Are you Present or Perfect?

Dear Readers,

Recently, I was preparing to do a live broadcast from the treadmill in hopes that my workout will inspire someone else to take the stairs today or do a workout themselves.

I started to hit “record” hesitated because I was looking at my grey hairs that are outnumbering my red ones and thinking, I should really put on some makeup and make sure my jewelry and shoes are matching and then I stopped myself and laughed to myself.

I was concerned with being perfect, not present.

Jeremy (my husband) had his gall bladder out last week and I am taking care of him for a few days. He really prefers to be left alone when he doesn’t feel well. Having been together for 10 years, it would SEEM that would be something I would know, right?

Not really, because I found myself wondering, “does he need a pillow, water, can I bring him some food? I even found myself wondering if I was “helping him correctly”– How silly is that? How can there be a wrong way to “help” someone.

I was concerned with being perfect, not present.

This morning, I was helping Vivienne eat her breakfast, and she was making quite the mess of it, and I realized midway to wiping her very messy face that she was delighted with the mess and I was frustrated by it. So I realized it, and in that moment, let it go and decided to just enjoy her enjoyment.

VivienneSmilesSeptember272018

This afternoon, I was giving an evaluation for one of my fellow Toastmasters, and I hesitated to share with the room that I didn’t know everything there was to know about the topic being talked about, I briefly considered not telling the room and just as quickly dismissed it. My evaluation was colored by the fact that there are many things I know about, this particular topic is not one of them. It turned out I was the ONLY person in the room who didn’t know about the subject or perhaps the only one willing to admit it.  I made a joke of it, because I was uncomfortable and then realized again that I was focused on the wrong thing.

I was concerned with being perfect, not present.

It’s perfectly human to want to be perfect, It’s imperfectly human to choose being present to allow for maximum human experience. – Professor Haston 

Think About It.

vivmombreastfeeding

The Case for Silliness

Dear Readers,

If you are reading this, know that what you are reading is true. There may be embellishments and some things that are not fully told because I think there is a fine line between transparency and oversharing.  That is my commitment to you with each post.

I really had a pretty non-existent childhood *save for one glorious summer in St. Louis, Thanks Aunt Nancy* and the sparse childhood I did have wasn’t a happy one.

Put another way, I was a grown up a long time before I reached age 18.

So last week I had a truly cathartic experience at this pop-up immersive installation called the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) Factory in Austin. It’s here for a limited time and if you are in Austin or in the surrounding area and you like taking selfies, this is the place for you!

However, upon reflection I realize it might be a good place for you if you had a crappy childhood as well.

So a part of my childhood that I don’t relish was the fact that I failed sixth grade. It happened for a variety of reasons but the biggest culprit? Algebra. It was my nemesis and for so many years before and after I told myself, “You are just bad at math” – I hate the notion and I hate that it was such a recurring tape recording for me for so long. Eventually I replaced that recording with, “Math is not that hard and I am getting better at it every day” and it took some time as well as a wonderful math professor to finally get me over it. John Thomason, I owe you thanks!

So see here, a picture of me “Conquering Algebra”-

(note the look of seriousness) “I OWN YOU MATH!”

JMacConquersMath

Another painful memory you may or may not share, I was never a cheerleader or member of dance team or any of the supporting team members I so desperately wanted to be part of though I certainly tried out for them all. You name it, I tried out for it.

Flag Team, Dance Team, Cheerleader, – No, No, No. I am treating it pretty lightly in this post, but at the time I was pretty devastated. Time really does help it hurt less!

Look, with the click of a camera, I am NOW a CHEERLEADER!

JMacTheCheerleader

The truth is while I am sad I was never a cheerleader (till now) it actually led me to theatre and acting, and while there has been a lot of rejection in that field too, it’s also led to some of the greatest times of my life not to mention friendships and collaborations I wouldn’t trade for anything so in the end, I guess it worked out the way it was supposed to.BahookieShootEm

I certainly take a good amount of grief from people for my silliness and exuberance but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s an integral part of who I am and what makes me, Me! It’s also what leads to amazing compliments like

“You are an adult Punky Brewster mixed with Carrie Bradshaw” 

JMacinthejoyofreimaginedaccess

So this place – FOMO Factory was actually there for me to help reimagine my childhood and if you will pardon the pun, allowed me to REFRAME like never before.

https://www.thefomofactory.com/

Happy to say they are extending to January! If you are in Austin, don’t miss your chance to relive your childhood or better yet, Reframe it!

