Friday, January 18, 2013

A Post to Hold You Over.... a Mum's Advice to Her Daughters

Friends, I realize it's been ages since I've posted on this blog. To be honest I've been knee-deep in writing/editing the 2nd edition of World War II Radio Heroes, being a mum, consulting with an "old firm", coaching my favorite clients, and .... all the other tidbits of my everyday existence.

I hope old posts keep you working hard on making your life great- or not working hard and getting the same results.

And, I share the below, a personal letter from me to my two girls, in hopes that it inspires you to write your own to your friends, family etc....

I do things like this often, as I hope you do. So, I'm only to happy to share it with you.

My dearest children,

As I consider my own life and philosophies, I have created a list of what I hope you will have faith in, now and always:

Most importantly, God. He will deliver what you need when you need it. He will also forgive you unlike anyone else, if you ask him. He will love you unconditionally, as I do. Believe in Him.

Know that you have the physical ability to do anything, if you train for it.

Know that you have the intellectual capacity to learn anything, if you study it.

Know that you are above no one.

Know that you are below no one. We are all equal.

Know that the greatest gifts you can give yourself are love, acceptance, forgiveness, wonder and confidence.

Know that the world is much larger than what you can see. Explore it.

Know that you will not be measured, by those who matter, in material goods but in services to others and the content of your character.

Know that each day brings with it an opportunity to be better than you were yesterday. You are not tied to what you did yesterday or who you were. You can reinvent yourself today.

Know that no one has an easy life. Everyone is faced with challenges. You will not face anything that you cannot endure. Draw on your strengths and faith.

Allow your life to mean something, to you and to others. Don’t waste it away.

Be thankful for each day you are given, no matter how rainy or challenging. It is a gift.

Love and be loved. It really is as simple as that.

All my love to you, always.

Your mum

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Best Parenting Advice

As if you need more... but here goes (from one mama to another):

  • Think about what you talk to your therapist about and try not to do the same to your children
  • Consider what they may talk to their therapist about (in 20 years) and try to minimize it
  • Be your best self IN THAT MOMENT and don't worry about the cumulative value
  • Realize that perfection leads to depression and insanity... don't go there
  • Tell people when you need help and what type of help you need ("I need you to watch the children while I shower" is always popular.)
  • Set the tone (I don't mean your tone, I'm stepping back from that... play music that soothes, have scents that calm and use massaging lotions and creams on yourself and your babes) They'll come around one day.
  • Be honest- with yourself and with them
  • Try to put it into perspective... it certainly could be worse
  • Try to laugh whenever possible
I think that is all I've got for now. I'm off to bed and hoping for a good night's rest (let's not forget to turn on that sleep machine- they have one and so do I)!

- Happy Parenting

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Live Life Like Your Grandfather... for a month

I often reflect on the differences of the day, compared to that of our parents and grandparents. What was different? How did they view behaviors and philosophies? Did it make more sense then than it does now? Often the answer is yes. When we look at our stress levels, or reported stress, and our debt the answer is obvious... they knew better, had better or maybe you could argue had little choice for the alternatives as we do.

Either way, they seemed happier, less stressed, less hurried in their days, more relaxed, friendlier, more involved (in good ways) and they LIVED WITHIN THEIR MEANS. I know, this last one is a burden to hear. Who does that anymore?!

My generation is the one of "Must Have!" and "Deserves!" or at least, feels the need to appear to keep up with everyone else. If you aren't making six figures, you pretend to be. And, even when you do you still try to act frugal in some ways, to maintain some sense of humility. We're a mess!

Once you face that you can then try to recover and live better.

