Life Cloaked

Life Cloaked in Fatigue

When you’re a hockey mom, your life becomes a rat race cloaked in a fog of fatigue.  Some weeks there simply is not enough caffeine to keep you awake.  Day in an day out, you race from the bus stop, to work, to the gym, to practice and then to home.  By the time you eat dinner, its after 9:00 and your falling asleep on your plate.  Maybe your kid doesn’t play hockey, but plays another sport or activity, but the story is the same.  Pure unadulterated exhaustion.  As I figure it, I will finally get a chance to sleep in sometime in December!  Woohoo!

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In effort to balance your life, you have to make yourself a priority.  It could be carving out 30-60 minutes for exercise. Or maybe you take the time to actually use the Massage Envy membership you bought yourself.  At this point in my life, I could get 86 90 minute hot stone massages without me having to come out of pocket.  Do as I say, not as I do is clearly the message here.  Nevertheless, I’m taking time Sunday to get a nice relaxing massage.  If the meme below speaks to you, like it does to me, it is time for you to make yourself a priority.

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I went for a run tonight when I got home from work tonight, despite the fact my abs were destroyed in Barre.  For context, my abs have been so sore since taking my first Barre class that I can barely get out of a chair, rollover in bed or stand up.  Hey, the upshot is that I know the class worked!  In order to run, I had to figure out how to mitigate the pain in my core.  As a result, I found a girdle (sexy I know) for lifting weights that I could use to support my abs while I ran.

The run sucked, but running in 88 degree weather is never the most fun you will ever have.  The runner’s high you experience post-run is amazing and can’t be beat.  I only ran 2.75 miles because I’ve been having some serious shin pain in my right leg and serious knee pain in my left.  Sadly, my left knee was not loving the run so much.  Fortunately, my right shin felt pretty good during the run and feels okay still.  Fingers crossed!

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No sooner had I sat down after taking a nice post-run shower, when the Mayor called me asking me to pick him up from practice.  Hubby took them to practice tonight.  The Mayor’s practice ends at 7:20.   Meanwhile Goalielocks finishes practice at 9:30 pm.  I, of course, told him I’d pick him up.  I drove to the rink through the usual log jam that is Friday traffic on the turnpike to get My Mayor.  The normally six minute drive, took at least 15-20 minutes.  Good times.  Only in Florida, is the quickest route on the turnpike through the pay lines and not the Sun Pass lanes.  Craziness!

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I got to the rink and saw my Bantam parents outside in their “Oktoberfest” beer tent.  None of them had seen the Mayor.  As I drove towards rink two, my hubby came out of the rink laughing.  It seems the Mayor, in between the time he hung up with me and I got to the rink, had arranged to go home with a friend and out for dinner.  Amazingly, the Mayor forgot to relay his change of plans to mom.   I thought I was going to blow a gasket.  I had finally gotten comfortable when he called.  Now here I was circling the parking lot at the rink in my pajamas hair uncombed with searing pain in my core.   Ah yes, motherhood is a glamorous gig.

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As I figure it, the ab pain is really a good news bad news scenario.  First of all, it is good because apparently my ab muscles still exist.  It is bad, however, because any movement like coughing, standing up, sitting down, laying down, coughing or laughing causes the some serious pain.  Sadly, while I have now confirmed the existence of said ab muscles, they’re nowhere to be found.  In fact, they’re now in the witness protection courtesy of Irma and stress.  Here’s hoping they emerge from the program before the holidays.

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I’ll leave you with this incredible video of the band Aha (awesome Norwegian 80s band) performing Take One Me acoustically.  Shout out to one of my fave people, the one and only BG for directing me to it.  Its incredible, enjoy!

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Freaking Friyay!

It’s Freaking Friyay!

It’s freaking Friyay!  I swear I could hear the hallelujah chorus emanating from every car as I made my way home on Florida’s turnpike this evening.  Oh yes, the sweet release to the weekend.  The short, but sweet break from the reality of adulting.  Fortunately, our hockey games are local this weekend, which makes our lives significantly easier.

By this time of the week, I’m exhausted and ready for bed by 6:30 pm and today is no exception.  I took full advantage of national coffee day today enjoying more than my usual serving of glorious Dunkin’ coffee.  Yet, here I am ready to sleep by 7:30 pm..  Oh how things have changed….

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I’d though I share with you some of my witty observations from the week in the form of memes and gifs.

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We had a real code red situation this evening after picking up the kids from the bus stop.  The Mayor is at a sleepover tonight and had packed a bag this morning for said sleep over.  Unquestionably, you can imagine his horror when he returned home this evening to find said bag missing.  Clearly, while at work and the eye doctor, I had misplaced his bag.   Obviously, as a working, hockey mom I have nothing better to do than hide his sleep over bag.  Makes total sense, right ?

