“The rooster is dead,” my 15-year old son declared, barely holding back the tears I know he felt too old to shed. He’d walked into my bedroom that morning while my husband and I were still in bed, browsing our phones and putting off getting ready for another busy day. It was said as a statement, but the accusation was in his eyes. His big, brown, usually playful eyes told us his beloved rooster was dead and it was our fault.
“Too long,” was all he could get out before he walked away and left for school.
Ugh. Gut punch. My husband didn’t say a word. He just sighed, got out of bed and headed to the shower. I could tell he would be punishing himself all day. All I could think was, “parenting FAIL”.
In that moment I felt so many things… guilt, self-recrimination, regret, a tiny bit of indignation, more guilt for feeling indignant, sorrow and that ugly, kicking-myself feeling that opens the door for that voice in my head to say terrible things like “You suck”, “you are the worst”, “what kind of mom puts off going to the feed store so long that her kids’ pets starve to death?” “what is WRONG with you?” “how self-centered are you, anyway?”
Side note, before anyone sends the chicken police after me: the rooster didn’t starve to death. The rooster had been having seizures since the coop door hit him in the head a few months ago when a gust of wind caught it and swung it into him. There are 10 other chickens in the coop who lived through “The Great 3 Day Chicken Feed Famine of 2018” just fine. We’d been giving them table scraps as well, so they were never without food.
But in that moment, when my son found his rooster dead and the chicken feed bin was empty for the third day because my husband was super busy at work and I was pre-occupied with my business and our five kids, it was easy to believe all those ugly things I was saying to myself. “I DO suck!” “I AM the worst!” “I am so self-centered!” “I’m a TERRIBLE mom!”
Obviously now, given a few weeks to reflect on the situation, I’m able to rationally look at it and cut myself some slack. I still feel guilty, of course. That’s what moms do best, right? But I have apologized and promised to make sure I buy more feed as soon as he tells me we’re running low and my son has accepted my apology and hasn’t mentioned the incident since. That’s all we can do when we screw up. Learn from our mistakes and move forward.
So, why tell you this? So you can feel better about yourself as a parent? No, but if it does… great, I guess. I tell you this story because it’s what life (and business) are made of… lessons.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.
Sometimes our kids think we’re awesome and sometimes they need therapy because we accidentally kill their chickens. The point is, don’t open the door for the ugly voice to beat you up. And if it sneaks in anyway, tell it to go away. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes lots of them.
Then learn from the bad business deal, the wasted time, the lost money, the ended relationship, the dead chicken… look for and learn the lessons so you don’t repeat mistakes. Then shut that voice up and move forward. Bury the chicken, set a reminder in your phone to go to the feed store, buy the feed, apologize, pay for the therapist, and move forward.
Don’t look back at anything but the lesson you learned. The rest is just gross dead chickens, anyway.
(Note: This post was written in April 2018)
Here I sit, in a VRBO-rented condo in the tiny resort town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. It’s been over six months since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, leaving its 3.3 million inhabitants entirely without power and water for over two months. Even now, signs of the storm are everywhere you look.
Roof tiles missing, large holes in fences and wall stucco, broken and dangling street lights. The condo complex is eerily quiet. Of the three pools, only one is fully operational, but we’ve had it mostly to ourselves all week. Many of the smaller tourist attractions are closed, but some struggling tour operators are still hanging on.
Across the island, buildings and jungle alike are stripped bare of their natural coverings. But with the help of many skilled workers, some blue FEMA tarps and the passage of time, life is slowly returning to a semblance of… or maybe a new kind of… normal.
The thing is, when you really look at the island itself, not a whole lot has changed. The coasts are basically the same shape. The warm Caribbean waters are still that gorgeous cerulean blue. Palm trees still stand, the beaches still have sand and seaweed and shells, just like beaches should. It still rains some days and the sun still shines most of the others. Nature; even the animals act like nothing even happened.
So, why is the sense of loss still so palpable? Why have so many Puerto Ricans left the island for good? Why, when the island itself is still very much the same as it always has been, do the tourists not come back?
While my husband and I and our large family have been here, we’ve noticed that we’ve been… noticed. We get that we’re a large group of obvious gringos from the arctic north, having spent the recent winter under layers of sweaters and parkas, so our pale skin sets us apart before our lack of Spanish even becomes apparent. But this is a tourist town. This should be a very normal sight each winter.
I could be imagining this, but what I believe I’ve seen in the eyes of the people noticing our presence here is a mixture of relief, gratitude and possibly some resentment. I’ve sensed a combination of, “The tourists are coming back!” and “What took you so long?” and maybe a little bit of, “So, NOW you want to pay attention to us?”
Who knows? Maybe I’m just projecting my own perceptions onto the people here. Maybe I’m just imagining what I might feel like if I were them.
So, back to my question… if so much of what really makes Puerto Rico such a magical place is still the same, why does it feel so different?
My theory is that it’s the experience of the people that has changed. It’s the trauma inflicted on them first by the storm and its aftermath and then by their sense of abandonment by the outside world. What these people have gone through has changed them.
The island is bouncing back, and by and large, the people are too. But just like the island and its inhabitants, as humans, we tend to take much longer to recover emotionally from our experiences than we do physically from the scars we acquire. Our experiences change us. They change the way we see our world and our place in it. They change the way we react to events and circumstances. Sometimes for the better. And other times, not so much.
