Marriages don't happen overnight and divorces don't either. The reality is that relationships take a tremendous amount of work and, in spite of the best efforts of each person, sometimes they just don't work out. It's brutal, it hurts, my entire world is changing and I've run the gamut of being excited at the prospect of a future I never imagined before and inconsolable while mourning the future I was so wholeheartedly committed to. The proclamations I have made in this state have been no less impressive: "I am never getting married." "I am never dating." Normally I would never be so bloody ridiculous, but I suppose after eight years of marriage and two children I am entitled to a short bout of temporary insanity. Here's how I have been getting through it all.
I’m Asian, so when Tom’s first launched I thought someone was trying to make a quick buck off my great uncle’s rice paddy shoes that he has been wearing for years. Honestly I didn’t see myself ever buying them for me until I moved to downtown Las Vegas and all of my wedges and heels were just not practical for long days spent walking from meeting to meeting in the downtown core. I finally bit the bullet and headed to Nordstrom a few weeks ago to purchase my first pair for $44.95.
Of course because it is me they had to glitter, they had to be black, and I was kind of sure I might wear them once. Boy did I have no idea! I am an addict! They are my new favorite and I’ve paired them with casual dresses, leggings, and jeans. I travelled with them and they were easy to slip on and off through security checkpoints. My black glitter matches everything, so it can go with whatever I have on and I’ve had several compliments on them.
In addition to being wildly comfortable, they are socially responsible and every pair you buy gets a child in need a pair. If you’re late to the Toms party like I was, join in and start experiencing the comfort, style, and social responsibility right away!
I have discovered the great mystery as to what makes the perfect client. Yes, my friends, it is the blog that you have been waiting for. The key to the universe.
If I have to tell you what your problem is, you ain’t got no problem. End of story. The perfect clients in all cases, across all verticals, have to know they have a problem. If you are too busy living in Willy Wonka land whereby your chocolate is produced without risk, without deficit, and without anything that gives you stress, well you are the holder of the entrepreneurial golden ticket. Wether your reality is the truth or not is entirely not the point. If I come into your Willy Wonka land and tell you how the chocolate has high calories or your new concoction might cause a small child to explode, you won’t believe me that the problem requires a solution. In the same family, if I have to argue with you about what the problem is we should not work together.
I am a professional problem solver. It’s what people keep paying me money to do for them and I love it. Call me a professional mother, a sizzling promoter, or whatever you will, but at the end of the day I solve problems for people from all walks of life. A talented musician playing coffee shops that needs to get onto the world’s biggest stages? I have a team for that. A new application that can’t seem to win over loyal users? I have a strategy for that. A global company looking to expand into North America? I have an expansion plan just for that. Here is the common thread in every one of those cases: the client knew they had a problem. I didn’t approach the musicians that relish their coffee shop play time or hit up the app designer who seems satisfied that the only people using his tech is his mom and his best friend. Those guys are happy. At the end of the day, I love what I do because I can become a catalyst for change for unhappy people.
All too often as I have mentored and coached new entrepreneurs who tend to struggle with the people in their life that continue on their daily adventures either oblivious or satisfied with what they have and who they surround themselves with. Ambitious entrepreneurs and entertainers just can’t seem to understand why their best friend from high school is happy being a manager at Wal Mart while they take on the world. Back in the day, before life smacked me around and taught me a thing or two, I used to share their frustrations. I always had a “fix it” friend. For awhile it was the guy I was dating, then it transitioned to a lawyer friend who could never seem to pass the bar or get her act together. The cycle continued to repeat itself because I loved being the fixer and I was just sure that if these people in my life could let me make their life decisions for them, they, too, could enjoy the sunlight of success with me. Never- not one- ever made it.
In life we have to make our own mistakes and enlightenment only comes to those who have the real life experience that fuels our inner determination and provides the sense of personal reflection necessary to prepare us for success. If other people have to tell you what your problem is, you ain’t got no problems. Proof that ignorance truly is bliss.
Our guest blog today comes from Tania Venn, the fabulous public relations lady leader over at You Move Me. She reached out to share her crush and I had to share it with all of you.
