks away)

What do you need to say to YOUR Impostor Syndrome to overcome it?

Think About It.

 

Annie Faust- A portrait in persistence!

Dear Readers,

This post is dedicated to my good friend Annie Faust!

BraveAnnie

She did something that scared her out of her wits four years ago, she joined Birdhouse Toastmasters because I asked her to come to a meeting. She kept coming to the meetings and learning and being scared and still she kept showing up to meeting after meeting, speech after after speech, role after role.

Persistence in the face of fear, that’s called courage.

Four years is a long time and in that time I have seen her career flourish and her take on roles to speak, to evaluate and eventually to lead and I am so proud of her and her progress.

It must be said, I can’t take all the credit. Yes, I invited her to the first meeting (she didn’t want to go, she told me recently) AND she had to choose to take the steps to go, just like she had to take steps to give a speech, evaluate a speech and choose to be an advocate for herself and her goals.

Here, you can see her giving a public speaking seminar to 42 people! Definitely outside of her comfort zone and she did it beautifully!

PublicSpeaking101May20191

She let me part of it so I could demonstrate some power posing Thanks Amy Cuddy! 

WONDERWOMAN2019

You might inspire someone, if you just try.

Think About It!

“No” isn’t always a bad thing

Dear Readers,

Hearing “No” isn’t always a bad thing. I know, this is a hard sell, but stick with me, I come bearing examples to illustrate my point!

Allison Janney- auditioned for “Frasier” but she didn’t get it and I am sure she was pretty unhappy, but she didn’t know that “The West Wing” was on the horizon, waiting to make her famous.

Allison Janney was almost on Frasier! 

Robert De Niro was almost “Sonny Corleone” instead of “Vito”

Eric Stoltz was almost Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” instead of Michael J. Fox?

Justin Hartley- auditioned for a television movie as Mandy Moore’s love interest, he didn’t get it and I am sure he was pretty upset because, you know, rejection sucks.

However, a few years later, he auditioned for “This Is Us” to play her son and he got that part. He has said that he is extremely grateful for the first “no” because if he had played her love interest, he would be pretty certain to not be able to play her son.

In another example, Dick Van Dyke ALMOST played James Bond– and Pierce Brosnan almost snagged the role way back in 1985! Interestingly enough, my top pick, Clive Owen turned it down repeatedly.

Dick Van Dyke as Bond and other nearly cast actors

Show business is rife with examples just like these and it’s a good reminder that the “no” that we hear while hard at the time are usually stand ins for “new opportunities” that would not have come our way if we had heard “yes” rather than the dreaded “no”.

What does all of this have to do with me, you ask?

Well, I have received a few of those no’s lately and without boring you with the details I will simply say, it’s been hard. Rejection sucks and no matter how much you “spin it”     (A great specialty of mine!) it still SUCKS out LOUD to be rejected.

The thing I try to focus on is there is a very big world out there and new opportunities pop up all the time. Easy to say and think, hard to keep it in mind when the rejections come in and beat you down.

In times like these I try to reflect a bit on the past and when I have felt down and out and done, and then I look a little further down the road and look to see how things turned out.  The week before my wedding in 2011, I got fired.  It’s really easy to see NOW how that was a great opportunity, but at the time? I was terrified and not sure what I was going to do. I can report it turned out pretty great because I found a job that I have had and thrived in for the past 7 years. I am reflecting on that time a lot this week, because I will be saying goodbye to that job this Sunday.

It’s definitely not been a decision we made lightly and it’s the right decision for our family.

I am excited to see what unfolds on the road in front of me!

VivDaddyMomWorkVisitJanuary2019

But back to you, dear reader, what are you hearing “no” about that you can reframe as “not yet” or “next opportunity” or “this just means something great is just around the corner”?

I am aware that sometimes that is NOT what you want to hear when you get that “no”, and what I am asking that you do is go ahead and vent and cry and be mad about your “no” and then reframe and then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try, try, again.

Think About It.

 

 

 

 

Treasure the Ordinary, it’s Amazing!

 

Dear Readers,

I can’t stop thinking about this quote –

“In chasing the extraordinary, we can miss the ordinary moments that we would crave if they were taken away”- Brené Brown

I was reflecting on this today as I pondered our Mother’s Day.

I was more than a little bummed because we had planned to go to karaoke and I had all these great plans to sing song after song but what had happened was, I sang once, Jeremy sang once, and we had a burger, and then we had to go get kiddo from daycare.

