On being … beyond my realm

By Ingrid Sapona

One night last fall, I took a corner in my parking garage a bit carelessly and I clipped the back edge of my car. Expecting to find a nasty dent, I was relieved when I saw the damage was limited to a smallish patch where the paint had scraped off.

I’m not particularly into cars, so being seen in one that’s got a scrape doesn’t bother me. But, since I plan on keeping the car for quite some time, I don’t want rust. Given the size and location of the damage, I figured it couldn’t cost that much to have it touched up. And, if doing so prevented it from rusting, it’d be worth it.

So, I took it to a few places for estimates. I was in shock when the first guy said it would cost $1400. (Did I mention it was a small scrape?) When I balked at the price, he explained they’d have to sand it and paint the panel, feathering the paint in to the other panel, blah, blah, blah.

The lowest estimate I got came from a shop I know and trust, but they too were expensive: $550. When I explained I really only wanted the area touched up because my concern is rust, not looks, the guy tried to put it in terms he thought I’d understand: “You’d never just colour half your head of hair, would you?” No, but I’d never pay $550 for a salon treatment either!

Unable to justify – or afford – that kind of expenditure, I decided to stop in at the service department at my dealer to see if they sell touch up paint. Sure enough, they do – and it cost about $20. That’s more like it, I thought.

Using the VIN number, the service manager found the colour. Since he didn’t have any in stock, he said he could order it. When I asked how much you get for $20, he pointed to a display that had some containers. They were kind of pen-shaped, which seemed odd to me. I told him I was looking for something that maybe had a small brush, kind of like nail polish. He assured me that one end of the container had that, so I ordered it.

When I finally got the paint, it was too cold to do the repair. So I waited. Finally, with rust beginning to appear, last week I decided it was time to do it. I dug the paint container out of the glove compartment. Examining it, I was surprised that it looked like a two-ended marker. I distinctly remember the assurance about one end having a nail polish-type brush. Instead, both ends had white, felt-tipped markers. I looked for instructions, but there were none. The only markings on the tube were indications that one end was green (the colour of my car) and the other was clear. But, when I uncapped each end, they were both white!

At a loss, I phoned the dealer. When I explained my confusion, he said, “Oh, they changed the packaging – you must have one of the newer ones.” Great, I thought. When I told him there were no instructions, he said to first apply the color and, after it’s dry, then use the other end. Makes sense, I said, but both tips are white! He explained that when I press down on the tip, the paint would come up.

I guess he must have heard the trepidation in my “Oh”, so he went on to explain: “It’s really easy and don’t worry, Ma’am, if you get too much on, just wipe a bit off. The more you do it, the better you get at it.” That last part made me laugh. I told him I’m hoping I won’t have cause to do this too often, but I thanked him for his help.

I was so skeptical about how a marker could possibly work, but it was all I had. So, I started. Sure enough, after a few strokes, the metallic green paint emerged. Not only that, the paint went on very smoothly – far smoother than most nail polish I’ve ever used. Hmm… maybe it would be ok, I thought.

Quickly, my doubt gave way to thoughts of, “Who came up with this? It’s brilliant!” Then I realized who had come up with this odd tool. Folks who ARE into cars. I forget that not everyone sees cars as just a means of transportation, as I do. There are folks who LOVE cars and who love working on them. And, just like cooks who discover clever shortcuts and create gadgets for the kitchen, I imagine car enthusiasts have invented all sorts of clever ways of doing things.

Afterward, I was thinking about my journey from skeptic to convert. In fact, I’ve been on that journey before with respect to my car. It was years ago when I decided to apply a treatment to my windshield to prevent a chip from becoming a crack. The directions seemed odd but it worked beautifully. I couldn’t help wonder whether others have found themselves on the same journey with respect to things that are foreign to them…

My paint adventure has reminded me that in areas that are outside my realm of experience, I should trust that others have “been there and done that”. And, if I’m lucky, they’ll have figured out a fool-proof method that turns skeptics into believers.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … a benchmark?

By Ingrid Sapona

This week I was back from vacation, all rested and relaxed and even happy to be home. But, despite all that positive energy, I soon realized I wasn’t quite ready to face the work-world.

The unwelcome jolt came in the form of a slap on the wrist from one of my favourite clients. In response to a specific question from a staff person at the company, I explained how I could help but it would be additional work that would need to be approved by the company. I made it clear that if he felt it appropriate, he could find out if the work might be approved.

