Mental Health

Finally the world has started to have meaningful conversations about Mental Health. Due primarily to gymnast Simone Biles. Through all of her many accolades and accomplishments, may this be her lasting legacy. She’s a hero!!!

But you don’t have to be an Olympic Gymnast to understand mental blocks. We just need to understand it happens to everyone. How many times have you been at work, or doing something you’re passionate about and all the sudden you lose it? Something’s not right? You can’t put your finger on it? Or you simply just hit a wall & burn out. I’m DONE!! Can’t take the pressure one more minute. All of which falls under the category of mental health.

I worked in a very high pressured career for over 25 years, one which in order for you to do it you had to learn to block out all emotions. You couldn’t put a human aspect to it at all, or you would fail. The pressure was immense. One day, after sitting through 2 days of management meetings and listening to the top brass tell us of all the changes coming with the company, which of course were really all designed to benefit the “stockholders”, I quit. I walked into my bosses office that same day and resigned. He was in complete shock. Asked me if I had another job & I said no. He said “what are you going to do then?” I said “ I don’t know, I have a few ideas, but nothing in place. I just know I can’t do this anymore.” Then after spending several more minutes talking about my ideas, he said. “I think you’re going to do really well, and actually, I’m kind of jealous.”

Thus began my journey back into entrepreneurship. I absolutely made the right call. Whatever your dreams are, whatever your goals, whatever your passion, do that. The mind is a very powerful tool, but take care of you, first and foremost.

#change #dreams #mentalhealth #simonebiles

Nightfall

A Million Dreams…is what they say, but I say A Million Stars. That’s what I see in the night sky, what do you see? I’ve always been fascinated by the stars, okay astronomy if you want to get technical. But nonetheless it’s the stars that fascinate me the most.

Take for instance The Big Dipper. Can you even see it, in your part of the world? I see it, every night that I take the time to look. It’s my “constant”. My “it’s always there.” My “feels like home”. Always in the western sky, I find it there, the most constant thing in my life.

The stars are just there, loyal, every night, even behind the clouds. But The Big Dipper…will always remind me of home.

Trust

What do people really mean when they say they have “trust issues”? Issues with who? Certainly there are people you trust. Family, but not all. Friends, for the most part. Colleagues, until you don’t.

If there’s anything years of business travel taught me, it was that I have trust issues. It certainly didn’t start out that way. You don’t typically start out at a job, looking to build your career and say “I’m not going to trust you.” You dive right in, ready to be the ultimate loyalist, show them how good you are, a “team player.” And the company goes overboard to welcome you, load you up with equipment, tools, training, welcome news releases, possibly even a sign-on bonus. Everything’s great, until you realize that corporate business elicits your loyalty for only a determined amount of time.

I worked in corporate business for 15 years before I figured that out. I was going to stay there until I retired, be “the face of the company” since I was in Sales and managed the clients. But my loyalty was shattered like broken glass “all in a days work”. The day they decided to shut down a small off-site division I worked closely with. Now we knew they were going to shut down the physical office but the manager & staff were told they would be relocating to the corporate office about 20 miles away. Made sense. Until it didn’t.

Like I said, I worked closely with that off-site office, not directly for them. I traveled in from out of town, was a remote worker before it was even a thing. But on this particular day, I was in town for personal reasons (it was close to the beach after all) and had decided to work out of the off-site office while there.

As typical while traveling for business, you head out with colleagues for drinks at the end of the day. And I happen to go out for drinks that evening with someone who was not only a colleague, and the manager of that office but who had over the years become a great friend. Someone I trusted implicitly & still do today.

During drinks I get a call from my Bosses, Boss (they both work at another site in a different state). He says he heard that I was in town (the beach town) and asked what I had planned for the next day. I went over with him my schedule, which was client meetings during the day. He promptly asked me to cancel the meetings and instead go to the HR building the next morning. Ask for David. We need you go to with HR to the satellite office tomorrow.

Now I’m a little confused, and said something to the effect of “to help them move to corporate?” “No”. He says. “To lay them all off. Just be at the corporate office at 8:00 am. Thanks.” And he hangs up.

