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NEW Book Launch Date and National Women’s Small Business Month

Sometimes life throws you curve balls.  Sometimes those curve balls deck you out cold.  But, then you get up and finish the game.  And if you’re lucky, sometimes the game is better because of your time out.

“Till Business Do Us Part, How To Thrive in Your Business & Survive Your Unsupportive Husband” will be available October 18th, 2017, smack dab in the middle of National Women’s Small Business Month.  How beautiful is that (divine) coincidence?

My quest is to shed light on this never-discussed topic. If a woman business owner is struggling with an unsupportive husband, not only is her family suffering, but the risk to her business is great. It may stall or fail and the effects can be significant. Her struggles can reflect negatively on economic development, for the people she employs, the taxes she pays, and for the contributions she makes through direct donations or donations-in-kind.

My research is demonstrating that the number of women business owners who deal with unsupportive husbands is staggering and the spectrum of that lack of support is wide. But, the one common denominator they all share is the shame and isolation. Shedding light on this dicey topic will give women business owner’s a place to, well, breathe, and find solutions.

This book will not throw husbands under the bus.  Quite the opposite, in fact. The book’s message is getting laser-focused on growing a profitable business and how to accomplish it with everyone’s best interests in mind. This is not a memoir, but I do have empathy and deep understanding of this sticky subject. Any stories I share personally will pale in comparison to the courageous, amazing women business owners I am featuring and the strategies I offer to navigate these tricky waters.

Please share your respectful thoughts, below, or if you wish to contact me personally I respond to all courteous emails at annette@tillbusinessdouspart.com.

Your Happy Warrior (a person undiscouraged even in the face of difficulties; plucky crusader),

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi

Happy Valentine’s Day! How to say, “I love you.” Even when you don’t feel like it.

I love youUPDATE: This was posted 1 year ago and is still relevant.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

How many of you have stood in front of the greeting card section at your local grocery store, just days away from Valentine’s Day, snorting or hrmphing at the prose expressed on romantic cards?  I have.  In fact, one time I snorted and mumbled “Yeah, right!” loud enough so that the woman next to me broke up in raucous laughter.  I apologized and walked away lamenting (quietly) about the state of my marriage mind.

There are times in any relationship when the shine has worn off, the dents and dings show, or worse, rust and corrosion has undermined the very foundation of who you two used to be.  Here is a short list to still honor the man you married, regardless of the state of your relationship:

  1.  Do something completely different, together.  If you’ve never golfed, go to the driving range.  If you haven’t been to a library, lately, sit quietly flipping through magazines and watch who uses it and talk about the future of libraries.  Try cooking a brand new dish, together.  Walk quietly through a cemetery, in the daylight. Go to a jazz festival, because you’ve never been to one.
  2. Watch and listen to him and find out what he’s been reading, listening to, watching and suggest he read a chapter to you, listen to a track or two with him, or watch an episode.  Just sit and be there.
  3. Get out of your city/town for the afternoon (evening puts too much romantic pressure on a stifled relationship).  Schedule a babysitter, if needed.
  4. Tell him to describe 1 hour, 1 meeting/job/project, 1 drive/bus ride/walk to work.  You’ll be surprised what you learn.

Did you make some suggestions and he poo-pooed them? Did he insinuate you’re nuts?  Then go and enjoy yourself, and come back and tell him how much fun you had.  Feel good that you tried.  Or did you two reconnect in even the smallest way?  Like a smile or you held hands or it was just simply quiet between the two of you?

What are your ideas? What worked?  What didn’t? Please add them in the comments section.  Remember the rules:, no bashing, swearing or griping.  Only helpful solutions and tips, please! Hurting people may be reading this.

Don’t forget, you are loved and lovable!

 

Stop whining, blaming and complaining in its tracks with 1 simple tactic (and a cute kitten picture).

So, you are faced with another issue.  Yours, theirs, whoevers.  Stop whining, blaming and complaining immediately with 1 simple tactic.

