All posts by Jenny

Fanatical Prospecting

For those who are intimately involved in my life and business, you know I am looking to not just grow, but exponentially scale.   It is time, there is opportunity, and I can really help a whole lot of people.

Side note and shameless plug:  I help businesses with blogging and social media.

To be completely honest, I have never had an actual sales system, and can now see the problem that causes.  I have built my business through organic search, social media (hello LinkedIn), and a few other streams of potential clients.  Nothing consistent and no actual sales.  Usually a prospect reaches out to me and we have a short conversation where I try to solve all their problems, I give them a few tips and then never follow-up…I rarely followed up even after I send a proposal.

What is my sales close rate?  No clue.

Moving forward I am organizing the multiple prospect lists I have started over the years (include some napkin notes) and have committed to learning all that I need to about sales – afterall, they didn’t teach me this in PhD school.

I recently read Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blout and I found it worthy of a post.  Afterall, I took a few pages of notes so I might as well get a blog post out of it!  Here are my big take-a-ways:

  1. The whole idea of being fanatical is an interesting one….relentless and leave no stone unturned…I can see that is a word I want to associate with this process.
  2. Early on he mentions the importance of interrupting the prospect in some way to catch their attention and stand out.
  3. I was thrilled he spent time talking about the Law of Attraction.  It is so true that what you focus on, where you put your mental energy, well that is exactly what you are going to get.
  4. When you have any sales process you need one (maybe a few) KPI’s (key performance indicators) that should be tracked – fanatically of course.
  5. I also liked his suggestion of a sales power hour.  Shut off all other distractions and just work on it.
  6. There are steps to the sales process – you need to find a prospects pain, gather information and qualify them to make sure they are a good fit for you.  Know their plan for actually buying and then nurture them as needed.
  7. There are some parts of the sales process that no one likes but you have to go through it – he calls this “just eat the frog.”
  8. You must be an elite athelete completely prepared. This is so true.

He wrapped up asking you to explore the question “How bad do you want this?”  And of course to that you must also be able to then structure how you do things to go and get it.

Overall, I would say that if you are on a quest to tighten up, develop, or overhaul your sales system this is a book that should be added to your list of required reading.

I Love Change

On and off for the last few years I have read the book Daily Motivation by Nido R. Qudein.  I picked it up this morning for the first time in quite some time and todays inspiration centers on the concept of change.

Now, I have always LOVED change.  Growing up I would rearrange my room every now and again – I love changing up schedules, taking classes, learning new things  – heck I even like walking the dog in different directions.  Change to me isn’t scary – it keeps my brain moving.  As my dear friend Marcus says “Your standards are too high and you get bored easily.”  Yes…and yes.

For August 27th Nido talks about the necessity for change and details the following:

C – Creativity
H – Healthy Habits
A – Accomodation
N – Nose for News
G – Good-bye to the past
E – Eagerness to Succeed

That really made me thing.  I exude these actions and qualities in just about everything that I do.  In my business, life, and even introspection.  When you look at change in this way who wouldn’t want to change things up?

Clearly sometimes change can also be for the benefit your system or other people – accomodation is key.  It makes people feel important and that they matter.  It makes people know you care enough to change to help them out.

I think we all need to have a relationship with change.  And just like money, love, technology – you need to see what you stronly react to and then move to flip it.  If you say I hate change, then look at what about change sets you off and move to see a more positive side.

Honestly, I can go through each part of change that Nido highlights above and write many blog posts about each one.  They can help you through anything that is changing in your life and help you see the positive side.

Well, as a mom who just dropped off her middle daughter for freshman year of college, I’m still struggling to uncover how that change fits in – maybe Goodbye to the past and hello future?  That is going to take me some time to adjust to.

True Devotion

Today is May 1st… 25 years ago on this day my dear self-named “Tante Mary” threw me a bridal shower that was executed as if it effortlessly popped out of Martha Stewart’s most psychotic version of awesome.  There were homemade table clothes and impeccably arranged flowers.  Guests dined on fine bone china and ate quail eggs.

Yes, I just said quail eggs.

I didn’t even know quail eggs were something you could buy let alone serve and eat.

For this spectacular soiree she received the divine inspiration through some highfalutin magazine that, upon my arrival,  she had on hand to show me.  The layout, an opulent spread, was upstaged by what I was standing in front of in her immaculate home three doors down  from the exclusive country club on “The Hill.”   My godmother knew no bounds when she wanted perfect.  In fact, from my shower, we called her new best friend – the man in San Francisco who had shipped her the quail eggs.  To those of us who knew her, this was just par for the course.

I remember asking “wait, isn’t Uncle Kenny in the hospital?” suddenly remembering that he had almost died that week.  She responded “oh him?  He’s fine – he just got home from the hospital – I think he’s downstairs –  isn’t that marvelous?”  Yes, it was marvelous that he had survived and that he was tolerating 40 women walking around his house.  What was not tolerable was the outfit I was wearing since I was dressed for the baseball game I thought I was going to – it was far from her expectations of perfectly perfect.  And in her own way she let me know, looking me up and down, “oh right, you’re dressed for baseball.”

This was a woman who knew and practiced devotion to the greatest possible degree…and on that May 1st it was about throwing her niece the best shower quail eggs had ever been shipped to.

Besides the quail eggs my other favorite Aunt Mary story involved a hair clip.  It was back in the 80’s and our families were at her house for a BBQ – she had the most fabulous hair clip – it was spectacular with geometric shapes and primary colors – to me it was “to die for” as she would say.  My birthday was a few weeks later and as I opened some perfectly wrapped present that was a gift unto itself, there it was – that very hair clip.  There was a note where she explained she tried to get me one but “Bloomies” didn’t have anymore so she was giving me hers.  I was over the moon.  Here she taught me that even with all the money in the world, sometimes the best thing you can do is give something used but meaningful.

Aunt Mary also taught me devotion to a marriage through the years of wedded bliss to my Uncle Kenny.  I am blessed to have witnessed their extraordinary and beautiful dance – their devotion to one another.  On the surface was their financial relationship – he was responsible for making the money and she was responsible for spending it – it is a REALLY good thing he was REALLY good at his side of the equation, because her expertise in her responsibility was unmatched (I wonder how many sets of braces paid for the quail eggs).  He would work building his orthodontic practice and she would spin magic in their lives. Because of his gifts, brilliance and hard work and her visions of perfection – they enjoyed country club memberships and vacation homes, children in private school and bridge club…luxury cars and dresses so expensive she would have them shipped to our home in NJ to avoid paying sales tax (and probably to hide them from my uncle – he probably had his limits).  But it wasn’t just the fairy tale – it was also in their exchanges  where I saw devotion and “Ok Kenny, its time to leave!” to which he would respond “ok Rosemary” and off they would go.   They danced together through holidays and parties they hosted.  They were always in lock step with one another and always supportive.

