Tag Archives: Stuff my dad says

Forget Resolutions, Remember Gratitude, & Celebrate the Small Things.

30 Dec

What a year 2010 has been!  Aspyre Solutions flourished beautifully with  the support of all of our fantastic clients, fans, friends & colleagues. Thank you for your continued support, and I wish you all the joy, empowerment and exciting success 2011 is sure to bring!  Get there!

With the closing of 365 days and the opening of another 365 ahead of us, this is the time of year where we sit down and evaluate what we’ve accomplished, what we want to accomplish NEXT, and maybe even how we plan on doing that, once the champagne and clam dip has worn off, come January 2.  It’s a time to remember the importance of gratitude, and to honor accountability.  Who or what are you grateful for, and what were you able to bring into your life this year by keeping yourself accountable to your own personal fulfillment & success?

For me, it was building this business into a successful, exciting brand that I love.  It was completing my professional coaching certification with IPEC.  It was expanding my network with literally hundreds of fabulous new friends and colleagues, whom I respect both professionally and personally.  It was a number of personal successes in my relationships, my friendships and my overall sense of personal wellness.  I also discovered a new-found love for sour pickles, fromage d’affinois and skirt steak, and I learned to drink coffee for the first time in my life. And despite all that, when it comes to matters of the heart (he he he)…my blood pressure is still damn near perfect.  Cheers to that. Continue reading

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THE FRIDAY EDITION: Who Needs Pants When You’ve Got Gratitude?

12 Nov

“They’re just things,” is a phrase I find myself uttering modestly a lot lately. In times of sheer frustration, such as when my bank account is hacked into, or the dry cleaners loses all my jeans (today), I try to summon my inner coach who tells me I’m bigger than each of these situations.  Money, my favorite pair of jeans from the GAP, the brand new cardigan I left on a dirty bar chair – they’re all just “things”, right?

You can tell yourself that all you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be shelling out another $70 that wasn’t planning on for new pants.  And the worst part is that I’m petite – and curvy.  It’s hard enough to buy pants when you’re a petite woman, but throw the fact that I didn’t inherit the stick figure gene like the rest of my family into the mix, and shopping becomes a whole other party.

This morning I debated storming into the dry cleaners and making a giant fuss about the situation.  I went so far as to call my father to vent; his highly  conservative views often come in handy when I need someone to back me up on the various injustices of the world, and then promptly leave the conversation at that. The fiancee was already at work, and it’s his birthday, and the last thing he needs is to hear me screaming at him over the phone about how I can’t find my pants.  There’s a much better context for that discussion, at a different time & place.

And then it occurred to me that ruining someone else’s day on top of allowing this to ruin my day was the biggest injustice of all, and ultimately gets me no closer to finding my pants.  <sigh> Why do I have to be so wise?

One of the things I always tell clients who are trying to wrap their head around why negativity has seemingly taken over their lives, is that they’re greater than whatever the situation – meaning they’re not defined as a person by the outside events that come into their lives.  They are defined, however, by how they react to them.  We cannot control the workings of the world, the weather, or the actions/reactions of others.  But we can certainly control our own perspective on things, and how that affects the actions we take and the commitments we make.

I wrote down a brief description of what the pants looked like on the front of my original receipt copy, which sat in a book attached to 300 other receipts.  And that was it.  I’m not too hopeful about finding my pants.  But there are plenty of other pants out there to wear, and maybe that’s the answer- to suck it up, recognize the situation for what it is and take the opportunity to step into a different pair of pants that fit me better; leave the old ones behind.

And isn’t that what we do automatically whenever seemingly injustices come into our lives, and we want to blame, and scream and get angry?  Sometimes we do those things, but in the end we automatically move on, because what other choice is there?  It’s human nature’s survival instinct kicking in when we force ourselves to keep going.   If we refuse to define ourselves by our disappointments and instead look at the underlying opportunities, we invite success and happiness into our lives.  If you didn’t get that dream job you had interviewed 4 rounds for, it’s okay to feel disappointed and angry.  But then let go of that negativity and allow yourself an opportunity to replace it with something more positive – perhaps an understanding and trust that there is something better around the corner that is coming to you.  And when that opportunity arises, that old story of disappointment will be long forgotten.

Who needs pants when you’ve got gratitude?  Don’t focus on what’s been given (or not given) to you today.  Instead, allow yourself to focus on what you can give back from that situation, and react from a place of gratitude and not a place of grief.  Trust in what comes next, and the higher reasoning behind things.  Gratitude as an attitude.  I’m going shopping.

Honey, We All Have to Fetch the Coffee at SOME Point…

30 Aug

When you’re 21 years old and fresh out of college, you’re full of energy, exuberance, enthusiasm and a plethora of other anabolically-loaded words that start with “e”.  You can’t WAIT to get out into the working world and show the man what you’re made of.  “I’m going to be different – I’m going to change the [insert industry here] world as we know it!” And dammit, good for you!  It’s not the least bit realistic… but as you move through the ranks of the working world, experiencing the ups and downs of being a career-ist, you will no doubt realize just how valuable that unrealistic attitude can be for you.

