If at First, You Don’t Succeed…

fitbit_sharing_-1672610022The last few months have been really challenging for me. I confess is that as much as I have encouraged others to get out and walk during lunch or get exercise during the workday, I have not been taking my own advice.

But that’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I know the deal. We’re all capable of fits and starts of healthy eating, financial prudence, exercising, getting plenty of sleep.

It’s called being human.

I realized when I returned from Johannesburg that the extra weight I was carrying, really did take a toll. And, I know I have a solid week of being on my feet for work—in just about three weeks. I need to build stamina. The kind of stamina which would be the ability to handle 15 to 17 miles of walking for about five, 14-hour days in a row.

So, it’s back to loading up my gym bag in the morning, getting those walks in at lunchtime, and making certain I stretch well every single night. It means more water, less coffee (boo hiss!)—at least until the end of the conference. It means trying to ease back off the sugar.

Even though I stopped doing all the right things health-wise for about six weeks or so, doesn’t mean I can’t start over at any point, any day.  And, so I did.  You can, too.

For me, I need to get out of my head and get outside on my feet. Progress, not perfection. Here’s to getting back out there!  ~ K.

IMG_20180924_070044

Johannesburg #ExecSecLIVE

 

IMG_20180915_192443336

It’s taken almost an entire week to get my head clear after my trip to #ExecSecLIVE Johannesburg—Jet lag and a persistent sinus infection kept me from posting much on Twitter during the trip and work kept me from writing after returning home.

Where to start? Well, let’s say it is a long, long, long ways away from Washington, DC. We’re talking approximately 8,100 miles away and about 18+ hours of flying, not counting layovers and such.

Was it worth the trip? Damn skippy! it was.

Arrive in Joburg and meet up with my former co-worker and a really good friend,  Rachel. That night, a group of the speakers went to dinner to catch up, to get to know one another, and oh yeah.. eat some Springbok.  No, friends. I’m sorry. I am not that adventurous about eating.  But all reports were that it was a tasty option for dinner. I honestly cannot remember what I ordered. Seriously.

Our Trip to the Lion Safari Park.

img_20180905_103727792_hdr

File this under, ‘I didn’t react the way I thought I would’

This guy.. .this lion cub. I gave him a good pet. I was scared to death. He’s not dead, he’s sunning! and he and his brothers were quite snuggly with one another.

img_20180905_103715070.jpg

We also saw a lion pride, giraffes, ostriches, a panther, a leopard, wild dogs, and of course a meerkat or two. It was quite the experience.

fb_img_1536812390150
This giraffe is named Purdy.  Photo courtesy of Lucy Brazier.

But the most important parts of ExecSecLIVE? The learning and the networking.

Photo credits to Jon Lawrence for Executive Secretary Magazine 2018

As for my own experience, I was thrilled to attend the launch of IMA South Africa, present to colleagues from all over Africa, learn even more! cool tips, best practices and new insights from my fellow speakers. I was incredibly grateful to Susan and Cathy and all the Discovery folks for their hospitality.  Very appreciative of the concern shown for my health by attendees and colleagues alike. Superbly happy I made it through both of my presentations without losing my voice! Honored to meet the fine young women that have come through the ISIPHO bursary project. Looking forward to all those LinkedIn connections that are coming!

Still not able to put into words what this particular journey has meant to me. To put it best, I’ll borrow from the amazing Diana Brandl, #We’reAllInThisTogether.

 

Why is it so scary to go after a dream?

I don’t know about others.

I only know my life.

I know why I’m scared to go after my dreams.

No one enjoys being harassed by bill collectors. (Do they?)

No one wants it to take a long time to get there. (It takes time.)

I know my father raised me to believe that once I got a good job, don’t ever. EVER! leave it unless you are fired.  Double-down on that if the position has excellent benefits. Didn’t matter if your boss was cruel or the company was corrupt or whatever. You just didn’t leave a job. Period. End of Story.

When I began pursuing my dream of becoming a public speaker, I never seriously considered doing it full-time. Afterall, we have a daughter in university. And, we need to save more for retirement, and fighting that tape in my head that ‘it’s never gonna happen anyhow.’

I’ve learned that the fear won’t stop me from pursuing the possibility. I pretend that the anxiety I feel is standing in the corner across the room from me. I wave at it. I speak to it. I tell it, I see you over there. Standing in my space. But I’m still here and so are you. I’m just going to keep going. You can just stand there and watch.

So I acknowledge the fear. Accept that getting to where I think I want to go is going to take time. I read about, listen to, speak to other speakers. Learn from them.