#fomofactory

Why is it so hard to admit we don’t know?

Dear Readers,

In my role as coach it’s very tempting to pretend I know everything but that is so completely and utterly untrue. I am often surprised by how much I learn from my direct reports. They are experts in several subjects where I am a neophyte.

For instance, one of them baked 25 pies the day before Thanksgiving and while I could figure out how do that, I surely would not do it well my first time out! I bet she didn’t either!

Another person on my team is part of the agriculture community and she does a lot of farming with her family and again I think could figure out how to milk cows and do other tasks (see! I can’t even think of the basics of farming, let alone do them)  but I would definitely need a coach!

Today, I was not making pies or milking cows, but  found myself in a situation where I had to ask some questions about how to do something or how it worked. I have been “question girl” for most of my working life and yet it still fills me with dread to admit I don’t know or that I don’t fully understand something. Why?

What is so wrong with not knowing?

Why are we so afraid to admit we don’t know? If you are anything like me, you want to “look good” and keep “feeling” like the “expert” so you don’t ask or worse, pretend you know something to avoid asking the question and in so doing, you then tell someone else the wrong information. Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me and I had to go back to the person I misinformed and let them know, I made a mistake and this is actually the correct information.

It was humbling and a big relief that when I asked my questions today, someone else also had to ask in order to answer me. That means someone else ALSO didn’t know, and that is okay, because at the end of the day, when you are a supervisor or coach, you still get to have questions. It’s not as if when you accepted the position, you abdicated the right to ask questions or to say, “I don’t know”. I think the important part of this is that you know who does know or should know.

I think that when you hold a position of leadership it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to know all the answers. Guess what, you don’t. No one can! There is always something else to learn, so let go of that.

Think about it great coaches seek out other coaches. Getting back to my team examples, the pastry chef had someone give her a in-home study on pie baking and that’s not even her primary job any more. I am actively working on becoming a better speaker so I have enlisted the help of a coach myself and am actively getting better. I also have a music teacher who helps improve me each and every time I sing. So really, in having these mentors and coaches myself, I am figuratively saying, “I don’t know, teach me” and that can only make me better, right?

As lifelong learners, we are going to have to keep admitting we don’t know everything and the sooner we get comfortable with that, the better.

Think About It.

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Are you driving the BMW or Driving the ROLLS?

Dear Readers,

On January 2, 2018, I had a big goal.

I was going to put a note of gratitude in my Happiness/Gratitude Jar every day

My blog about the Happiness Jar Plan

and for a while there it was going really well, and then at the end of May, my husband got a blood clot (he is fine but it has caused some problems and a resulting surgery to correct) so I got a little ungrateful and unhappy. Then the first week in June, I got pneumonia and I got a little more ungrateful so I didn’t add anything to the jar. Finally in June, My daughter got Hand, Foot, and Mouth and I got plain mad and wasn’t even trying to be grateful. I also had a few other setbacks and things that just didn’t go my way, so I stopped doing the exercise of remembering to be grateful.

It was something that my good friend fellow writer, Juante Dailey brought to my attention when I was at the zenith of my ungratefulness and she noticed.

It was pretty hard not to notice.

I have named this, BMW’ing (Bellyaching, Moaning, and Whining) and she had me start a gratitude list that I send her every day and I have to say after doing this a while, (approximately 3 months) I recovered my sense of joie de vivre and started feeling gratitude again and I have even suggested it to a few other friends who are struggling to find the “happy” and they have told me it is helping.

I have also renewed my effort with the jar. Starting tonight, I will ask my husband what his “Happy” is for the day and add it to the jar.

I love acronyms so Another way to put it (thanks Aunt Nancy) is A-G-E

-1. What did I Accomplish Today? (A)

2.  What do I feel Grateful for Today? (G)

3. What Did I Enjoy Today? (E)

I thought it was appropriate and authentic as we head into this week of Thanksgiving to talk about things we are grateful for and I wanted to publicly thank Juante by sharing this awesome idea and give you my list of things I am grateful for today.