Recently I fell in love with this hot, new brand, You Move Me, almost instantly, but it's really not because I work for the company. I’m crazy for it because it’s fresh, innovative, smart, and highly customer-centric - all wrapped up into one amazing company. With a mission statement of “we move you, not just your boxes,” wouldn’t you take a second look?The vision of a world-class, customer-focused moving brand came to entrepreneur Brian Scudamore (who founded the popular 1-800-GOT-JUNK?) during his own experience with moving. Moving can be a tough, emotional time in peoples’ lives, and to mitigate stress, moving professionals must exceed the ordinary standards of their industry and be exceptional.
Having moved myself, more times than I care to remember (and I’m moving April 29th again!), I’m familiar with the sheer hell of organizing kids, partner, pets, and house all the while that I’m still trying to run the household, social and family appointments, and a high-pressure career!
Phew! So this is why I will appreciate You Move Me packing up my family’s belongings, safely moving them, and bringing us all coffee on the morning of the big day!
At the You Move Me conference in March we announced a new program currently being piloted in select cities. It’s called Moving Moments and as the name implies, it involves random acts of kindness on the job. I remember sitting beside our LA franchise partner at the conference and she told me that she believed the Moving Moments program was sure to be a game changer for the company. I agree. Today’s brands must offer a service vastly different and better than their competitors’ offerings. With a couple of years of economic recovery, housing is making a comeback and with it home-service businesses are hot right now. Those companies that’ll rise to the very top - I’m talking household name brands here - must set themselves apart from the traditional, tired, old standbys. Their value proposition must cater to the needs of our market today - and our busy lives.
Hmmm…You Move Me...moving moments….fresh….new….innovative….something different for the moving industry.
Do you want in? Share this unique franchise opportunity with friends and family. Read more here.
Today I would like to talk about the one feature I am asked the most about: my hair. Growing up I could never quite get a pony tail figured out because it was so thick and my mom, more practical than a beauty queen type, didn’t know what to do with all of it. I had my share of horrible hair cuts. When I was five I was mistaken for a boy. As in, I was actually mistaken for a boy in a woman’s restroom. Yup, that wasn’t traumatic at all. There was another one I call the bangs from hell. As an adult it did get better and I tried out blonde highlights, layers, and a variety of looks, but once I started to appreciate the gift that being born with a Cousin It amount of thick, healthy hair is, I decided to grow it all out and celebrate it’s natural black color. The best lesson I have learned from being both blessed and cursed by this amount of hair is to celebrate what makes you different. So, allow me to answer some FAQ’s that I get from random strangers:
*What ethnicity are you? I am a gourmet blend of Japanese, Hawaiian, and English. I don't know which to credit for what characteristic.
*How often do you wash it? About once a week. Sometimes twice, but it doesn’t get oily and I’m not rolling around in the mud, so it stays soft and clean for a full week.
*How long does it take to dry? If I air dry it it can take easily 24 full hours, but if I blow dry it in sections it’s only 2 1/2- 3 hours. That does NOT include flat ironing. Flat ironing can add another 90 minutes easily.
*Do you get headaches? I don’t. I think that since I have grown up with this amount of hair my body is just used to the weight. I love pony tails and casual buns.
*What products do you use? I am a Paul Mitchell addict in every way. I love the entire Awapuhi line because it moisturizes without adding oil. During the summers when I’m in the pool often I will add some Moroccan Oil to the ends. I use the Paul Mitchell hair dryer and Chi flat iron.
*What do stylists say? I have yet to hear that my hair is not the thickest they’ve ever had to deal with. It’s two fold because it is so thick and there is just so much of it. The length just makes it even more overwhelming. For some new stylists just blowing it out can be a cardio training exercise and for experienced stylists that like to play with up do’s, I am a dream client.
*Can I touch it? Sure, but only if you ask first. You shouldn’t pet dogs without asking first, so don’t be the creepy lady behind me in Safeway who starts to pet me. And yes, yes that did really happen.
I have curves. I think I’ve had a booty since elementary school and my lady lumps refuse to quit, which can make finding a suitable professional dress that doesn’t make me look like a harlot quite difficult. It is here! I have found it!
Last season I discovered this fabulous Michael Kors dress in a delicious orange color that came in sizes S-XL. Short, but not too short, it is the most amazing jersey fabric that refuses to wrinkle and shakes out for easy travel. The sleeves are 3/4, so they cover my curvy arms without being so long that my tan is lost. The neckline has a looping sailor inspired nautical feel that puts my rack on display without being so low that it’s all anyone can look at. There is a sash belt that nips you in at the waist to show off your shape and the cut allows you to wear a full coverage bra. Paired with wedges, a flat gladiator sandal, or flip flops as a beach cover up, this is my new favorite dress for absolutely everything. So far I have picked up the navy version at Zappos.com and the black and light orange versions at Nordstrom.com. For under $100, this is a great addition to your wardrobe.
