Tag Archives: authenticity

Checking in with our Goals

The turn of a new year is a great time to check in and realign our goals. Hands down, one of the best tools for setting goals and weeding out the unimportant is Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map.

Danielle turns traditional goal setting on its head and asks us to figure out how we want to feel most of the time (safe, badass, powerful, brave, joy, peaceful, etc.). Then, and only then, can we decide what things we want to be, do and have that will bring us those emotions most of the time.

This powerful tool for self-connection helps us walk a more authentic path, aligned with our heart’s desires instead of what society says we “should” do, be, have or want.

Whatever those things are, research shows that it is our relationships, our deep connections to others that pack the most impact on our long-term happiness. Women are luckier than men in this regard, we seem to have both an instinctual ability and societal permission to be open and connect on an emotional level.

We women have no problem dishing on deeply intimate issues, but do you know how much your friends make? The last time they asked for a raise? This oft-taboo topic for women means we’re probably leaving money on the table. If we start having open discussions about salaries, bonuses and other perks, this intel can be used to help level the playing field, eradicate the wage gap and ensure we earn our worth.

To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

Dreaming of a Perfect Holiday?

Dreaming of a Perfect HOliday

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is easy to get sucked into the quicksand of “perfect” at this time of year. As a recovering perfectionist I have to be vigilant about superwoman syndrome* at the holidays.

Whether it is the near-constant media pressure to pick out the perfect gift, have the picture-perfect family holiday or setting our intentions for a flawless 2016, expectations of ourselves and others are high.

We also compare ourselves to our past and to others while taking stock of the year. This process can degrade from constructive evaluation to beating ourselves up pretty quickly, increasing the pressure to up our game.

It is easy to get derailed in doing more and more to quell the fears that we’re falling short or worse, failing entirely.

Here’s how I get a grip:

Stop. Comparing. It is a well-documented fact that happiness is relative – we’re happy with what we have until we see that somebody has more, then somehow we’re less happy. One of the best cures is gratitude. When I get nitty-gritty about gratitude and my stress melts like snowflakes on my tongue.

Play by my own rules, not what society dictates I “should” do. Come back to your core priorities, the ways you want to feel most of the time (great tool : the Desire Map workbook by Danielle LaPorte, free in December). If what you’re stressing about acing isn’t one of those 3-5 things and doesn’t serve you in getting there, ditch it. If you can’t bail, do it justice and move on.

Practice the art of saying no, politely and with integrity (no white lies). Thanks to Marie Forleo for this gem from Bob Burg who dishes on how NOT to say no, along with his script for declining with class.

I hope you can pause during the holidays to gently redirect, recharge and fully absorb how much you accomplished this year.

All the best for a wonderful holiday, whatever your wonderful is.
To your success,
Melanie
Founder & CEO
Front Room

*You know… the superwoman who can do it all without breaking a sweat! Make the from-scratch allergy-free** four-course meal plus allergy-free cookies, treats and snacks; evaluate the business and get the upcoming years’ strategic plan done; find the just-right hostess gifts to go to the parties with the great hair, makeup, manicure, outfit and shoes; remember my networking tips because at heart I’m an introvert and homebody; make sure the wrapping paper doesn’t clash with the tree décor because I’m a bit neurotic that way; read  and apply all those books I’ve been meaning to read to grow my business… on and on.

** I’m trying to figure out if I have food allergies or possibly an auto-immune condition.  I am allergic to corn for sure and currently avoiding gluten and nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)  Turns out corn is in pretty much everything, including gluten-free foods (corn is gluten free) and baked goods (most baking powder has cornstarch in it).

Myth-Busting & Mentors

Melanie Love & Sandra Sing Fernandes

Melanie Love & Sandra Sing Fernandes

I grew up believing the myth of the self-made (wo)man.

One part of how this myth shaped me focused on the “self-made” part. I truly believed that to succeed and to have actually earned that success, you had to do it all yourself. This came with a sidecar: that asking for help was absolutely verboten .

I was lucky enough to work for some very successful men in my early 20’s. I saw that if they had a problem, they picked up the phone and call someone for help. They didn’t ruminate or get stuck trying to figure it out themselves – their only thought was who they would call first.

The first time I saw this my ill-informed younger self thought “Geez, this guy doesn’t do anything himself, he’s always calling for help. What an impostor!” Thankfully the Universe was persistent in providing examples for me and I worked for other successful men who did the SAME thing.