I challenge you to live more like your grandfather for the next 30 days:
  • Don't send an email, instead call or write a letter
  • Spend at least 10 minutes in any one conversation and focus on it
  • Sit on your porch and greet those who pass by or go to a place you can do this (and prepare for weird looks if it's not the norm)
  • Only spend the cash in your wallet and nothing else
  • Realize that time doing nothing is the best time to have, enjoy it
  • Make and enjoy a homemade meal at the dinner table EVERY night
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Get to know your spouse and kids, play a game with them for entertainment
  • Listen to the radio or music instead of watching TV
  • Turn off the computers
  • Whistle (a tune or at someone)
  • Take a walk
  • Go fishing for the day
  •  ... channel your own grandparents and make your own list
To better days,

Friday, August 10, 2012

If You Want My $ Give Me a Toliet!

(This funny photo is from Reno a couple years ago. I couldn't walk away without snapping a quick shot.)

I can't begin to tell you how infuriated I become when a store/company wants my hard earned money YET when I ask for a bathroom they say, "Sorry, we don't have one." BS! You have one, you just won't let me use it, as it is just for you (the employees).

Life changed for me when I had a child, now two of them. Anyone ever potty train a child who needs to go when you are in a store? Can you imagine how the child feels when they do what they are supposed to but they can't get to a bathroom? How awful.

I demand better respect and service than ever before. I spent more than before and I ask that you match what you desire from me. You want my money, fine, allow me or one of my children to use your restroom when the moment hits.

Normally, when I'm given the "no, sorry" line I just turn it around. "No, sorry, I can't spend my money here. I'll have to find a store/company that appreciates a mother toting small children to give them my money. Thanks anyhow. And, have a great day!"

And don't get me started on the ones without a changing table! I feel a glass of wine coming on....

Happy shopping mamas. May you put your money where their potty is.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Coaching Moment #210 Check Your Bank Account

#210 Check Your Bank Account

Before you do that, tell me what is important to you. What are your priorities? What really matters? Now, go into your bank account. Check the top 20 line items. What do they say is important to you? Do they line up with what you first said? If you said traveling is important to you but yet your money is all being eaten away in take-out…. How do you justify that? Get in alignment and get right with your priorities. Or, just get honest.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Coaching Moment #209 Passion

#209 Passion

Take 60 seconds and define what passion means to you. If you struggle, think of someone who has great passion for something. What does it look like to you as an observer? Now, take 60 seconds more to identify your experiences with passion in the last month.  If none, make it a priority to find it like you would buried treasure.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coaching Moment #208 What is the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

#208 What is the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

In all of your life, what is that one thing that you did that was the coolest? “Cool” is defined by you. Why was it the coolest? Talk with three others to see what their one thing is. The variety in answers may surprise you.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Coaching Moment #207 Put on Your Mood Ring

#207 Put on Your Mood Ring

Do you remember these? I want you to imagine one on yourself, one that works. What color would it be? Ask yourself this question throughout the day. Make sure you can clearly identify your different moods and the mild changes that occur. Get to know yourself better and reflect on how you really feel in different situations.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Does S/He Have What It Takes? Your Employees.

This week I’ve been visiting preschools for my daughter. Some geared more toward working class people and others more nose-to-the-air type (I say that because who else could afford what they ask). I’m open to either… you never know when you find the right place, right people, right curriculum…. But it must be a beautiful confluence of all of them for me to sign on.

As nature would have it, the working class schools have impressed me most. In fact, at one of the “three times as much” schools, the tour guide (who is likely paid on a commission scale if I’d have to guess) lied to me about the qualifications of their teachers. At the beginning of the tour it was one answer and when specifically speaking of the prospective teacher for my daughter, it was another answer. I had to respectfully address the inconsistency- to which she just danced around it… twice. Not to mention she was as superficially interested as anyone can come and couldn’t be less helpful (I had a 6 month old in my hands and a toddler who loves taking her shoes off mid-walk). Ugh… I don’t think so, thank you.

Now I’m certain that if/when I speak with the owner (a businessman not an educator) of this particular “school” he will be apologetic about my experience (at least I hope to God so) and surprised when I share my impressions of his “sales person”.