Shortly after that I got a terse e-mail from the guy’s boss – someone I know well and have (or had, until this) good rapport with. In the e-mail, the guy’s boss said the additional work won’t be happening and he said I should avoid making such suggestions to staff. OUCH!

I immediately responded with an e-mailed apology and a promise that it would never happen again. As I typed my reply, the voice inside my head went into full self-recrimination mode, starting with: “You can bet it’ll never happen again because they’ll never use you again!” (Whether that’s true or not, only time will tell.)

I re-played the whole thing in my mind, questioning whether I had stepped over the line, or mishandled it. I also surveyed my motives. Had I just proposed work for the sake of earning more? No. Could I have approached it differently? I’m not sure. I wasn’t being sly at all. Nor do I think I painted an unrealistic picture about whether the organization would approve such additional work.

Eventually the internal chiding turned to the issue of whether I’m stupid for letting the e-mail get to me, not to mention the fact that my initial reaction was that of a schoolgirl whose wrists were being slapped. “Grow up,” screamed my inner voice.

That evening I relayed the story to a couple friends, and they tried to cheer me up. I did my best Scarlett O’Hara imitation about tomorrow being another day, but the turmoil swirled in my head all night. The next day, my mood was still quite glum. When another friend asked what was wrong, I said that something work-related was bothering me but that I didn’t want to talk about it because doing so would simply make me feel worse. When I also mentioned that On being… was on the horizon, my friend said I should write about the incident. I quickly dismissed the idea because I was too close to it and embarrassed by it.

After the call, I decided to employ one of my tried and true coping mechanisms: cooking, cleaning, and other tasks that make me feel productive. I tackled a lot of things that needed to be done around the house. But, when I wasn’t super focused on cleaning the floor, or washing the windows, I felt that sense of gloom and doom hovering over me. As the day wore on, the running commentary in my head was more about the fact that I was letting the incident get to me than about the incident itself.

After the housework I returned to my desk and decided to start on a small project that’s not due for a few weeks. After a while I noticed I was making some progress. Since it was pretty interesting, I decided to return to the project after dinner to reduce the chance of letting my thoughts turn back to the e-mail.

The next morning at the gym, I was thinking about the work I had to do the rest of the week and On being… came to mind. I sighed because I’d been so preoccupied for the previous 48 hours, there was no way a column idea could meander through my head. And with that thought, the idea for this column flashed into my brain – a sure sign that I had moved on!

Besides being relieved by the revelation that I was over the e-mail incident, I was also intrigued by the idea of putting a timeframe around how long it had taken me to move on. I had never thought to try to measure my bounce-back speed in concrete terms – I’ve just always gotten angry with myself for taking so long and I’ve wondered if others are much quicker than me.

The 48 hour figure got me thinking. What is it they say about the importance of setting measurable goals? Well, now I have one for bouncing back from work-related setbacks: whittling down that 48 hour benchmark.

Wish me luck!

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … on an Easter huevo hunt

By Ingrid Sapona

This year I thought I’d try something different: Easter in Mexico. Good thing I didn’t have high hopes of finding many Easter eggs on the beach.

But, the sun and sand have made up for it!

I’ll get back to On being… April 15th.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … tracked

By Ingrid Sapona

Have you ever kept a food journal? I have. No, it wasn’t anything like: dear diary, today I had THE best cheeseburger with blue cheese oozing out when I pressed down on the bun. It was far more boring. It involved writing down exactly what, and how much, I ate and the general time of day I ate it. The reason I kept the journal was because a nutritionist I was working with wanted me to.

I hated tracking what I ate. But, I knew it was important in two ways. First, it provided the nutritionist with information so she could track whether what I was eating was allowing for healthy weight loss. Second, and frankly the most important thing, was it kept me honest with myself about what I was eating and how much. (Or, to put it another way for those of you who are more new agey, keeping the journal made me more mindful of what I was eating.)

Keeping a food journal and regularly getting on the nutritionist’s scale were necessary evils that yielded useful information, but not data I’d ever dream of sharing with anyone other than the nutritionist. Indeed, I feel self-conscious writing about it here, but since it relates to the big picture that’s the topic for today’s column, I decided to include it.

