Posted in about me, know better do better, mindset

Black Friday deals

When I was very first starting out as a personal trainer, I used to run Black Friday deals in preparation for New Years.

Eventually, I stopped, and if/when I have more services to offer, I won’t offer deals.

Why?

1- Twice now I have been on the consumer end of “I just bought that a week/a month ago but now it’s way cheaper. The retailer’s response is always “too bad so sad” (my paraphrase). That doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t leave me wanting to do business with that retailer again.

In my business, I have always been about building relationships and, when practical and possible, community. The above is antithetical to that.

1b- In response to “You could always just retroactively apply the discount”… To purchases back how long? For all purchases or just people who ask? Do I want to establish a culture of people asking me if they can pay less for my services?

2- I price my services in such a way that my clients feel at least like they’ve gotten their money’s worth, or hopefully like they’ve gotten a great deal. I don’t need to discount it.

That said, I do occasionally throw in freebies or discounts for repeat customers.

What do you think? Do you like periodic big sales? Have you been on the losing end of that?

Posted in about me, differences, mindset

You can’t always put on more clothes

I run cold.

If I’m in a room with a lot of people and I’m comfortable, I assume that the majority of the people in the room are somewhere between a bit warm and uncomfortably warm.

This is part of why living in Phoenix is a good choice for me (though the ridiculous amount of air conditioning in public spaces in the summer is an argument against).

Some people run hot.

We’re just different. It’s OK.

I have one or two friends whose temperature comfort zones do not overlap with mine at all. I have quite a few friends whose comfort zones do overlap, but not by a lot.

But the argument I hate is “Well, when you’re cold, you can always put on more clothes. You can’t keep taking clothes off when you’re hot.”

The implication is that by adding a potentially infinite layer of clothes, I would no longer be cold.

Except I don’t buy shoes in multiple sizes to accommodate a variety of layers of socks.

Even with careful planning, I don’t think I could get more than three layers on my legs (stockings or tights under leggings under pants). There have been a few occasions where three layers was insufficient.

More tops than that would be possible, but there are limits.

In all of the above scenarios, the under-layers are the ones that would need to be added for cold (and then eliminated when the ambient temp is warmer), which requires a bathroom or other private space to change and time to do it.

I don’t carry unlimited layers with me in order to be prepared for every temperature occasion. I don’t even carry with me limited but versatile layers. I bring a sweater. (I also keep a sweater and a sweatshirt in the trunk of my car.)

Even if I had a pack animal with me to carry everything I’d need to be prepared for all temperature occasions (would that be considered a service animal? Restaurants and airplanes are some of the worst…), this doesn’t take into consideration parts of the body that aren’t typically covered by clothes: hands, neck, face, ears.

If I’m going to be outside in a cold place, I can prepare for those things, and I can cover them. And I do. (But only if I know or suspect it’s going to be cold. No cold-weather pack animal means sometimes it’s colder than I expected and I’m unprepared.)

But I don’t bring hats and mittens to meetings at work. Or to restaurants. Or to bed. Unless I’m camping.

I do wear scarves sometimes, even if I don’t need a jacket. My neck gets cold. If you’re a knitter or crocheter and want to make a scarf, I’ll happily be a recipient. My current one is a lovely long, thin purple one. Perfect for chilly-but-not-freezing, and made from yarn that doesn’t scream “it’s snowing!” which is nice for both indoors and out. I like to fold it in half and put the loose ends through the loop.

But even if I’m wearing all of those things, my nose is cold.

Outdoors, I can cover it with a scarf. Indoors…?

I’ve seen ads for some little nose cover thing. I can’t imagine very many scenarios when I would want to wear one of those. They look ridiculous, even for me.

OK, all that said, I understand that it sucks to be hot, especially in dress clothes. Even as one who runs cold, there are times that I’m hot. (Summer temps here are always over 115. That’s hot. And as a traveling teacher, I get in my car that’s been baking in the sun multiple times a day. No shortage of hot.) And I’m OK with wearing an extra layer (ONE extra layer) indoors to accommodate people who run hot.

