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Making time

 

Over the past year, those familiar with my tales by now have noticed that yours truly hasn’t been posting much. This is true. Last August, the Salon/retail shop I managed closed, so I no longer had my daily escapades at the shop to write about, nor was I privy to all the latest and greatest hair products coming down the turnpike. I found myself wondering where my blog was going to go…was it going to choose it’s new path or was I going to choose it? What would I write about? What do I have to say? – which is hilarious to those who know me, since I always have something to say. I went through my archives, 5 years worth and found the tales with the most impact were those of kindness, of life, of riding the rollercoaster of parenthood, of the gifts bestowed upon us when the shit hits the fan and we think “This is it. This is how it ends.”. So, yours truly has decided to change it up a bit. More often than not, my tales are going to reflect the above, and hopefully shed some light on a dull day, add some laughter to your life and to let you know that you are not alone…and hopefully, get some heads out of some asses. Here we go.

 

“People who truly care about you will make you a priority”. “If your friend is truly your friend, you would get a text back”. “People make time for people they want in their lives”. Everyday, at least once a day on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, you name it, I see the following quotes or some rendition of them. I find them to be passive aggressive and quite honestly, stupid. Yeah, I said it. Passive aggressive because if said person means so much to you, you wouldn’t be posting quotes, you would be at their front door asking them “What’s up?” or to physically check that they were alive and in good health – physically and emotionally. Stupid because, what are we, 12 years old talking shit behind the school? Come on.

I have just celebrated my 45th. year in this earthly realm. On my Birthday I found myself looking back on the past 5 years – not just reflecting on my blog, but on my life. Over the past 5 – 6 years, my beloved hubby had a heart attack, my dear ol’ Dad had a heart attack, both suffered from Afib (atrial fibrillation), both had health issues and physical issues due to their heart medication, I was raising a teenager who was facing obstacles of her own with self image, mental health etc… . I was (and still am) building my brand, the business I managed for 5 years closed, oh yes, and I still had a household to run and all that entails – making sure bills were paid, mouths were fed and clothes were clean, just to name a few. Any spare time I had, I used to go to the bathroom. So yeah, the quotes about those who are important you make time for kinda piss me off because I was making time for those who were important to me. Yes, many of my friendships fell on the backburner. Just because I cancelled plans or didn’t text back the exact second I received their text did not mean I wasn’t thinking of them, wondering how they were. It didn’t mean I loved them any less. I was a little overwhelmed and sometimes just keeping my head above water. As a Mom, you have to be strong for your child, even when you think you have no strength left. As a wife who still adores her husband after 23 years, you must be calm and reassuring when all you want to do is cry and freak out when the love of your life is on his 10th hospital visit to the E.R. because of chest pain. (the upside to all those visits was I was able to help my Mom and my Dad when he went through the same thing).

More often than not, when someone isn’t keeping in touch as much as you would like, it has nothing to do with you. Many of my dearest friends have admitted to me that they weren’t telling me their problems, or were “keeping it light” because they knew how busy I was and how emotionally and physically spent I was and didn’t want to add to my load. To me, that is one of the kindest actions – to realize someone you care about is carrying as much as they can handle, so why add more weight.

Here’s the deal. Life is messy and gets in the way. Sometimes you get a call, sometimes you gotta make the call. Some texts are answered, some are not. If you miss someone – call them, go to their house with a coffee and a smile. If you feel out of touch with someone, decide this – do you see them in your life 5 years from now? If the answer is yes – seek them out and rectify the situation. If the answer is no, well, there’s your answer. Leave well enough alone and hope for the best. It’s all you can do. Plain and Simple.

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…there isn’t an App for that

  My view this morning.