Last week I was watching a Saturday morning kids show about innovations. One of the segments was about a device that you clip to your shirt and it buzzes if you slouch. I’ve been trying to pay attention to my posture lately because I’m pretty sure that most of the time (ok, all of the time that I’m not specifically thinking about it) my posture is bad. So, the idea of a little device that reminds me to sit up straight seems brilliant. (The fact that I can choose to unclip it also appeals!) Mind you, though I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list, I’ve not yet committed to trying it.

I’ve also used a pedometer to count the number of steps I’ve gone in a day or, say, on a hike. One of the things I always found interesting when I wore one is that often the number of steps registered didn’t seem to match my perception of how much I had walked. Sometimes I walked less than I thought I had, and sometimes more than I realized. I never really used the pedometer to motivate me to do more, which is certainly a reason many people use them 

Of course, there are lots more sophisticated devices on the market these days that people are turning to to track their level of activity and fitness. Today you can get wearable devices that track your steps, your speed, your heart rate, your blood pressure, and even the oxygen in your blood. And, since the info is collected digitally, apparently you can share the “data” these devices collect with friends and family over the internet.

I’m happy to report that none of my friends have shared any data like that with me. Most of the time I’m only moderately interested in paying attention to such information about myself and, at the risk of sounding rude, I’m really not interested in following others’ stats. If friends want to tell me about goals they’re working toward, I’ll cheer them on, but not minute-by-minute or erg-by-erg.

Apparently, according to a documentary I saw on TV about this, using devices to gather biofeedback and tracking it has become a movement called QS, which stands for Quantified Self. The movement’s motto is “self knowledge through numbers”. QS’ers believe that by tracking different things they’ll come up with personal data patterns that will enable them to transform their lives. They’ll do this – so I understand – by comparing the patterns with their moods to figure out what works best to make them feel good. As one of the folks interviewed put it, they’re looking for a personal formula for happiness.

While there’s lots about the concept of identifying one's formula for happiness that I have trouble with, my first stumbling block would be grading my moods. What categories would I put different levels of happiness into? Maybe one would be: ‘something that puts a smile on my face’; or maybe ‘something that tickles me’; or ‘something that moves me to tears’. But hold on, would something that moves me to tears be on the happy or sad end of the spectrum? See what I mean??

Maybe folks in the QS movement are on to something, I don’t know. But I can’t help wonder what they’re missing as they focus on crunching the data. If their heart rate quickens because a loved one surprises them with something, are they more interested in noting the increased beat than enjoying the moment? I hope not…

As for me, I already have a good idea of lots of things that never fail to increase my happiness… Mint chip ice cream, champagne, a fresh coat of snow glistening in the sun – these are just a few things that are sure bets when it comes to making me happy.

What about you? Have you got a good idea of the elements of your formula for happiness, or do you feel you need to track more data?

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … thought leadership?

By Ingrid Sapona

Last week I was at dinner at my friend’s (I’ll call her Leanne – yes, the same friend I mentioned a few columns back). We talked about some of the challenges we’ve been encountering in our work. We’re both self-employed plain language writers/consultants. Leanne used a couple phrases – courage being one of them – that don’t often come up in business conversations. Though I didn’t interrupt when she first use the word, I immediately thought about researcher/author/speaker Brené Brown’s work.

As the conversation continued, Leanne mentioned that she’s been inspired by something she’s been reading. At that point, I asked if it was by Brené Brown. She was surprised. I explained that her reference to the notion of courage made me think of Brown. Indeed, Leanne was referring to something by Brown.

Though I’ve not read any of Brown’s work, I have seen her TED talk and I’ve seen a few other videos of her. Brown, a professor, has written a lot about vulnerability, courage, shame, and authenticity. I was quite interested in Leanne’s comments and insights on Brown’s work. Leanne has an analytical mind and I find that she’s very good at digesting information and then figuring out how it may apply in her life and work. 

After a lengthy, interesting discussion about some of Brown’s concepts, Leanne sort of sheepishly added, “a lot of it’s really just common sense”. I think she’s right. But, as I said to Leanne, there’s nothing wrong with common sense and I sure think the world could do with more of it!

One of my clients this week asked me to ghost write an article. We met to discuss the article. They want to pitch the article to the editor of an industry magazine. Their corporate social responsibility group has been working with another industry organization to create public educational information on a topic that’s relevant to their industry. The approach they’ve taken to providing the information is creative and they think it’ll be a way to connect with a segment of the public that their industry hasn’t had success engaging. 