I share this with you in so much as to say, if you have sales people or people that are in positions to influence a buy or a non-buy of your service/product, make sure they possess the right characteristics. Also, it should go without mention, but make sure they exude integrity, honest and respect for those they interact with. These are bare minimums, but they seem to allude so many so often. Hirers beware.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Referrals Work ...Beware

Dear friends I have experienced the power of referrals twice in the last couple of weeks. Both highlighting the negative impact of a bad referral. Here's the skinny on both:

Referral 1: one of our beloved sitters referred us to her roofer. He was terrific, as was his crew. Until.... he agreed to do other work for us and then stopped mid-work. He failed to return three phone calls by myself and my husband. I began to think he had suffered an unspeakable tragedy. He didn't. He just became overwhelmed and developed some poor habits as a result. To get him back I had to (1) notify our sitter of his disappearance she in turn (2) notified the person who referred him to her, who just so happened to be his top client, a real estate professional. The RE pro attempted to call him and then alerted others to his poor performance of late. Suddenly he called me. Hmmmmm. Sad that you have to effect some one's bottom dollar before they pay attention to their second-tier clients!

Referral 2: we used the mortgage company that our realtor recommended. Bad move. The service was poor from the start. When you deal with a large amount of money, your personal data and are moving states you should expect a higher caliber of service. We didn't get that. We got dozens of excuses, blame, and mistakes in our paperwork. Our closing was delayed and thus delayed two other related closings. We soon learned that our realtor shares an office with the mortgage contact.... Be careful who you accept referrals from. Ask what their relationship is and get another bid/quote anyhow.

It's been hell of a couple weeks. I'll be glad when the transition is all over. But at the very least it has reinforced my strong belief in being careful about those you refer and be ready to support your referral as best you can (as our sitter did- who is still stellar in our eyes).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear Department Store Trainers, I beg you....

Dear Department Store Trainers,

Hello. I beg you... to train your employees more on common sense and courtesy then on the decision tree dialogue.

Today I was in a very popular department store, although truth be told, I only visit once a year on average (I'm just not a big department store shopper). The friendly (good point) clerk greeted me and proceeded to ask if I wanted to use my department store credit card today. "No." I replied. "Would I like to save 5%?" She asked. "No," again I replied. After all, 5% of the whopping $20 I was spending seemed silly - especially since I didn't need another credit card EVER. So, all of this would have been fine by me, this dialogue. Until... she asked me again, twice, if I wanted a credit card... just in different ways. One instance was a simply ploy, telling me that it only took 90 seconds to apply and begin reaping the rewards. The other was asking if I was "sure" that I didn't want to apply and save big. I'M SURE!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you. (trying to continue to be pleasant through the teeth that are clenched together as the steam begins to blow)

It only went downhill from there. "Do I have email?" she asked. "No." I replied. That garnered a funny look. Of course I have email. I just didn't want to give it to her. Then, she went on to ask for my zip code, as if it was required. "You don't need that," I responded. She was as done with me as I her. :) Finally I sighed.

Marketing I get. I love it in fact. Upselling I get too. Rudeness and badgering are beyond my ability to accept, with a smile.

When your employee encounters someone who is reluctant to open a charge account to save $1, don't ask them 3 times. And, when meeting reluctance, ask, only once and nicely, "may we have your email to send you coupons in the future...."? The defining characteristic there is ASKING and OFFERING RATIONALE THAT IS A BENEFIT FOR THE CUSTOMER. It's not rocket science people, just common sense and courtesy. But, dare I ask for that in this day and age.....

The morale of this story is that this episode has now decreased my pilgrimage to this department store, Kohl's if you must know, down from once a year to NEVER AGAIN. My peace of mind and my wallet will thank me.