Here’s a newsflash to the Class of 2010, and pretty much anyone who came before, and will follow suit – you don’t have to change the world.  Changing your own life to simultaneously fit what you want and what the world demands of you is hard enough.  Where we make the mistake is not putting enough value and acknowledgment on what we do every day, you know, the little things that don’t always garner the accolades, but end up being topics of “man, I never realized how much that would come in handy later,” conversations.  Maybe not even that.

When I was 21 years old, I was a senior in college, and slightly bitter, because alot of my friends had these fantasically lax schedules, chock full of BS classes (and that doesn’t stand for bachelor of science…) and plenty of down time to, well, “be a senior”.  My Wednesday during the spring semester of senior year started at 9am and ended at midnight, commencing with my PR internship, continuing with my liberal arts classes I’d left ’til last semester of college, climaxing with my 3-hour art studio courses, and finally dying down around 11:59pm when it was time to close up the gym in my dorm, where I worked part-time.  The next day it started all over again, with my THIRD job, which was working at a modeling agency in downtown Boston.

Some days that job was a nightmare.  I remember riding in on the train in the mornings from Brookline with nervous aches in my back because no doubt

Yours truly, at 21.

my boss would find something to scream at me about, whether it was my fault or not.    After all, I was just the intern.  And then we’d make up, joke about something stupid, he’d insult me again and I’d go out and get him his coffee and French crueller donut at Dunkin’s.  With the added benefit of graduating college at the tail-end of the dot-com bust, I didn’t really have a choice about working there.  Job prospects were scarce, and in early May of my senior year I signed onto the modeling agency full time, as the head of the men’s and runway division.  I put up with a lot from my boss, but at the end of the day, my job was to talk to, take pictures of and look at male models.  I never said I was looking for sympathy!

Nearly a decade later I’m looking back at that first job and realizing how much I’ve grown professionally, and also how much I put up with.  I look at some of the ridiculous tasks I was stuck with (putting together a giant metal filing closet, or picking up my boss’ burrito for dinner), and sure, I thought I could do better.  One day I got stuck walking my boss’ friend’s pitbull, Neno, down Newbury Street, where he decided to relieve himself in front of the upscale brunch-goers at the Armani Cafe.  Also not impressed was Jimmy Fallon, who Neno nearly attacked on the sidewalk, shortly after (and just think, without my hasty restraint, there may never have been Fever Pitch!).

But I also look at the opportunities that came from demonstrating that I wasn’t afraid to do the low-level boring tasks.   I could easily sit on my high horse and argue that I didn’t go to the best communications school in the country to answer phones and shuffle resumes.  But processing and faxing a couple of hourly timesheets each week at the agency lead to eventually managing the financials of a multi-million dollar company less than 2 years later.   Shuffling a few thousand resumes over 7 years produced the credibility to build my own company in career advising.   I’m still not afraid of the small stuff.  In fact, I love it, because there’s something bigger underneath it all!   I’m not picking up the coffee anymore, except for myself, seeing as now I only have myself to answer to.  But when you work for yourself, there is no one else to do the low-level tasks.  And I’m okay with that.  Because more than anything that I might have learned in 10+ years about recruiting, advertising, graphic design or art, I learned that entitlement gets you nowhere, and initiative opens up more doors than you can even imagine.  I’ll give partial credit for that lesson to my dad, a several-decade successful entrepreneur himself.   At 61, does he complain about still fetching the coffee every morning?  I assume not, since these days he’s the one drinking it.   Yea, you might get stuck taking on an extra PowerPoint or two, and you may hate it until the sun comes up, but someone will remember that you threw your hand up, in the end.

So you don’t have to change the world.  You just have to accept that change is the only constant, and as long as you’re willing to roll with it, you’ll undoubtedly be okay.  Not every day will be great, not every day will be tolerable.  But the next one has potential to be life-changing, if you choose to make it that way.  And it’s all about conscious choice, making choices that, while they may not be ideal, they’re still YOUR CHOICES and they’re in line with the authentic you.

Sometimes it’s the small accomplishments, even the things we don’t ask for, but we STILL GET DEALT, that make us stand out.  Don’t be afraid to embrace those things and turn them into positive experiences that open up other doors.  Don’t be afraid to stick your hand up and volunteer for the crappy job you really don’t want to do, because in the end, you’re the person who said, “Sure, why not?  It’s not below me to offer up my expertise.”  It was my conscious choice to be that person, to stand up and say, “See me?  I’m here! And I’m worth it!”  Coaching is all about shifting perspective, from the catabolic to the anabolic, but we all have the innate power within us to do it.  It just needs tapping into. There are not magical tools, and as you’ll read on my “Services” page, my practice thrives solely on people who want to believe in themselves, that they have the answers already, and who want to do the work to uncover the hidden treasure within.  That may sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true.  It is within.  I found it, and [holy deity] knows that if I can, and others before you can, well, you can as well.

So what little thing are you proud of today?  Forget the world at large – what have you done today to change YOUR world that you would have otherwise overlooked?   Think about that…while you go take a coffee break.

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