Jumping for joy.

wendyjumping This is me at Blissdom last year. Alli took the pic. And I love it.

In 3 days, I’m jumping on a plane and headed to Dallas. Yes, to Blissdom! I’m having a tough time deciding what I’m most excited about:

  1. Seeing old friends
  2. Making new friends
  3. Teaching/speaking about Using Data for Creative and Impactful Marketing
  4. Hearing Chris Mann sing
  5. Seeing C.C. Chapman speak about Living An Amazing Life
  6. Sleeping in my own room (Sorry, Andrew. But, it’s just 2 nights!)
  7. Offline time with some of my Cabot colleagues

If you see me there, please say hello!

Tick. Tock.

photo credit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cema
photo credit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cema

I would not call myself a procrastinator. But some projects are just hard to start. Once I get my head around this, I know I’ll be super productive.

But meantime, I learned some new ways to tie a scarf and did you see they’re featuring a funny shopping bag at Fab today?

It’s about the math and science.

We had a pool table in our basement growing up. I remember my father telling me that being a good pool player was all about the math and science. You know – geometry, angles, that kind of math along with some physics.

And I tried and tried to think of it that way, but it didn’t work for me.

I totally got that you had to hit the cue ball in just the right spot to propel it the right direction to hit the intended ball in the right spot to cause it to go the direction I wanted. And at the right speed.

I got that.

And some of you might say that’s physics and geometry. But I call it logic.

Now I don’t need you telling me that it’s math and science.

Labels, schmables.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was trying to work out how to handle a business issue. I don’t have an MBA. I’m not an accountant – nor am I an attorney. But you known what? I understand the intent of contracts and how to do business. I understand an agreement, a handshake, and expectations.

Of course, I have professionals to do all that fancy stuff. But I don’t need fancy-degreed folks to tell me what’s right and wrong.

It’s logic.

Rubber stamps.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist. And I’m not saying that’s a good thing. There are times when I’m sure that I should let it go, but I want my work product to be as good as I can possibly make it.

I think my clients appreciate it. And I know they trust that I’ll do my very best for them. And I do.

But I wasn’t always like this.

A perfectionist, I mean.

My first job. I was about 10. Maybe a little younger – I don’t know for sure. My dad ran a magnet factory. Yup, folks, you heard me right. A magnet factory.

How’s business? Picking up! (yuk yuk yuk)
What an attractive business!
Strongest in the magnetic field.
You know, opposites attract.
Yes, I’ve heard ’em all.

But I digress.

So my dad hired me when I was probably still in elementary school.

My job? To stamp the manilla envelopes. Small ones. Coin envelope size. Inside each was a sheet of magnutties – a sheet of scored magnetic rubber that you could break apart into 50 (or was it 100?) little teeny rubber magnets.

All I had to do was ink the stamper and stamp the envelopes.

Really big piles of envelopes.

I’m not saying it was hard, but you know what it’s like. Sometimes the stamp isn’t even. Sometimes some words don’t show up right.

I’m guessing I had an 80% success rate.

And that would have been peachy keen…except that when I messed one up, I didn’t set it aside. Instead, I’d put it in the middle of the pile so no one would see it.

At 10, that seemed like a reasonable plan. Who would know?

Turns out, I hadn’t thought it through. Because when the grown-up employees put the magnutties into the envelopes, it seems they noticed the crappy stamping job.

Maybe it was the incredible humiliation of what I’d done that drove me to do better. Or rather, drove me to higher expectations of myself. Or maybe, I learned that getting caught doing a bad job was so darn unpleasant that I’d do anything to avoid that again.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter what the motivation was. But here I am. Driven to over-deliver, to please, to exceed expectations.

And when the ink coverage isn’t good and the envelope is not up to par, I fess up and take responsibility.

That’s just how I roll.

Even great ideas can be improved.

These are the original Muppets. Well, actually they are the predecessors to the Muppets by Jim Henson and his wife for a local DC show years ago.

They’re awesome, right?

In looking at how the franchise has developed, deepened, and grown with time, it makes me think about business choices. About not being stagnant. Not resting on laurels.

Because every idea – no matter how good – needs to be reevaluated, tweaked, and improved to keep up with a changing business climate.

And that’s one of the things I’m working on as we move into 2012.


Happy judgment-free holidays to you.

I came across a post I wrote 6 years ago today. And it still resonates. I mean, really. What the heck is balance anyway? My boys were 7, 8, and 10 at the time. A lot has changed in our world.

But not that much.

Parts of Speech

[originally posted 12/23/05]

Judging others is a dangerous hobby. Without all the facts (and you never have all the facts) it is impossible to understand someone’s decisions, motives, choices on all fronts. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t relate to others’ issues, challenges, etc. Two things I’ve learned over the years come to mind:

1) You don’t know what happens in someone else’s house.
2) Never say “I never would…” in reference to someone else’s choices. You might one day when faced with the same situation.