Certainly between shenanigans at home and work, I may eye roll myself through a portal into another dimension.  Emphatically, as I think about this further, this may be the cause of my eye issues…  See, writing is good for you and aids in self-discovery and self-diagnosis.  Nonetheless,  I’m slightly worried about eye rolling myself into another dimension with no portal back home.

Right up there with my eye rolls, is the WTF’s coming fast and furious these days.  I’m amazed by how adult women treat public bathrooms. (PSA -this is a little gross.)  As if  a pad will actually flush down the toilet, since the high efficiency toilet cannot handle other feminine products?  Seriously, ladies whiskey tango foxtrot?  Apparently, common sense does not exist in the ladies’ rooms across America.  Aside from the ladies’ room and raising three boys,  my work week ensured that the WTFs continued to come at light speed.  As Buzz Lightyear would say, to infinity and beyond…

If you want to see people move fast in an office building, myself included, just let them know there’s free food.  This week at work, our engagement team held a health fair for our employees.  Our engagement team did a phenomenal job putting the event together. One of the vendors, a local cafe, was providing a plate of their food.  If I had to guess, 99% of those that attended went through that line twice.  Nevertheless, while that may run counter to the point of a health fair,  the food was that good.  I don’t think anyone felt guilty about their multiple plates.

Happy Friday to the blogosphere!

Dr. Pangloss

No Dr. Pangloss here

I’m an optimist, most of the times, who see the glass as being half full, but this girl is no Dr. Pangloss.   You may remember Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s glorious work of satire Candide.  In this novel, Dr. Pangloss clings to a view of unreasonable optimism even when his life experiences constantly contradict his philosophy.

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Sadly, Dr. Pangloss  never makes the mental leap that their outlook on life is dead wrong.  Rather he continues to adhere to a ridiculous philosophy that has caused much pain.  Keep in mind this is a man riddled with syphilis, nearly hung and almost dissected, but he never abandoned his dead headed philosophy.

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In many ways, Dr. Pangloss was the anti-Voltaire espousing and championing ideals that Voltaire shunned.   As Voltaire so eloquently said, “it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”  Pangloss was not willing to drop the chains of his broken ideals.

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Admittedly, there is no coincidence in my writing about Voltaire’s Candide.  In many ways, we face similar difficulties as Pangloss.  Sometimes we don’t want to accept reality as reality.  Instead we tend to explain circumstances away, make excuses for people that mistreat us all while hanging on to our beliefs.  As a consequence, we stay in relationships, we stay in jobs, or we stay in friendships that are no longer healthy.

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Sometimes, as hard as it may be, we have to accept reality, reset our mindset and move on.  In the immortal words of Ace of Base, “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes.  I saw the sign.  Life is demanding without understanding. ”  If you are unwilling to pivot when life calls for it, you may find yourself in a Candide like misadventure.  Let me be clear here that what I’m advocating is being realistic and not blindly optimistic.

 

boy mom

Boy Mom Life

Being a boy mom is not for the tentative or faint of heart.  Unequivocally, it takes a tough gut, a tough mind, a strong will and the flexibility of a yoga master.   My oldest son was and is a saint.  He was easy going as a baby,  a child and remains easy going as an adult.  He was definitely God’s way of tricking us into having more kids.  Its not that he didn’t have the requisite trips to the urgent care or ER that come with raising kids, but they were in frequent.  If we were at the doctor with Jake, it was because he picked up something at daycare.

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My younger two are strong willed as Jake is easy going.  Oh boy….  The thing about strong-willed children is that they can drive you absolutely mad.  Strong-willed children can absolutely change the world, however, if you don’t try and tame their spirit as is often the case.  It is tempting because it can be maddening.  While Jake spent no time in the urgent care due to accidents or sport injuries, Goalielocks and the Mayor are on a first name basis with the local Urgent Care staff.  You know you’re a hockey mom, when the Urgent Care practitioner knows you, your child and their hockey position.  They even remember to ask how they did at their last tournament.  The urgent care really should have a frequent flier program.   I’m hoping now that the boys are older, our visits to the urgent care center decrease.  Wish me luck on that one!  

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As a child, Goalielocks used to ask us deep philosophical questions while we drove.  These were not easy questions either.  No, Goalielocks wasn’t asking questions about Barnie and Friends.  He was all about the meaning of life as a toddler.  What’s worse is that he would call us out if our answers were inconsistent or changed.     Who expects to be called out on the meaning of life and the origins of the universe by their preschooler?

