It’s a time of celebrations: both my husband and I are having big Birthdays this year; and we are celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Is there a better reason to throw a party?
Visitors arrived: from Germany and Holland, from Quebec and Ontario; up to 10 people slept in our house. We had fun; we laughed; we found ourselves crammed into the gazebo and counted 14! I lived from one food shopping trip to the next; how on earth could the fridge shrink by the minute?
I thought I had it all prepared and that juggling work and guests would be quite possible.
I was wrong!!
I didn’t want to have to work when everyone else was in bed; I wanted to enjoy our guests and spend as much time with them as possible; see, they don’t come and visit every year ….. I didn’t want to end up sleep-deprived either.
I felt torn! I felt pressure inside just thinking about the time I needed to do the work my clients trust I do 100%. And thinking about that trust helped me to balance company and clients’ requirements.
What to we need to do in preparation for such happening? Most importantly, inform your clients as soon as you have firm dates; and determine, with them, the tasks that need to be done while your have guests. If possible, arrange your working hours in such way that allows you to spend more time on each client beforehand so that there is no lack in performance.
My take-away from this experience:
- Don’t compromise and only agree to what you absolutely, definitely know you can do!
- Don’t make firm commitments; chance is that it’s tough, if not impossible, to keep them.
- Plan your working time around your visitors’ outside-the-house activities and stick to your plan.
I didn’t count on things to work out differently than I had planned! I didn’t allow for the unforeseen! And ….. I learned a lesson!
I am grateful to my clients who have been wonderful and understanding; and I am grateful to all who flew in, or drove, to spend these precious days and hours with us. Some are still here, so is my sister, my best friend. I savor every moment! Who knows when we’ll see each other again!
I wonder, how do you juggle visitors and work? I’d love to see your thoughts and advice.
When I read this poem for the first time, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
“Come to the edge” the voice said softly
“No” they said it’s too high”
“Come to the edge” the voice insisted
“No” she said it’s too dangerous
“Come to the edge” the voice demanded
“No” she said “I might fall”
“Come to the edge” the voice commanded
Reluctantly, I came to the edge
He pushed me off
And I flew.
by Guillaume Apollinaire, 1870 – 1918
What touched me so deeply was how much I recognized myself in these simple words. This was exactly how I had lived for so long.
Last year I consciously decided to do things I have never done before and that felt uncomfortable: I took challenges; I looked for challenges. It began with a group of wonderful women taking a weekend trip to do zip-lining. When I saw myself on the last of five steps leading into nothing, my heart started its own concert, hammering … boom, boom, boom! All I wanted to do was run back up as fast as I could. “This is a one-way street, and there is no return. You better get on with it,” I heard someone say, and I knew I had to do it. Eventually, I gathered my courage, let go and jumped!
I flew; and I shouted in joy; I felt like a bird soaring high over Mother Earth; I felt jubilant.
Next came a live interview at “ThatChannel – Liquid Lunch” Internet TV, a hurdle I never dreamt I would pursue; it left me excited and proud: I had done it! Para-sailing in California, passing the intense NLP Practitioner Certification course, and an eight-week “Speaking Club” were next on the list. Each of these activities helped me grow in ways I could not have foreseen.
It is so much easier for us to stick with the ‘same old same old’ than to take risks; it feels comfortable like an old blanket to wrap ourselves in; nothing can go wrong, we think; why change?
Wrong! As a Virtual Assistant and business owner, I work in client relationships. My clients expect me to be the expert. Through learning and experience I have gathered the knowledge about many tools that help my clients’ productivity and growth. I am insanely curious; I want to learn more, delve deeper, and become a better partner to my clients. I need to try things, jump into the cold water and swim; sinking is no option!
We must take our hearts in hand and take risks to grow. When we overcome hesitation and fear, we climb up on the ladder of confidence, and competency, and we glow.
I have not yet decided what the next challenge will be; there are options, though, that are exciting; I am looking forward to conquering the next hurdles.
What challenges do you have and how do you overcome them? I’d love to hear from you.
When I was a child, my parents often entertained guests for dinner. One day, Mom had been busy with preparations in the kitchen, deeply immersed in eggs, flour and butter, with her hair standing in every direction possible. This was a delicate dessert to make, and it needed all her attention. All was quiet when she came flying into the hallway and called the family: she could not find her glasses and needed them right now! And she knew she had used them just a little while ago…
All of us, without exception, immediately dropped everything we were doing, turned around and went hunting through the house. Mom just could not read without her glasses!
We searched in the living room, the dining room, upstairs in the bedrooms; to no avail. Where could her glasses have disappeared to?
Then …. all of a sudden, my brother shouted: ” But Mom, they’re sitting right on your nose!”
In unison, all of us burst into laughter, except Mom; she certainly was not amused. How could we all have been so blind?
When my client Marcia called me early one morning, she was very upset. Her computer was missing important files, they had just … gone. Fortunately, I could put her at ease quite quickly; I had very early on in our working relationship set up regular backups for her. As the backups run automatically, and in the background, Marcia had simply forgotten about them.
Most of us have experienced situations similar to my mother, or Marcia. Often, they now live in our memory as funny stories, and are told as such. I cannot help but wonder, do you sometimes think that you might find yourself in a situation where a restore from backup is impossible? That you have lost something forever? That you are so stressed out, and overwhelmed, that you too don’t see what’s in front of your eyes?
Ever since that day, years ago, my mother always knew where her glasses were. Her solution was simple and effective; she bought a beautifully coloured string which hung around her neck and securely tied her glasses when she didn’t need them. Marcia now makes sure that every new computer is scheduled to have regular backups, so that she won’t find herself in the same situation again.
What solutions have you found in your business that are simple, effective and save you time? Do you know which areas of your business could use some help to run more smoothly and efficiently?
For the past two years, I have been a proud member of a wonderful Toastmasters group. I knew for years that Toastmasters would serve me well and kick-start my speaking skills, and yet, I procrastinated and didn’t explored the possibilities. Maybe it was because of that very first meeting I attended, years ago, that left me saying I’d never, ever join. Or, maybe it was because I was afraid of making a fool of myself. I didn’t think I could do it well.
Then, I took the leap. And to my surprise I survived, quite well! And, watched my skills improve with each speech.
Last year, I registered for a 20-week “Essentials Writing Program.” Again, I had known for a long time that this was something I needed to learn. I didn’t only survive, I enjoyed the course!
A few weeks ago, I gave my ninth Toastmaster speech, incorporating principles learned during the “Essentials Writing Program” with Toastmasters principles.
This is not a perfect speech; there is room for improvement. I am proud of this speech, as I can see how far I have come from the shy, and intimidated Toastmaster two years ago.
I realize that I let my anxiousness dictate. I avoided challenges, and sat safely in my self-spun cocoon.
Now I go out and do the things that give me goose bumps, chills, shivers, and butterflies in my tummy. I experience life’s thrill and feel great! Will you do the same?