Over the past months, speaking with countless ladies and gents of all ages, there has been one striking commonality. Everyone seems to be wanting. Wanting appreciation. Wanting to be seen. Wanting to be heard. Wanting a better job. Wanting a better life. You name it, someone wants it. Unfortunately, all these wants are wanted NOW and most cannot understand why it doesn’t happen as fast as they can snap their fingers. Being a parent of a “millennial”, I have had many an interesting conversation, debate or all out argument over this exact phenomenon. So, today Ladies and Gents, boys and girls, I am going to tell you what I have told my daughter (I can feel the eye roll), …”there’s not an App for that.”.

Think about it for a minute. Gone are the days of the waiting list for the one encyclopedia at the library you need to complete a paper. Need facts? You can pick up your phone and Google it. No more lines at the card catalogue with pencil and scrap piece of paper in hand to write down the Dewey Decimal number to retrieve the book you need. Looking for a book? Your local library’s web site can do it for you as you pick up your pre ordered Mochachinofrappalatte. No more pining over that shirt you had to have, but were too late deciding and now it’s been sold. Hop onto amazon and have it to your door by tomorrow. Remember the weekends as a kid? Wondering if someone was home? Trying to call but the line was busy, so you kept trying every two minutes to see if it would ring through to the other end as your parents bellowed “Get off the DAMN phone!!!”. Today, surf your Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and not only can kids find out who’s home or where their friends “are at”, you can also know what they had for breakfast, what they are wearing today and how unfair they are being treated at home because their Mom asked them to ….gasp…empty the garbage.

Here’s the deal. You want something out of life? You gotta do the work. No App is going to clean your house, or change the oil in your car. No App is going to mend a broken heart or take back an unkind word. Sometimes, you will not get a text back as soon as you send it, it’s okay. Maybe the textee had a bad curry for lunch and is tormented in the bathroom and just doesn’t want to share “whassup”…yet. I am sure you will hear about it on Facebook or god help us, see it on Instagram.

They say that whenever you get a “like” or a text, dopamine in released. Guess what? It’s released in other ways too. Before you get up on your soapboxes, yes, I realize I am blogging, and yes, I realize I share this on Facebook and other sites. Yes, I post pics of the cookies I made on Instagram …I also hand deliver said cookies to share with those who see them. I physically go and see people and I look them in the eye when I speak to them, face to face…not to be confused with Facetime. Dopamine sans technology my friends.

Life gets in the way. Trains are late. Flights are delayed. Emails go unanswered. The only thing you have complete control over is yourself, so why not make it as enjoyable as possible? Set up a little corner with your favorite things that make you happy and bring back the warm fuzzies. Go outside and look around, not for anything in particular, just look. Surprise a friend with a coffee…without your phone in hand. Hand deliver a Birthday wish instead of making Facebook do all the work. Try to live every moment and laugh everyday. Plain and simple.

 

 

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The choice is yours

A few years ago I received a sign for my office from my girl, with many positive affirmations collaged together. The one that sticks out the most to me is “Happiness is a choice you make everyday”. So very true, so easy to remember yet so easily forgotten.

Over the past weeks I have heard the following from friends, family and the people I see everyday;

  • I’d be happier if he was nicer
  • I’d be happier if I got a raise
  • I’d be happier if my child behaved in public
  • I’d be happier if people kept their opinions to themselves
  • I’d be happier if I got to see my friend’s more
  • I’d be happier if I had more help around the house
  • Etc… etc… etc…

It seems everyone wants to be happier, but doesn’t want to do the work. Trust me. I know. It is easier to put the blame of our woes on someone else’s behaviour. Been there, done that. Try my best not to do that anymore. For no one, anywhere, wants to look in the mirror, take a long hard look at themselves and admit a fault. …but darlin’, ya gotta. There is no magic happiness pill, no happiness potion, no mystery man arriving at your doorstep with your package of happiness waiting to be unwrapped, it’s all up to you. Before you get all upset or weepy, I do know that life throws curveballs, of this I am certain. There will be illnesses, job losses, flat tires, spilled coffee, baby spit up on your shoulder that you missed, but the President of the company did not. There will be bad hair days, bloated days, adult acne days ….by the way…what kind of sick cosmic joke is that? We cannot control what happens to us or around us. We can control how we decide to let it affect us. We can control how long a harsh word gets to live in our head rent free.  Have your head spin around and spew venom because the dishes weren’t done or the garbage emptied, or don’t. The decision is yours.