Dee Dee Artner said, “Blaming others is an act of refusing to take responsibility. When a person can’t accept the fact or the reality, they blamed another person or the situation instead of taking accountability. If you have time to whine then you have time to find a solution.” 

I love that.  But, I take it one step further with all my critical relationships (my children, husband, employees, volunteers, etc.).  My simple tactic drastically reduces and in many cases, stops whining and complaining Stop whining, blaming and complainingin its tracks.  The tactic?  Insist that if a problem exists and they must “tell” you about it, then they must also bring to the table 3 solutions to fix it. Perhaps those 3 solutions aren’t applicable or realistic (especially in the case of a young child, story below) but what it does is shift the thinking to solution mode rather than stay in complaint mode. The other benefit to this trick is eventually the person will learn that they have to come to you with 3 solutions and they a): either don’t bring it to you or (even better) b): they figure out the solution and the problem is solved and done! Added benefit is children (and adults) start thinking strategically about problem-solving rather than having a reactive approach to problem solve.

Why do you have to keep children’s solutions in perspective?  I’ll tell you a story to illustrate. When I was a little girl of 6, I received a kitten as a gift by my beloved grandmother.  I Stop whining, blaming and complainingloved that kitten.  I called her Furful, because she was full of fur.  Well, after some time, it became evident that my older brother was allergic to her. My parents had to tell me the tragic news that Furful couldn’t live with us anymore and had to go to the local animal shelter.  I was heart-broken and in my wails I howled, “There must be another way!”  My dad in his infinite wisdom asked, “What would you have us do?” Sitting there looking up at my parents, I thought long and hard about my big brother (who I really didn’t like very much then) and how much I loved Furful.  I said in complete seriousness for my 6-year-old brain and broken heart, “Well, give HIM away!”  Furful you were never forgotten. 🙂

 

 

 

Fight with Fear and Defeat of My Demons: My Personal Story

fight with fearThis is my story about my fight with fear and how I overcame my personal demons. I share the same time-tested strategies I use with my coaching clients to quickly re-center my racing thoughts and feelings allowing me to focus on what is truly important.

One morning, on the dawn of a potentially business-changing event, I woke up riddled with doubt and something else.  It’s normal to have bouts of doubts.  But, as a productive, well-adjusted adult I have coping skills that quickly move me past run-of-the-mill fears and doubts.  But, this time was different.  I was feeling titanic depths of fear.   I could breathe, I could think, I wasn’t sweating, my heart wasn’t racing, so I know it wasn’t an anxiety attack (I’m blessed to have never suffered one but I have those near and dear that suffer greatly).  But, it was fear. Big, very ugly, fear.  And it was trying to overcome me.

Fear?  Fear of what?  This was new to me, especially in the business realm.  Anything business is my comfort zone. I know how to move in and around business.  I live, eat and breathe business. I recognize that doubt and fear cloud your judgment and gets in your way of achieving your dreams.  I also know if I allowed indecision to get in my way it would be my ultimate downfall.  So I asked myself the same 3 questions I coach others when they express feeling fearful, “What’s different? What’s being said in your head? What’s the worse that could happen?” Beyond the questions though is the action I took that I always recommend others take when faced with inner demons.  But, first, let’s dissect those questions:

  1.  What’s different?  I looked at my last 24-48 hours to see if anything was different. Oh, yes.  I had traveled to attend a business conference within driving distance to where my 18-year-old daughter attends college, 2,300 miles away from home.  So, we spent the day before the conference shopping.  First, I’m NOT a fan of shopping, but I AM a fan of my daughter.  Second, she’s at the age where I am, well, an obstacle to her enjoying life, her way.  As I result, I felt very ineffective and sadly, she projected it, too. Once I identified that I could feel clarity knocking on my hotel room door.
  2. What’s being said-in-my-head?  Without resurrecting the now put-to-rest fears, let’s just say my feeling inadequate the day before obviously stirred some gnarly things back to life that had been said to me some time ago.  Once I identified them, I countered each and every one of them with, “That’s not the truth. Here’s the truth…” Peace joined clarity and both were knocking on my hotel room door.
  3. What’s the worse that could happen? I scribbled a few worst-case scenarios on paper and realized that all of them, some definitely not pretty, could be overcome. Even my worst option, “the business could fold” (followed by the very important detail of identifying the feelings: embarrassment and shame), wasn’t life-ending. I’d just have to get a job or start another business!  Once you address your biggest fear it loses its power. Now, clarity and peace joined hands with me and I walked out of the hotel lobby with a spring in my step, my face to the sky and a smile on my face.

But, the biggest part of overcoming fear and keeping it at bay is to do something, anything different and new.  And you always start small.  So, I downloaded the Uber app and hailed an Uber.  If I was home, perhaps I would have finally scrubbed the face of the iron till it shone like new. If I was at work, I would have replaced the old rope cord that operates the warehouse bay doors.  Then I initiated meaningful conversations (e.g.: potential revenue generating conversations) at the business conference.  When I returned to my hotel room, later that day, I pulled up Excel on my laptopfight with fear and mastered a few formulas that had been plaguing me for months.   Fear demons slayed, dead and buried.  Notice I didn’t say go on-line and watch cute kitten videos or watch a good movie.  Passive activity feeds demons.  You need to engage your brain to scrub them out of your head. Brain science has proven passive screen watching is very detrimental to your brain, your eating and sleeping habits, and your mood, not to mention it’s a big time waster. Heroes, warriors, champions, and go-getters (you know, us entrepreneurs!) don’t sit around and watch the screen, any screen.    

BONUS:  Another secret to slaying those demons?  Compliment everybody.  Say something nice to every person you cross paths with. ALL. DAY. LONG.  What happens is almost transcendent. You’ll find yourself looking for people to say something nice to and looking for something in them that is unique.   It’s really a nice diversion from those gnarly demons.  If your demons go deep, volunteer at a shelter of your choice. Food, animal, anything to serve others.  Volunteer every day if you have to.  Serve during your lunch hour.  Stop after work. Demons die of boredom when you serve and love up others. If you can’t find something nice to say to every person you meet in your day, or you get annoyed at the thought of doing this then the demons have a stronghold on you.  Time to take back your thought life. And apologize to those that work and live with you. 

I hope you slay your fear and doubt demons. Because that’s what they are, demons, also known as “the enemy.”  Demons suck the very life out of what makes you special and unique. When you become less they loom large.  They love it when you spend time with them. When you wallow in their darkness they get larger than (your) life preventing you from living a full and happy life. Take back your awesomeness, specialness, and uniqueness and turn-your-back-on those gnarly demons.  Live, love and serve. That will put them where they belong.  Away from your heart, mind, and soul.

Do you have a way of getting rid of your demons?  Please share, below. It’s a great way to serve others. As always, please be considerate and make your comments family-friendly.

Live, love, serve.

Annette

 

Reasonable Republican: I lived it, I’m not voting for it.

Reasonable RepublicanI’m a Republican.  But, I prefer to describe myself as a Reasonable Republican.  2016 will mark the first election in my 40+ years of voting that I won’t vote for the party candidate, Mr. Trump. Why? Because I can’t vote for a man that is so destructive.  He’s all about polarizing, not reconciliation. He’s about dividing, not creating unity.  He tears down, instead of building up. He’s about preserving his ego, his identity, his created image. And he preys on fears. Because I finally understand the wisdom that the words that come out of a man’s (or woman’s) mouth comes from the heart. And he has clearly told America who he is.