So, what makes the difference between bouncing back from a major setback in your life or sinking into a slump? Why do some people seem to be able to get right back up and keep moving forward with a smile on their faces after being knocked down and for others, they seem to get stuck, unable to get back up at all?
I believe the answer to these questions is the secret to all success… in business, in life, in love, in everything.
I believe the answer is gratitude.
Gratitude for the good that is left after the storm passes and clean-up begins. Gratitude for our experiences and all we can learn from them, both good and bad. Gratitude lets us see the cup half full, rather than empty. Gratitude shows us what we are still capable of, rather than what our new limitations are. Gratitude focuses on what we have, rather than what we lack. Gratitude helps us get back up when we’ve been knocked down, if for no other reason than because we’re simply grateful THAT WE CAN.
I have no doubt Puerto Rico will emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever. Her people are good-hearted and generous and hopefully, the world will return these qualities to them in the form of assistance and support. But either way, she is coming back to life and moving forward.
So, the next time I take a direct hit from the storms of life and my world is thrown into darkness, difficulty and chaos; rather than raging at the skies for all that I’ve been robbed of, if I will look around with gratitude for all that I still have—I might be able to imagine and even build a future more beautiful than before.
The time will pass, whether I’m grateful or angry. The outcome will depend entirely on me.
One of the most limiting statements we can make in life is this one…
“I’m just not… [fill in the blank] enough.”
I recently attended a marketing conference where Tony Robbins was the keynote speaker. He said a lot of things. But one thing he said really stuck out to me. He said, “Business success depends 20% on skill and 80% on the psychology of the owner.”
This is sooooo true!
You might find it odd that I would call attention to this quote, when the whole concept of my In Demand Skills Training Course is centered around learning SKILLS. And then I go and tell you that’s only 20% of your success?!?!
That’s because I can teach you all the skills you need to be successful. I can walk you through, step-by-step, how to build a website, how to do keyword research, how to set up social media channels, position and market a business, create backlinks, and on and on. In fact, there is SO MUCH that I want to teach you guys!
There’s a whole world of things you can do with the skills I want to teach you. But I know that I can’t make you believe in yourself. I can’t make you go out and get what you’re worth. I can show you. Teach you. Tell you. Urge you. Encourage you. But I can’t make you believe you are enough. Only you can do that. Only you can shut the door on the negative voice in your head that plants self-doubt and tells you you’re not … [whatever] enough.
I’m not in your head. If I was I would totally shut that stupid voice up. (Creepy thought, huh? So maybe it’s a good thing I’m not.) I can’t do it for you, but I can tell you the secret that shuts that voice down every time. Here it is:
That’s it. Because if you’re moving forward, you’re making progress. And if you’re making progress, you are ENOUGH for this moment. You are whatever enough at this moment and you’ll be even MORE soon. You’re learning, you’re progressing, you’re growing, you’re pushing forward… so you are ENOUGH for right now. And as long as you know more about what you’re trying to do than the person you’re trying to do it for… your skills are valuable!
Isn’t that awesome?!
So YOU. ARE. ENOUGH!
You are also the only one in charge of what you will allow to go through your mind.
BUT, even though you are the only one who can do it, you are NOT ALONE!!! That’s why I didn’t just record the lessons and leave it at that. I created the In-Demand Skills FB group as a place where you can get help and encouragement from others who are on the same path. I do weekly Q&A sessions in that group to help keep you on the right track and give you answers to your questions. I include software, hardware, outsourcing recommendations and templates to keep you going.
I want you to be successful! And I know that’s going to depend on more than just the skills I teach you. It will depend on your mindset. Your belief in yourself and your abilities. Your willingness to cross the imaginary line between knowing and doing. Because it’s not enough to just know. You have to believe you can DO.
Do you believe?
One of my favorite things about what I do is that it gives me a chance to work on so many different types of websites and industries. I love diving into each topic and learning more about it as I work with the client. I just finished an ecommerce site for a great client who owns VintageCarRadio.com.
So, here's a look at what the site used to look like:
It needed some freshening up to improve the user experience and make it mobile friendly. There were also some "under the hood" improvements needed (pun intended) for SEO and site security.
So here's what I did:
Ready to see the final product?
Not only is it a cleaner experience for the user, it's also a lot better optimized for search engines and shopping feeds. And going with a hosted solution like BigCommerce gives your visitor a much more secure transaction as well.
Side note: For different clients, I will recommend different shopping cart software. I usually recommend either BigCommerce.com or Shopify.com. They're both excellent options, with varying feature sets. It really just depends on the needs of the particular client.
Speaking of clients, here's what this one had to say about this project:
So that's the all new VintageCarRadio.com! Check it out, especially if you're into restoring classic cars! You can get a modern radio with Bluetooth, USB, satellite radio, etc and it will look like it is original to the car.
Contact me if you need some help with your ecommerce site, website, blog, or marketing. I'd love to help you out!
I'm back in business!
As owner of Right-Sites, LLC, I've just begun accepting new clients again after devoting almost 3 years solely to one awesome client, Fin Fun Mermaid. Maybe you've heard of them? If you are close to any young girls ages 4-14 you probably have :)
Based right here in Idaho Falls, they have rocketed to #119 on the Inc 5000 list for fastest growing companies in the nation! I was lucky enough to serve as the Director of Marketing for Fin Fun and helped the company grow a whopping 2800% in revenue in under 3 years! Now I'm out of the MerWorld (totally a real thing, btw), back on dry land and looking for my next exciting challenge. Will it be yours? Call me and let's find out! 208-557-9375