Cheers to Michael Kors for making the curvy ladies look curvlicious!
There is a dark side to the entrepreneurial journey that none of us want to talk about it. It's that rock bottom moment that serves as the fuel for your next breakthrough. Huge thanks to the Dare 2 Aspire conference in Atlanta for having me out to share my step by step tips on how you can go from rock bottom to rock star.
I’m on the plane headed home from my first trip to Atlanta, Georgia and I have fallen head over Southern drawl heels in love with this clean, hospitable, and historic Southern city. Until I get back I have to share some of my favorite experiences.
*Mary Mac’s Tea Room: We didn’t discover this local landmark until our second day and we enjoyed three decadent meals there before the weekend was over. Everything- literally every last thing- is made from scratch and the prices are ridiculously affordable. You’re paying breakfast chain prices, but you are diving into the best Chicken Fried Chicken, tomato pie, and sweet potatoes that you are ever had. Try the meatloaf, sip a Georgia Peach martini, or dive into some fresh peach cobbler. The best part is the huge amount of history hanging on the walls and the way that the entire team celebrates their staff. I loved hearing the story of how Mary Mac started this lovely establishment back in 1945 after the war from the proud staff. Before you leave grab some fresh made pepper sauce and their recipe book.
*The King Center: My friend, Sam Collier, grew up in the neighborhood where Martin Luther King, Jr’s Ebenezer Baptist Church is located and getting a tour from him was a spiritual experience. Sit in the church and listen to one of MLK Jr’s sermons, walk around the well curated rooms at the King Center, or just head across the street to visit Sam’s daddy at the Silver Star barber shop for an authentic fade from a barber who has been in business in the neighborhood for forty years. While you’re there say hello and ask about Sam’s music career.
*MJQ Concourse: Atlanta has a variety of fancy nightclubs, but since we have a ton of those in Las Vegas we wanted the authentic Hotlanta hip hop urban experience and we found it at 11:30PM on a Saturday night at MJQ Concourse. Dress casual, bring cash (they don’t accept debit or credit cards, but drinks are all $4-$6 each), and make sure you spend some time in the smaller hip hop room. Nina and I had a blast learning how to dance properly from some locals to the Jackson Five. It’s going to be smoky, the bathrooms are going to rival outhouses, but the underground, authentic club is something you have to take in and just enjoy.
*South City Kitchen: Thanks to the delicious fried chicken dish we made it to this local favorite twice throughout the weekend. Start with the best fried green tomatoes you have ever eaten in your entire life and proceed to the fried chicken dish with the best collard greens on planet Earth and potatoes that balance it all out. Splurge by adding a side of macaroni and cheese and, if you aren’t ready to pop by the time it’s all over dive into some buttermilk chocolate cake that will blow your mind. Prices are very affordable- about $80 for a party of three- and the customer service is impressive.
*Walk Around Midtown: In downtown Las Vegas when a guy hits on you as you walk by he will inevitably use some kind of ridiculous amateur grunt or say something brilliant like “oh yeah baby.” Classy. The culture in Altanta is downright gentlemanly. Everywhere we went we were asked by gentlemen how we were doing, complimented on how lovely we were looking, and- my personal favorite- “you girls are looking right tonight.” Throughout our six days in Atlanta we didn’t have any moments where we felt unsafe and people of all backgrounds were incredibly friendly.
*Apache Cafe on Thursday night: The music scene in Atlanta is booming and my friend Cappriccieo Scates wanted to make sure that we experienced the authentic talent living and working in Atlanta. Writing Sessions of America- Atlanta chapter, led by music industry leader Kevin Shine, does weekly singer songwriter nights that will blow your mind. Each performer was better than the last and I have no doubt that you are sure to recognize the names of Chel'le, Mylah, and J.Morris soon given their tremendous talent. This isn’t the most glamorous bar, but the customer service is top notch and the music community is warm and welcoming. Dive in and support some of the local talent before they become household names.