  1. I am grateful to God.
  2. I am grateful for my husband.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter. (see visual aid below)
  4. I am grateful to be alive and healthy.
  5. I am grateful to have many friends who will tell me the truth even when it’s not something I want to hear.
  6. I am grateful to have readers for this blog. *that means YOU*
  7. I am grateful to have family of choice and origin who I love.
  8. I am grateful to have clean drinking water.
  9. I am grateful to have a job I am good at and enjoy doing.
  10. I am grateful to live in a country where I am allowed to write about things that matter to me.
  11. I am grateful for other people and the ability to connect.
  12. I am grateful for foamy soap.
  13. I am grateful for rock star parking.
  14. I am grateful for technology.
  15. I am grateful for writing that inspires me to write better.
  16. I am grateful for songs that make me want to dance like no one is watching.
  17. I am grateful for movies that make me laugh and cry and everything in between.
  18. I am grateful to people who are engaged in the conversation to be better leaders.
  19. I am grateful for milk chocolate.
  20. I am grateful for meditation.

By the way, there is NO wrong way to do a list of gratitude. You can text it, you can write it and drop it in a jar. You can tell someone else. You can tell yourself. Don’t get hemmed in by worry that you are doing it “wrong”. There is no wrong in gratitude.

My first few were a rambling mess of the things I was mad about and just one or two things I was grateful for and then it grew.

What do you need to express gratitude for today? Do you have someone who can help you be accountable for being grateful?

Are you driving the BMW? (Bellyaching, Moaning and Whining) or are you driving the ROLLS? (Real Ongoing Life Lived Superbly) ?

Think About It…Gratitude2018

5 Takeaways from the Texas Conference for Women!

Dear Readers!

On Friday, it was my great privilege to attend the Texas Conference for Women!

My company actually paid for many of the women in leadership to go!

GO HOMEAWAY GO!

One of the many things I love about Expedia/HomeAway is their commitment to knowledge and learning. Many programs are offered internally to allow their employees the time for professional and personal development and it is such a joy to be able to take advantage of that benefit.  My dream is to speak there, but one day at a time, folks!

TXconfforwomen

There were 7500 people in attendance Friday.  Take a minute, drink that in…..

7500 people mostly women, and it was great to see some men as well!

The day started with a breakfast session with  (Anne Grady) about balance being bogus!

It really set the tone for my day because my normal habit in an environment like this is to take copious notes (which I never look at again) and really MISS out on the opportunity to really BE there.

Anne asked us to think about what we would do to really BE at the conference.

Some suggestions in the room were-

  1. Turn off the phone (Phone still distracting even if off & facedown)PhoneMindfulness
  2. Breathe –
  3. Focus on the last letter of the the last sentence that was spoken to maintain focus.    (I used this a LOT throughout the day)

So fed and ready I headed into the day-

There is really so much more to say than five takeaways AND one of the things I learned from my conference experience is sometimes it’s better to say it with less words and your time is valuable so I will hit the highlights!

  1. Always be early, you will get a good seat get your conference guide so you can plan out your day and map out your route for getting the most out of the conference.
  2. “We need accomplices, not allies”- Luvvie Ajayi
  3. ““Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. BIG Potential is what we can achieve together.”” –Shawn Achor
  4. “Choose discomfort over resentment”-Brene’ Brown (It’s not comfortable to say no, especially for women, we want to do it all, have it all and be ALL things. If you say no, you will be uncomfortable but you won’t resent the person you should not have said “yes” to if you go ahead and say “no”.
  5. Be bold, ask a question, sometimes it will lead to a great discussion! (this applies to individual networking, local meetings, as well as a conference like this!

In conclusion, if there is a Conference for Women in your area, I HIGHLY recommend you go, and encourage your company to invest in a table or two!

Think about it.

 

The Classroom of My Brain!

Dear Readers,

This week I was reminded of how important it is to always be open to feedback and education because things are always changing and shifting.

I was reviewing my benefits package for work and feeling grateful for the fantastic medical coverage that we have and the time that we are given to understand it and the fairs and the office hours and I started working on doing the calculations of what things were going to cost and things were not matching up. Jeremy was saying the same thing but I found myself getting emotional about it even though I knew what he was saying made absolute sense and he was right to question what I was saying. Why?

I think it works a little bit like this. In the great classroom of life, there are many students but let’s just focus on five for the purposes of this discussion.

Rational and Logical and Factual sit in the front row of the class and they take notes and raise their hand and are on task and do NOT stray from the lesson at hand.