She was quite a handful to have around and a complete nut in her own right.  Quirky just like my grandmother and a staunch believer in superstitions “no Jennifer, we can not leave through the front door since we came in through the garage – that would be bad luck.”  Uncle Kenny would roll her eyes and follow her back downstairs to walk out her way.

Lastly, there was a devotion to turning your back to those who didn’t want you and finding great peace and fabulousness with those who did.  For instance, my cousin was accepted at Stamford and wait listed at Georgetown – to which she had us all in believing that Georgetown was sooo beneath us.    And it was with great enthusiasm that we all turned our heads west at her command and I’m not sure she ever even went to DC again – they weren’t worthy.

I would later learn that despite several scheduling conflicts, including my uncles inconvenient trip the hospital, Tante Mary wanted my shower to be on May 1st – so that I would always remember the day – it was MAY 1st after all and remembered in all of its glory as the day my bridal shower was held.  Mission accomplished. And here we are  – May 1st of 2018 – a glorious spring day where the sun is finally shining – I can say that she was right.  It has been less than two months since she has passed on and she brought out the sun on this day.

 

The Only Parent Available

Last Sunday it hit me like a ton of bricks….it was the one year anniversary of my new title of “only parent.”

The “only parent” who would take her to get her hair and make-up done for prom.  The only parent she would have at the end-of-season swim and cheer  team banquets.  Her only parent to arrange orthodontic and doctors appointments.  The only parent to say yes to a night out or no way to two sleepovers on a weekend or attend the sorority day.   The only parent to take a car to get fixed, to pay for cheer leading clothes, to demand they get summer jobs.  To show up for events, attend football games, and carry out a plan to get into college, visit colleges and send in big checks for college…check grades, check cell phones, and check the amount of material covering you as they each go out the door…and to write checks as well.

I started practicing for my role as “Only Parent” a year ago this past Sunday when I attended Vicki’s swim team banquet alone.   John was in the hospital.   I was so nervous – he was her bestest buddy and so sick we weren’t even talking about it.  I had to get this right – take the right pictures and videos so he felt included.  He thanked me and then assured me he  would be there with me next year.  Sunday was the next year.

But this past Sunday,  I sat alone.

Last year I was crying at the swim banquet because of the reality of what I had read on his  condition.  And this year I had tears in my eyes because she is thriving – despite the enormous loss, she is kicking ass.  Vicki and I both stand so much taller with life more fully in perspective.  We are both endlessly saddened by the loss but stronger because we have found our pace in making it without him – learning to give space and know what each other needs.  We have shocked ourselves with strength.  I have shocked myself that I can do it all for them alone.

I build invisible nets in her life without her knowing so she is easily caught.

And in those corners, where she misses him the most, I sprinkle pixie dust so she can turn that darkness into light and move forward.

My “only parent to my girls” is supported most by my husband, a man John actually helped me to find when he said in spring of ’13,  “oh give online dating a try” he said.  When I wanted to blend families John agreed to also move across the river to Pennsyltucky.  The universe maneuvered around us to ensure I wouldn’t have to go this alone.  Positioned me to have all of the support I ever needed to get them through this…to get me through this.  Regardless of my marital status I am the “only parent” to our daughters and it is a role that both consumes and propels me .  It is where I am most exhausted and worried but I also sit in my seat of personal brilliance I never knew I possessed.

If, at the swim team banquet last year anyone had told me that I would soon be going it alone, I would have never believed them.  While I was fairly certain we were headed for disaster I thought we had years…not days to prepare.  And, he had assured me he was  immortal and promised me he weren’t going anywhere.  It still seems impossible to me that he left.  It seems impossible to me that I have to sit alone at any event.

The one thing I can tell you is that “Only Parents” need a ton of support.  I’m lucky to have my husband and a small group of friends who hold me up on a regular basis (“when you talk about me make sure you spell my name correctly…its Dannielle with two N’s”)  One consistent theme with only parents is that the “other family and friends” tend to “exit stage left.”  Even for married couples there are problems, demands, or silence.  With some they eventually come back …it is really hard when they don’t.

 

 

Day 1: Diagnosis Day

…and then, unbeknownst to us, an 82 day clocking starting ticking on his life.

April 12th, 2017 was diagnosis day…I knew John was visiting with a surgeon down at Penn Medicine to talk about having a small bump removed from the side of his neck.  He had already been assured it was not cancer, but the doctors were nervous.  I hadn’t heard from him so, just before lunch checked in to see how he was doing.  He texted me back:

“I have Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.”

WHAT?!?!?!  My first thoughts floated around the following statements “John, are you kidding me – like we need this?  We are both just settled into our new homes in PA.  I just got married and Dave and I travel all the time.  This is my time to build my business and start my new life!!”  I know – this was a little selfish – ok, really selfish.

I then thought of my dear friend.  I know how scary just hearing the word cancer can be, even when everyone reassures you.  But really, this is just Thyroid Cancer and I knew a number of people who survived. He would have it removed, probably have some uncomfortable radiation, but he would be fine.  I felt bad it would probably ruin his summer.  John loved summer.

I  then looked back at his text and I wondered, “what is this Anaplastic part of the diagnosis.”  I looked it up on my phone, and tears filled my eyes as I read…rare…aggressive, deadly.”  I felt like I had just entered the Twilight Zone…there was no way this was happening.  I learned that ATC is always considered Stage 4 and that everyone dies quickly – on average about 6 months.  Was he even going to make it through summer?

Emotionally I was swinging between sheer panic and “oh give me a break, he’ll be fine.”  Between the reality and the hope – and it had only been about 5 minutes.

I did not share my findings with John.  We started rapid fire texting about what he was learning, how I could support him…and the care of our three daughters.  He asked me if it was ok if the girls stayed with me  a few extra days the following week  because he had to have surgery – he also let me know that even though they didn’t have a date the doctors wanted it done quickly.  He let me know he would be staying at the hospital for the rest of Day 1, and was already scheduled to go back for the entire following day – drs appoints, scans and planning with his team that was already assembled.   I thought to myself, “John, they don’t clear scanners, schedules and operating rooms for regular cancer.”  And is it “ok” if the girls stayed with me?  Ok?   John…whatever you need at all…..and “yes, I agree, you should lie to the girls for now.”

What are we in for?

I was trying to pick-up on his optimism even thought the internet and his schedule were all telling me something very different.

I jumped on a train home and called my people.  I texted my husband to let him know.  I called MFB because that woman knows how to weather a storm – she told me I was going to start living in 15 minute intervals (more about that later).  I asked Denise to enlist the help of her prayer circle.  I let Susan and Dannielle know the news and they each, in their own way, through their own relationships with their ex-husbands  – well, they were able to understand my pain and fear.  They each knew John,  our relationship, and why I was scared to death.

