Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom - Rescheduling Puts People in a Particular Pecking Order

Rescheduling of any kind puts people in a particular pecking order. Whether we’re postponing a meeting with a prospective client or rearranging a rendezvous with an old friend, our priorities are made clear by whom we choose to keep appointments and whom we believe it’s okay to defer for another time.  When it comes to rescheduling a work meeting or a plan with a friend, better think twice before you accidentally offend. The gravity of the excuse can make all the difference. In certain circumstances, you may choose to share a white lie to spare someone’s feelings and other times we have a genuinely legitimate reason for canceling such as an illness or accident. 

How you communicate your message also matters. What delivery method you use – will it be a text, a call or an email – demonstrates the level of respect in the relationship.  For social engagements, I always advise my clients to pick up the phone. A pleasant tone of voice is vital to letting someone down easy.  When it comes to rescheduling a business meeting, an email should suffice.  One of the unwritten rules in Hollywood, however, and really with anyone is ‘3 strikes, you’re out!’ The 3rd time is NOT a charm when it comes to rescheduling.  If you are canceled on three times, call it quits. No point in pursuing that person, they’re deemed totally rude and you move on.  I learned the hard way this rule also applies to doctors.  I had been putting off a colonoscopy and rescheduled my consultation with the office three times.  The day before my third appointment when I was finally committed to going, the doctor’s assistant called and canceled. Apparently, doctors don’t like getting snubbed either!

Most beauty services from hair and massage appointments to facials and bikini waxes require 24 hours advice notice to reschedule without being charged. If you neglect this rule, you must be prepared to make payment.  I never reschedule my hairdresser, but she reschedules me all the time to take care of her many A-list clients.  I am always devastated but completely at her mercy as no one else can handle my tresses with such expertise. Does it pain me to have to handle the reschedule gracefully?  You betcha, but I have to act graciously, especially if I wish to continue having her do my hair. 

Rarely is a reschedule completely benign, but it is possible if both parties are happily amenable to the idea.  There are those occasions where you made a plan or a set a meeting and you’re really not in the mood or ill-prepared, but you don’t want to be the one to initiate the change.  If the universe is working in your favor that day, one person will reschedule and the other one breathes a sigh of relief and all is right with the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018 - Me & My Shadows

I spent the day before Mother's Day visiting with a high school friend sipping on champagne and reflecting on motherhood in scenic Los Olivos.  We sat curled up on the burnt orange cushions of the outdoor furniture with the sun beaming down and nary a care in the world, Her kids with the babysitter and my girls' miles away at home in Los Angeles with dad.  

There was no one to ask me to make them lunch or do their hair or put money on their credit card or drive them to the beach or take them emergency shopping at Sephora for a friend's last minute birthday gift. I was spending 24 blissful hours taking a break from being a mom.  We enjoyed a full day of strolling through the town, wine tasting, vintage shopping, and eating till our hearts were content. 

After swapping stories about our work, my husband, her online dating after divorce, and our parents the conversation came full circle to where it always winds up - with our kids!  She has 7-year-old twins and my girls are fully developed, teenagers. Despite the fact that we are both driven entrepreneurs who spend almost every waking hour thinking about our work, we were both over-the-moon grateful for the best gifts we could have ever received - the blessing of children.  

As I lay my head on the silk pillow I brought from home and tucked into the trundle bed of my friend's daughter last night, I smiled a deep sigh of satisfaction.  Like a Cheshire Cat with a mischievous grin, I felt like I won the lottery having been blessed with two amazing daughters who are beautiful both inside and out and who make me proud on an (almost) daily basis.  Sharing in the minutia of their lives and having them come to me with their most intimate of problems makes me feel needed and that they can trust me to help them navigate through the rollercoaster of life.

Watching them shine with such grace, warmth, and humility is like a dream come true.  They are far from perfect, but they are intrinsically good people.  I love them more than life itself and I am filled with gratitude on this day celebrating mothers that in some small way I am on the right track and doing a decent job. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Bowl 2018: Unstoppable Patriots or Underdog Eagles - Game Day Etiquette for Spectators & Fans

Super Bowl 52 is just hours away and more than 100 million people will be saddled in their seats watching every punt, tackle, and fumble.  This year’s game between the underdog Philadelphia Eagles and the unstoppable New England Patriots is certain to be one of the most watched television events of 2018.  With a predicted coldest temperature on record, fans will be nice and toasty indoors at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Spectators both at home and in the stadium are gearing up for every over-priced commercial and home-made delectable dish.  I’m particularly excited about the half-time show sponsored by Pepsi and fueled by high-powered superstar talent Justin Timberlake, one of the most consummate performers of our time. The night’s lineup will kick off with Leslie Odom Jr. who is sure to belt out a heart-wrenching rendition of “America the Beautiful” followed by Pink making her Super Bowl debut to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Today as you get ready to cheer on your favorite team while consuming massive amounts of food and guzzling unimaginable quantities of beverages, remember to stay mindful of those around you.  The NFL players aren’t the only ones being held under a microscope, don’t be mistaken, your nearest and dearest are holding a close lens on you too.  Before stepping foot out the door, here's how to best mind your manners this Super Bowl 2018.