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Women,  well at least I can speak for myself, tend not think in a linear fashion.  Men tend to think more linearly.  I try to think more globally.   As a young mom, I assumed that my boys thought in a similar fashion.  Oh boy, was I wrong.  I didn’t realize that their thinking was quite singular and linear.  For example, when I told my kids to take a shower, I didn’t realize I would have to specifically tell them to also shampoo their hair and wash their body.  Lesson learned.

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A more recent, and perfect example of this, occurred during Irmageddon.  For some unknown reason, my hubby had brought in a work light from the garage.  The light was unbalanced as it’s legs hadn’t been fully extended..  Goalielocks accidentally knocked into the light knocking it over sending glass shards everywhere.  My hubby and I did our best to vacuum up all of the glass shards, but we clearly missed some of them.  As I swept and vacuumed this weekend, I found more shards of glass.

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I walked into my bathroom noting droplets of blood across the bathroom floor and into our hallway.  As it happens, Goalielocks stepped on a shard of glass cutting his foot.  He had tended to the cut by removing the class, cleaning the wound and covering it.  I asked that he clean up the blood stains he had left in my bathroom. Goalielocks cleaned up the blood stains in the bathroom.

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I took the picture above last night of a blood stain Goalielocks left the day he sliced his foot.  It is important to know that the stain is in our master bedroom hallway about an inch outside of the master bathroom.  As I was taking the pictured, annoyed that the stain was still there,  I asked Goalielocks why he didn’t clean this stain up.  After all, he had cleaned all of the others.  His answer was simple.  “Mom, you asked me to clean up the stains in the bathroom.  This one isn’t in the bathroom.”   I was incensed at myself and him all at once, myself because I should have known better and him because he should have known better.

I brought this picture out at work today.   As it is truly a perfect example of how people that think differently perceive different situations.   When you know that someone is a linear thinker, like my kids, you know you need to be very specific in your communication. In contrast, with a global thinker you wouldn’t have to be as specific.  If you tell me to clean up the blood stains, I’m going to clean up the blood stains even those outside of the bathroom.  On the other hand, a  linear thinker speaking to a global thinker may want to be very specific in their communication leaving no room for misinterpretation or broadening of scope.  

I love how this interaction with my teen turned into a lesson on interacting with different types of thinkers.  Life has a funny way of teaching us when we least expect it.  At first, I thought it was about a male and female brain, but it is not that simple.  Not all women thinking globally and not all men think linearly.  The important take away is that people think differently and we need to communicate accordingly.

Glorious

There is something glorious about a beautiful sunset.  As I left work tonight, at peace with the past couple of weeks, I gazed upon the beautiful Florida sunset.  Albeit there are a lot of things wrong with Florida, but one thing that is oh so right is the sunsets.  Peppered by a bevy of beautiful white fluffy clouds, the red rays of the sun began to set slowly to the west as thunder and lightning rolled in over the coast to the east.  I mean you have to love Florida.  A thunderstorm out one window and world class glorious sunset out the other.  Since I was driving, I was unable to snap a shot of the sunset.  Consequently, I’ll add a picture of the sunset in Flam, Norway.

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Today was glorious because it was a gift.  I have to borrow this from my cousin Jessica, who started this as a daily reminder at the beginning of 2016.  A simple daily reminder of a profound truth.   Jessica has been a poignant reminder of how each day is a gift as she went through breast cancer treatments over the past year.   Fortunately, we were able to see Jessica and her family this summer in Norway.  My boys were overjoyed to meet her son Kai and spend some quality time with him.  Time with family near and far is a glorious gift that no amount of money can replace.

I had a brilliant conversation with a co-worker today about the Oscar Wilde quote on my Live Inspired tee and what it means.  Our conversation about this beautiful Oscar Wilde quote is how the meaning of this quote morphs with you are your progress through the stages of life.  In some sense, she’s completely right.  What defines a life well lived is dependent on the stage of your life.

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Since our youth, we are preconditioned to acquire stuff.  For example things like:  the big house, the big paycheck, the big title and all the fancy goods.  In the end, however, that is not what matters.  Importantly, what matters is the experiences we share with the people we love.  As much as we’d love to, you can’t bring your Louboutins or all that paper with you when you die.

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It reminded me of how truly lucky I was to have Debbie in my life.  I truly believe that God brings people into our lives for a reason, although I cannot yet understand why he tears them away from us.  Debbie taught me, and I think others would agree, a lot about what it means to live a life well lived.  Whenever I have a rough day, I think about her and want to slap myself silly.  I think about how graceful, how kind, how happy and how much she was throughout her battle.  She traveled the globe and the country with her family making beautiful memories.  Even on her worst day, you wouldn’t have know it.  She is and will forever be my hero.