We agreed the article can’t be just about the education campaign or the company’s involvement in creating it. The concern is that could be seen as too self-serving and therefore the editor would be likely to reject the article. They mentioned they want the article to be a “thought leadership piece”.

My initial task was to come up with an outline we could submit to the editor. First I wanted to understand the nature of the underlying information and its relevance to their industry. As they explained, the basic information has been available in traditional formats for a long time. The innovative part, as far as I could tell, is the new way they’re providing the information. So, I put together the article outline.

The first half of the article would feature a discussion of the need for education on this topic. It would also note how much the industry has already done to educate the public. Then we’d explain that the client has worked with another industry organization on this new, creative approach to educating the public. And finally, the article would talk about some of the specific benefits of this new approach. Also, I included a suggested title that highlighted the new creative approach to the public education effort.

The client’s response to my outline was not what I hoped. They said we needed to adjust the focus because the article can’t be mainly about their new approach. They reiterated the concern that saying too much about the new approach might be deemed too self-promoting. Instead, they felt it should mainly be about the need to engage the public on the topic and about the industry’s general interest in educating the public. 

I pointed out that from the editor’s point-of-view, what’s newsworthy is the new approach. They again said they’re looking for an article that will “demonstrate thought leadership”. After admitting I’m not 100% sure what that phrase means to them, I argued that the fact that the underlying topic is relevant to the industry is well known and that to focus on that doesn’t demonstrate leadership – or even particularly new thought. After going around in circles on the question of what thought leadership entails, I gave up and simply promised a revised outline. I’ve sent it off and hopefully they’ll like it better, though I don’t think it’ll be as interesting an article.

I don’t know the origins of the idea of “thought leadership”, but I’ve worked on enough thought leadership articles to know it’s all the rage. As a plain language person, I’m always put off by such corporate speak. Compounding my ire is the fact that there’s often little new or particularly original ideas in such pieces. It’s usually just a grandiose label business people use when they simply want to provide information in their particular field.

So how do these two stories relate? Well, I couldn’t help thinking about the discussion Leanne and I had about Brené Brown’s work and whether it might be an example of thought leadership. Though Leanne and I concluded our discussion about Brown’s ideas by agreeing there’s a common sense core, Brown’s analysis definitely provided a different way of looking at – and thinking about – some fundamental human behaviour.

So yes, maybe there is something to thought leadership… But please, just as not every person is a leader, let’s be honest: not every business article deserves the thought leadership label.

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … for your own good

By Ingrid Sapona

I’ve written before about the fact that I’m not an “early adopter” of technology. Indeed, I come from a family that, at times, actually seems averse to technology. Touch tone phone service was around for at least a dozen years before my parents made the switch. Dad’s rationale for not going with that new technology was that he saw it as just a way for the phone company to charge an extra $2/month. Even after automated phone systems – which rely on touch tones – became the standard for most businesses, we hung on to the rotary service. Dad knew that with most such systems you could simply wait on the line if you didn’t have touch tone, and wait he did…

Over the past 10 years or so I have come around to certain types of technology because I’ve seen how it has revolutionized how I do business. Given that I’m a writer – which is still centered on the simple act of putting words down on paper – the fact that I can even make that statement probably sounds odd. But in terms of work, technology has changed my life – all for the good.

When my Dad was sick back in the early 2000s, for example, if I needed to spend time at my parents and I had work to do, I had to pack up and schlep a ton of files and take them with me. At some point I could reduce the amount I had to carry because I could work on their computer and I could take stuff back and forth on floppy discs. Those eventually gave way to jump drives with lots more storage space. Each of those leaps made life easier but I still had to be pretty organized and anticipate what I’d need. The biggest game changer came when I started using Dropbox, which allowed me to retrieve things remotely.

In my personal life, however, until recently I’ve not been quite as open to technology. At some point in the past year I began rethinking my attitude toward technology. Yes – attitude… for I now see that I’ve actually had a bad attitude when it comes to adopting technology. I think there were many reasons I had that attitude. I’m sure part of it was attributable to the learning curve, part of it to the cost, and part of it relates to the view that there’s nothing wrong with the “old” way of doing certain things. My change of attitude is also attributable to many things. But, it really boils down to the realization that embracing technology is “for your own good”.