Looking back at diagnosis day I realize now that there were certain lines of reasoning and action that would run through each day of the 82 day battle.

  1. John was so optimistic about his recovery because he did not have the details.  In fact, he would not look up what he actually had for weeks.  And, even after learning how serious it was his optimism remained unwavering.  John didn’t ask a whole lot of questions of his medical team. He blindly trusted that the doctors were making the right moves and went along like he was walking down their carefully laid out  path to his inevitable full recovery.  There were no second opinions…and looking back, I’m not sure he had time.
  2. Almost every day he would talk to me about when he was coming home.  This was from his room in ICU after his first surgery even though he had a trach and a feeding tube –  (“I’ll be home this weekend, the girls can stay with me”) – his room in rehab, and even up to the weekend before he told me about hospice.  I would hear from him via text and through the girls of his plans to return home and would just hope and pray it was true – he never did come again after that first surgery – the girls were never able to spend another night with him at his home after that first surgery.
  3. John continually apologized for being a burden to Dave and I.  “Hey, I have to have surgery next Tuesday, can the girls stay with you for a few extra days?  I’m really sorry and will give you a break as soon as I can” were his constant messages to me.  My message to him was equally clear “stop apologizing and just get better.”  Over the 82 days I showed him in ways big and small that I would do absolutely anything to get us all through this.  A burden?  No, this was just life – and if I worked hard enough he would get better – or at least he would never die. – even though that always seemed like the reality that was racing towards us.
  4. Day by day I would carefully follow what John was telling me – results of tests, how he was feeling, courses of treatment, long stays in the hospital, complications, back to a rehab center…and I would research and compare his whereabouts and specifics to the stories of the few survivors who had shared online…nothing ever added up.  I read the sophisticated medical journals on ATC and deciphered stats that indicated things were not going well.  Even after the first surgery the trach and feeding tube so early on was highly unusual – usually people didn’t “need” those until later on.

On day 1 our lives came to a screeching halt while at the same time we jumped on a train headed for disaster that we had no control over, at all.  That day, and every single day of the 82 I cried…a whole lot.

 

The Small Club of Graceful Ducks

We look like graceful ducks paddling across the pond with our children,  our ducklings in line behind us (hopefully).   We post pictures on Facebook of smiles and accomplishments as if life is easy and awesome.  As if nothing has happened. The truth is we are paddling like crazy under that water in hopes of making it through the day…or sometimes just the next 15 minutes.

We are the parents of children who lost their mom or dad…our ex-spouse.

You think that grace is born of sheer joy that the other parent of our children is gone.  But nothing could be farther from the truth.  The truth is that when no one else is around the kids climb on our back or our lap and cry,  and yet we need to keep paddling, carrying them through and  praying they will not go off the deep end.   When they need something, actually anything, it is our ear, our credit card, our time that they use.  We can’t pass off anything to the other parent anymore.

They exhaust us with their requests and activities and astound us with their strength every day.

A significant amount of that frantic paddling is to keep the memory of our ex alive.   And rather than support in this quest, we are sued, dragged through mud, and considered insignificant.  The stress this causes our children is unimaginable and sets them back in their healing.  I have said “how dare you” under my breath many times over.

Here are a few things some people do not understand.

  1. We are now the parent who takes every single step with the kids. And, every step is on eggshells because “he” is not here and I’m not sure how they are going to process that fact – it could change with the wind.   This is not fun.
  2. We carry around the sadness of the parent who left.  I’m devastated every single day FOR John that he isn’t here to watch the girls grow up.
  3. The main responsibility of the alive parent is to take care of the children.  Carry them (sometimes physically) through the saddest time of their lives – and then every day forward as they learn a very new normal.  Every single one of your actions should support that effort.
  4. When you add stress to our lives it stresses the way we help our children.  This includes when you sue us over life insurance or bankrupt the estate with lawyers fees and there is no financial support to help us raise our children.
  5. This includes when you saddle us with the deceased debt simply because he or she illegally used our social security number and got away with it – or had a loan against a property we own, or died unexpectedly and never did put a plan in place to take care of bills you can easily move to our debit column.  And you smile as you do it.
  6. We do not need your opinion like “well you should have them in therapy.” Watch your words.  What you do not realize is that I  busted my  ass to find the perfect therapist and/or support group and pay for it and get them there on a regular basis.
  7. And, speaking of therapy, check in with me to ensure your actions are not going to upset them.
  8. As the other parent I am the ONLY one who keeps John’s memory alive on a regular basis.  No one sits and tells stories or shares pictures.  Some days I feel like I am up to my eyeballs in John’s memory for the sake of my children.  You can raise a glass or tell a good story every now and again, but if my kids aren’t around to hear it, trust me, it is practically meaningless.  In fact, if you don’t make sure to include my children it can actually cause them pain because they felt left out.
  9. I have learned both personally and from the stories of others the family of the deceased is always a vicious bunch.  They offer no support and ALWAYS cause problems with money – especially life insurance.  They feel entitled to control even though they barely (like in my case) have a  relationship with your children.
  10. We don’t care how you are grieving, we want you to consider our children first and foremost – there, I have said it.   We don’t care how the death has impacted your life…you lost a drinking buddy…a brother, a neighbor.  Our children lost their father.  This isn’t about what you want to do, your actions should now be taken in the best interest of my children.
  11. While we are glad to be the parent left alive this is not easy on us at all.  The death swallows our free time whole, strains our other relationships, and causes some chaos.  Do not add to the chaos.

And selfishly, while we put ourselves last on every single list, we are grieving as well.  For those of us who co-parented well, we lost a friend and a partner.  We lost our time to breath when the kids were with the other parent.  In many ways I feel like I lost my right arm in parenting, my sounding board – the very person I decided to have children with in the first place.  He was the heart of our operation and I miss him every single day.

We survive on the love we have for our children, and, if we are lucky a few supportive friends who allow us to cry on their shoulders.  My husband wraps his arms around me and tells me I’m doing a great job, as he sends me off to another swim meet, cheer competition or to get my checkbook as I pay for something else.

Committing to Me

There are times in your life when you finally “wake-up” from a fog you didn’t see or would not acknowledge.  You might find yourself having an ah-ha moment that is going to propel you forward….you may also wake-up and realize you are in a place you aren’t too happy about (emotionally or physically).  Earlier this week, I sat in the latter.  I realized, that despite:

  • Three amazing daughters
  • A fabulous husband
  • A business
  • Friends

I barely had a life.  That’s right – while others would peer inside and say “oh isn’t she lucky,” honestly, there isn’t all that much there.  Let me take a moment and say that I am not lucky, I crawled through hell to build what I have – but I digress.