  • He defiles women, degrades minorities, mocks the handicapped and hurls insults on a whim.   You’ve heard the comments and seen the video clips.  I won’t give him anymore screen time by posting them. Nor will I use his name anymore.
  • Even with massive information to the contrary, he twists and manipulates the truth to serve his purposes. And somehow you start thinking, “Well, maybe he really did mean…” It’s a slippery slope down that rabbit hole, America.  And a much harder one to get out of.
  • He manipulates the rules to serve himself.
  • Impulsivity is fun at the beginning, but it wears thin very quickly.  Stability is what we all need and deserve. And as the leader of the free world, that’s what we must have.
  • Habitual gas-lighting to the point you’re not sure about your memory and eventually you question your sanity. Luckily we have video and audio to remind ourselves of the truth.
  • He lives by feelings, not by principles.
  • He puts others down and thinks it’s OK.
  • Shifting sands and false foundations.  Even if a plan is presented, he changes it along the way.   Nothing is wrong with reassessing and changing directions if it’s for the good of the whole or there is good reasoning behind it.  But, what’s unsettling is you’re operating on Plan A and he’s switched it to Plan B without telling you and you’re supposed to have somehow known about it.  Add in the chaos if you don’t conform and you’ve got a hot mess.
  • He’s reactive vs. moderate in response.
  • Yes, he loves women. As property.  When he’s bored of them or they don’t give him what he thinks he deserves or they don’t fall in line, they are discarded.
  • Lacking a solid knowledge of the basic constructs and history of our constitution.
  • I don’t care if he is narcissistic or a jerk.  He doesn’t care about me, you or us.  So let’s move away, far away, from his mistreatment of everyone.
  • If you express yourself and it doesn’t comply to his way of thinking, you’re nothing to him. You’re disposable.  As business mogul, Shark Tank judge and CNBC commentator often espouses, “You’re dead to me.”
  • Apologies are either too easy or not sincere.  Nevertheless, there is no remorse.  There’s a significant amount of, “Can you just get over this?” vs. “What can I do to make you feel safe with me, again?”
  • You leave a conversation with him confused and doubts surface about your own personal truth.

My dear America, it’s a privilege to vote.  But, the Republican candidate has told us who he is. Voting him as President could send us down the biggest rabbit hole this country has ever Reasonable Republicanexperienced.  Why? Because our culture, our vision, our values all start at the top.  Whether it be the parent(s) of a family, the principal of a school, the CEO of a company, or the President of the United States of America. We would constantly be defending our very person-hood vs. thriving to be our best. If we are continually in defense mode, we can’t flourish or thrive. It would be a systemic failure.  The great contemporary poet, Maya Angelou said it best (and often quoted by Oprah),  “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Let’s believe what he says and vote; for anyone other than the Republican candidate.

If we vote for him, we would only have ourselves to blame.  Part of the privilege of voting is the opportunity to write in a candidate. You don’t have to vote for the other candidate(s).  I’m not a betting woman, but if I was, I would wager that Mickey Mouse or Disneyland (The Happiest Place on Earth) gets more votes this year than any other year.

Excuse me while I listen to some uplifting music, smell some flowers, turn my head toward the sun and the heavens, and get a warm hug from a child.

As always, please post your family-friendly comments, below.

Show me the money, honey!

The standard entrepreneur and spouse dynamic can be very touchy.  As entrepreneurs, we have a high-risk tolerance.  Spouses typically have a much lower tolerance.  Entrepreneurs are optimistic and often obsessed with their business.  Spouse of entrepreneurs are often more wary of the business’ upside and don’t feel connected to it.  Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time with their “other” child, their baby, their business, which can breed resentment.  Add the dynamic of entrepreneur as wife AND spouse as husband and we’re all on new ground.  Now, throw in the different styles of handling money and that ground just gave way to a sinkhole. Just for added measure, men are typically more practical and women are often relational.  In fact, your husband’s practicalism can come across to you as resistance or lack of support. Put entrepreneurialism, male/female dynamics and different money styles in the same relationship and you have the potential of creating significant discourse in a marriage.  That just means it’s time for meaningful discussions.  It can take time, work and dedication to help our spouses understand our business, our dreams, our motivations with the hope they can become our allies. There is a lot of loneliness and heartache in the process, on both sides. Not just for us women, but for the men who love us and stay with us. But, I can help shorten your learning curve. And one of the shortest ways is to show me the money, honey!