Here are a few recent examples that have led me to this conclusion. Last week I was looking into whether we could get groceries delivered to my mother. I was thrilled to find a grocery store near her that delivers. (It’s a small, three store chain – none of the bigger stores in her area have this service.) But, to place an order you do so through an app – you can’t choose the items on-line or over the phone. So, on the one hand, it’s terrific to find this service, but on the other hand, to access it you need a certain level of technology that she doesn’t have. Fortunately, she can tell me what she wants and I can place the order through the app on my iPad.

Another example occurred when Mom and I went to get her taxes done. She hadn’t yet received all her tax slips in the mail. But, they were available on-line and, luckily, she has a computer and printer so I could get them immediately. As a result, we were able to complete her return the day I was there. On a related note, while we were waiting at the tax clinic I heard one of the preparers explain to someone that one form he needed is only available on-line. Apparently the IRS used to mail it to him, but now you have to download it. While it seems wrong to me that the IRS has gone that route, the reality is that there’s nothing we can do about the IRS’s decisions. Hearing that made me realize that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the IRS may go completely paperless and we’ll just have to adapt.
I imagine maybe you’re thinking I should have titled this column: resistance is futile. Well, there’s an element of that, I suppose. But if you look at it that way, you feel defeated. Instead, my change of heart (and attitude) comes from finally believing that when millions of people embrace new devices or technologies, it’s not because they’re trying to be cool, or trying to impress others, or because they have money to burn. It’s because the technology makes their life easier or better. The ability to order groceries for delivery, pay bills on-line, and visit with Mom daily via Skype, are just a few examples of how technology has benefitted our family.

Mind you, I don’t think it’ll be easy to try to keep up. I know that many people’s main exposure to new technology comes through their work and through kids (or grandkids). Given that I’m self-employed and don’t have children, I do feel I’m at a bit of a disadvantage. But, I’ve got friends who are genuinely excited about technology and who are early adopters, so I’ll be fine – as long as I embrace their help and the technology!

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … authentic and…

By Ingrid Sapona

Here it is the end of January already and I’m still thinking – and writing – about New Year’s resolutions. I know, I know, it’s even odder given my earlier admission about not being big on NYRs. (See, I can’t even stand typing the phrase out in full!) But, a conversation I had with a friend (I’ll call her Leanne) last week about a resolution she’s made has been on my mind so much, I can’t not write about it.

On a recent weekend trip Leanne booked a place to stay using Airbnb. For those not familiar with Airbnb, it’s an on-line marketplace that lists accommodations offered by people (hosts) who have a couch, spare room, or more, to rent for short periods of time. After a stay, Airbnb asks guests to rate the accommodations. They publish the ratings for other potential guests to get a sense of what that host’s accommodations are really like.

Airbnb hosts also rate guests. The rationale is that Airbnb is creating a “trusted community” and, since hosts have a lot on the line, they want to know who they’re dealing with too. As an example, if a person using Airbnb gets a reputation as someone who makes reservations and then cancels, potential hosts may decide not to accept a reservation from that person.

At the time of our conversation, Leanne hadn’t yet written her review about her Airbnb stay. She was still thinking about what she’d write. It seems there were things that didn’t quite live up to the way the place was described, but it wasn’t horrible by any means. At the same time, she said that it seemed to her that most reviews she’d seen on Airbnb were so effusive and gushing they were often unhelpful and perhaps a bit suspect, given that guests are reviewed too.

She went on to explain that her hesitation in terms of what she might say in the review wasn’t because she was worried about the light it might cast on her as a guest. Instead, it related to her decision to work this year on cultivating being “authentic yet gracious”. In other words, she was trying to figure out how to provide valuable, honest information about the place but in a way that’s kind and thoughtful.

I was very struck by the idea of “authentic yet gracious”. It immediately occurred to me that it’d be a useful approach to take as I implement changes I’ve begun making in my business and personal life. The changes revolve around disengaging from activities I no longer find interesting or fulfilling. I don’t know if you’ve ever found yourself in this position, but I’m involved in a number of things, especially on the professional side, that I simply am no longer particularly excited about – or, worse, that I really don’t enjoy at all any more.  