Happiness can be created anywhere, anytime. It can.

  • Had a hard day at work and still have to go to the grocery store? Buy an extra canned good or two and drop in it the food bank donation bin.
  • Your teenager is making you crazy and you are at your wits end over the useless arguments…go look at their baby pictures, their saved school artwork…remind yourself of the love there.
  • Just a long, stupid day? Get yourself some instant cocoa, grab your favorite mug and top that baby off with some whipped cream. …sprinkles too if it the day really kicked your ass.
  • Make a Jello. My gramma Leah always told me that. This way whenever you look in the fridge, you can be reminded that you made something that day and accomplished something.
  • Make some cookies or muffins and deliver them to a neighbour or friend, for no reason. Just to do it. Trust me, 9 out of 10 times, they are in dire need of a glimpse of happiness and a the touch of kindness.
  • Send a joke to a friend.
  • Share a you tube video with a friend, reminding them of a memory you share.
  • Post a joke on your Facebook wall in the morning…it will make someone’s day.

Doing for others is doing for yourself. Making others feel good will make you feel good. Carrying happiness with you will allow happiness to spread to those you are around. Plain and simple.

bubbles

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Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

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…from the inside out

“Trade expectation for appreciation” – Tony Robbins.

It was Sunday morning. I was sitting on the couch, staring out my window while mindlessly flipping through the channels, pondering my circumstances, when I heard the above quote. I turned away from my window to see Tony Robbins speaking with Oprah, on Super Soul Sunday. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Robbins appeared in my living room. About a month ago, whenever I was on Facebook or twitter it seemed someone was posting about his Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”. So, being me, I had to see what all the hype was about. I grabbed my water and a snack, got comfy on the couch and turned on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Being 44, I was familiar with Tony Robbins and his motivational workshops and books. I had given them a try in the past, however nothing ever seemed to resonate in me. I would get a spark, but the fire never stayed lit. Until now. There I was, sitting up, leaning towards the television with tears running down my cheek. Did I happen to mention I was 10 minutes in? Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is where I am in my life. Maybe it is because I am more open than I used to be. Whatever the reason, it was beautiful. It was powerful, magical even. It has been 4 weeks since I have watched it, and I think about it at least once a day. It was the first time I felt I actually saw the real Tony Robbins. No bullshit. No politically correct rhetoric. It was the most refreshing moment I had seen and heard in a long while, and it was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

 

For those who follow my blog, you know that the shop/Salon I manage is closing at the end of the month. The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. Every customer that comes through the door has the same questions “You’re closing?”, “This is so unfair! What am I going to do?”, “Where will I get my product now?”, “What are you going to do now?”, “Guess you are shit out of luck with no job huh?” and countless other negative comments and inquiries. After 3 weeks of repeating myself, smiling, being courteous, I have to admit, their opinions and statements were beginning to sink in and were setting up shop in my mind. I was starting to expect the worst, which is not my style.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Just as yours truly was allowing the “what if’s” to make their way into my mind and allowing fear to control what I expected my plans to turn out like, what do I hear at the exact moment I was getting all stressed about my expectations but Mr. Robbins himself stating “trade expectation for appreciation.”. …okay there universe…I get it. I feel the nudge. So, that is exactly what I did. Yes, it was weird at first. Yes, I had to really concentrate on appreciating. Yes, I felt a little foolish. Then I realized it felt weird and foolish because I was thinking of what others would say or think instead of thinking of what I think and what I want to say. Then I remembered a quote I came across months ago “I used to care about people’s opinions until I tried to pay my bills with them”, enough said.

What is happening in your life does not define you. It only defines you if you let it. Plain and Simple.