Now, I’m sitting there having drinks with my friend who manages that office, and now I’ve just been told he and his whole staff are not really being moved to corporate they are all losing their jobs the next day. I’m dumbfounded, on so many levels. Least of which is that I’m in sales, why the hell do I have to go with HR to lay them all off?

About the time my friend says “what did he want” his phone starts ringing. A colleague/friend of his in IT says “Dude, what’s going on, I’m suppose to shut off access to your computer and everyone in your office tomorrow morning.” Of course he’s thinking it’s because of the move to corporate, but the IT person says he doesn’t think that’s what it is.

I hear his side of the conversation and he sees my “white as a ghost face”. He calls “David from HR” & asks him what’s going on? David, tells him the truth. They are shutting down the office, him included. We both just sit there, how do you even begin to process that? By ordering another bottle of Chardonnay to start.

It’s easy now to go through the scenarios of that day & quickly find all the chains of broken trust isn’t it?

The next day was one that still haunts me, 10 years later. Driving 30 minutes in the car with HR people. Listening to them give the instructions about what will happen when we get to the office. Them telling me to gather them up and ask them to go into the conference room. Make sure they are all there, let them know if someone’s not there & the go put boxes on their desk once they are all in the conference room. I’m nauseous. They start talking a little smack about my friend, the office manager, and I can’t it anymore. I speak up and shut them down quickly about his work ethics and character. David agrees with me.

So after the severance packages were handed out and the boxes filled (which wasn’t much because of course they all had a heads up the night before) and the office key fobs turned in, we head to the parking lot. Me with the HR people who I now detest, and them, my laid off colleagues and friends, to their cars. I was a bit jealous because I knew they were headed out for cocktails. And I had to go to lunch with HR people. “All in a days wok” they said. I can’t decide if I’m going to start screaming or break out in tears. Finally David asks if I’m okay. “No, I’m not okay”. And I wasn’t. I thought that any minute I might throw up all over them. David tells the group they need to get me back to the office and they can have lunch there. The others begrudgingly obligate.

Back at the corporate office I get another call from my Bosses, Boss. He is in town after all and asks me to come see him when I get back to corporate. When I meet up with him, I’m still in disbelief & nauseous, and he says “Is it done, are they gone?” “Yes” I said. “But why?” He starts in on the political BS and reasoning for the layoffs. But I stop him and say “But why me? Why did I have to go with them?” His response “Oh, well, we needed someone there with HR who had actually met the people and could verify that’s who they were. Thanks for doing that, take the rest of the day off.”

Not surprisingly, I quit a few months later. My trust in corporate business forever broken.

I work for myself now, and I must say, it’s the best thing that I’ve ever done. But the trust issues remain.

“I” have the trust issues about it. But when I finally “took the rest of the day off” and met up with my colleagues/friends who had all just lost their jobs, they were the one’s consoling me. They knew it was coming for awhile, I didn’t. Some of them had other jobs already lined up. One went into the army, one became a writer, my friend who managed the office went on to become President of a competing company, as for me, I became “Self-Employed”.

The Hotel Bar

Admit it, as a pre-Covid frequent business traveler, you’ve missed The Hotel Bar. 🍷 🍸 Whether they know you’re name or not, you feel like they do. And let’s face it, the good ones always knew your name.

But you…you were either a Marriott or Hilton loyalist (Marriott lifetime platinum for me) and you stuck with your brand. Familiarity was what we all craved. “We” being the frequent fliers who lived for airline, rental car & hotel status. Road Warriors whose lives revolved around being “Up in the Air.” You know who you are. 😉

I didn’t have to come to The Hotel Bar tonight, but let’s face it, I was longing for nostalgia. So while visiting my Son for Mother’s Day, I decided to stay at the Marriott, have a pre-dinner drink at the Hotel Bar, then dinner with my Son, in the Hotel Bar and stayed around for one more after dinner on my own,