I replayed the night in my head and hit a few highlights and then realized, it had actually been a GREAT day and night. I worked an earlier shift so I could have the night off, (thanks Sherita!) then I went to get my nails done to feel pampered (Thanks Jeremy!) and when I got home Miss Vivienne was not awake from her nap yet so Jeremy and I got to take a nap (I LOVE SLEEP) and then I got ready for our date night and got to hang out with Vivienne as we were taking her down the stairs, I asked Jeremy to take a picture because I remember she had done it a few days before but I didn’t have time to stop capture it.

 

The drop in daycare closed at 8, we had to go get her, and also because they closed at 8, we could go have a family dinner together and while pretty ordinary fare, it was an extraordinary day and night of family togetherness.

What could you be missing out on that’s “ordinary” by searching for the extraordinary?

Think About It.

The Value Of Being There

Dear Readers,

This past week I was able to “be there” for a dear friend of mine. He had a BIG moment in his career and I was able to see him perform! Congratulations Gab!

 

There were some things that happened to make this possible (not the least of which being my wonderful husband coming up with the idea!) but upon reflecting on this, I found myself recollecting times that other people have “been there” for me and thought it was a good time to call some of them out. *Note- this is not a comprehensive list*

This trip was actually inspired by a surprise that someone else gave to me and my husband, so I will start there. Our good and dear friends, Mike and Leanne Schmidt, I still get choked up when I think about this, they were building their business and we asked them to come to cheer us on (as they had for the three long years it took us to get out of debt) because we were going to be in Nashville to do our debt-free scream on the Dave Ramsey show, and they told us they couldn’t make it, we of course understood, because part of learning budgets is also learning boundaries. No is a complete sentence, but then LO and BEHOLD, they showed up anyway! Surprise!

ALLTHEDEBTFREETEAM

Joan Ellen Young, the most important “being there” of my life, she saw me when I was 14 years old, alone and not cared for at all. She decided to be there for me and it has made ALL the difference. I could write an epic novel about all the times she has been there for me, holding my feet to the fire and keeping me accountable to the promises I have made. She is here now, helping me be a great mom to Vivienne.

 

Then, there is John Ulmo. A wonderful man who died too young. He was one of the first people to “be there” for me when I was growing up, I was 16 the year I met John and he consistently made me laugh and was always challenging the way I thought about myself and others. He helped me find my first of 3 jobs as I was preparing to move away from New Orleans. I know that he is looking down from Heaven and is proud of me and the woman I am becoming.

Next, the one, the only, Alan, he won’t read this and that’s okay. Our friendship is stronger than the reading of a few blog posts. He taught me how to drive my car,  how to be an excellent friend, and the value of shared experiences. He also taught me about books and movies and the meaning of the phrase, “No taboos”.

AlanJenniferWedding

Started out as my walking buddy, but she has become, oh, so much more, Susie “Sedona”  to my “Sparkles”, oh, my sweet friend, you inspire me in so many ways, every day and every way, thank you for teaching me about how important it is to strive and BE BOLD.

 

Next, my sister from another mother, Dr. Keya Howard Litt, two years ago, she came to see my show “My Big Fat Bahookie” and it meant the world to me. She also babysat for us so Jeremy and I could have a “Date Afternoon” and it was just because she wanted to be there. Lest I forget, just a few months ago, she found a free hour in a thoroughly packed weekend (for both of us) to SURPRISE me with a visit and a cup of tea! That is only the tip of the veritable iceberg of an incredible friendship that continues to grow and grow. Thank you Dr. Howard- You are an amazing friend and you “touch” my heart constantly.

 

Rachel, my sweet magnolia friend, a few months ago, Rachel dropped everything to “be there” for me and as long as I live I will not forget that kind and wonderful gesture. Truthfully, there have been many times that she has “dropped everything” to be there for me, these are just a few pictures to depict that and I hope she knows the value I find in her ongoing friendship and love. My one and only, CB!

 

My sweet SWADIC, Jessi- there really aren’t words to cover the “being there” that she is, has been for a long time now and I am sure a long time to come. She has helped me grow and become stronger with the ability to express what I want and to stand up for my own opinions in the face of strong opposition. We definitely don’t agree on everything, (like the awesomeness of the colour blue!) and we are there for each other, consistently and without fail.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the true champion of being there, my one and only true love, my soul mate, my husband, my partner in crime, my “I love you 3000” Jeremy.

 

I have often said to my mom, what is the value of being there? She turned the question back on me and said, What did it mean to you that I was there? Everything.

What can you do to “be there” for someone today? It doesn’t have to be a plane or train ride, though that’s available (hint, hint!) you can text, or send someone a note in the mail  but think about what it might mean to the person who receives it?

Think About It.