Grace and Grit

Photo Courtesy of The White House website: Obama administration
Photo Courtesy of The White House website: Obama administration

During President Barack Obama’s farewell speech, a moment that truly got me emotional was how he spoke of his wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.

From his speech: “You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.”

Despite your own personal political views, it is important to understand the complex position of the wife of the Commander in Chief. Mrs. Obama didn’t campaign to become the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), she was given that title once her husband assume the position of President of the United Status (POTUS).
Check out number 8 on the Huffington Posts on 12 little known facts about Michelle Obama that will make you love her even more.  She has inspired me to be a better mom, colleague and to understand different perspectives.

Not only am I truly interested in seeing what Mrs. Obama will do next, I’m very interested to understand what Melania Trump will do as FLOTUS these next few years. Mrs. Trump has mentioned that online bullying was an important issue to her. I hope she makes strides with this issue. According to the cyber bullying statistics website, from the i-SAFE foundation, over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. She has even told her own husband to ease up on his twitter rants.

With the rise of technology and all the advances it has to offer, many people will continue to use it negatively and the side effects are taking a toll on our younger generation.  Mrs. Trump’s legacy is truly at stake, whether she asked for it to be or not, due to the person to whom she is married.

How do you think the role of FLOTUS has affected your own life? Have any former first ladies inspired you to be something or do something specific?

How Alternative Facts can Question your Credibility

The 45th president of the United States was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.  This is the traditional passing of the torch from the current president to the president-elect.  One this cold, and rainy day President Obama handed off this role after eight years.

A viral picture of the inauguration crowd from 2009 to 2017 has gone viral.  It shows what appear to be a smaller crowd at Trump’s inauguration compared to Obama’s from 2009.

obamavstrump
Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Due to the significant attendance, President Trump decided to have Press Secretary Spicer hold a press conference.  During this press conference, Spicer attacked the media for reporting on inaccurate attendance information.  He cited metro usage and infrastructural issues during this day however it appears that his facts and figures were off.

According to PolitiFact, an un-biased  website dedicated to fact-checking, the Truth-o-meter read Spicer’s statements at the press conference were so wrong that his pants were on fire.

To make matters worse, counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. Going back and forth with Todd she stated something that would turn the same situation viral again via memes.  She stated, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,”

Todd then informed her that “alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.”  Conway then tried to pivot from the issue mentioning how Todd’s chuckle was symbolic of how the media has treated the Trump administration.

What does this tell us?

  • Make sure you’re facts are just that, FACTS. The word fact should not need an adjective in front of it to be true, unless you’re stating the CORRECT facts to fix reported falsehoods.
  • Make sure your entire team is aware of the response that will be issued so that no one will question your statement’s accuracy
  • Even if you pointed out a lie, you have to refrain from ridicule. Although Todd was right to hold Conway accountable for the falsehood, his chuckle was the ticket for Conway to use against that media outlet.  Although it is wrong, and Trump and his team have done it before, the press team at the White House could refuse to answer any future questions from any reporter from NBC due to the exchange between Todd and Conway.

Having the CORRECT facts can avoid any media blunders and future issues that derive from said blunder.  How do you think Trump’s press secretary and office can recover from the “alternative facts” viral statement?

The Critical Art of Delegation

This Christmas was extra special as it was my daughter’s first Christmas. We spend time at our separate families. At my husband’s grandparent’s sock party, we wanted to remember the activity of exchanging stuffed socks with goodies. There were over 30 people who were crowded into this small area trying to take a picture. The only way we could get everyone in a family photo was to get a Pano-shot, or panoramic.

pano-family

Of course being a millennial with an iPhone in front of the group shot, I was the first to be able to volunteer my services to this group picture. I got up, excluded myself from the group shot and took the photo. After it was done I heard at least seven people say “Let me see!” on top of others crowding around me to try to view it as well.

With all of the commotion going on, I decided to pay attention to one of my elders only who had requested to view it. My great Aunt Gail was the closest to me after the photo was taken and she requested that I send it to her. I also had about 10 other folks asking to send it to them. Not having everyone’s contact information made that task more difficult for me. I had asked my aunt would she be able to send it to everyone if I sent it to her.