I have been intently concentrating on making other people happy that I forgot to get a life for myself…crazy.  I run around doing everything for everyone else, I think so they will like me.  In the process I’ve seen to make everyone miserable.  That’s right…my husband goes off to tennis I make sure I fill his water bottle, my daughter wants to take a road trip to see a college for the second time and I jump for her schedule, my step-son doesn’t have anyone to take him to get his drivers so I jump to take him, a ‘friend’ has a social media/seo question and I sit on the phone for hours with her (not getting paid).

While I have been happy to do these things I have noticed a few things – these people are unappreciative.  That’s right – they may say thank you but quickly move onto “ok, what can she do for me next?”  Pick something up at the food store, run a carpool, get me a new pen at Staples…sign this, write a check, answer another question.

Not being appreciated was causing me to be resentful – and as such I would then do more hoping someone would pick-up his/her selfish head and show some actual appreciation.  But that never happened and I wound up a hot mess, with no activities or interests of my own and barely time or energy to do the crossword puzzle.

So I’ve taken some time this week and put some things into place for myself…her is what I am committing to:

  1. Daily meditation, gratitude, affirmations and bible reading.  Weekly church.
  2. Nightly crossword puzzle
  3. One hour of reading per evening
  4. Tennis twice per week
  5. Exercise for one hour per day (tennis counts)
  6. Guitar for 30 minutes per day and a lesson twice per month.

I’m working on clearing and strengthening my chakras.

What I have noticed is that no where in my 2018 goals is there any room for drama, watching bad tv, video games, or wasting time.  What I need to be accountable for, in a very gentle way, is building myself.  This will set a much better example for those around me…I’ll be happier which is probably most important of all.

Trying Something New…Look, I Ubered

I just arrived in Orlando, Fla to watch Steph compete in a national cheer competition.  I’m enjoying two days of free time, and of course, always turn to writing.  Over the course of my adult life I have realized the awesome power of trying new things.  Some have written books on the subject, others lengthy blog posts.  For some it is easy, and others not so much.

I was told this week that I am one of those people who appear to have their lives together.  You will notice a section of my blog “hot mess to great success.”  While I appreciated the compliment I know all too well that sometimes I have it together and sometimes I do not.  Lately I seem to be falling into old habits – bad ones – and I am bored to death.

This trip is the first time in quite some time I am traveling without my husband.  I love when we travel together – there is an ebb and flow that we follow in our trips that includes chap stick and hand lotion on the plane…to the rental car…to us veering off the path and golfing in an RV park.   Since he wasn’t coming I made the travel arrangements which included staying in one hotel for the entire stay (the horror), no car…and thus…no way to get to leave the airport.  So, I used Uber.

Now, besides the insane number of security issues I have about being picked up in a strangers car, I also had lots of concerns about my credit card information and how long it would take for the car to arrive (have I ever mentioned that I HATE waiting?).  I decided I would embrace what everyone else calls amazing and just try it out – what did I have to lose – a few hours in the sun?

And ya know what I learned?  Uber is FREAKIN’ amazing!  I want to share my “new thing” journey with you so you can possibly use it in your own life or business in some way.

  1.  I researched the heck out of the idea before I landed – I always do this on my laptop with several tabs on my browser open.  I looked at shuttles, compared prices, estimated Uber prices, safety, and availability at the airport (do you know that at some airports there are “Uber lots?” – this fascinated me.
  2. I committed to doing this and not taking the chicken exit of a cab or shuttle – this was the most important part.
  3. I downloaded the app at home and then put in my credit card info so it was ready.
  4. As we landed I checked the wait time and then actual cost.  I read the info about pick-up and was off.  There was one 10 minutes away.
  5. When I got to ground transportation I placed my request and I saw  – on the map – the car headed my way.  I was told the driver’s name, type of car and how many rides he has given.
  6. When he arrived I waited for him to say my name (safety feature) and we were on our way.

I wasn’t proud of myself for figuring out the technology of this – I was reminded how important it is that something new can be easy and less expensive.  I did think it was weird that the driver was using the same car he transports his kids around in.  But whatever – it was clean and he was very kind.

When there is an opportunity for you to try something new – take it.  Be safe on all levels, know what you are doing…and who knows, you just might find an easy and simple solution to a problem you have been waiting to solve – and you just might have fun in the process!

Finding Safe Harbor

“Hi, my name is Jen.  I bring my daughter Stephanie tonight.  She is 16 years old.  On July 2, 2017 we lost her father, my ex-husband and dear friend,  after his  81 day battle with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.  He was only 50.”

These are the words I say as I introduce myself at Safe Harbor, a bereavement support group run out of Abington Hospital.

I can remember the first time I had to say those scripted words…it was during Stephanie’s Safe Harbor orientation  – just the two of us and one staff member.  That time started with a video and then masterfully  moved us through the rooms.  We were eased into the healing power and raw emotion of the space.  There were books about grief, blankets of comfort, games and cushy pillows.  They knew we would need time to process the art on the walls….the sadness of an unknown child who simply colored “Daddy I miss you” on her picture.   You realize you are there because you child is not ok and needs this level of support. I hoped and prayed that this would help.  At the end of that first visit Steph and I  practiced that scripted introduction they have written for you – that parents and children say as each session starts.  I was so grateful for the practice as I choked on the words – I would not have wanted to debut that in front of a crowd.

How did we find ourselves at Safe Harbor – a program that requires a scheduling extravaganza every Wednesday as we pick-up early from cheer practice, have a quick dinner and then make the 45 minute drive to Abington, PA – arriving home by 8:30 pm exhausted?

Because this past September my youngest was angry at just about everything in her life.  From her cheer stunting to doing the dishes of others – anything would set her off.  The coaches called…I dried her tears when she would rage about life being unfair.  She would hear how a kid was mad at his dad and think how she would kill to be fighting with John.  Her friends didn’t understand and she didn’t expect them to.   While I agreed her life was unfair, I was firm that she needed to learn to control her anger  – it was not going to serve her.  The guidance counselor and therapist were amazing but she needed peers who understood.   She needed to be able to talk to other teens and be able to cry…and laugh…and remember her father with other kids who knew her loss.  I had heard about Safe Harbor and cried during the intake call asking the volunteer on the other end of the phone to “please help my child.”  I felt like I was failing to help her and knew I was doing the right thing.  It was just another weird event in a series of weird events that had started on April 12th – day 1 of the 81.

Stephanie jumped at the chance to attend – she knew she needed it.  And now she won’t miss a session for anything.  It has become so important that my older daughter will volunteer to drive home from college to take her down if I think I might be late in getting here to Abington (the older daughter is amazing and can be found here).