*The Georgian Terrace: Our group weighed several options for accommodations, but the Ritz and the Biltmore couldn’t keep up with the Southern Charm of the Georgian Terrace. Our stay was affordable at around $150 per night with a massive room, an even more massive closet, and a bathroom that could easily accommodate the morning routine of three high maintenance ladies. Even if you don’t stay here make sure you check out P&P in the basement for affordable appetizers, delicious sandwiches and pizza, and a $6 punch that is flat delicious no matter the night. Make sure you take the time to sit in the lobby and just admire the history and care that has gone into this beautiful hotel.
*Buckhead Church: The second largest church in the United States, Buckhead Church is led by Andy Stanley and calls themselves the church for the unchurched. No matter what your beliefs, you should attend a service- never longer than an hour and half of that is a first class music praise session sure to get you dancing. The facility is four stories and their philosophy is modern Christianity at it’s best. The leader of the facility shared that they don’t encourage non believers to dive into the faith, so they have a Starting Point program that guides interested attendees through an 8 week program. He flat said that they believe that even if you don’t believe you will still be a better person if you live your life according to Christ like principles and the sermon I watched talked about how all Christians need to be accepting and loving towards others. He didn’t come out and support gay rights, but it was the closest I’ve ever heard in a Southern church. I recommend it highly.
Growing up in Washington state I had never spent any time in the South and I confess that I had a preconceived notion that there would be confederate flags everywhere and angry gangsters. The reality could not possibly be any further from all of that. Everywhere we went- from upscale hotels to underground hip hop clubs- there was a sense of community pride and the Southern hospitality was warm no matter the demographic. I left Atlanta impressed, inspired, and ready to come back often.
As I write this I am off on my maiden voyage to Atlanta, where I have been asked to speak at an exciting entrepreneurial conference called Dare 2 Aspire. It’s a conference known for inspiring entrepreneurs to live their best life and chase their dreams. I knew I would be speaking months ago and I knew what the topic was shortly thereafter. You’d think this would mean that I was crystal clear on what I would say. Riiight. Clearly this is my first blog that you have read. Over the course of the last two weeks I have managed to do all kinds of adventurous, exciting things rather than sit my butt down and drill into exactly what it is that would come out of my mouth. In that stead, I thought I would share them with you because, let’s be honest folks, what I managed to do is far more exciting than speech writing.
I SLID DOWN A WATER SLIDE THAT WENT THROUGH A SHARK TANK: My girls had a professional day from school last Thursday and, rather than spending the day working on what I would say to these aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders, I got a cabana at the Golden Nugget and spent the day in the 80 degree sunshine sliding down a water slide that actually goes through a shark tank over and over again. It was beyond cool. You have to walk up three flights of stairs, so I also got in some much needed cardio and my 4 year old dare devil, Mia, was my enthusiastic partner in crime as we went again and again and…. well, you get the idea. No, I did not have any billion dollar idea epiphanies as we slid down, but I found my inner courage during the last half and opened my eyes as I slid on by the sharks. In my mind those sharks were scared of this curvy brunette flying through that tube into their habitat. Sure, the reality might be that they have seen a million people sliding on by and I’m confident they aren’t terribly impressed, but the entire experience was once in a lifetime for me.
I WATCHED TED TALKS STREAMED LIVE AT INSPIRE THEATRE: I figured if I can’t beat em, join em and sat inside the Inspire Theatre in downtown Las Vegas with six or seven other passionate souls as we watched the TED talks streaming live. In one morning alone I heard Simon Sinek talk about leadership, heard heart felt stories from the California Highway Patrol Guardian of the Golden Gate, and learned about modern parenting concepts that challenged me to stop worrying about wether my children are happy and instead focus on just raising good human beings. I wish I could tell you that my billion dollar idea came to me there or that I was able to jot down notes for my talk, but neither of those happened. I took it all in, was wildly inspired to think bigger, and relished soaking up the first class knowledge in such a first class venue that I still can’t believe is located right in my own backyard.
I WENT TO THE GYM WITH A FELLOW AUTHOR: You know it’s bad when I choose the elliptical trainer over writing my friends. It got just that bad, so my friend, soon to be world famous author Aimee Groth, joined me at the gym where we chatted about book proposals, Burning Man, and life over some much needed cardio. Again, I wish I could tell you that this led to a speech writing break through, but it flat did not. If anything, it reassured me that I was not the only wildly talented individual in my community that doesn’t have it all figured out just yet. As Aimee shared that she had to make the decision that she was attending Burning Man- just like that she made up her mind that it was going to happen- and then she set about making it so, it reminded me that I needed to get off my ass and decide to make my speech happen. Well, I also decided that my oldest daughter, Bella the artist, and I are definitely attending Burning Man this August, but it was the reflection upon my own life that I needed.