Here is where time is critical: She requested that I sent it to one of her daughters instead as they had everyone’s contact number. This was a brilliant change of action! Aunt Gail wanted to make sure everyone had that special picture commemorating another wonderful memory however she didn’t want to put up with the task of sending it to at least 30 people. Maybe she wasn’t as tech-savvy or maybe she wanted to save her precious time to spend with her sisters. Either way, Aunt Gail requested that I sent the pictures elsewhere. I’m sure it got done because A) Mom’s direction is law B) I didn’t get anybody asking me to send the pictures after I announced the picture would come from Aunt Gail’s daughter.

This is a very good lesson we can take heed in our business lives. Sometimes we don’t have time to do certain things, even though we may want to do them. That is why we hire other people to focus on doing those tasks so we can focus on what we do best. You may want to strategically plan what gets put on social media on what is written in a press release but your time may need to be securing more business opportunities or more sponsors. Having subordinates or interns can mean the difference of making an extra $50/month to making an extra $50,000/month, or more!

Advice for 2017: Stay in YOUR lane

Yes, you read that right and no… I don’t mean to be rude.  It can be so easy to compare and contrast our life to the lives of our siblings, friends, colleagues and mentors to understand how they all became “successful” while we haven’t experience our own just yet.  This needs to stop, now!  Stop trying to figure out why Sallie Mae was able to start her own successful business but you haven’t, yet.  Stop comparing your rising path to success to someone else’s paved road of success.

success

What was meant for Sallie Mae wasn’t meant for you.  Her background, up-bringing and experiences are different from your own so don’t get yourself into a rut because you haven’t found YOUR niche yet.

When I get down or I’m not having a good day, I’m guilty of retracting back to this bad behavior.  Lately I’ve been reading several different blogs and I’ve even started listening to podcasts, which is something I thought I’d never get into figuring how to set aside time for implementing in my life. I can thank Brittani Hunter for the podcast suggestions!

Everyone thinks of success in different terms.  You think Sallie Mae has it all figured out but she may start to resent what she does or she may want to start a family but doesn’t have time.  Unless an intimate conversation between both parties is held, you cannot assume what success is for others is what they have for themselves.  They may strive for more, or even for something completely different.

Be the best you that you can be.  Be unapologetic about being the best you.  Make mistakes so that you can learn from them, no one has everything figured out anyway.  Live life to the fullest extent possible and re-define your own definition of success.  That should be one of our resolutions for next year.

This will be my last post for the year.  I’m working on some exciting new projects and I hope you ask me more about the details of this to help me stay on track.  Hold me accountable!  Happy holidays and have a happy New Year!

The Resolution Revolution: Set Small Standards

It’s always the same thing every year: “I’m going to lose these last ten pounds.”  You set out of the gym the first of January with the same group of people making and breaking those resolutions after a week.  Who actually LIKES going to the gym?!  Yeah… there are some people that eventually turn into “gym rats” but it doesn’t always work that way with most.  It’s time we cater our resolutions towards things that we LIKE to do and that makes us feel great.

We can better access our goals by finding alternative solutions that we wouldn’t mind doing in order to accomplish what we want to obtain.  Instead of going to the gym, something most hate doing, we do something more actively fun such as a dance class or riding a bike up a more challenging trail.  These things can make the world of a difference if you have a friend to enjoy as well.  Make a friendly competition out of sprints to see who gets the fastest time or push each other so you can accurately stretch to do yoga poses.

nyrr

Being aware of what you want to accomplish, especially if it’s the same thing every year, can help you figure out “trade-ins” that will progressively get you to your end goal.

The Plan-Ahead

About a year ago I wrote about one’s image and standing out. With the holiday season approach, a good way to maintain and further progress your image to your clients is to plan ahead. Expecting the unexpected is key.

As an account manager in the food distribution industry, it is imperative that our operators follow strict rules.  We don’t want to mess with the integrity of someone’s food.  Knowing that sales will go up, being extra stocked during key holidays is essential.  Some operators will shut down upwards of a week while others, like myself, work only taking the actual holiday off.

