Tears Change Plans

I am avoiding.  I admit it.  No shame. No guilt.  Eight hours were carved out of my calendar today with the intention to let the fingers freely tap dance on the keyboard like Fred Astaire and write blog posts about life’s adventures and promoting business.  Then life happened.  Like a cat wrapped around my ankle gnawing and scratching with its hind legs, my thoughts wandered into dark places I wish to kick out the door.

Yesterday a young man was found dead, by his mother in their home, of an apparent drug overdose.  I have known this loving family since I was a rebellious teen.  This was the second drug overdose in less than a year for them.  Before judging, please understand the cousins were raised in “good” homes with parents who loved them unconditionally.  Tears flow from my heart as I try to offer them comfort.  I sincerely wish I could do more for them.

My father.  [deep breath]  The man I call Daddy is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.  The disease has sent him tumbling down the ‘rabbit hole’ with a mighty shove.  Slowly, or quickly depending on whom you talk too, his capabilities to walk and function as an adult fade into the abyss; complete vulnerability behind his bright blue eyes.  One day last week he wakes up from one of his afternoon naps and miraculously he can walk and (kinda sorta, not really) is able to hold conversations with us.  This lasted for about five days.  You see the power surges, as we call them, never last for too long and is followed by a deeper descent into the ‘rabbit hole’.  Last night he passed out while standing and hit the floor like a tree falling in the forest – hard and with a loud thud.  Tears flow from my heart as I try offer assistance to help my mother.

Our family has endured the quick and unforeseen deaths, and the longest good-byes.  Neither is easy.  Age is of no consequence; the heartbreak is the same.  Healing takes time.  Love never fades, just shifts and evolved into something deeper.  Forgiveness transforms into an authentic action.  Hugs are tighter from those offering support.  A silent shoulder to lean on appears in the time of need.  Loneliness takes on a new role as life is altered in a single moment.  The true blessing is realizing that life is an amazing adventure.  And knowing – it’s okay to cry.

Please tell me how your life is…tell me tales of adventures…glorious sunsets you’ve watched from your front porch… share with me stories of your babies.  As my father told me, “Life goes on. Let it.”

Sell IT Your Way – Authentically

A while back I listened to a young woman who is what I consider a gentle soul.  There is an honesty about her that is sincere; she is genuinely a very caring individual.  She asked a hardcore seller, “How do you do it?  How do you get all of these clients to buy?”  He lifts his head so his jaw line is parallel to the floor, brings his relaxed shoulders to attention, takes in deep breath, and from his barstool he confidently replies, “I tell ‘em if they’re not serious about what I have to offer that I don’t have time for them.  You’d be amazed how many people say, ‘tell me more’.”  She was impressed and eager to learn his technique.  For me, personally, if a sales person said that to me, my next words would be “bye-bye.”  If he doesn’t have time to fulfill my curiosity in the initial conversation, odds are he won’t be around for customer service after the sale if I need help.  But then again, it’s his technique. 

On a one particular sales blitz, I left behind a tearful client who was brow-beaten by one of my management team.  Sad, but I would go so far to say it was an emotional blood-bath.  Later that evening I went back to the storeowner, apologized, and promised I would never bring the ‘boss’ across her threshold.  She was traumatized by the cruelty of the hard-core selling tactic all because she firmly held her ground and said “No” to a promotion she didn’t feel would be beneficial in marketing her business.   I lost a good client that day.    

It’s no secret, I have been in sales for a long time and I am really good at it when I am allowed to sell my way.  Not the boss’ way.  Not the corporation’s way.  Not the latest and greatest way.  I succeed when I am doing it my way.  That’s the key – my way.  The way I feel most comfortable doing it.  First of all I have to believe in the product.  I am not a manipulator who can sell ice to an Eskimo for the simple reason I would be asking – why in the hell would an Eskimo want more ice?  A heater, yes.  Ice, no.

When I first was introduced to the profession of being an advertising representative for a local media, I had the friends who would literally cross the street when they saw me coming.  They would duck into a storefront if I made eye contact with them or they’d pretend they didn’t see me.  One day, I approached one of tuck-n-hides and flat out asked, “Did I do something to make you angry with me?  Why are you avoiding me?”  [Let me interject something important to help you better understand the point I wish to make: I was going through a divorce, my life was in turmoil and lots of really nasty rumors where being whispered around the community about me.  I took their tuck-n-hides very personally and wondered if the divorce ruined my life.]  A woman who’s about my age, and is one of those tell-it-like-it-is kind of gals, said, “It’s not you, it’s the company you work for.  I won’t advertise with them.”  Long story shortened, she didn’t like the previous salesperson.  It wasn’t me or the product.  With a consistent schedule and offering only the promotions suited to her business, I eventually signed her up. 

There a million and ten books, trillions of how-to videos online, and speakers galore.  Listen, learn, read, soak up what resonates with you.  Each of us is unique.  There is not a right way, nor a wrong way to sell…just your way.   Set goals.  Write out the target lists.  Repeat your affirmations daily.  Figure out your weaknesses and your strengths.   Please, please follow your heart and be authentic.  

That Age Catagory

My best friend is a man.  We dated.  We lived together for about two and a half years.  Our relationship evolved.  Things changed.  We have lived in neighboring communities for years.  I trust him.  He trusts me.  He has his freedom.   I have a man who will help me at the drop of a hat (except on poker night; I’m on my own) fix just about anything.

Teasingly, I said, “…and I’m not even wearing a bra tonight.”

His reply, “I know.”

“How’d you know?  I’m wearing a long sleeve t-shirt, a turtle neck and this huge, thick sweatshirt.”

He says, “Because you’re not up.”

Ah, yes, the joys of being a woman in her mid-forties.