Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"You excel at FIO. You are adaptable, smart, courageous, and always figure it out!"

My daughter just shared a link on FB that made me want to share a little about adaptability...

In my world, the world of Mary Kay, in the Future Richter National Area, we have a lot of little phrases and initials and things to keep us going, or so that we can identify traits in each other, etc. One of them is FIO: Figure It Out. It's that little thing that says "okay, I don't know enough people to make a million dollars tomorrow... how am I going to make that happen..." (I'm exaggerating for comedic purposes*, but you get the idea.)

So, these three letters identify and remind us of the concept of adaptability. Things are not turning out the way I planned. This isn't going how I want. My life is a mess. My house is a mess. My dog needs an eyeball-ectomy**, and I could probably use some cranio-rectal-inversion therapy. FIO. Figure it out, Rachel. What are you going to do to make this work? How's that bill going to get paid? How's that goal going to be met? Who's going to be your next offspring sales director?

The thing is, I excel at adaptability. I started this whole adventure because things weren't going the way I thought they were going to. So far, I've kept myself afloat (with minimal financial friction from the Schmoogie, who has gracefully accepted the duty of what we might call "putting [me] through school"), kept the doors of my business open, and figured out a way to even move forward step by step because I am a champion at adaptability. I want everyone to be a champion at this, but it's an incredibly difficult concept to grasp, apparently.

Life is messy. Life is uncertain. Life is full of all of these little disappointing things, and all of this stupid little bullshit, and there is always something that can stand up and give you an excuse to quit. Sometimes those excuses are really compelling too: pain, loss, grief; joy even. Sometimes they're people who think you're doing something unwise because they can't separate their reality from yours, and they don't understand that your brain works differently; or they fear that whatever comes next in this adventure might take you away from them; or they're jerks, that happens too.

You NEVER run out of excuses for things. Doing them, not doing them; putting them off until tomorrow. But, if you're adaptable, if you take up the mantle "LIFE IS MESSY: FIGURE IT OUT" and decide that that is how you're going to live, then those excuses become less compelling. Eventually, all excuses look exactly as they are***, and you learn that the thing you were going to do that had to be changed because some circumstance wasn't perfect ended up working out better than you had hoped in the first place.

A personal anecdote to make that last point a little less obtuse: I had been working in an office (and I loved it there, the people were great, my boss was cool, and I got to go buy beer every Friday at 4:30 on the company dime), but the bottom fell out of the economy and as the last hired, I was the first let go. It was cool though, because I had this business sitting in my lap not really doing anything. My last day was February 5th, 2009, and I took the LSAT the next day. Two weeks later I had had 6 or 7 fillings and a trip to the emergency room because it felt like I was giving birth out of the side of my face; and I had shingles... and I had to get 5 or 6 MORE fillings because my dental insurance was about to run out. My first party of the new stage in my business was the following Saturday. Guess what I did?

I put on my damn pantyhose (and my shingles were on my leg, too), and I sold over $200 at that party. I interviewed the hostess (who remains a life-long BFF, but decided MK isn't for her), booked the guests into events, and moved forward with my plan. I figured it out. 

It also turned out that the whole LSAT thing was unnecessary because I decided that being laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me (11 fillings and shingles not withstanding), because it forced me to figure out some other way of realizing my dreams. I wasn't happy about it, I liked that job. I liked the laziness I was allowed in working for someone else, and all of the perks that were offered because that business was solid and able to offer benefits to its employees. But I was support staff, under-utilized, and had a really bad attitude to boot. Being laid off forced me to see my situation from another perspective. It forced me to FIO. It forced me to adapt, and it doesn't matter how much discomfort I have experienced since, because that discomfort forced me to adapt and grow and I think it saved me.

And I'm not exaggerating that time. 

*I do that.
**Exaggerating for comedic effect again.*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How are your grades?

When I was in school, my mom and I worked out a deal: at report-card time, I would either be paid or fined for my grades. A C was breaking even, As and Bs received cold hard cash, and Ds or Fs would result in fines... usually I walked away with $60 or so, but I'll bet I could have negotiated a bonus if I got straight As.

Anyway, this whole concept of the Base Acceptable Minimum got me thinking about that whole grading system thing, and how the money didn't really motivate me to do anything more... but now that I'm older being able to chart my progress and see where I am and what could be improved or how I can more accurately track myself. (The whole concept of tracking has really impacted me in my pursuit of self-employment.) So, I developed a grading system for how much and what types of work I'm doing.

I earn a C for doing the base that is expected of my by my family: paying my bills. I don't get any extra rewards for that, aside from the knowledge that I'm not going to have to ask the Schmoogie to bail me out on a couple of things. For more forward momentum, I earn a B, and by being an absolute rockstar in June, I get an A. Am I setting that bar too high? I mean, for what I want, it didn't seem like too high a bar when I set it.

