Thanksgiving. It’s a time in America where families get together and give thanks. Often times its celebrated with a meal. Many families have their holiday traditions that they bring out year after year. Many have wonderful memories of their childhood holiday season.
Unfortunately for me, those memories are very limited. If you know my story, you know that both my parents were alcoholics. When I think back to Thanksgiving when I was a kid, it doesn’t bring back many fond memories. My mother was an outstanding cook. Unfortunately I never learned those skills from her because as time went on she would rage more and more at me if I ever stepped foot in the kitchen. She was always angry, always drinking scotch. She kept a bottle on the counter with a shot glass and would throw back a shot and slam the shot glass on the counter. I don’t remember her not drinking so my entire childhood was spent walking on eggshells not knowing what would set her off.
She died when I was 12. After that the holidays were never celebrated again in my house. My father sold the house and everything in is and moved us into a cheesy two-bedroom apartment. It was drastically different from the sprawling house on Driftwind Drive in the upscale suburb of Windcrest in San Antonio Texas. After my mother’s death my father spent every holiday sitting on the couch drinking himself into a stupor. He sent me packing to somebody’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. So not only did I not have my mother any longer, I didn’t have a home and really didn’t have my father either. My life was spent feeling abandoned. It took a lot of work to overcome all of that but I have done it. You can read the entire story in my GoPINK Rules of Engagement book.
Over the years I seemed to end up at other people’s houses for the holidays. I didn’t know how to cook all that well so it was easy for me. In the military it’s a tradition for military families to get together so depending on where I was stationed several of us would get together and everyone would bring something. The person who was hosting the get together usually made the turkey.
When the kids were younger and I was still married to their dad, we would go to visit his family in Colorado. I have probably only made a turkey once or twice in my life. Your friends became your family in the military. That tradition carried on after I retired. In recent years my kids and I have often spent Thanksgiving with a close friend and her family. It’s been a great tradition and I am thankful to have such close friends that are like family. One person told my daughter once that friends aren’t family. Family is whom you want to call family. You don’t have to be blood relatives to be considered family.
This year I am staying home. My kids are with me and I am making fried chicken because my kids aren’t much into turkey. I did learn how to cook despite the fact that my mother attempted to imbed in me at a young age that I didn’t belong in the kitchen. Today I will make fried chicken, green beans, broccoli, cheese and rice casserole and sweet potato fries. I will bring out the fancy china and set the table. Not traditional but I’ve always done things a little different. Being in my own home this Thanks giving feels great. I get to spend time with my kids at home.
There are many people during the holidays who are alone and no amount of comfort is going to make it ok for them. There are military families and those serving abroad who will not be with their families this Thanksgiving. There are people who are sick in the hospital. There are those who are no longer with us and those they left behind are still mourning the loss. There are those without a home and may have to go to a food kitchen for a Thanksgiving meal.
In this era of always wanting more, it’s time to take a moment or even an entire day out to just be grateful for what you have, even if the only thing you have is the air that you breathe and the clothes on your back. I can list out all the “things” I am thankful for and the list is long. However, what I really want to give thanks for is that I am here today and will spend time with the two most important and wonderful people in my life, my kids. They are both incredible human beings and I am grateful that out of all the mommies in all the world that God could have chosen to give them to, he chose me.
I hope if you celebrate Thanksgiving that you have a wonderful day no matter where you are or what you do. If it’s not a holiday you celebrate, take a moment to tell someone what they mean to you and how thankful you are to have them in your life. Then take some time to look in the mirror and smile at the person you are most thankful for, you. Give yourself some gratitude and enjoy being you.
I was chatting on the phone this morning with my friend Cat Hammes known as the “One Legged Blonde.” She has been riding motorcycles for 31 years long before women riding became popular. In fact it was odd for a woman to be on a bike back then. I’ve been riding for 18 years myself. We still didn’t have a lot of women’s riding gear when I started riding.
In our conversation, she reminded me that I was in the military long before it was popular for women to be in the military. I enlisted in 1980. The military was only about 8% women at that time. There was starting to be a push to get more women into the military and into nontraditional jobs. I actually scored high in the mechanical area on the aptitude test and I was being pushed to get into a mechanical career field. Although I am a bit mechanical, can fix stuff if I need to, change my oil if I have to etc, I wanted to work with computers. Computer programming was nothing like it is today. It was considered an administrative career field back then. I really wanted to work with computers so I enlisted in the “open administrative” career field which meant I would chose my job when I got to Basic Training. When I went to choose my job, computer jobs were nowhere to be found on the list. I ended up picking a job I knew nothing about or even what it was. The job was called “Contracts Specialist.” I only picked it because it had the highest required score to get into it. I figured you had to be smarter to do that job than the rest of the others so I chose Contracting not know what the job was about.
I basically stumbled into the Contracting career field by accident and 30 years later I am teaching and helping people be better negotiators and ensuring they have the tools to never be taken advantage of again. If you want to be a better negotiator, my Think Like A Negotiator course 11-13 October is guaranteed to help you do just that. Check out the online store for more details.