Most importantly, I look back. I measure just how far I’ve come since 2006—an afternoon when I stood in a conference room after an IAAP certification study session and confided my dream to my friend, Pat.

All my life I’ve known I’m supposed to share stories. I just wasn’t sure whether it was supposed to be through writing, singing, or speaking.  And, that day after the study session, I knew. I knew I was supposed to tell those stories out loud.  In September 2018, I am headed to Johannesburg, South Africa to relate my experiences as a career administrative professional at Executive Secretary LIVE.  Who knew?!

When we can take a look back and see how far we’ve come, that dream pursuit is not quite as scary.

Today’s Purpose: Self-Care and Sacred Things Pt. 2-[Update]

38193507_10156428229680340_453478340922179584_o
Wrought iron beauties from my walk at lunchtime today

July 30, 2018 Update

So, it’s been a bit since I wrote this original post (Dec. 2017). 

I’d forgotten all about my self-care list — until that creepy thing that happens when you are thinking about something and it starts to show up everywhere… Kind of like how Facebook Weight Watcher ads show up after I post a gratitude list that includes Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream!…  That topic for me today was self-care.  

I wanted to look at my self-care list I wrote and assess where I was.

Things I’ll do this year- 2018

  1. Get to a hockey game√ with Christian Russell AND Richard Arnott
  2. Get to a Red Sox Game (preferably when they play the Nationals)√ July 3!
  3. Go to a symphony performance
  4. Take a day off from work to spend a day with the hubby√Rehoboth
  5. Write more cards and letters
  6. Visit the National Archives
  7. Go to Maine, preferably York Beach.√ Vacay!
  8. Run a 5k. It’s been too long between races.
  9. Hike at Great Falls
  10. Do volunteer work at University of Mary Washington and T.C. Williams
  11. See live marching band performance(s)
  12. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial during Cherry Blossom time
  13. Host my Dish & Dessert event
  14. See a comedy performance√ Dave Chappelle!
  15. See a musician I like√ Patti Labelle
  16. Go to Boston for a weekend
  17. Go to Rehoboth Beach for a weekend
  18. Do Paint Your Own pottery again
  19. Walk the prayer labyrinth with my friend Ruthie
  20. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum again when I return to London√ and got to see the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibit! 

Not too bad. Seven out of twenty.  Plenty of time to get some of these items checked off my list.

One item that was not on my list directly was to spend more time with my close friends. I need to let go of completing most of the rest of the list just so I can focus on that. I’ve recently re-experienced that most glorious experience of spending time with a friend that ‘gets you’. Like a really nice long visit! No laundry. No interruptions. Plenty of coffee. Plenty of sleep. That was the best weekend I’ve had for JUST ME! in a very long time.

When’s the last time you spent more than thirty minutes hanging out with a friend? No interruptions—just basking in time to listen and to share stories? Maybe add this activity to your self-care list or to your calendar.

I’ve had a rough go at it since April due to some work matters, so taking time to take care of me has been super important. And, I did take care of me!  Be sure to take care of you, okay?  ~ K.

[Original Post from Dec. 7, 2017]

[As I wrote this post, I found out that one of my social media connections, Carlos Gil (@CarlosGil83)  was in DC today, and I did not know it.  He’s on my long list of social folks that I want to meet.  I follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. He shares very useful insights regarding these platforms. Give him a follow, will ya?]

Every year I take December 7 off from work. I started doing this after my father passed away on December 7, 1997.  The irony is that my late father, William T. Foley, Jr,  (or as we affectionately refer to him as WTF) was a U.S. Navy veteran.  My siblings and I agree that he made sure to pass away on a day we’d never forget. (Hello, Pearl Harbor Day– Navy guy… Get it?) I usually travel to the military cemetery where is buried and have a quick chat with him there.  Some years I do things we loved to do together in D.C., in the city where he raised me.

Today, I took the day off from work to go into downtown D.C. to do things that make my heart happy, things that bring me peace, things that help me re-center. In my book, that’s called self-care. Self-care is sacred.

I had had an idea of what I wanted to do today but wasn’t certain I could get to it all because I slept in late.  I honored this day, starting at St. Matthew’s Cathedral and lit candles and chatted up the Big Guy Upstairs, and his dearest relative, Mary.  That was important. √ Nearby is the store, ChocolateChocolate – which, if I’m that close, I probably really need to go get some chocolate cappuccino cups!  I knew I was meeting up with my long-time mentor and dear friend, Carole. So, natch- I asked her to call into Loeb’s Deli and order me their redonkulous pastrami sandwich, and whatever she wanted for lunch.  I met her at her office and we caught up. I make the time to see her during work hours when I am in D.C.  She’s played such an important role in my career success. Listening. Provides honest feedback.  I met with a colleague of hers that also works in research. That was a definite bonus!