Anyway, I shared the tracking/grading sheet thing with my director, and I'll see what her feedback is and if she thinks there's anything that needs adjusting. 

Oh, and the weekend was great... how was yours?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Friday!

Let's do a week in review, shall we?

Monday I suffered from a wheat exposure, but decided that I had to get stuff done anyway, so I decided to simply suffer... and suffer I did (feel bad for me yet?). Meanwhile, elsewhere in the... here, SIFF opened and runs for about a month. If you need info on the Seattle International Film Festival, you have Google so go nuts.

Tuesday was the Pinterest for Business workshop taught by social media maven, Tracey Warren  with Ready Set Grow Marketing (@readysetgrow). I blame this workshop for the post about Pinterest. Later, the Schmoogie returned from his man-cation, and we had a great welcome-home party. Also, an age old question was answered...

On Wednesday, I had a mental breakdown when my appointment canceled, then got a whole bunch of new ideas (supported and fed by the Schmoogie), and went to the TBT annual congregation meeting for sugar and connection with my community. I don't know what else happened in the world on Wednesday, because I really don't care.

Thursday, I kept up the work I began on Wednesday and barely made enough money to get some bills paid. I'm pretty excited about that, actually.

And today has been Follow-Up Friday. I remember hearing that you have to "touch" someone 8 times or more before they become a customer, so I performed touch #3 for a few different places, and found out I won't have a weekend booth at the mall (which is okay, because it was kind of short notice and there are extenuating circumstances).

This week, I worked way less than 40 hours (including marketing, booking, and delivery time), but I discovered what I need to know and do for my BAM and that makes the week a win. I think the hardest part of this business is being able to set my own "syllabus" (so to speak) and do what needs doing in order to make the grade. The expectation can't rest on whether I sell enough to pay my bills, but rather on several criteria which make up a complete month. You could call booking one class, selling another, sharing/recruiting another, and leadership as yet another; plus the humanities classes of "The Mary Kay Way" and "How to Freak Out and Then Go Back to Being Productive in 15 Minutes or Less". Pretty sure I audited the sharing/recruiting "class" this month, because I did do some work, but I'm not going to get credit for any of it since I didn't do enough work.

There are still 5 days left in the month. 5 days during which I can have a few more appointments and actually meet my BAM for May. 

HOWEVER it is Friday, so Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh god, not another social media thing...

I'm on the Pinterest now. And I spent WAAAAAY too much time today getting it all set up before I have any followers so they're not inundated with my pins. (I should also mention the pun in my little description at the top... the Schmoogie laughed way too hard when I told him about it.)

So, what's the point of this? Well, I'm "building my brand". I might even start a board for my unit when we're, you know, more unit-y. For now, I'll keep it mostly personal and try to set a good example for other Mary Kay consultants who want to be on the Pinterest (that's why it says that "my oPINions are my own"), and "build my brand" (see, I really am a businessperson, I use buzz-phrases!). 

I was slightly productive today, though, aside from all the pinning. It looks like I'll be paying another bill this month (yay!), and my BAM (Base Acceptable Minimum -- I'll do a jargon post one of these days) is in sight. I hate that it's the END of the month and I'm getting excited about achieving my minimum, but the fact that I have a minimum that I can express in absolutes, and achieve with a little digging in is kind of a big deal.

Yesterday, the Schmoogie expressed that he thinks the first few years of my business were about learning how to do it wrong, but now, this year, I've gotten really serious about it and he's seeing changes in me he hasn't before. Of course, it was also mentioned that I can't expect huge changes in my business because I've been consistent for a few weeks. I roll my eyes at myself when typing that, but it's true. I don't know why I expect myself to change everything overnight, but I do expect that for some reason. Everyone around me believes in me SO MUCH, so why can't everything change overnight?

Well, I know what I need to do, and I'm in the process of doing it, so trusting the process... and knowing that at some point I'll have enough momentum that the process will work itself and I'll settle into a nice workin' groove.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A new... well, a new something anyway

The only thing standing between you and success is you unchanged.

I changed today. It wasn't a big change, it may not even be one of those changes that anyone else would notice, but in my heart and soul, I changed. I gave up on quitting. I realized that through service to my community I will find ways to achieve the ends I seek. I realized how vital the Schmoogie is to my sanity, growth; and how much I really need his support.

I also realized that there's never a bad time to start something new or over again. In fact, one really should be starting over every morning if one wants to be honest with one's self. I've decided to use this platform, not to argue politics as I had been for so long, and not for social commentary either; rather, I've got a journey ahead of me, and I'd like to use this platform to document that. It probably won't make much sense to you, unless you're also a Mary Kay consultant or on a similar journey, but bear with me as I think things will get quit interesting and exciting.

This kind of platform really isn't made for mass consumption, so I think I'll just speak to the few who may be interested to listen and go from there.