Eventually- yes at the midnight hour- I finally wrote my speech and it’s going to be magical, so I will share that with you next week once I have the video, so you can tell me if the midnight hour was the time to write it or if I should quit my day job. Some days you just don’t wanna and that’s ok. Somedays you want to slide down a water slide, listen to some TED talks, or hit the gym. Part of the entrepreneurial leadership journey is embracing those moments and letting them take you where they will.
I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to experience social media thought leader Brian Solis in person at a PR News social media conference in New York City and one of the statements he made at that time still resonates with me today. "Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology." Smart phones have made it easy for us to stay in touch with what is happening on social media, but our desire to showcase our lives and loves in real time is what keeps us addicted. Recently I have had more "oh hell no" moments than normal on social media, so I thought it best just to include them all in one lovely "put on blast" location. I considered protecting the names of the innocent, but, let's be real here: none of these people are innocent. Here are the signs that you are doing social media wrong:
SIGN #1: YOU TAG YOUR PERSONAL FRIENDS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS AUDIENCE (See left photo for example)
If the people you are friends with on your personal Facebook page are interested in becoming part of your greatest self army of fans, they will take the extraordinarily easy step of liking it without your tag. Let's be honest here friends, if you have to tag the people you are friends with in a link begging them in ALL CAPS to ADD YOU, you need new standards for friends in social media communities. Don't force your business page down the throats of your personal connections.
SIGN #2: YOU THINK RELATIONSHIP DISAGREEMENTS SHOULD BE POSTED AND UPDATED FREQUENTLY
Oh honey, everything your mama said about not airing your dirty laundry applies to digital just like it did to your mouth back in the day. No, we don't want to know that you are dating a dirt bag and no, we most certainly do not want to know when you change your mind and decide that he is back to being prince charming. God forbid you are old enough to have procreated and have children involved- of any age- we absolutely do not want to observe as you put whatever dead beat ex on blast for their lack of parental abilities. Just last week I watched a vlog on dead beat dads where the grown woman swore she would never bad mouth her dead beat ex to her kids, but here she is on social media for all to see doing just that? Apparently she forgets that once it is out there, it is out there forever ever and the likelihood that her children will someday have the ability to google is fairly high.
SIGN #3: YOU LIKE TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A WEAPON
The other day I was in my lovely nail salon when some woman threatened to go "all over Facebook and tell everyone she knew" if she didn't get a discount. From what I could tell of the situation she had received an excellent service at a reasonable price and was trying to high jack the modern standards of commerce by blackmailing the nail salon. Social media is not a weapon to be wielded as you see fit to get discounts on services.
SIGN #4: YOU ASSUME WE ALL WANT/NEED WHAT YOU HAVE TO SELL
I get it. You signed up for XYZPDQ multi level marketing system because it is going to change your life and the rest of us clearly don't understand/appreciate/comprehend how we are missing out on all of the lovely benefits of buying into a becoming a multi level marketing zombie just like you. I get that it is impossible for you to have any conversation in real life without carrying on about how charmed your new XYZPDQ multi level marketer life is, but I am going to challenge you for just a moment to try to assume that every single one of your friends in every single one of your social media networks does NOT need what you are selling. You're gob smacked. I can see it from here. Get over it. Try an update about your perfect children, adorable cat, or rotten ex.
SIGN #5: YOU POST SPAM-ESQUE COMMENTS ON STRANGER'S POSTS (See left photo for example)
As you can see I posted a photo on Instagram of myself and two entrepreneur friends at the Las Vegas Metro chamber of commerce lunch, to which the random stranger with Plan for Greatness as their handle felt compelled to spam me with their comment. Nothing says trust and engagement like a random comment on my photo, right? The chances that I would trust these jokers to help me discover the success within me is absolutely zero. Yes, they are doing it all wrong. If you want to use social media the right way- wether for personal or business use- you need to get to know people, invest in creating quality content, and engage with them before you ask them for anything. Otherwise, you are just flat doing it wrong.