 

 

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Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

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…the last to know

Today’s tale is meant for Sales Reps., Sales Managers and distributors alike. Our industry, I believe, is one of the best to be in. There is always something new around the corner. New coloring techniques. New cutting techniques. Our workplace always smells great. We change peoples lives. We improve their self image and in turn their self esteem. It’s exciting and it’s fun. …and it is a business. Something, I am sorry to say, as of late, many are tending to forget.

Over the past 5 months I have been on the receiving end of many an unreturned call, email and text. I have had to find out through my own investigative skills that products have been discontinued, that products are on back order and that certain companies no longer had a rep. for my area. I have even had to hear about a brand promotion from a Rep. that is a competitor of the brand that is running the promotion. I have not been too impressed, to say the least.

I am fortunate enough that our Salon/shop carries over 25 professional hair care lines, so I am able to suggest another product. I am also very fortunate that our shop has been around for over 15 years and our clients/customers trust me and my suggestions. I do not think other Salon’s are as lucky. In fact, I know they are not because I hear about it everyday. Trust me, when a woman isn’t getting the straight goods, she will let everyone from the mailman to the newspaper delivery boy know about it.

Stylists are in the service industry. We are in the business of serving the client and the customer –  catch phrases I hear all the time. Yes, this is true, for Stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners. It is also true for Sales Reps., Sales Managers and distributors. To be clear, I have a few Sales Reps. that go above and beyond their call of duty. They keep their appointments, they call when anything changes from products to our appointment time. They offer retail bags and samples, free of charge so I can in turn give them to our clients and customers. They have become my friend and someone I hold in high esteem. I also deal with some distributors that are on top of their game and are in contact with me when it is needed. Unfortunately, they are the rarity when they should be the norm. So, being me, I have compiled a little how to or reminder list, think of it as a job aid.

  • In the age of facebook, twitter, email and text, there is no reason, whatsoever that a Salon can’t be notified that there is not a rep. for their area. All Salons should be notified, not just the big accounts. PSSSTTT…the little accounts could have become big accounts if you had kept in contact and showed up more often.
  • When an email is sent, respond to it. If you don’t have an answer, then politely admit it and let the person know you will be in touch as soon as you have an answer.
  • If you can text a picture of a cat driving a toy car, you can text that you are running behind and may be late for your scheduled appointment. *Again, I cannot stress this enough – do this for all accounts, not just the big ones. I have personally had a $500.00 order waiting for a rep. who didn’t show up or return my texts (well, she did, 3 days later and made the mistake of telling me was “sorry” but she had landed a big account and was too busy to get to my shop – her exact words), so I gave it to her competitor – because she did return my text and showed up to see me, even when I didn’t have an order.
  • Stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners are customers too. I can only speak for myself, I do not like when someone thinks for me. Never assume we do or do not want a product or product line in our Salon. Show it to us, leave a sample if possible, explain it’s value and let us decide. *That Girl in the Red Coat tip – explain the retail value of your products, not just the backbar/station use. …clients love the way they look in the chair, they also want to love the way they look at home and retailing products is the key to opening that door.
  • When a product is discontinued, let us know. Write it on the invoice with the order shipment, it’s that simple. Hoping I will get the point and will stop ordering a product after 10 tries to order it is not the way to do business. Many times that product is a special customer order and now I have egg on my face, a disappointed customer, and a lost sale. *While they were waiting for that product, if I had known it was discontinued, I could have introduced them to something comparable.
  • When an order is placed, please confirm you received it. I emailed an order because the sleuth in me discovered I no longer had a Rep.. It wasn’t until I sent another email forwarding my first email that I got a response that the order had been shipped and again, the product ordered was in demand and I had a list of women waiting for my call to let them know I once again had it in stock.

I didn’t like waiting for the phone to ring when I was 16, I really don’t like it now. …and in business, no one likes to be the last to know.

 

ThatGirlx3