My unsubscribing from various LinkedIn Groups, which I mentioned in my last column, is a simple example of clearing out things in my life that waste my time or take my focus off things I’d rather spend time on. I found doing it surprisingly liberating, but at the same time, I realize that was the easy stuff. After all, no one in those groups necessarily even realize I’ve dropped out. There are other things, however, that I can’t just quietly disengage from – like volunteer activities, and social invitations that people generously extend but that I’m not inherently interested in. So, finding a way to be true to myself – to be authentic – and yet gracious, can be tricky.  

Though many people throw around the term “authentic” these days in ways I’m not comfortable with (much the way they talk about “their passion”), I could relate to the way Leanne was using the term. We’re both in business for ourselves and so we’re pretty practiced at being tactful and polite. But the idea of being authentic yet gracious isn’t necessarily the same as being tactful and polite. To me, authentic yet gracious involves being honest with myself about my intentions and feelings and having the courage to express those, but taking care to not be presumptuous, overbearing, or self-important.

So, I guess I’m adopting yet another resolution this year: striving to be authentic yet gracious in all my dealings. Seems a worthy goal… Indeed, just imagine how different society might function if more people took care to be authentic yet gracious…

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona


On being … a new year?

By Ingrid Sapona

January has never felt like a new year to me. September – now that has always felt like the start of something. Sure, it probably goes back to all those years of school (K-12+ for those of us who continued on to university). Even when your school years are long behind you, the academic calendar still matters if you have kids or colleagues whose life revolves around the school year.

Since January 1st just feels like the start of a long month of short days, I never really got the idea of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve also found it odd that people decide that at one point in the year they’re going to focus on all sorts of behaviours that they realize probably aren’t that helpful and they resolve to change them – or work on them. I’m all for introspection, but who needs the added pressure of a deadline? 

So, 2016 started for me much the way most years do: resolution-free. Actually, that’s not totally true. Sometime last fall, after finding a couple new recipes that I really liked, I realized my cooking repertoire could use some more new recipes. So, I decided that in 2016 I’d make a concerted effort to try new recipes for mains and sides (I’ve never needed an excuse to try new dessert recipes). I even set a measurable goal: by the end of 2016, I want 12 new recipes that I enjoy making, eating, and sharing with others. Mind you, that’s not as easy as it sounds because I’ve got pretty high standards when it comes to what I’d serve guests. (If it goes well, I’ve already got a plan for 2017: finding the perfect wine to go with each of 2016’s new dishes!)

Anyway, after returning from celebrations with my family, I was back to my usual routine. Then, about the third day back at work, I checked in with a client to see where things stood on a project we started just before Christmas. In an e-mail back, they explained what they’d like me to do. But, it was so vague and jargon-laden, I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do.

My first reaction was to feel stupid. Given that I’d already done some work on the project, shouldn’t I understand what they’re talking about? Then, without my usual hesitation and fear of looking dumb, I wrote them back and simply said I didn’t understand what they were talking about. As I sent it, I felt oddly transformed. I realized I’m tired of feeling like I’ve got to take sole responsibility for not understanding what clients want. After all, I’m not a mind reader.

The client promptly wrote back, apologizing for being vague and then they more clearly set out what they want me to do. An interesting and eye opening exchange, I thought… And with that, I decided to put the responsibility on clients for clarification from now on. No more feeling like I ought to figure it all out by myself!

Then, on another day during that first week of January, I was reading my e-mail in box and one item was from a LinkedIn group. It was one of many such groups I belong to that focus on some aspect of what I do for a living. I opened the e-mail, quickly confirmed that it was a typical self-promotion-type comment, and went to delete the message. But, for some reason, rather than merely deleting it, this time I scrolled to the bottom and clicked “unsubscribe”. It felt empowering – like I was taking back control of my in box. No more inane messages from that group!

Over the next couple days, I decided to try that approach with the myriad of other e-mail messages I get daily. Unless the message is from someone I really want to hear from, or is about something I’m really interested in (like recipes, given my 2016 goal), if there’s an unsubscribe option at the bottom, I clicked it. You know something – it’s been great! My in box is no longer full every time I return to my desk, and I’m not wasting time on BOGO promotions for things I don’t need or seat sales to places I’ll never go.

By the end of that first week of January, I realized that maybe the quiet of a long winter month is a good time to try some new approaches. In fact, I even think I’ve stumbled on a workable approach to New Year’s resolutions. The trick is to not think too much about them – just give them room and time to find you. Go ahead – it’s definitely not too late – give it a try!

© 2016 Ingrid Sapona