Monthly Archives: August 2013

Blogging for Dummies (that’s me).

I’m in the home stretch. I have no idea how I got here.  I’m not sure what I was thinking when I started this venture.  And, frankly I haven’t a clue why I thought this would be remotely interesting to anyone, including me.  So, as I continue to figure out what to do after 365 days (keep writing, not write, write sometimes, go on a vacation with no computer …), I happened upon an article, “Bogging for Dummies.”  Sh**, could have used this 361 days ago!

1. Define Your Goals

My goals were simple: 365 posts (in a row), 500 words or less – with no names, no religion and no politics.  I didn’t set many goals — just like I avoid new year’s resolution – less chance for failure!

2. Know Your Audience

It said that my “content” should reflect my audience.  Who are you, Mr. and Mrs. Audience?  I’ve had 10,000 hits and readers from 19 countries.  Some of you I know and some of you I clearly don’t know.  I frankly didn’t even expect an audience. Thanks Audience!  I really appreciate that you’ve made this one of my most important (and best) years ever … and it happened at 50!  Catch that AARP!

3. Have a Brand

“Just like popular brands such as Coke or Nike, your blog represents a specific message, [brand] and image to your audience.”  Ok. So my brand is about my flaws, some more flaws, the interesting people I meet in life and all the other flaws that are stacked up inside the door of my cave.  Easy enough.

4. Be Inviting

“[I]t’s essential that your blog welcomes readers and invites them to join a two-way conversation.”  Was I inviting?  I often wondered if anyone out there was going to relate or have the same “issues,”  (and I’ve got a lot of them).  I hope you felt “invited” to participate and could relate.

5. Keep it Fresh

A friend recently said, “You gave another homeless person a gift card?”  Alright, maybe I do repeat myself but I just can’t help it sometimes!  I never went back and read the blogs — so thanks for putting up with any “repeats!”

6. Be Yourself

What you see is what you get in the Jessica Roe department.  I’m not complex or mysterious.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve and now in my blog.  I was totally myself – I hope that was ok.

Frankly, what I didn’t expect was that I would fall in love with all of you.  I also didn’t expect the experiences I would have and then share with you.  I mean I’ve had those things my whole life … they just seem more real now that I’ve put them on paper.

Friends, we can do a lot in our lives.  But when we go, all that we leave behind is our love (and our words).  So, with that, I encourage you to write a letter (or blog post) today and tell those you love just how much you love them!

Have a fantastic Saturday!  XOXOXO

Am I a bitch? (Please, no response necessary …).

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  Have you ever made decisions that people don’t like and you wondered if it was you or the decision?  I’ve made a few hard decisions in these last six months and I’ve questioned myself because they were unpopular ones.

Maybe the real question is not whether I’m a bitch, but whether I have the confidence and clarity about my decisions to not worry about what others think.   Maybe the woman in me characterizes it as bitchiness but if I were a man it might be seen as confidence.

Yes, of course it is easy to puff and look confident … they teach you that in law school (not!).   But, I don’t wake up every day feeling confident.  In fact, some days I wake up feeling the opposite.  Maybe I feel bad about a situation at work or a fight with my kids or a partner.  Whatever the reason, being confident is not always on a plate in front of me. Confidence, as we all know, takes work and introspection.  So, it’s not surprising that when other people have issues with my decisions, I wonder if it’s the decision or me.

This year I joined a really cool group of women (and let me tell you, I am the slacker out of these women — so you can imagine what the ones are like!).  From our discussions about confidence, I came up with my own personal list of 4 things that I should (read – need) to say to myself each day.  Maybe they resonate for you too:

1. The one constant in my life is that things will change and I need to expect and embrace change.  Change is no ones fault.  It just happens.  If I am responsible for the change, it’s because it is necessary.

2. I need to give and take care of myself in fairly equal amounts.  Sometimes I am going to have to make a decision about taking care of me first and I can’t feel guilty doing so.

3.  I need to live in the present and not worry about the past or the future because I have no control over either one.  Decisions based on the past will get me in trouble.  Decisions based on the future are blind.

4. I need to trust my inner voice.  It is always (I mean always) right.

Let’s remember this: A confident person is not always confident.  And, they are ok enough with themselves to contribute to the world without worrying about outcome. 

Having confidence is a process as is every thing we do in life.  For me, the one key is #4 – my inner voice.  When I follow that, the rest seems to fall in to place.  How about you?

Have a wonderful start to your long weekend.