There is an optional parent component available while Steph is off with the teens – and while it sounds strange, I go.  I was hesitant to join at first thinking that it would be filled with spouses who had lost – and really what could I contribute to that?  I was shocked to learn that while there are spouses there are also ex’s like me – who were friends with their ex and equally devastated he/she is gone – and some grandparents as well who lost their own child and now raise a grandchild.  I have mad respect for them.

There is kvetching and commiserating.  We share our great ideas on helping our children through the process and pass around the tissue box when we admit that helplessness overwhelms us.  Our children are processing a grief that we ourselves have never experienced.  For those with teens we share how hard it is to carry our children through the saddest time of their lives while struggle to give them the independence they crave.  We talk about our shared disappointment  towards the family of the parent who died (married or not – it just doesn’t go well).  It is a Breakfast Club type of group filled with people I probably wouldn’t bump into in my normal circles, and I have come to cherish them.

Steph has learned that whatever she is feeling is just all ok.  She has also realized, all on her own, to appreciate the time she had with John and knows that in many ways big and small she is actually lucky.  Her school and home remained stable, she didn’t have to move.  She has a big blended family that, while loud and annoying, is here to support her unconditionally.  And, most importantly, she knows that John would have fought for more days with her – for just one more hug- there are many children at Safe Harbor dealing with the loss of a parent who chose to permanently leave.

Last week I shared with the group how well my daughters were doing.  This was not bragging, I was sharing my amazement.   The big one has amazed herself by just surviving since she originally thought her world would fall apart.  The middle one is  moving through her senior year like a champ, missing her buddy desperately but determined as ever to make him proud.  The little one flying through Junior year with friends, hopefully a driver’s license in the coming weeks, and knows the void he left can not be filled.  I shared the amount of support I put in place for them – the maneuvering that is done  – the pixie dust I sprinkle – sometimes they realize sometimes they do not – to relieve any little amount of stress  – the endless number of times I have solved a problem with my credit card.  I share how supportive my amazing husband is and I could not live without the few close friends who check in often and tell me I’m amazing (when you write about me make sure to spell my name correctly – it is Dannielle – with two n’s).

At the end of that last session we went out to the hallway and the teens were coming out of their room.  Stephanie was hysterical – it was a sadness I had not seen in her since she learned the meaning of hospice and that her father would be entering.  Mamma Bear kicked in and I ushered her into a conference room so she could escape and bawl on my shoulder.  I felt my baby fall into my arms as we waited for the others to go down in the elevator. She just kept crying.

What set her off?  She had to talk about it…every last detail.  That night’s session was about organizing thoughts, and learning to be able to speak them…about his illness and his death – the sadness she experienced walking into hospice finding him already unconscious – holding his hand saying goodbye…never talking with him again. You see, the facilitators know what it is like to explain the details to a new college roommate or an employer.  And they want to make sure Steph now has the coping skills that they wish they had had to get through those explanations.

During orientation I didn’t really pay attention to the video – I was not really even able to process the words the narrator was speaking.   I was still in shock that he was gone and was exhausted from watching my children in so much pain.  Stephie was sitting next to me so angry and a little broken.  This is really only for those who can “go there,” but in those moments I pictured John sitting in the chair across from Stephanie – right there at that orientation…just like he had sat near us so many times – at concerts and parent-teacher conferences.  He was looking at her with his usual attitude he saved just for me in these situations,  “Steph, your mom is crazy but always right about this type of thing – god knows she  dragged me to all this  stuff for you guys plenty of times in the past…Stephie, I am sorry you need to be here, but you need this.”

His spirit whispered to her “I love you” as he left us there to heal.

And at Safe Harbor we have both found the perfect place…surrounded by the perfect support system…to do just that.

#jensgotthis

 

Getting CEO Organized

Since I started my first website in 2013, I have gone through the ringer when it comes to the balance between work and family, working in and working on your business, ideal clients and not ideal clients…and attempting to figure out how to schedule my time.  Hence, a category on this blog “Hot Mess to Great Success.”

I was stunned when I launched my first great idea and heard crickets.  Started networking and reading about all these neat things that “they didn’t teach me in PhD school.”  I’ve held together my business with post-it notes and peanut butter.

And then there are the pile of excuses – as I have always known I have to get it together as I allowed my personal life to blindside me.  It seems like each time I attempted to put new systems in place the universe had other plans.  I would have a personal curve ball thrown at me (some good some horrific) or a slew of new clients would run in the door and I would abandon all plans and stop paying attention to goals…and systems.  I was a rat in a wheel.

However, with the start of 2018 I have taken the opportunity to say that for the first time I will achieve my goals – with relentless pursuit and never ending passion.  No longer will my personal life get in the way of my sales system.  The hot mess but great success that I was isn’t cute anymore – it is unbecoming of a CEO.

Here are a few things I have started…and that all entrepreneurs can start as well…to get their mind, body, soul and business moving forward.

Habits
I have a massive list of daily habits that I want to build and for me the only way to accomplish this is by writing it down and then ticking them off each day.  They range from 30 minutes of cardio to blogging to learning french.  Most of the things on the list I have wanted to improve upon for some time and…as I have stated to the universe…now is the time.

Scheduling Every Single Last Thing
I took the time and figured out all of the different activities I need to spend time on each week – from writing and blogging to client work and tennis.  I then standardized it into a template so I can get in the habit of doing things on certain days at certain times.  I purchased a calendar that has the month view but also a page for each week in column form.  Each Sunday I block out my calendar – for instance, Wednesday morning from 8-11 is marketing brainstorming and writing, Mondays from 9-12 I am working on sales system touches.  In each of these categories I will have specifics of what I want to accomplish – little to-do lists.

Sales
I have never had a sales system.  I’ve never had a way to reach out to cold leads, follow-up to those who show interest – or even follow-up after I send a proposal.  Now I have the systems in place so I can really start to sell – and track – and reach out.  I’ve heard the phrases “if you aren’t selling you are dying,” “sell like hell.”  Now I can do that because I have a plan in place for each step.

Tracking
For someone with such an analytical mind I have not done a good idea of tracking…anything…for my business.  I’ve simplified my tracking systems and made sure they fit with my goals.  I’ve also standardized lists – so everything is in the same order as I move from daily, weekly and monthly notes to tracking sheets for the year.

I will say that on each of these topics I have done a tremendous amount of reading and introspection.  I’ve taken notes on what successful entrepreneurs do, what is going to work for me, and then what I am ready to commit to.  For me, the biggest piece of this is that commitment to relentlessly pursue my goals.