Many thanks and most sincerely,

Lisa Spahr
Customer (once upon a time) and business coach (one who practices what she preaches)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coaching Moment #206 Five Words that Describe You

#206 Five Words that Describe You

In general, what are 5 words that describe you? Ask your best friend this question via email. Then, ask a trusted colleague. Finally, ask a family member. Don’t help them in any way. Let them describe you as they see it. Then reflect on their descriptors. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coaching Moment #205 Focus for 10 Minutes

#205 Focus for 10 Minutes

Most of us proudly boast that we can multi-task with the best of them. But research has shown us that we lose in the end. Those who can focus on one thing, even for a short time, get more done with greater quality. So, focus for small chunks of time on one thing and see how it works for you. Be open to new behaviors and habits.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#204 The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

#204 The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

I hope you are planning a day that mirrors how you want the days ahead to be. Spent time doing the things you enjoy. Contribute as you can. Share time with friends and colleagues you are proud of. And, find fulfillment in each day if not in every task. Make today the model for the rest.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coaching Moment #203 The Best Money You Ever Spent?

#203 The Best Money You Ever Spent?

I caught myself saying this the other day, “that was the best money I ever spent!”  What would you say that about? Share your answers with me privately. I’d love to know. And, keep in mind what made that money the best spent… and repeat the process with other worthy finds.   

Friday, March 16, 2012

Coaching Moment #202 How do You Take Your Lunch?

#202 How do You Take Your Lunch?

Are you the type to sit at your desk and work through lunch? Do you barely eat anything or conversely eat junk because its quick and easy? I encourage you to set a new trend for your lunch-time. Get away from your desk. Do something good for yourself by eating a nutritious meal, take a walk, read a few pages of something non-work related, or take the time to make a social call- and share a good meal.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Coaching Moment #201 What Would Make Your Day Better?

#201 What Would Make Your Day Better?

Think about one thing that you would like to happen today. It may be a call you’ll get. It may be an activity you’ll do. What would make today better? Then, think of 3 things you can do to encourage that outcome.

Make sure you take time to think about the things you want as well as do what you can to ensure their success.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coaching Moment #200 How do You Reward Yourself?

#200 How do You Reward Yourself?

You reward your children and your employees. How do you reward yourself? Has it been a long time? Make a short list of ways to reward yourself and tack it up on your wall. Next time you accomplish a goal or a milestone pick a reward and give it to yourself. Don’t deny yourself what you know is so vital to others.   

Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting Started in the Gym.... Baby Steps

Instead of a weekly coaching moment, I'm offering something that I've recently reminded myself of. Most of you who know me know that I've battled weight much of my life. I've won and lost more than 50 lbs at times, and then the weight crept back on over a few years. Now with two children under my belt, quite literally, in less than 18 months, I'm back on the saddle (so to speak). And, it feels great. Only 4 gym visits down but I feel amazing already- and committed.

Here's my suggestions/reminders to those of you who need some motivation:
  • Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't overdo it and don't expect to have that awesome bod in a week or month.
  • Start slow but start.
  • Go to the gym on a regular schedule. I'm opting for every other day and being open to bumping that up in the future, but this is the minimum.
  • Do something at the gym, even if it is only for 15 minutes. Yes, I said that. The commute may take you longer than the time you are there, but make sure you get there and do something. It could be a moderate walk on the treadmill. (Don't let anyone intimidate you. They all started somewhere too.)
  • Work on forming the habit then work on perfecting the actions.
  • Get yourself some good shoes and a comfortable outfit (or two). Feeling good in what you are wearing will help feel good and not feel self conscious.
  • Work smart. If you can, hire a trainer- one who's been there and respects your journey (make sure they aren't going to try to kill you and decrease your motivation to go- I've had this happen).
  • As you form the habit of going, you'll become more comfortable with the layout of the gym, equipment, and your abilities.
  • Increase your workouts by time and effort.
  • Set goals.
  • If you want more recommendations or suggestions, email me.
Here's to your health,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Coaching Moment #199 What Do You Value?

#199 What Do You Value?

What are three things that you couldn’t live without? Name them. Now, tell me how much time and other resources you dedicate to them each week. Do you need to re-align your resources with your values?