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Another glorious conversation I had confirmed convictions I have long held about someone.  At this point in our lives, there are many experiences that we bring to the collective table.    Sometimes in understanding  those experiences, we can better understand our people and their concerns.  I’m lucky that I can speak honestly and candidly at work without fear.  This person is exactly who I thought he was and one the main reasons I cherish my current career.  Leadership is about making the world a better place.

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James Joyce

The Genius of James Joyce

When life is perfectly imperfect, literature like the genius of James Joyce provides the perfect remedy and wisdom for the moment.  Life will always throw curve balls at us no matter how much we plan or how hard we work.  We will fall, we will make mistakes, but we must pick ourselves up and recreate life out of life.

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It certainly isn’t easy.  How can one expect someone, who is continuously marginalized to stay in their current role?  I love the quote from Joyce above about people trampling flowers to go embrace a cactus.  Too often people are enticed by the cactus or the sheep in wolf’s clothing over the flower.  It doesn’t make sense, but there is something in human nature that draws us to people who may hurt or disloyal to us versus those that our loyal.  Failing to recognize the people that have made an organization effective, while recognizing others is a death nail to a team.  Unfortunately, this could leave to the demise of an organization.

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At the end of the day, words are meaningless.  It is actions that speak volumes.  People have made numerous promises to me over my career, but promises mean nothing without action.   Once, after six years, someone made good on the promise they had made.   When giving me the good news, however, they lied.   They flat out lied.  Again words are meaningless.   When I speak to my employees about their futures,  I’m honest in my timelines and in setting expectations.  It isn’t always what they want to hear, but at least they know my word is good.

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Falling is optional, but rising back up is not.  So rise we must!  We have an obligation to ourselves to give our best each and everyday regardless of our circumstances.  If you’re in a situation where your continuously marginalized, then it is time to move on.

 

Lean In

Time to Lean In

It is time to lean in ladies.  I’ve been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In along with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.  Can you tell?  As a leader in corporate America that happens to be female, I love the book.   Its amazing to me that in 2017, the struggles for women in business remain.   Misogyny in the workplace is a thorny, unpleasant issue, but we need to talk about it.

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When I first took on a leadership role,  my boss asked if I was willing to sacrifice time away from family and kids.  First of all, the question was a bit inappropriate.  My work speaks for itself and is never left unfinished.  Secondly, this questions was never asked to my my male counterparts.   In fact, they found it quite odd that I was.  This leads me to question if the fact that I’m a mom, a hockey mom at that, is an impediment to my career.  Is this something that those above me consider when succession planning?

I would argue that the question is inappropriate regardless of the gender of the person being asked.  A person’s work product and work ethic speak to their commitment to the company.  The worker’s life outside of the company is not germane to the conversation.

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There are number of stereotypes that inhibit women from closing the leadership gap in this country.  If a man gets emotional in a meeting, he is dubbed passionate.  In contrast If a women gets emotional in meeting, she is dubbed a train wreck.   If a man is aggressive, he is applauded.  Whereas If a women is aggressive, she is told to back off and stopped being so aggressive.

About a year ago, two male co-workers interrupted a conversation between me and my colleague a friend and I.  These leaders insisted my friend was not nearly as aggressive she needed to be to get things done.  On the other hand, they felt I was too aggressive.  I shut them down immediately.    They can’t have it both ways.

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What is my ideal workplace? It is an environment where I can work with my incredible team and have my contributions and my team’s contributions noted and appreciated.  In my ideal workplace, the thunder thief does not exist.   What do women want?  They want a seat at the table.  They want the ability to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way with a clear path to success.  In addition, women notice the way other women are treated in the organization. With each women whose contributions are minimized, with each women who is passed over; the women of the organization notice and see their path diminished.

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Finally, ladies this one is for you.  Mean girls belong in middle school, not in corporate America.  Name calling, manipulation and other middle school games have no place.   When we treat each other poorly, it opens the door to more mistreatment. Treat your fellow women with respect and support each other or go back to middle school.

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side effects of hurricane

Side Effects of a Hurricane

The side effects of a hurricane are real and they’re sad.  With a storm the size of Irma, you end up spending almost 48 hours caged inside.  If you were unfortunate enough to have lost power, your stuck eating processed food that just isn’t healthy.  Even if you kept power, like we did, the caramel roll and mimosa brunch does nothing for your fitlife goals.

I’ve had a penchant for running for the past two years since my first Purple Stride event in 2015, but fell of the wagon after our Norway trip.  My sister in law took a picture of us post brunch Saturday before the storm hit.  It was sad to see, but I looked like I swallowed a small child.  I swear I didn’t actually eat a small child, but if you saw the picture you would have thought differently.