Know Thy Numbers

So for many reasons and mostly procrastination I have never tracked the numbers of my business.  You would think that with my analytical mind I would have a handle on the bounce rate for my website (how about just the number of visitors?), the number of blog posts I write, my moz ratings, and the ever popular ‘close rate’ on client proposals.

As I started my business my biggest metric was self-measured stress level as my phone did not instantly ring.  Then, as I signed clients I was all excited about the dollars pouring into my bank account…and the business was building I thought “ok, how big can this get?”  And life got in the way – moving and blending, getting remarried, saying goodbye and recovering through the end of 2017.

But no more…and I’m really sick and tired of guessing…not knowing…and being a little clueless.  Paying my bills, saving the maximum in a 401k, and still having money left over is no longer the sign of success.  I want to know what else is going on in my business – so as I scale I know where I need help.

To be clear, most questions about business growth can not only rely on a number – usually they also require some intuition, market research, temperature taking, and gut instinct.  But the start are the numbers.

As you start on your own path as an entrepreneur start collecting data.  This way, when someone asks how many visits you receive on your website, you won’t have to “guestimate”

Here is a small sample of the numbers I have committed to tracking – and what is so funny is that I put ‘tracking’ as a goal for this year by itself.  I’m doing these (and more) each month:

  1. Number of hot prospects
  2. Number of videos I send out
  3. Proposals sent
  4. Number of blog posts and LinkedIn long posts.
  5. Hours I work on goals for my business
  6. Number of visits to my website (www.jennifergardella.com)
  7. My Moz rating
  8. Number of 30 minute cardio workouts I get in.

The list is endless and enough to make anyone else’s head spin.  Here is what I have learned after 5 years in business – you can only track over time what you commit to measuring – and most importantly – is there value to any activity?

The 15 Minutes of Fame

As many know, one of my children needed a group of peers whose members had also lost a parent.  And to get her the type of support she needed we found our way to Safe Harbor.  Honestly, not even I, the great wordsmith could do it justice in a sentence – so I won’t try – that is blog for another time which I promise will include the reasons I attend the parent component.  But let’s move on…

I should stop here for a second and warn you that I am not in the best of moods.  So, if you get insulted easily or don’t like complaining, this just isn’t your post.

And at that support group I have met Debbie – she is the Ellen Buschbaum of Safe Harbor – red hair, Jewish, a bit outspoken and absolutely awesome.  If you know how much I love Ellen, you can imagine how glad I am to have Debbie in the group.

A few weeks ago Debbie shared the concept of the 15 minutes of fame.

That time period that surrounds the wake and the funeral – where everyone is around you, supporting you…they make promises that they will be in touch, help and check-in.  My children were promised trips to Jamaica, “we will be there for you,” “we will see you.”  Some in attendance bawled as if they talked with John every day… and as such they attended each and every minute of the activities right through the luncheon.  And then they vanished – the 15 minutes was up.

When Debbie talked about the 15 minutes of fame concept so much was made so clear – the 15 minutes of fame his family and friends needed – to get through – to pretend like they were close – to give speeches and toasts and cry on each other’s shoulders.  Of course now, not one of them can take 15 minutes out of their busy day and call just to see how one of my girls is doing – forget caring about me.

But wait, this is my blog…let’s talk about me for a minute – I’m actually sick and tired of being forgotten.  You see…I’m the one who has to carry said child out of Safe Harbor when she is hysterical after a session…I’m the one who now has raging guilt when I can not attend a swim meet because of a cheer leading event – I have to choose – my children don’t have a parent in attendance.    I’m the one who has to ask my oldest daughter to please come home and work the cheer competition because for me to give up an entire day is completely impossible.  I’m the one who was told I had no rights during the estate process but was saddled with insurmountable debt I now have to pay – and was lied to by his lawyers and family as they kept money for themselves while I paid for three sets of teeth extractions (it was a long weird summer).  Dinner on the night when we have to go down to Safe Harbor?   You would like to cook my contribution for the swim team pasta party?  Oh my gosh I would fall over dead if someone volunteered all that.

I get it, I’m the ex – but you would think that would make his side want to be even more involved – to make sure he was represented. But don’t worry – I got that too – scrapbooks of his entire life for Christmas – yeah, I did those – even though his family did not contribute one stinkin’ picture.  And, let’s not forget the squares – that the family fought me on as well   For the record – attending graduation is not supporting a child – nice gesture – but it is in the day to day – it is down in the trenches where the kids really need the help – where it gets hard – where so much has to be done and schedules are stretched thin.  Where you know they crave the other parent and I’m the only one available.  It would be REALLY NICE to have his side represented once in a while.  My side is freakin’ exhausted.

I’m glad they all got their 15 minutes of fame…I’ll be here getting the real work done…all by myself.

 

Returning to Church…

For years I have battled an internal struggle revolving around returning to church.  I was raised a devout Catholic where church doctrine was never questioned and mass was always attended even on vacation.  I taught Kindergarten CCD for my oldest daughter and started having problem with the prayers I was expected to have them memorize even though I didn’t know some of the vocabulary.   I attended the children’s mass a few times and sat in horror as I watched these children stand and recite these same prayers without comprehension.  Then the sex abuse scandals broke and I watched in horror on TV as the accused and convicted were shuffled around and moved to more prominent positions as if to be rewarded for their crimes.

And I said no more.  At this time I committed to the girls all receiving their First Holy Communion, basically so everyone would have the picture in the white dress and a big party to remember.  We started attending a family program at our local Presbyterian Church which had a stellar Youth Group component, and I suddenly found myself no longer a practicing Catholic for the first time in my life.

I was no longer watching the hypocrisy of Democrats accepting communion (this always bugged me) – the cafeteria Catholics who took prominent positions in the church and then left the building and then no longer lived a Catholic life.  I didn’t care what they did at home, I just hated that they acted one way in front of the cross when others were watching.

When we moved out here to the sticks I attended service at the Lutheran Church…it was deserted…the Presbyterian Church was so stuffy and sort of reminded me of the folks in The Purge…and then I went to the other Lutheran church, which was as deserted as the first.  I resolved to find a church when it felt right again…

Last year I found myself actually returning to the Catholic Church.  Not for mass but to light candles and talk to God…actually beg God to save him.  To spare his life and bring him home so that my children would not have to walk a path without their father.  This fall I returned to cry in those pews and light candles asking for John to move college applications for our middle daughter into the “yes” pile so she didn’t know rejection after losing him.  Needless to say, John passed away and she was rejected from her first choice..the candles did not work.  As a realist I was not lighting candles asking for help, I know God rewards all.  I was there out of desperation and reaching back to a world that I knew – because there was nothing else I could really do.

And now, as I enter 2018, for many reasons and almost no reason at all it is time.  I’m making the rounds…sitting in services among the few and the uptight…looking for a spiritual home.  But this time I have a different mission…and that is just to sit.  Not expect to much and everything that I would want in a Christian community.  As long as  I have a place to go, even if it is a different place every week for a while…well that is good enough for me.