I never thought of myself as a trail blazer. You hear about a lot of women that flew planes, helicopters, drove tanks etc. I flew a desk. Not very interesting compared to some of the others. I am proud of my service and don’t discount it. That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, I have inserted a rifle drill routine into my speaking presentation in order to stand out from the herd so to speak.
I realize from talking to Cat that I am a trailblazer and I achieved a lot more than I realize at times. Sometimes it takes someone on the outside looking in to remind you of just what you’ve accomplished. I retired as a Master Sergeant, not an easy rank to get to, especially when I had to prove myself in a man’s world with sexual harassment and assault as part of the journey. It was the extreme harassment I received in the Middle East the made me decide to retire after 23 years of service. I wanted to be a Chief Master Sergeant but couldn’t handle it anymore after that deployment. I had had enough.
What does one of your friends need to do to remind you of all you’ve accomplished? You may not have been in the military but don’t discount what you’ve done to get to where you are today. Call up one of your friends and ask them what they see in your journey. The reminder will brighten your day.
Today I am excited about the release of my upcoming book and my upcoming event. The military gave me the training to persevere in the face of adversity, the discipline to stick with it when I wanted to quit and the strength to carry on. Thanks Cat for the reminder! You totally rock!
Check out Cat at http://www.oneleggedblonde.com/
Negotiation is all about how we communicate and it’s one of the areas to consider when preparing for a negotiation. Language is so important. The words we use can often be construed in different ways to have different meanings depending on who is doing to receiving. In negotiation, you must be sure the language you are using conveys the appropriate message to gain the appropriate response. How you say it may ensure you win or lose the deal.
Most of you who have been following me have noticed my shift to showing people how to Think Like A Negotiator. People often ask me why I have made the focus on negotiation vs my Pink Biker Chic brand. I have responded by telling them that it’s negotiation is my genius and I never thought to teach it. I tell them about a good friend of mine who is a business strategist was having some contract challenges with a client; I shared some of my contracts knowledge to help her resolve the issue. Her response was “I get this Pink Biker Chic thing, but where did all that come from and why aren’t you teaching it to others?” I share that I thought why would anybody want to learn that? It’s my genius, I do it in my sleep and take it for granted that everyone has that knowledge.
Well, recently I was at an event and passed someone who said he knew me but couldn’t remember where from. I knew him too from somewhere and told him he probably knew me from my Pink Biker Chic brand and explained the story above. He immediately launched into this idea that I don’t value myself and have issues and need to resolve those issues with him so I value myself and my genius. Then he attempted to hard sell me into doing a session with him to fix my issues within myself so I will be successful, basically implying I am not successful because I don’t value myself. It was much more than that but you get the gist. WOW! Really? Thankfully another friend walked up and started talking to him so that provided a pattern interrupt for me to depart which I did.
What that did for me was enable me to take a look at my language and evaluate whether that was a message I am projecting when I share my story. I certainly don’t have the serious issues that he implied. Of course we all have some kind of doubt about ourselves but he was attempting to tell me I was broken and that I really needed serious help. This is without even taking the time to find out anything about me.
Be careful of the language you use. I’m not talking about being politically correct. Chances are we will offend someone with what we say, but if we evaluate our normal “shtick” to make sure we aren’t projecting negatively onto ourselves or others, we will be better off in day to day communication as well as our significant negotiations. Take the time this week to pay close attention to the things you say. You may need to make an adjustment based on feedback and results. I sure did.
Many times discussions occur to resolve some sort of dispute. You may end up going back and forth on an issue to get it resolved and find that the other side just isn’t doing anything to resolve the issue. When it gets to that point, it is time to draw the line and push your position hard over to the other side. It may require indicating you will take some sort of action if they don’t resolve the problem within a reasonable time. That could mean going to court, reporting the company to an agency like the Better Business Bureau or the individual to the board or organization such as the Bar for an Attorney, the IRS for a tax professional, the Medical Association for a Doctor etc.
I prefer to use this strategy as a last resort. However, when it comes down to something that will in the end negatively affect me, my business or my family or personal life somehow, it becomes time for no more Ms. Nice Girl.
A had a situation where a service establishment was handling some professional work for my company. Their action and failure of action had resulted in my getting in trouble with the state and being assessed significant penalties. It was their fault, they admitted to it and I worked with them for months to get them to resolve it, which they did not. I finally had to draw the line and tell the owner of the company that if this wasn’t resolved to my satisfaction, not only was I going to report them to the Government agency that governed their profession, I was also going to send out a letter to 2 organizations where they had significant business dealings and were referral partners with those organizations. These two actions would have significant impact on their business.
I was prepared to go through with it, otherwise I wouldn’t use this strategy. The way I saw it they left me no choice. I sent them a 3 page letter in writing outlining everything that had occurred. I purposely did that so I would have the entire scenario already outlined for the other agencies so if I needed to send the information, I could simply sent that letter. That got some action pretty quick and although the problem is still being resolved, I will soon have the documentation that should clear my record with the state, which is all I wanted in the first place.
Bottom line, when a dispute can’t be resolved, draw the line and push back hard. You will get results or at least know if you need to elevate it to the next level such as court or some other formal proceedings.
God has a great sense of humor….here I am writing a post about working in excellence and it disappears…lol…