I decided to head over to the National Gallery of Art. Vermeer exhibit. A must. The hush of a gallery. The colors. The emotions that art stirs. If I’m in D.C., I’m making time to get some art in my system! It was such a beautiful day here today, about 50 degrees, partly sunny—perfect for walking on the National Mall.

At the end of the day, I walked over to the Navy Memorial, took some photos, and visited the museum. I guess because I hadn’t traveled to the cemetery today, my emotions caught up with me. I found myself crying in the museum store and asking the cashier for tissues.  I was overwhelmed, thinking about the stories I didn’t know about my father. No doubt he would have honored the Foley family trait of telling tales while exaggerating just a wee bit.

 

10418349_10152385546890340_3152257659481303438_n
William T. Foley, Jr., PRAN Korea

 

The thing is—when do we have time to honor and process these emotions? We have family and work obligations. Cars need oil changes and there are bills to pay. When do have time to do what we know we can’t get to on the weekend because of these obligations? Self-care, in my opinion, is to NOT continuously put off things we know we ‘should’ get to, or we’d ‘sure like to do that one day’.

Setting aside time—sacred time to honor the small and large things that refill our empty tank is self-care of the highest order. You know, in your heart, what you need to do. Please honor it.  ~ Kemetia

(At the bottom of the post is a list of some things I am going to set aside time to do this year, to refuel, refill, to honor my heart.)

Things I’ll do this year- 2018

  1. Get to a hockey game
  2. Get to a Red Sox Game (preferably when they play the Nationals)
  3. Go to a symphony performance
  4. Take a day off from work to spend a day with the hubby
  5. Write more cards and letters
  6. Visit the National Archives
  7. Go to Maine, preferably York Beach.
  8. Run a 5k. It’s been too long between races.
  9. Hike at Great Falls
  10. Do volunteer work at University of Mary Washington and T.C. Williams
  11. See live marching band performance(s)
  12. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial during Cherry Blossom time
  13. Host my Dish & Dessert event
  14. See a comedy performance
  15. See a musician I like
  16. Go to Boston for a weekend
  17. Go to Rehoboth Beach for a weekend
  18. Do Paint Your Own pottery again
  19. Walk the prayer labyrinth with my friend Ruthie
  20. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum again when I return to London

That’s a good start, don’t you think?

 

 

The Best Part? You are not alone.

Tonight I came home from work and per usual, hopped on Twitter.

I knew things would be kicking off in Sydney, Australia for #ExecSecLive.  I immediately searched the hashtag and starting following posts from the conference.

Executive Secretary Live is a fantastic administrative conference that travels the globe.  So many administrative conferences: IAAP Summit, AIOP ACT, IMA, ASAP Annual Conference, AdminToAdmin, EPAA,Office Dynamics, AEAP, Be the Ultimate Assistant, and this list is hardly complete! For a complete list, visit /http://executivesecretary.com/associations for an administrative association near you. Or, visit http://executivesecretary.com/events/ for a full list of training events. [Self-disclosure, I’ll be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE, Johannesburg later this year.]

I get super excited when I think about administrative conferences! We are NOT alone! You have had a crazy work experience, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that another attendee has had either the exact same challenge or something very close.  There’s an instant recognition. An instant acknowledgment of mutual respect.

That feeling is wicked awesome—and that’s a good thing! It’s such a relief and also a tidal wave of joy to meet our career colleagues.

If you are an administrative or office professional, I promise you with all my heart that you simply MUST find a way to get to an administrative conference. It will change your world, your perspective, and expand your network in ways you cannot fathom.

Here’s a tiny sliver of the friends I’ve made via admin conferences.  As Diana Brandl says, “We are in this together!”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Still buffering…

Buffering is a term which can be used to describe data being held in one part of the computer processor before moving to another part.  ‘Still Buffering’  a phrase which is frequently seen when trying to stream a video on a device that does not have the data speed and capacity to process it.

This term comes to my mind whenever I have to learn something that is complicated and I need to run through it several times before I can apply it across my workload. The best example I have is when I am learning more advanced functions in Excel.  I’m trying to process what I already know (cache), add-in the new function(s), and complete the task. The ‘buffering’ occurs because I personally have to slow down my thoughts so I can absorb (process)  the new information, and then I can apply it (output).

I think the phrase, ‘brain overload’ describes it fairly well.  If the information that is new to us comes in at a speed at which we cannot process it, we can’t move forward smoothly.

Do you have an example of ‘still buffering’ you’d like to share?

~ Kem