Whose their favorite parent? It’s not me!

I’ve heard my kids talk about which one of them is the their parent and there are tons of articles out there on that subject.  But, how about kids having a favorite parent?  I do think there’s a tad bit of truth to there being some competition between moms and dads when it comes to their children’s adoration.

I’ll admit it. I want to be that person.  Who doesn’t want to be the one the crying kid comes to for comfort?  Or get all the kisses? Who doesn’t want to be the one they go to seeking advice for the latest problem with their friends?  Yet, even if I mount a serious campaign, I don’t think it’ll be me.  Why?  I’m the gate-keeper of all evil at the Roe house.

Let’s be honest.  I’m the one making them do their laundry.  When they come home from their dad’s they bring the dirty laundry back with them.  I make them do their homework.  There are lots of sports and movies being played at dad’s house.  I have the violins and cello at my house … what kid wants to practice????  What parent even wants to try to get them to practice?  I make them pick up their room, clean up their junk on the counter and sometimes clear the table after dinner … EEK!

My son complained the other day that I don’t cook like their dad.  I make too much organic food and he prefers the non-organic, high fat kind!  He asked why I can’t make my omelets look like dads or his over easy eggs.  No wonder dad’s the fav!!!

Of course, I’m very happy that they love their dad!  I know they enjoy being there and “relaxing” (because it is apparently not so at my house!).  But, no matter…we share the same DNA and have had loads of fantastic and fun times here at my house.  So, if I have to be the bad parent in order for them to learn how to cut their own nails, put the toilet seat down and get those globs of toothpaste out of the sink – so be it.  Just more $$ in that therapy jar.

Have an amazing day!

 

He started his chemotherapy yesterday.

Two years ago I met a guy.  I actually met a guy and a woman. They’d worked together for years and were starting a new firm.  I joined them.  Regardless of our future  journey, I am forever grateful that I met them.  They will always be my friends.  He started chemotherapy yesterday.  He is only 40.

I don’t know what to say here.  I know that the day he received his diagnosis, his life changed forever.  My mom said the same thing.   I get that.  Yet, it’s what we do with the diagnosis that seals the deal, so to speak.

Do these experiences change who we are?  Yes.  Does they change how we view the world? Absolutely.  Can the rest of us learn from those who are thrown into periods of “change,” even if we don’t have terrible drugs coursing through our bodies for hours at a time?  I hope so.

Life’s like that.  One day is one thing.  The next day it’s flipped over.  Sometimes in good ways, like my friend who has found a new partner and started a new phase of her life.  And some, who just need to get through today.  But let me offer this: there really is good that comes from it all.  Because as much as we (read – me) hate change – it forces us to reexamine who we are, what are our strengths and weaknesses and how to be really better and more loving stewards of ourselves, those we love and the world around us.

So, on this quiet day of his first 24  hours with chemo drugs … I pray that he and everyone else with these experiences now and in the future, find the silver lining. It’s there.  Sometimes there are just a few clouds in the way.

Have a peaceful day.

 

I gave the homeless guy a Caribou card.

There’s a homeless man who is often near the bakery at my office.  He keeps coming to get the free treats that are put out at the same time every day.  Last week I saw him at a table outside the Caribou. He had a warm meal in a styrofoam container and a cup of coffee.  I was meeting someone for coffee.

When I went to get my coffee I decided to buy him a gift card.  I’m not sure why and in hindsight, what was I thinking that he would like a Caribou card?  I guess it was an impulse and I just did it.

I went to sit at another table and as I left to go to a meeting, I slid the card on this guy’s table and walked away.  The person I was with asked if I knew him and I said yes.  Why didn’t I just say no and admit what I was doing?

The next day, when I was getting another cup of coffee, the homeless man walked up behind me.  I didn’t realize he was there but the counter person was clearly looking at something behind me.  I turned around as he tapped me on the shoulder.  He looked at me and said nothing.  I looked at him and said nothing.  Then he walked away.  What’s my problem?  Since when don’t I talk to a stranger?

How did he remember me?  I literally slid the card on his table and quickly walked away.  It made me think about where he came from.  Who were he parents?  Where did he grow up?  What’s his story?

When the kids and I feed the homeless on Thanksgiving, there’s often a guy there who never talks and chooses to get his food last.  But, he always plays the piano … beautiful classical pieces.  Again, what are his life experiences?  Where is he from?  Last year we didn’t see him and we wondered …

It’s a good reminder that we just can’t judge people.   What’s on the outside is not always what’s on the inside.  All we can do is continue to engage in acts of quiet kindness.