I’m not saying that being cold is worse than being hot. I’m just saying that “just put more clothes on” argument is stupid.

</rant>

Posted in know better do better, mental health, mindset

Toxic families

The thing about families … it’s most often the people who are unpleasant who “win” because we don’t want to cause problems. We somehow take ownership of others’ bad behavior.

When we avoid saying something or trying to change something, when we show up even though it’s awful and silently wait for it to pass, we’re letting ourselves be treated badly.

“We don’t say anything because s/he gets angry and it just makes it worse” is a sign of an abusive situation.

Stop placating the abusers.

It’s hard. It breaks relationships, because those people are vested in making everything your fault. You can’t have a rational conversation with them. You can’t reason. You can’t say, “When you do this thing, it hurts me,” because they aren’t emotionally equipped to acknowledge hurting you.

This is really variations on a theme from Sunday’s book quote. They’re taking their hurt out on you. It does not help them to heal, and it makes it harder for you to become/stay healthy.

But it’s wicked hard to set boundaries, to take a step back, for three reasons that I can think of.

1- The immediate situation is hard. Standing up for yourself (or for your spouse, or for you kids, or for whomever) when you know you’re going to get yelled at is hard. It’s hard to summon the courage to do it, and it’s hard to withstand the blowback, especially when setting a boundary is a new thing.

2- People who are not on board with you setting and maintaining a healthy boundary are going to blame you for making The Mean Person angry. You ruined the day by making them yell. (I’m here to tell you it is not your fault.)

It’s really hard, when you’ve just summoned the emotional grit to get through both parts of the boundary-setting (summoning the courage and withstanding the blowback) to get more blowback from others in the room.

They do it for so many different reasons, and I don’t want to prattle on about all that right now. Suffice it to say, until this moment, you were acting in such a way as to protect yourself, and they’re acting in a way to protect themselves. Even if it’s at your expense.

3- People at large expect us to “be nice to your family,” regardless of how you’re being treated. (No one tells The Mean Person to be nice to their family because they spin it so they are the victim. Always.) I know of one person who was regularly hit—as an adult—by family, and was blamed by (former) friends for cutting ties.

If people won’t accept physical abuse as a reason not to show up, they certainly don’t accept mental or emotional abuse. (Don’t get me started on girls being blamed for “seducing” their uncles.)

Don’t let those people weaken your ownership of the problem. (It’s so easy to second-guess yourself. Especially if you happen to be in the role of Family Scapegoat and have always been blamed.) No, you are not perfect. But when reasonable and healthy requests are met with ire, it is not your fault.

I’m here to tell you—there are people who believe you, who empathize, who will not blame you. Find them. They are your lifeline in this journey.

Break the cycle. Find support. Get a good therapist. Take care of yourself.

Posted in know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness

Happy Thanksgiving?

This holiday is such a big part of American culture …

I think that gathering with people who are important to you is important, and we’ve created such a culture of busy-ness that we need a holiday to make us stop and do it.

I think preparing a large, formal meal is something lost (see: busy) and there’s something to be said for it. For people who like that sort of thing. Or for people who can delegate well. Or both.

I think that showing gratitude and taking a moment or a day to be mindful of what we have is important (and needs to be done way more often!).

But I think that we should disconnect the holiday from its roots. I think we should get rid of pilgrims and Indians happily sharing a meal and the feel-good fiction that goes along with it.

(Ideally, we’d use this opportunity to teach the reality of the relationship between those two groups of people, but I think that would be Step 2. Which I think would naturally lead to Step 3: working to right wrongs as much as possible. Or at the very least, ceasing to continue wronging…)

What do you think?

Posted in mental health, mindset

Reducing holiday preparation stress

This post is for anyone who will be hosting any type of gathering this holiday season, especially if it’s one—like Thanksgiving dinner—that has a very definite set of expectations around it.

Lots of things can be good enough and everyone will be happy.

The people who are not happy with good enough are never happy no matter what you do. These are not the people you’re trying to please.

Your people would rather have a happy you than a perfect meal.

Do your best, but let it be imperfect without apology or guilt.