Show me the money, honeyIdeally, your business is a profit driven business vs. a drain-the-family-finances beast.  The surest way to drive a wedge between you and your husband is if you’re not contributing to the family coffers, regardless of the reasons why.  Are you also sacrificing family time, private time with your husband, household needs, your health, to work on your business?  If so, this will surely add to his level of frustration and resentment.

For everything, there is a season.  When you start a business it will take up a lot of your time. When a major project comes along and you need to give it your all (think of the launch of a new product line, a book, being on Shark Tank).  Hopefully, you secured the stakeholders (your family’s buy-in) to pursue these efforts.  Perhaps you had a serious health issue, family matter, or life-altering event that forced you to put the business on the back burner, but now you’re going at it with all 8 cylinders.  Putting those situations aside, have you been working at your business for 2-3 years and you’re still using the business as an excuse to avoid your responsibilities at home, for not contributing to the family account? Check out this post, “Is Your Business Your Lover?”, for some additional insight. Additionally, perhaps you’re treating your business as a hobby.   If you’re not sure, here’s a helpful post for you, “Is Your Business a Hobby or a Real Endeavor?

How do you determine if he is just being practical or if he is resentful and unsupportive of you building your blockbuster business?  It is best not to dismiss gripes, but to respond in a compassionate manner.  Ask him what he is worried or fearful of. Listen carefully to his response. Perhaps he’s worried about the future of your retirement accounts or is feeling ignored or sidelined. He may even be worried about your health.   You can make bargains like Nina did.  A stay-at-home mom with a rockin’ transcript business. When she started the Show me the money, honeybusiness, Mike was very leery, so Nina made small bargains with him. Such as, if she made $X in XYZ time-frame, they can purchase/do ABC.  Then she upped it a little with each new bargain. Over time, the “bargains” gave him concrete examples of her dedication and the potential for the business. Barbara, a lawyer who struggled to get her private practice going in the early years, consistently hit income goals. In other words, she hustled and her husband worried less.   Nina and Barbara didn’t come from an adversarial perspective but rather worked with their husbands to have their goals met. You’ll also need to address the issue and come to a thoughtful, realistic agreement that you and your husband can both live with.

Have you tried those tactics and your husband is still critical and unsupportive, but you know you’re building a blockbuster business?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Humans are created and wired to connect.  And those connections need to be supportive, helpful and encouraging.  By the way, I’m not talking about rubber-stamper-yes-people.  They can be just as detrimental as nay-sayers. But, that’s another post.  We need people in our corner building us up, not tearing us down. The world and our own inner critic do enough tearing down.  The community at Till Business Do Us Part will support you (Hug) and give you the practical advice when necessary (Shove).

Hug and a Shove,

Annette

Reflection: What is Your Intent?

Do you know the reason you acted or spoke the way you did?  Take a moment of Reflection.  Think strongly about what may have caused you do react that way.  What was your intent when you did this?

When harshly confronted, when listening to another’s malice or spite about others (think heated opinions about traffic or politics or…), or when someone unexpectedly fesses up about some transgression, human’s typically counter 1 of 3 ways: Flight, Fight or Freeze.  My personal modus operandi?  I freeze.  I am stunned when someone lashes out at me, is spiteful about something or someone (who isn’t there to defend themselves) or is even mildly surly.

To combat this, I internalize 1 question, “What is/was your intent?”  At worst, they huff and puff and storm off. At best, someone may reflect on their reaction and rephrase their statement.  My children, while growing up, heard me ask this question all the time.  It was and still is powerful.

IntentLOOK IN THE MIRROR:  Think of the last time you overreacted.  What was your intent? To vent, to hurt, to dominate? None of these add value and causes ill-will with your partner (spouse, co-worker, parent, child, boss, or friend).