After he tapped me and walked away, the person getting a coffee after me said that I had good karma and bought me a cup.  How nice this world is!  Even when I have tough days (or weeks, like lately!), I am always reminded how fantastic this experience of life is.  I just want everyone else to have the same experience, and that’s not going to happen … and is it fair to impose even my great experience on others?

In any case, today might be a good day to try a random act of kindness.  We all need it, although some more than others.  Today my act of kindness is going to be sending my kids back to school.  They just don’t see it as “kindness” — yet!

Have a great one!

As I lay on the cold floor last – I thought about my life.

At about 2:00 am, I woke up and knew I was going to be sick.  As I lay on the cold floor of the bathroom trying to feel better, I started to think about my life (to avoid thinking of my stomach, of course!) and my passions.  When I finally got up and walked into the kitchen, I happened to see a card with one of my favorite phrases (author anonymous):

If you have passion for what you do, the company you keep, the life you live, it will be reflected in whatever you create.  Passion is like that.  It springs out, jumps unpredictable and unplanned into every thing we touch.  If it doesn’t, others know.  Passion can’t be faked and it can’t be manufactured.  Which is why it is so priceless.

What is passion?  What is my passion?  This is a question that plagues many of us for most of our lives.  It certainly gives me pause.

If you Google the definition of “passion”  you get some of the following:

• a strong feeling or emotion
• the trait of being intensely emotional
• something that is desired intensely
• love of any object; warm affection
• a feeling of strong sexual desire

Look how different the definitions are for one word.  It’s a word that can’t be defined.  Instead, passion defines you.

Ask yourself the question – what defines who I am?  What drives me?  How and where and when do I feel that passion?  That love for where I am and what I’m doing?

I’m still exploring this issue of passion but I know that the things I feel passionate about are not always the things I do well!  But they are the things that make me the most happy.

Think of those times when you are the most happy.  In the calmest of states.  Then try to expand those times.

Life is short, as they say on the coffee cup.  So, made sure that a significant percentage of your time is spent where you have that feeling of passion, love and peace.  If nothing else, find a minute of it today!

Have a wonderful start to the week.

 

My son just said it would be nice to have his two parents in the same house.

I had a blog post all ready and then my son said to me this morning that it would have been nice to have his parents together, but he also said that it was ok because he doesn’t remember us together and he says this is his “normal.”  Deep sigh.  Then he asked why they (marriages) don’t work.  Really deep sigh.  So, I talked with him about an article I once read that equated business and marriage.  I thought this might be a better way of explaining it (and I could talk about business and sports interchangeably!):

1. Know Your Customer (or Coach’s) Expectations

Marriages seem to fail because expectations are not met.  In my business, clients have expectations.  In sports, coaches have expectations.  We must strive to meet them.

In relationships, we often wait for our spouse to tell us our expectations – instead of asking.   Everyone’s expectations are different and in order to have successful relationships we need to ask about expectations, know that they will be different from ours, but find a way to meet them anyway.

2. Exceed Your Customer (Coach’s) Expectations

While it’s critical that I meet my client’s expectations … anyone can do that.  I want to exceed them.  Same is true in relationships.  It’s the “how” and the drive to do so that makes it work.

3. Know That Your Customer is Always Right

The coach and customer are always right.  Well, they have a right voice their opinion, have it heard – I mean really heard, not lip service.  Then, the ball (no pun intended) is in our court.

Example:  You are upset with your spouse.  Who is going to be “right?” Does it matter?  Not really, listen to their needs and why they are frustrated and you may just be able to solve the problem without a “right” or “wrong.”

4. Take Care of Your Responsibilities 

Just as in business, marriage comes with responsibilities.  You can’t just let them go and think someone will pick up the slack.  This is a no brainer.  Make it equal (if that’s your deal), be responsible and don’t hold anger because of it.

5. Be Committed

We have to be committed to do the best job we can.  Knowing that no experience is perfect, is the first step to success.  This is one thing I’m learning now – I am not perfect and neither is anyone else in my life.  Yet, I’m committed to their imperfections as I hope they are committed to mine.

So, I told him I was sorry that he wondered about something different.  But, that life is not perfect and neither are his parents.  

After he walked away I thought, just imagine if we all put the same focus and dedication on our business (and athletic pursuits) as we did in our relationships.  Think of the amazing partnerships we could experience!

Sorry for the late post … life.  Have a fantastic day!