I’m not giving up because I haven’t found perfection – I’m adjusting my expectations and staying true to my cause here – find a place to go and be at peace once per week.  And it is all the better if the community I sit with doesn’t mind if I’m a bit off key.

The Squares

As many of you know, on July 1, 2017 we lost my ex-husband John Wengler after his 81 day battle with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.  At the end of his life I started thinking of how we were all going to move forward and was a bit overwhelmed realizing my responsibility in helping to keep his memory alive .  After all, the girls are young with many milestones ahead, and he certain deserved to have some special presence.  I needed a way to very simply infuse him into moments of their lives honoring him without being overwhelming, since I was going to be the one who was present for them all.

And so was born the idea that is now known now as “The Squares.”

John had a love and collection of Hawaiian shirts, and was often made fun of for his lack of fashion sense.  Upon his death I was certain that no one would make a claim for these shirts.  And they could be the subtle yet powerful token to help me out.

I had each of the girls place a square with him as they said their final goodbye and then  I shared that I would make sure a square would be sewn into special moments of their lives – like graduation gowns and Christening blankets.  Sometimes I just cut a square of a shirt and write simple words and phrases like “18th birthday,” “drivers permit,” – and leave them on pillows on special days.

They aren’t meant to be messages from beyond.  They are meant to remind the girls that during moments big and small his spirit in them lives on as they move forward.  I have learned that they keep the squares in special places and cherish the pile they are building.

I have struggled with the “is this really my job” when it comes to honor his memory – after all, he was my ex-husband.   But he was a close friend, my co-parent – and I feel obligated to honor the peace we had – and I do this for my children – who lost a very special father way too young.

So, from now until eternity his memory will “own” the Hawaiian print – I’m convinced no one else will lay claim to it – certainly not the fashion industry.

Behind the Scenes

I exhausted myself staying one-step ahead of you – second guessing and overthinking, maneuvering in the background where you couldn’t see, where you would never look.  Putting so much support in place and then camouflaging it in the care of other people.     Ensuring doors opened for you effortlessly.  I built scaffolding that was invisible – well, except to me since I was holding it together, or would have to rebuild it when someone dropped the ball, or forgot, or upset you in some way that was unjust.  And again, so you wouldn’t see it.  And you thought everyone else was amazing and so supportive, with their comments and cards.

The therapy, support groups, guidance counselors and even just talking to the friends of your parents – the time in searching for the right people to talk with, at the right time, just in case you needed them, we needed them, in the future.

And everyone keeps telling you how great you are doing, how he loves you and is looking down, how his strength will get you through, and how much he loves you.  And I continue to hold up each of you like three boulders on my back.  As parents themselves it is like they do not realize what it would take to get you through this in the real world of our lives.  As if his memory is enough to get you through – and I’m just carrying on doing nothing for you.  It is really easy to post a “he loves you” comment on an Instagram post – it is another to reach out and see if you actually need help.

I get the sense that they feel I’m the ex, and the one who is lucky to be alive – they were clear at the beginning with all of the “should’s” for me, especially for my wallet.  Maybe  they can’t even imagine that I would say a kind word about him – or make you scrapbooks they chose not to contribute to.

My unwavering position from the day of his diagnosis was that you would be ok…you would survive the initial shock of the “c” word.  Right from the start my research led me in the scariest of directions, and “no hope” was the best outlook we had.  But then there was the part of me that didn’t want to be the grim reaper – sure, there is hope, maybe he would be the exception, the miracle would happen.  In my heart I hoped but new the gruesome reality of what we were facing.  Where was I wrong, that it would all be over so quickly and I would be left holding a bag of insanity to sort out, almost all on my own.

But now six months later and you have realized that you are going to get through this – where there was no hope you actually see opportunity and your own strength.  You’ve realized, “Oh look, time marches on, life goes on…I’m still standing.”  You are surprising yourself and astounding me with your insight.

Take the “he loves you” comment with a grain of salt – people need to be in the public eye showing support.  For the record there are only a handful of people who have actually reached out to me – and honestly, I talked to them on a daily basis before his diagnosis.

 

Goodbye to 2017

I can remember last January (2017)  reading that the most successful entrepreneurs know the magical power of January 1st, they plan for it and then walk into the new year ready to step off and create new habits…new systems…new income…and it all made perfect sense to me.  Don’t miss a single opportunity to create the next year and start on Day 1.   While I had planned a bit I didn’t have the detail to launch an attack on life on January 1st.  And after the hoopla of the holidays, and without a concrete plan and the regular few new clients that trickled in…well, for me 2017 was off and running.

However, at the start of 2017  I did say to the universe, “I just want my life to look completely different by the end of 2017.”  As a powerful manifester I should have known better than to be so vague…what I meant was that I wanted my business to be significantly bigger…

Instead, the universe, acting with zippo direction from me, delivered to me exactly what I had asked for – and I sit here on December 31st still a bit dazed.  From the start of his illness my children were living with me full-time, adjusting to visiting their father in ICU and rehab, no longer able to have full conversations with him due to a tracheotomy and feeding tube that were inserted just 7 days after diagnosis .  They learned and saw the impact of daily radiation and weekly chemo.  Life was already completely different and they hoped it was temporary…and then he died…yep, the guy that promised to be immortal, left us on July 2nd – only 81 days after his diagnosis.  During this time I also noticed my clothes disappearing out of my drawers at an alarming rate – ahhhh…three daughters full-time.

During the “15 minutes of fame,” which to us parents who have lost the co-parent – is the time when the whole world gathers around you in a gigantic show of support for you and your children.  Ex, or not, you get promises of support, “we are going to check in with you,” “know you are not alone.”  Then reality sets in, people start telling you what to do with your own children and have the nerve to talk down to you when they remind you it is your job to honor his memory.  I was sued by his family as they also managed through a loophole to saddle me with his tremendous debt.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, health and dental insurance, college applications, car titles and car insurance,  and how my middle daughter was going to finish out her senior year of high school where her father lived – dumped in my lap without an iota of care – at one point the family sent me his tax bill and told me to pay it.  Gone was the loving and respectful relationship I had built from scratch with my co-parent.  The day he died his sister called me screaming.

Yep…life was looking completely different.

So, not to get caught again with my manifesting pants down, I have been much more specific.  After-all, I have to be.  The very powerful messages I put out the universe seem to be taken in the most literal sense.  This year will be about building me.

I have told the universe I now have boundaries – no one can come into my house (mind, heart, parenting) and push me around.  My business will build with new systems, new staff, and new clients that are all in place – and more, lots more, will be coming in…and I have a profoundly different outlook on life.