Not only do we have to deal with possible freight and transit-time changes, but we will have price changes, promotions and expedited orders to manage and see through to the product ends at its intended location.  It can be overwhelming during the holidays but there is no need to stress.  Why you may ask? To reduce stress, make a “plan-ahead” plan can:

  1. Help your customers know what to anticipate coming down the pipeline
  2. Help yourself stay on track and have a to-do list weeks in advance
  3. Tackle some tasks earlier than anticipated so your list gets smaller and smaller closer to your deadline

A “plan-ahead plan” can simply be sending a reminder email to your client about the anticipated changes that you’re aware of or a quick internal meeting to tackle the necessary steps to keep track of a promotional item.  Doing this can in turn bring other changes to the client’s attention that may need immediate action before your task can get completed, such as a new UPC number for a box of napkins or an invoice discrepancy with a distribution center.

Another example of a “plan-ahead” action would be to push up delivery dates to your distribution centers a week in advance so that the carriers could have more time to spend with their families during the holidays.  Informing the distribution centers ahead of time about this adjusted delivery schedule would mean that these centers would need to stock up to ensure no disruption in the supply chain.  It would also mean that the carriers would anticipate more loads to move the weeks leading up to the holidays.

Having your departments interdependent on each other really helps with the checks and balances.  We may have to delay a price change to recoup lost funds or research recurring issues that happen every year during the same time period.  This will keep everyone on task and help prioritize.

Do you have a “plan-ahead” plan without realizing?

The NEW Tortoise and the Hare: The Right Tools and Mindset

Apologies for not posting this past week.  I was on vacation and wouldn’t you know…I learned a humble business lesson!

la

Along with my husband, I was out and about in the streets of Los Angeles: going to ComplexCon, a LA Rams game and a LA Lakers game.  We also visited the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other things.  I think both of us learned valuable lessons in having the right mindset and the right tools

MINDSET

We were so excited to go to the LA Rams game.  This was the first season the team was back in LA since the early 1990s.  Traffic was crazy and the cost of parking close to the arena was out of this world!  We found parking a few blocks away in an alley for half the price.  Not bad and we get our extra steps in for the day.  Healthy!

After we purchased our LA Rams memorabilia and ate, we found our seats.  We sat behind a dedicated Rams fan that stood up during every play.  Behind us was another Rams fan that “sprayed” every time he yelled.  My patience was wearing thin.  I really wanted to say something however I reminded myself first of all, where I was and that I cannot focus on the negative as it did not out-weight the positive: I was at a Rams game!

We actually networked with all of the people sitting around us who had ties to North Carolina.  The world is truly small.  The wife of the man who kept standing up in front of us had a friend that loves to coupon from Greensboro (where my husband and I met), the man behind us (who didn’t spray when he spoke) was actually from Raleigh, and the man beside us had family in High Point.  I got many compliments on my custom shirt my husband designed, in support of Todd Gurley, who was from our hometown (Shout out to eastern North Carolina).  It didn’t hurt our networking either when everyone found out we were there to support Todd Gurley instead of the Carolina Panthers.  Traders much?

I learned that patience is something to pray for as you never know who a person really is until you meet and engage with them.  First impressions are important but they shouldn’t necessary always be the foundation of a relationship/friendship.  Sometimes you have to dig deeper to find substance.

TOOLS

Having only packed a carry on, to reduce possibility of loss/delayed luggage neither one of us didn’t pack any comfortable shoes.  Needless to say my husband and I underestimated how much walking we were going to encounter.  By the third day, my feet were begging from a break from my Vans and Converses.  We obliged and both bought comfortable walking shoes for the remainder of our trip.

Knowing your circumstances and preparing with the proper tools is invaluable, otherwise it will be a costly consequence.

Learning through living life is lovely!  Sometimes in order to more forward aggressively, you need to slow it down a bit.

FYI I had to get a brace for my left foot to wear for 4 weeks! : stress fracture.  The right tools are very important to have to avoid professional, and sometimes physical injury.