Arrive on Time and Bearing Gifts.  Official start time isn’t until 3:30pm, but many parties will begin well beforehand.  Whatever you do, plan your arrival before kickoff so hosts will not feel compelled to welcome you and interrupt their viewing. Do not show up empty-handed. BYOB (the good stuff please!) or break out your stellar 7-layer dip recipe and you’ll be the life of the party.

Keep it Friendly.  Sunday is a family day so children are typically in tow.  Keep the atmosphere friendly and comfortable for everyone.  Reserve the foul language for the street when you’re walking to your car at the end of the game and monitor your alcohol intake so you don’t embarrass yourself and regret your behavior the next day.  

Acknowledge the National Anthem.  The moment you hear the music play and Pink hit her first note, it’s time to stand up straight, remove all head coverings, and place your hand firmly on your heart.  Regardless of your personal political feelings, standing for the National Anthem is nothing but a sign of respect and as a citizen living in this great country. It is a unifying act that unites us as a people.  As such, all conversation should cease, but singing is encouraged right along with Pink until the very last word is sung. 

Pay Deference to the Screen. Super Bowl fans want sufficient screen time, but there are always those who are more interested in making conversation than watching the game.  If there are multiple screens, station yourself in the room where you'll cause the least disruption. If you can’t find a seat or feel compelled to stand and shout for your team, just make sure those behind you can still see the game. And for goodness' sake, no giant hats or wild accessories that will prohibit the view.

Stay on Topic. On Super Bowl Sunday, the dialogue should be on the game. Know your facts beforehand so you are well-versed in the teams that are playing and the host city.  Learn the vernacular, know the difference between a touchdown and a field goal.  You want to be able to bond and converse with everyone.  This is not the time to bring up a serious conversation, mention a grave illness or ask for a job.  Super Bowl Sunday is supposed to be fun. Keep the tone light and breezy and pay attention to the ball.  Here’s a complete glossary of everything you could possibly want to know for game day terminology.

Avoid Being the Know-It-All.  You may be the type of person who thrives on knowing every minute detail about the two football teams and the players, and you may enjoy spending hours researching the commercials that will be shown during the game, but that information is best kept to yourself.  Today is not the day to sit on your soapbox espousing your knowledge. A know-it-all is a big turn off. 

Display Good Sportsmanship.  Wearing your team's jersey’s and caps, painting your body to show your support, showing the love by cheering them on is all perfectly fine.  What will not fly on Super Bowl Sunday is shouting expletives at the television screen when your team misses the ball or picking a fight with your neighbor because he did a victory dance for a touchdown for your opposing team. Remember you are not playing in the game, you are just a fan.  Don’t make it personal.

Don’t Bet the Farm.  There are more Super Bowl pools than I care to imagine.  Know your limits.  If you’re an out of control gambler, designate the set amount for your bet before you leave the house so that you cannot be coerced into contributing more than you can afford.  There are plenty of pools to choose from and not all require a $500 ante.  You certainly don’t want to dip into your child’s college fund for a silly square on the football grid.    

Absolutely No Double-Dipping.  With flu season taking such a terrible turn this year, double-dipping has never carried more weight.  As George Costanza made infinitely famous on Seinfeld, if you take a chip, you get only one dip and then end it! Rather than risk spreading unwanted germs and a lecture from the double-dip police, place a handful of chips on a napkin or small plate then use one large chip to scoop extra dip that you can then enjoy with the remaining chips. 

Avoid Cutsies at Buffet Line.  Inevitably, there will be one coveted line with the short rib pizza or the crispy rice sushi that everyone is going to flock to. Whatever you do, please wait patiently for your turn. If you see friends further up, resist the urge to move even if they are waving you in with permission. It’s not their call and the others behind you will be most appreciative.

Leave No Trace Behind.  Be a good guest and clean up after your mess.  All those beef rib bones, leftover cold nachos, and ketchup-soaked napkins aren’t going to deposit themselves. Before making your way to partake in more witty repartee, do a complete 360 and leave no trace of trash behind. 

Compliment the Chef.  Super Bowl Sunday is the second most popular eating day after Thanksgiving and food plays a major part in the enjoyment.  Hosts spend weeks preparing the special menu of finger foods typically based on the two playing teams’ hometown favorites. A compliment to the chef lets them know they satisfied your every need.  

You, Gotta Give Thanks. Of course, it goes without mentioning to make sure you thank the host before you leave and follow up with a nice handwritten thank you note the following day.  Your graciousness will not go unnoticed.

Now go and enjoy the game!!