Tonight I will ring in 2018 as my dear sister marries the most kind-hearted and loving perfect man that she manifested.  We have both come a long way since she stood at the backdoor of her home years ago,  ranting about who the heck would ever want to come into her insane life.  Now, we have both hopped across the river and find ourselves living the same mile apart here in PA that we had in NJ. Weird.

I will be wearing a dress owned by my other bestie which, is quite different for me as well.  That woman knows how to shop – and look fabulous – and I am grateful to take advantage of her legwork.

And, as the clock strikes midnight I will be holding myself accountable for every second of time and what I choose to do with it – I will be relentlessly pursuing my dreams – in a way I have never walked before

Tomorrow I will sit with my family but also for a while with my business – lay out those boundaries and continually remind us all of the very specific things I am manifesting in 2018 …and savor the opportunity of starting fresh on day one with a new year.

In 2017 I am leaving behind my very heavy heart and profound sadness I have carried for the last 6 months for my dear friend.  I believe that in many ways I have been the one to care the most about my friend and all that he is missing with our children – several times a day, every single day, I have cried for his pain.  But, I believe that he would want me to be mosying on – and what better time to do that than on NYE.

2017 gave me gifts and lessons while it robbed me blind at the same time.  I bid it a fond farewell and look forward…with specificity of course.

The Hustle

Ya know what has built my business – my hustle.

In the words of a woman I highly admire…Ms. Tina Hines…The very people who are saying they want to be where you are, are also talking about your ego.

 

CEO- if you are not operating with integrity in your business, then you are not worthy of the CEO title.  Earn it every single day.

Webinar Review – The Four Pillars of Your Business

How to build your business?  I love to take calls with coaches and watch business coaching webinars of all sorts.  Typically I find them through Facebook ads or they have secured my email in some way.  I’m not specific in the types of coaching I need – they could be selling general business coaching, high ticket programs, Facebook and list building courses…whatever, I’ll listen.  Afterall, one of my honest statements is that “they didn’t teach me this stuff in PhD school.”  And I always learn something.

The webinars all follow the same pattern and are getting longer…and longer.  The typical webinar starts with “we need your undivided attention” and then continues for about 90 minutes.  Not sure where they learned this length was a good idea – but they must be successful.  They start with our pain points (overwhelmed, lack of predictability, not as successful as where you want to be) continue with their story, throw in testimonials, and at some point in the middle of all of that, they throw in a few teeny tiny pieces of content.  They talk about how whatever it is that they are going to tell you will dramatically change your entire business, your life, and you will shatter your goals – if you implement it.

I typically take significant notes,

Adam Davies.  It took him 12 minutes to introduce himself – I literally had no idea who was talking because his slides were not branded.  Apparently he founded CoachingWithYou.com.  He lives on the beach (most do) and promises that if you follow his instructions you too can have his amazing life…not sure about the hot wife he talks about…but I digress.

His claim is that you need one funnel – one offer.

The Four Pillars of a Successful Coaching Business

  1. One perfect offer – solves a specific problem, it is priced as a premium, and highly leveraged.  You are selling a result – and that result is critical to your ideal clients.
  2.   TeleFunnel (43 minutes in):  This is your ‘client conversion machine.”  Telephone funnel – I’ve never heard this one before!  The most successful coaching businesses have one.  Huh!  I took LOTS of notes.  Did he give you the exact formula?
  3. Facebook Ads to find your people (‘nuf said’).  Nothing is free if it is taking your time.  Spend the money to do what works….interesting.  What you pay is what you can get out.
  4. Get a mentor…huh, I wonder if he knows one?  Bill Gates has one…Adam himself has invested 10’s of thousands of dollars in a mentor.  You need someone who can help you steer the ship!  Don’t just float!

This was interesting.  He said that the list here to the right – is the icing on the cake.  These things won’t bring in clients.  This stuff will keep you busy – and the effort will not bring you the results you need.  You can exhaust yourself and still not have a consistent funnel.  You need all this stuff, but not until you have the four pillars.

I found this webinar incredibly informative and highly highly recommend you listening through to the end.  For each pillar he does give quite a bit of content which is unusual in a webinar.  I took a page of notes, wrote this blog post, and have some actionable steps I can take going forward.

What did I learn specifically…well, that wouldn’t be ethical for me to share…and you should hear it from Adam yourself.

I Deserve Your A-Game

Let’s face it, these last few months have been rough…in fact, since April 12th I have been living under a blanket of fear and sadness.  Fear he would die, fear of what a recovery could be like, fear of my life changing, fear of you and all you would go through with whatever happened.  Sadness that his summer was ruined, that your life had changed so much while he was in the hospital.  Fear he could not come home, and sadness when I realized he never would.  Fear of how to make it without him, and sadness when we finally had to trudge forward after his death.

Through all of it, I have supported you unconditionally, never hesitating in how my life would change with his illness, the announcement of hospice, and then his death.  You have been my first thought always as I neglected myself and just about everything around me to care for you…sometimes just to worry about you – even when you were fine.

You were pissed, angry and upset with all that was going on, and that was understandable.  You are too young, as was he, to go through any of this.  It is not lost on me that you were stuck with bad cop – the stricter parent.  I know he was your buddy and that void must be heartbreaking for you to even think about acknowledging let alone begin to explore it.  But I’m doing everything I can, and I’m going to now demand your A-Game – afterall, I deserve it.

  1. Flush the toilet
  2. Make your bed
  3. Clean your room
  4. Engage at the dinner table (don’t just stare into space).
  5. Do your chores.
  6. Mind your manners
  7. Show kindness to others when they try to help you through
  8. Look for the good in our home
  9. Say good morning and hello
  10. Say thank you

Above all, it is what your father would have wanted.  He would want you to bring your A-Game to our home, to represent him in the best possible way.  He would want you to remain somewhat together, neat, and to realize that this situation is not perfect for anyone.  He would want you to appreciate that while this impacts you the most there are others who have adjusted around you.

We have heard horror stories of other teens who have gone through exactly what you have experienced…and they have not handled it with the grace and success we expect of you.  They go off the rails turning to others and substances to ease the pain and heal the void.  But the void you feel from his loss is so big that there is nothing that could fill it and I will not allow you to dishonor him by trying .  So as you move forward fill the loss with your own success and happiness. Nothing can dumb or dull the pain of his absence.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media and Blogging to Build Your Business

Social Media Marketing
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I recently had the great honor of recording a presentation for a class at Del Val College here in Buck’s County, PA.  As a social media consultant I love sharing my knowledge with small business owners and this certainly feel into that category.  The professor of the class had the students prepare some questions – some related to social media and some to building my business.  During the conversation I realized this would make a great blog.

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