But in my 21 years of business travel, the conversation I remember most was in the Marriott Newark Airport Hotel Bar and the 5 by 5 Rule conversation with a frustrated, frequent flyer Dad. (see past post on the 5 By 5 Rule). So to that Dad, I hope you figured it out. 🙏🏼

Conversations with Carli….so many of them during my years of being on the road. I wish I could remember them all. The random conversations at The Hotel Bar with people you will never talk to or see again. And here’s to all the bartenders who remembered I was a “Chardonnay” & to all the strangers sitting at The Hotel Bar whose conversations I secretly listened in on & to those who had conversations with me, Here’s to you! 🍸🍷 I hope you & your loved ones have stayed safe through this whole pandemic. And who knows, maybe we’ll meet again someday, in another Hotel Bar. 🤝

The Carousel

When was the last time you got on a horse? You know, the kind of horse that takes you up and down and around and around of only for a few minutes? For me it was yesterday while walking through the city park with my father and we decided to take a ride.

For $1 each and a few minutes in time we got to feel like kids again. Not a care in the world as the horse took you up and down and around and around to the classic music that signifies The Carousel is in motion. 🎠

Wouldn’t it be grand if all of life were as simple as choosing which horse to ride around on in a beautiful city park on a sunny spring day. 💐

When standing outside the gates watching the carousel it appears to be going much faster than it does when you are onboard. Isn’t that also true of life, jumping onboard always gives you a different perspective. So my friends, don’t stay on the sidelines watching the world go around and around without you. You matter, jump onboard with me and let’s enjoy the ride. 💖

#thecarousel #enjoytheride #thesimplelife

Life, it’s complicated

Life…is a complicated series of twists and turns. You have a path you’ve designed for yourself, a vision of how it’s suppose to go. But it never really does because in the middle of your dreaming and your vision, life happens. Moments in time that change the trajectory of your plans on a dime. But we adapt, adjust the sails, turn the corner, look in a new direction, change course and move on.

And that my friends is called life.

Lost

Does anyone else feel lost in this crazy world? A year ago I thought I had my future planned out. But 2020 had other ideas. I feel so lost in this world without my Sister. Why did #ovariancancer have to rear it’s ugly head and take her from us?

Nothing I thought I wanted a year ago even matters today. I sold my house of 20 years and moved to a new city. It’s taken awhile but the new town is growing on me.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m where I’m suppose to be. 🤞💖

Which begs again the question from an earlier post, where is home? Do you need a “brick and mortar” structure to make a “home” or can it just be wherever you are any given moment in time?

Having this conversation recently with my Son, and his comment was “but Mom, you still need a home base.” Do I? Or is it more that your children need a “home base”? That place of security they can return too when they need a home base?

Why not be a nomad? One of my favorite quotes has always been “Jobs fill your pockets, adventures feel your soul”. So why not take more adventures? Spend your time & money there instead?

What is life, after all, if we don’t live it to the fullest while we can?

How do you make the call?

How do you make the call, that having no life at all, is better than the one that you have?

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

I’ll probably never truly understand why I was in that spot at that moment, on Monday afternoon, but I was. I couldn’t help him, I was in my car driving on the freeway and should not have even been going that direction. I was backtracking from my planned route and again for reasons I’ll never understand, I was there when he jumped.

Then as cars were hitting the breaks, pulling over and slowing down I drove past him as he lay there on the Freeway pavement in the next lane over from me. He had on a blue shirt and tan pants. Not seconds before I saw the blue shirt up against the mesh fencing of the overpass guard he jumped from. I pulled over, along with several others. People were scrambling to stop traffic so no one ran over him, frantically calling 911 and like me just in complete shock. My mind has been playing tricks on me ever since. I had been out of town & had to drive 3 more hours after that, still in shock. I finally broke down when I got home. I don’t know his name, or why he decided that shortly after 12:30 pm on Monday Sept. 14, it would be his last day on earth. But I know for me and the others who saw it, he left a mark. 😢 #RIP

If you need help & are contemplating ending your life, please reach out. #suicidalawareness #SuicidePreventionMonth #YouAreLoved💔

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)