When my work announced we were reopening the office with a relaxed dress code on Tuesday, a collective sigh of relief went out across South Florida.   Sadly, post hurricane the dolphins on our yoga pants have morphed into whales.  What’s more the dolphins no look like whales.  Oh it was a humbling Tuesday.  If there’s ever a way to reignite your running habit, this hurricane weekend was the it.

Since it has been so hot, I’ve been running on the treadmill.  Unfortunately, the power had been cutting in and out Monday, so I had to run outside.  It would be my luck that I would injure myself post-storm in an unfortunate treadmill accident.  Consequently, the Piggie and I hit the running path and ran 2.65 miles.  I thought I was going to die.  It was as humid as it was hot.  I definitely should have brought my inhaler.  Nevertheless, it felt amazing to be out on the trail my loving running partner.   Tonight marked three notes in a row of running.  We’re back on track!

 

 

reality

Back to Reality

Today was my first day back at work and back to reality post Irmageddon. Traffic was fantastically light on the turnpike making for a quick commute. Any gains made on the turnpike were quickly given up at my favorite Dunkin’ Donuts where I waited in line with most of Pompano Beach for the better of 20 minutes awaiting my coffee. Clearly, many in South Florida, like myself, has been jonesing for Dunkin’ these past three days.

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Thankfully, I was able to pick up my coffee and head to work. The Turnpike was clear. The traffic lights right around the turnpike, in both Palm Beach and Broward county, were in working order. Once I left my Dunkin’ and headed down Power Line those lights were not functioning. Oh boy, this is a problem.

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South Floridians struggle with traffic laws. Heck they barely obey them during normal conditions. I shouldn’t be surprised that they would disobey them post hurricane. I’ve never lived in a place where people stop at a yield sign, but refuse to stop at stop sign. Moreover, they cannot for the life of them figure out a roundabout. You can imagine the chaos that has ensued since some of the traffic lights are out entirely and others are blinking. Unfortunately, the post-storm confusion this causes often times has deadly consequences.

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Here’s a quick tutorial for my fellow Floridans.  First, If the light you are facing is blinking red, you treat it as a stop sign. Secondly,  If the light you are at is blinking yellow, you treat it as a yield.   Lastly, if the light you are facing is off entirely, treat it as a four way stop. Regardless of the conditions listed above, proceed with caution. Proceed with the assumption that the other drivers on the road will not abide by the rules of the road and protect yourself and your family. I hate driving post-storm because it is patently unsafe.

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Aside from the driving, it felt great to get out of the house and get back to normal.  It stinks being in the house for days.  You start feeling like a caged animal after only a couple of hours and its no fun.  I am hoping that more stoplights will be operational tomorrow making for a safer commute for me and my team.  Thanks to everyone for sending their well wishes and prayers throughout Irmageddon.  We appreciated them very much.

strength in solidarity

Strength in Solidarity

When life give us lemons, not only should we make lemon drop martinis, but we should find strength in solidarity.  Alan had his Wolf Pack in the Hangover.  These boys were his ride and die crew.   Subsequently, we too should have our own wolf pack at work and at home.  Unfortunately, my work life isn’t quite as exciting as the Wolf Pack’s night in Vegas or their escapade in Thailand.  Nevertheless, I quite enjoy what I do and work with some truly amazing people.

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At the end of the day, people support those who are professional, who treat them well and are genuine.  People memorize how you treat them.  While they may not remember anything else about you, but they will remember how you treated them.  Specifically,  no matter what you say or what you do, if you treat people poorly that is what they will remember.

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Unfortunately, things don’t go always go in the linear fashion that you want.   The goal post seemingly keeps moving.  Where it seemed it was 4th and inches one day.  The next day you find yourself in a 4th and 26 situation seemingly all alone.  Sadly, it starts to feel that crossing the goal line is not achievable. Unequivocally, it is a very lonely place to be. All of the sudden, you’re not alone.  As a consequence of a great team, your wolf pack, standing behind you 4th and 26 situation is no longer impossible.  It is a game changer. 

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In actuality, these are times you see people’s true colors.  Unequivocally, these are the times that you are amazed by the overwhelming support, leadership, fellowship and friendship that surrounds you.  These beautiful people become the rainbow to your cloud.  Undoubtedly, they become the reminder of why you love your job.  To all my rainbows, and there are many, I cannot thank you enough.  In the words of esteemed poet Maya Angelou, “nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”  2847-Maya-Angelou-Quote-Nothing-can-dim-the-light-which-shines-from