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Last week my husband and I both had to travel for business during the same three days. Due to some hiccups in plan A, B, and C, we ended up with plan D, my daughter accompanying me on my trip. All four plans took a lot of creativity, and admittedly we were "high fiving" ourselves for sorting through it.
As travel day arrived and we pulled onto the highway, about 10 minutes from our home, she was sick to her stomach. For her, sometimes being rushed in the morning does that, so a quick pull over, some water, a change of clothing and some cuddles later, we continued on our way. As I pulled from the service centre back on to the highway, it happened again. This wasn't morning rush, this was a bug. All planning and juggling was slowly crumbling around me... I felt tears welling up in my eyes, pulled over, tidied her up, and headed for home, which turned into a few more stops along the way.
Now what? What I wanted to do was cry, stomp my feet, and be disappointed, so I gave myself thirty minutes to do it in. When my alarm beeped, thirty minutes was up, and I needed to reframe the situation I was in. My reframe, "Hey, I came up with this super, awesome creative solution in the first place, looks like I have another challenge waiting...GO!"
So I sorted it out through email, conference call, Skype, FaceTime, and file sharing. I was able to get everything done that needed to be done, while taking care of my first priority, my daughter.
So, as it says, "If Plan A didn't work. The alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool." Rise to the challenge, reframe the situation, get creative, because you can always make it work.
Oh yes, and don't forget on those days when you are into plan B, C...S...Z, carve some time out that evening for you - a bath, a book, a seat in front of the fire, whatever it is give back to yourself and recharge.
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Last night I participated in Good Night Sleep Site Halton's Sunday Night Sleep Clinic (Check it out on Facebook - every Sunday from 8-9pm EDT). A thread was open and available for your transition questions for an hour, and I received a great question around reducing the guilt and anxiety around that first daycare drop off.
Here are a few of my tips...
(1) Prepare to show up as your most confident self. How do you feel your most confident? For me blowdrying my hair can make a world of difference! Also, for me, taking time to eat breakfast helps. When you have to tackle a transition, being your most confident self will take you far!
(2) Build in some special time before and after daycare with your little one. You can carry those special moments throughout the day with you, and look forward to the end of the day together.
(3) Give yourself permission to feel. Try writing yourself a permission slip, like the many you will write for your children in the coming years. What permission do you need to give yourself to make it through drop off? What about the work day? Write it down on a scrap of paper, post-it note, or back of a receipt and put it in your pocket. When those emotions surface during the day, pull it out and remind yourself. An example? " I give myself permission to cry today." or "I give myself permission to drop off at daycare today and walk away."
(4) Plan a celebration for the end of the first day of daycare, or the end of your first work week with daycare. Research shows us the anticipation of an event is even more powerful vs. actually living it. Plan that time you have next weekend now, so you can begin thinking about those great times you will have with your family.
What are your tips for managing that first daycare drop off?
Yesterday, I was on the commuter train heading out of the city and into the suburbs during the peak commuter rush. The air-con on the train was non-existent, it was hot, and there were a lot of huge frowns sitting around me. Getting on the train was a race, getting off an even bigger one. No one spoke. No one smiled.
As I sat there (feeling very lucky to have a seat), I remembered my last daily commute into the city by car. Everyone around me looking so frustrated sitting in traffic as they headed to work or home from a long day. The funny thing is we know that traffic is going to be there each day or that public transit is going to be busy. Traffic and commuting gives many of us a negative feeling. If we have to do it, why not reframe it and make it positive.
Some ideas for car and/or public transit commuting with a smile:
What is your favourite thing to do to make your commute a happy one?
I remember being in high school. My friend coming running down the hallway (doing that run-walk to avoid getting into trouble), her face looked like she just couldn't possibly hold the gossip she had inside any longer. She ran into the centre and exploded, telling us our friend's boyfriend dumped her for another girl. As girls do in high school, we all began speaking at once, and, ultimately, freaking out.
We didn't stop to question the validity of the information...
We didn't stop to process whether freaking out would truly help the situation...
We just freaked out.
Today, that high school girl rears her ugly head now and again, when I hear something that makes my stomach turn and gets me diving deep down a rabbit hole of doom. When I feel my pulse begin to race, I try to ask myself the all important question, "Do I have enough information to freak out?"
Chances are I don't. So I take a deep breath. I let it out. I begin to ask questions to get the information I need, after all I am in the business of asking questions. Examples: Who did you hear this from? What exactly did they say? How do they feel about it? When did they say this would happen?
Then I ask myself another critical question, "Will freaking out help?"
The answer is always, no.
Those two key questions,
"Do I have enough information to freak out?" and "Will freaking out help?", both learned from Brene Brown, tame the high school girl inside of me, and help me refocus on what is helpful.
So the next time you hear a rumour about organizational restructuring, your supervisor retiring, a change in your daycare providers hours, or a rumour about a friend, I challenge you to ask yourself those two key questions.
I would love to hear how they impact your next steps!
Whether you are in sales or not, you are a seller. You are selling your personal brand. In much of our lives, we do it unconsciously.
For instance, a friend who always has a huge smile and a positive attitude has a brand, and a friend who is always 15 minutes late, so you start telling her a time that is 15 minutes earlier, has a brand.
Professionally we get hired, fired, promoted, selected, headhunted etc. based on our perceived brand.
The key is understanding those perceptions and acting on them. Once you know, you can become conscious about the brand you are communicating to the world (i.e. If you don't want to be the person who shows up 15 minutes late, focus on always being on-time or early.)
William Arruda's article, Five Ways to Learn What People Really Think About You gives a five step process to determining how we are perceived.
How do you think your friends / colleagues / family would describe your brand? How do you want to be described?
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The Mamma Returns
The Mamma Returns is a boutique coaching firm for Mammas. We offer executive, life and transition coaching services. In addition, we offer programs for Mammas returning to the workforce post-parental leave, and self-guided programs to explore priorities, boundaries, goal setting to name a few.
Megan is an optimistic, enthusiastic Mamma who strives for a balanced, intentional life. Megan believes in planning for the best case and preparing for the worst.
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