It dawned on me that this wasn’t a failure – it was the key to their success! There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. It takes all kinds of help to be successful in life. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t great at asking for help. We don’t want to look dumb, weak or incompetent.

It takes a village: a team working with us towards our goals, advisors to keep us out of trouble, been-there-done-that mentors to show us the way, accountability partners to hold our feet to the fire, friends and family to cheer us on and dust us off when we’ve hit the dirt.

So when I put my hand up (via a social media contact) and got the opportunity to have lunch with an Alberta business icon, I chose Sandra Sing Fernandes – named one of Alberta Venture magazine’s Top 50 Most Influential People for 2015.

A former model and graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Sandra worked her way up in the fashion and art worlds. She is the founder and Creative Director of Western Canada Fashion Week and the Editor-in-Chief of Phabrik Magazine.

A free hour with an industry mentor? Sign me up!

I resisted the urge to try and impress her, instead laying my problems and obstacles at her feet along with my vision for the future. It worked – one hour turned to three. I got all sorts of feedback and even better, an open door to ask her about my future issues.

Who do you call for help? Do you have all the cast required for your epic production? Where else do you need support?  Leave a comment below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

To read the full interview, click here.

For more on mentorship and success check out the article links we’ve gathered on our Movin’ On Up Pinterest board here.  We’ve also got outfit suggestions that are corner-office ready and the handbags to go with it.

Throw Your Hands Up at Me!

The mighty Queen B. was on to something there.HandsUp_img
You read the posting for the new job or board position and think, “I couldn’t possibly.  They won’t pick me.  I don’t check all the boxes.  I’m not qualified enough.”

Let’s review, you’re:

  • One smart cookie.
  • Educated, in both classroom and industry.
  • A quick study, all that info gets sucked into your big brain like magic.
  • Dedicated doesn’t even begin to describe your work ethic, and
  • You get it.

So why aren’t you putting your hand up more?

Yes, the volume on the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee that lives in your head is going to get loud.  It’s going to ask you, “Who the hell you think you are…” Don’t let the impostor thoughts stop you before you start.  If you wait until all the boxes are checked, the opportunity might be lost for good.  As the brilliant Seth Godin says “You need to press the buzzer before you know the answer.”

What are you waiting for?

The guys don’t wait.  They barely bother to consider if they have the qualifications – as with sports, they let the refs tell them whether they should be in the penalty box or on the field.  They don’t opt themselves out first.  They put their hand up to get picked, then figure out how to get it done.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the person filling the posting.  Do you want somebody who already knows how to do everything the job demands?  No way.  They’re going to be bored and have no place to grow.  They’ll be mailing it in until a better opportunity comes by.

Sure, you might not get picked.  You might have to convince somebody how your skills translate so you’d be a great asset for their organization.  At minimum, putting your hand up increases your visibility and might lead to being top of mind for the next great opportunity.

What are you holding back from really going for?  Put yourself in the running and give yourself a shot.

To your success,
Melanie

For more on this topic, read Bruce Kasanoff’s take in Forbes, “If You’re Competent, Its time to be Confident”

To silver linings

In my previous post, I talked about how not owning my idea or my power had me manifesting MAJOR delays (2+yrs!) that cost me time, money and anxiety.

Once I took ownership of the idea, made it mine – within two weeks everything started to fall into place.  TWO DAMN WEEKS!

Even though I’m not (yet) a success, I am already grateful for the two year delay.

It allowed me to really really  have an understanding of what I want to deliver and why.  (Check out my about page for more on the backstory if you’re interested.)

Most importantly, it gave me the time I needed to be ready to put ME into the business.  To inject my own personality, take credit for the design works.  Even though they are tweaks on classics, they are MY tweaks according to my design philosophy.  However simple, it is my own personal take.

During the process of claiming my idea, I came upon this quote (via Marie Forleo’s B-school) that really hit home for the first time, even though I’d read it before.

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
– Martha Graham, mother of modern dance

Talk about an A-HA!

Every time I hear the itty bitty sh*tty committee (you know, the one between your two ears with the incessant yammering) chime in about some aspect of the business isn’t going to work because I don’t have a fashion background, I remember this quote and get back to work at doing the best I can at being me.

Have you ever had a delay, or (gasp!) procrastinated, only to find out that there was a benefit you didn’t expect?

I’d be honored if you’d share your comments below.

Best,
Melanie

P.S.  New to Front Room?  Want more stuff like this?  Sign up for content about success, fashion and life here.