Emotional and Creative sit in the middle of the class or near the back or maybe even on the floor and are painting or finding it hard to follow everything because they are wrapped up in the rainy day outside or the beautiful drawing they just did to depict what is going on in class but not really taking in the lesson.

Emotional and Creative are just as valuable to the class but they don’t really get along with Rational and Logical and Factual because they want to talk about the teacher’s hair or the way the chalk on the board smells or how beautiful the decorations in the room are and Rational, Logical, and Factual are all business and don’t have time for all that.

I guess the idea is to find a way for all five of these to co-exist and to remind yourself to ALWAYS be LEARNING. There is always another thing to learn.

There is always something you can learn from another person whether it’s “this is a good way to act” or “what they said made a lot of sense, I am getting emotional about it because I have my own stuff going on” or “I don’t plan to act that way at all, so this is a good example of how not to act” the combinations are endless.

The best example I can give is that when given the opportunity to get defensive and upset about something that was a perfectly logical and rational dispute of factual information, I gave it up and said, WAIT, time to call on Rational and Logical and Factual, since now is NOT the time for Emotional.

It has taken me many years to get there and I don’t always call the right members from the classroom of my brain, and I am still learning.imagejfminc

Think About It.

 

 

Brush those teeth!

 

VivienneHalloween16-17-18

Dear Readers,

This morning I had a root canal. It hurt and I am just starting to feel a little better.

I post a lot about being intentional and taking care of your health both mental and physical. Your dental health is no different!

I want to be really clear here, I used to LOATHE the dentist, and avoid going like the plague because invariably, I would hear bad news. Guess what?

When I didn’t go, it’s not like the bad news stopped, I just waited longer to hear it, and took longer to treat it and you guessed it, it hurt that much more.

Genetically I have bad teeth. I come by it honestly but the truth is, I had HORRIBLE dental hygiene for many years. I would brush religiously for a while but then stop because I wasn’t seeing any results. 

It was about four years ago that I finally started to really start to see the results of taking my dental hygiene seriously. I am delighted to report that I have had steadily good reports from my dentist and then in July, I had a bite of an ice cream sandwich and I chipped a tooth.

I waited way too long to get it looked at because it didn’t actually start hurting till September, and then it was intermittent pain. I would have days with no pain at all and then other days where it was hard to talk. I saw my dentist and they referred me to an endodontist (for those who don’t know, they are the SAVER of TEETH) to get the root canal done. I was not looking forward to it and in truth was feeling pretty frustrated that after all my good work, I was BACK at the danged dentist getting treated. UGH!

Then I realized something, I haven’t NEEDED dental work in 4 years. That in and of itself is AMAZING.

It’s so easy when you are on the journey to lack the perspective of how far you have come. 

I am not out of the woods because I still need to get the crown and part of me wants to put it off, ( I REALLY don’t LIKE PAIN) but I know if I do, that is going to lead to more pain so I am going to get it scheduled as soon as possible because I also know with being intentional, you have to actually put a date on it and plan it.

Speaking of intentional, we are modeling the behavior we want Vivienne to exhibit so of course when she turned two last month, we had an appointment to get her to a dentist but realized as we were heading to the appointment, Oh no! We forgot to add her to our dental plan so we couldn’t go see the dentist yet.

I really, really, really hope she does not inherit my bad teeth but if she does, I know that we can get her off on the right foot. Brush twice a day, no flossing yet, but we will get there.

This is awkward to talk about, but I am sharing my humiliation and shame over my bad teeth in the hope that you (that’s right, you!) will take an action on something that maybe you are ashamed of or have been putting off because you think there will be pain.

As motivators go, pain is not my favourite, and it’s a strong one.

Do you want to know a better motivator? My daughter picking up her Halloween candy tonight, reminding me that I have to help her take good care of her teeth so she doesn’t face this same pain.

For instance, when was the last time you saw your dentist? How about your doctor?

What other appointments do you keep putting off because you are scared or don’t have time?

One step at a time, one foot in front of the other, you can do it!

In case you are anything like me- you may need steps – here are my tips for good dental health!

1. Set a reminder for yourself and floss, brush and mouthwash twice daily

(Can you say Alexa or Google?)

2. Make it fun, pick a toothpaste that will help you work on your problem areas but put fun stickers on your tube of toothpaste (this will likely be good for kids but no reason to not have fun as an adult, right?)

3. Realize baby steps (daily activity) will REALLY work.

 

Think About It.