4 Words to Memorize BEFORE Responding to Others

If you’re like me, you wish you had a simple formula in responding to others especially during tense times.  Use of these 4 words will create success that can change your life.  This is critical for everyone, when tested.  There was no better test for me than parenting my children.  I remember a particularly stressful season with my 2 then young children when I spotted a bumper sticker that read, “Is it Wise, Kind, and Truthful?”  Bingo!  I had something I could remember and latch on to.  But, over time, I realized I said things that just weren’t necessary to verbalize. 4 Words Will Create Success

This happened on the flip side, too.  I heard things that weren’t necessary and detracted from the intent of the conversation.  So I added “…and Necessary?”  My goal, now, is to have my response meet all 4 criteria.  When I follow this, a lot of hurt and pain is avoided; mine and the person I’m communicating with.  If what I want to say doesn’t meet all 4, I don’t open my mouth.  It really is that simple.

BONUS:  If someone says something particularly harsh or puzzling, just ask them, “Was that wise, kind, necessary and truthful?”

Introducing FREE Download: 7 Snark Stoppers. How to Stop or Slow-Down Your Husband’s Hurtful Comments

7-snark-stoppers-coverI’m so excited to GIVE YOU A FREE (and HELPFUL) GIFT!  Introducing my free ebook, “7 Snark Stoppers. How to Stop or Slow-Down Your Husband’s Hurtful Comments.”  Some time ago, I realized that to give my business my best efforts, I had to create some peace with my husband. The first order of business was to change the dynamics of my communication style with my husband.  This ebook provides you with pointed advice and seven practical tools to get out of a rut and replace what may have become bad communication habits.

I’ve been in your shoes.  My husband had a very critical communication style and I didn’t have the tools to deal with it correctly.  This created a challenging and oftentimes chaotic marriage.  In fact, our marriage was at risk of collapsing.  This ebook is intended to give you some tools for dealing with criticism, snarky comments, back-handed sass and intentionally hurtful remarks.

7 Snark Stoppers are ready-made, field-tested, phrases to help you stop, or at the very least, slow-down, the onslaught of negativity and verbal abuse, without going to the dark side.  Just like exercise videos, I have created a beginner and an advanced option for each Snark Stopper. I urge you to select one or two Snark Stoppers and start with the beginner option.  Commit it/them to memory so you’ll be prepared when the next “exchange” occurs.   After you’ve naturally used it, several times, progress to the advanced option.  Be sure to rehearse it and make it yours.  Click here to download your copy! 

I pray and hope that interactions with your husband will transform from cynical, sarcastic exchanges to meaningful connections that provide a pathway to appreciation and compromise.  In other words, a grown-up relationship that provides security, safety, and love.

As always, please let our wonderful community of women who share what you’re experiencing know what worked for you, what didn’t, or any new suggestions with a family-friendly comment, below.

I’m in Your Corner!

P.S.  Many of these will work with sassy co-workers and rude teenagers, too! 🙂

How can I change someone?

We are all wired differently.  We don’t always agree.  How can you change someone so you are on the same page?

Simply answered?  You can’t. But, you can change your reactions to events, people and situations. Especially if you witness a pattern in your life that doesn’t serve you or others.  If you hear yourself saying/thinking, “If they would just (fill in the blank).”  Or, “If they just wouldn’t (fill in the blank)” more often than not, then you need to look within, not out.   But, if in their presence you feel bad, confused or unworthy, you don’t need to invest any time in “changing” them.  You need to move on.  A healthy, dynamic relationship will bring out the best in you and others, not the worst.

Change SomeoneA look in the mirror:

Are you making someone feel perpetually bad, confused or unworthy? It’s time for serious reflection on what you are and aren’t bringing to the table.  Look at your underlying heart-attitude and behaviors.

As always, your family-friendly comment is welcome!