I’ve been stewing about something that happened the other day. In order to let it go, I’ve decided to write about it. I drove some kids (including some of my own) to an after-school class. One of the kids was unable to carry his stuff in, so I dropped them all off, parked the car, and, sans coat, trekked across the parking lot to bring the kid his stuff. I was cold. I had a sick kid at home I wanted to get back to. My father had a procedure that day and I couldn’t go sit with my mom while she waited because of my kid at home who needed me. My work was behind schedule due to the same sick kid and the construction noise at the house was really getting to me and to that same sick kid, who cried about his head hurting for hours. You get the picture – the day was not a cake walk. (I always wanted to say cake walk – I hope I used it correctly!)

Walking into the school, I ran into a friend. Not a “hang out all the time” friend, but someone I like and socialize with occasionally. After saying hello, she took a hard look at me and said:

Balance is a verb.

It felt like a punch in the stomach. She has balance so never looks harried? I am unbalanced? I am incapable of managing my life? What exactly was this wisdom she was (unsolicited, I might add) presenting to me? She had no idea what I had done for the past month, let alone for the day. I was really irritated. How superior.

After a day I asked a close friend, who I respect tremendously, what she thought. She said:

Bitch is a verb too.

Happy Erev Chanukah. Merry Christmas Eve. I’m planning on a judgment-free holiday.

The view from here.

I love my office. I love every single thing in here. The upcycled wall hanging that Andrew made for me, the gorgeous orchids, the photos of my kids the money tree bonsai (over there to the left) from a wonderful client.

And over there to the right is the copper recycled photo album filled with birthday memories. My slinky. And bottom left is the baby food jar full of little love notes from one of my sons.

And what you don’t see are the hat the another son made me, a photo of our whole family at Deep Creek Lake in 2001. A painting that was a gift to my grandparents in the 50’s. And ceramic boot bookends that we bought at on a whim in Kansas City.

I love my office. I love being surrounded by beautiful memories and the people I love.

50 lessons and 50 blessings.

What is it about big milestones that make us want to make lists?

I was planning to write about 50 lessons I’ve learned over the years and tell you about 50 blessings in my life.

I’m sure I’ve learned more than 50 things and I can assure you I have more than 50 wonderful things and people in my life.

Instead, I’m going to go all minimalist here.

I’m grateful for all the people who have taught me anything – good or bad.
I’m grateful for the people who love me. And for the people I love. I think there’s a lot of overlap there.
I’m grateful for knowledge. And for being told I’m wrong so I can try harder.
I’m over the moon grateful for my sons. And my husband.
And for the ones who’ve stuck by me no matter what.

I’m thankful for the 9am phone calls. I’m thankful for the peace in my home.
I’m thankful for my work, which I love. And the clients who trust me.

It never occurred to me that I’d be 50 one day.

Crazy, I know.

But here I am.

And I’m grateful for where I’ve been and I can’t wait to see where I go.

Confessions of a Good-Enough Cook

Guest post by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple – the authors of Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood (which I reviewed last week – how cool that they wanted to guest post for me. Thanks girls!)

This is Becky’s sad truth: She’s a terrible cook.

OK, maybe that’s not entirely true: She can boil water, roast a chicken and even make risotto. But despite a few attempts to truly master the skill, she’s never quite gotten the whole kitchen thing down. Often, when she hears Hollee planning some extravagant menu, she feels a tinge of remorse: Too bad my daughters don’t get to eat the kinds of meals Hollee’s sons do …

Becky remembers hosting a play date when her oldest daughter was a baby — back when she was still vying for that gold medal in the Supermom Olympics — and deciding that she needed to whip up an impressive lunch for the other moms. One was a vegetarian, so Becky did something involving grilled eggplant. She spent hours preparing the dish, both the night before and the morning of the play date. The process made her miserable, and the dish failed utterly. (Who knew eggplant slices could look so sad and limp — or make everything around them so soggy? Not Becky).

The problem, however, wasn’t so much Becky’s culinary skills, although those were obviously a factor; it was her attitude. She was trying to show off, even though she didn’t like cooking and wasn’t really committed to improving. She was determined to fit some mythical image of the Perfect Mom.

She hadn’t yet discovered the New Perfect.

Flash forward several years, and here’s what we’ve both learned researching and writing our book on working motherhood: Perfectionism is a liability. And, when it comes to juggling work and family, it may just be our generation’s greatest liability. When we looked at two types of women in our data — those who focused on “being the best at everything” (the Never Enoughs) and those who strived to be “good enough and happy, both at work and at home” (the Good Enoughs) — you know who found more success, both at work and at home? The women who cut themselves a little slack.

The women who defined success on their own terms.

And that’s what Becky eventually did with cooking. She embraced her culinary imperfections and focused on the easy, healthy dishes she could do well — and let her husband do the hard stuff. She let herself off the hook so she could focus her time on the things that truly mattered to her. We could go on and on about our findings on motherhood and perfection; some of them really surprised us. But, for now, we’ll simply tell you what happened when Becky learned to accept the Good Enoughness in her cooking.

She wound up happier. Evenings became easier. And she took all the time she might have spent furrowing her brow over the stove and devoted it to writing a book.

Some might call that perfect. We call it the New Perfect.

Becky and Hollee’s new book, Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, is available at http://amzn.to/newperfect . They blog about parenting and work/life balance at http://TheNewPerfect.com.