Unhappily Ever After

marriage and happiness.png

As a facilitator, team building and conferences are a constant occurrence. One particular weekend, I was in a training where we were required to break up into several different groups for small group discussions.

The first group was categorized according to whether we were in a relationship or single. When all of the people in a relationship gathered into a group, one of the guys looked up and said, “Wait, should we break up according to whether we are happy or unhappy?”

There wasn’t any laughter, discussion, or hesitation, just a small feminine voice that said, “Great idea.” What followed was a phenomenon that resembled the parting of the Red Sea.

Men and women, without skipping a beat, divided themselves further into happy and unhappy groups, and then looked up and waited for the next set of instructions.

In first grade, when I was marrying my Barbie dolls, humming “Here comes the bride”, and reciting their vows, happiness never crossed my mind. Ken and Barbie were either married or unmarried.

Even at that age, I fantasized about my wedding and my husband. Back then, I knew I was going to marry Ralph Tresvant from New Edition, Michael Jackson, and Prince.

As little girls, we all fantasized about our weddings. What would our dress look like? How would they propose? Weddings were infused in our brains. They became a show where we could see ourselves as the star.

But this talk of weddings eventually leads us to make comparisons in our own lives.  We want the most expensive ring, or the designer wedding gown, or a two-week honeymoon. Or we just want the wedding.

We don't tend to focus on how “right” our partner is for us.  And if we haven’t yet found “the one” or have decided against a wedding, somehow our lives aren’t as “special” as our closest friends.

And so begins an endless circle of self-criticism, judgment, or feeling less than.

As a society, we focus all of our attention on one day. We focus on the dress, ring, or price tag of the wedding or the idea that two people are now married. And for those couples who have been together forever, we applaud them for staying together for forty, fifty, or sixty years.

But we don’t ever ask about whether they are compatible or even about the presence of betrayal, infidelity, abuse, children outside the marriage, or family feuds. We don’t ask the question that really matters: Are you happy?

Now that I am no longer a kid with barbies, I am much more interested in the couples who are happy. Someone being in a relationship for seventy years doesn’t mean a thing to me if they spent more time crying than smiling. So when I talk to young girls and boys, college students, and adults, I don’t focus on weddings. I talk to them about being happy.

And whether that means that they never get married, they have a $200 wedding reception, or they have a $100,000 wedding, I want to ensure that the focus is on their relationship and not just one single day. I don’t ever want them to be in the ‘unhappy group’ with kids, credit cards, a mortgage, and student loan payments. At that moment, the most fantastic wedding in the world won’t provide any comfort to the debt you have accrued and frowns you have collected.

Increasing Your Self-Confidence

As women, all of us have battles.  Sometimes they are public and sometimes they are private.  Self-confidence affects us all.

If you can relate, I'd love for you to check me out on the Women In Leadership Podcast, hosted by AnneMarie Cross.

Check it out at bit.ly/2lbIJ6T

Love, Brunch & Conversation

Why are the same types of people drawn to you?  And even when you think you have a great first date, how do you make sure that you get to that second date?

Dating can be difficult.  Knowing what to say and what not to say is even more difficult.  

I'm here to help. 

Six years ago I was is the same place.  But I cracked the code on dating AND online dating.  Instead of just finding any person, I found the right person.  We met through a popular dating website.

On Sunday, June 4th, at Mulebone Restaurant in Washington, D.C., I'm hosting Love, Brunch & Conversation: Getting Beyond The First Date.

Over brunch, you’ll learn how to:

  • Attract better quality matches for a great first date and beyond
  • Ask the right questions and avoid the wrong ones  
  • Navigate questions about your past and other tough subjects
  • Attract matches who share your interests and values
  • And much more!

Plus, you will meet other like-minded local professionals and entrepreneurs who are also looking to attract more love in their lives and can support you in your journey.

YOUR TICKET INCLUDES:

  • 60-minute fun and interactive session hosted by me
  • 30-minute Q&A session
  • Brunch and mimosas
  • Free swag bag

I look forward to seeing you there.  I promise that you will have fun, learn more about getting to the second date, and meet other fabulous women.  On top of all of that...brunch will be amazing.

Get your tickets before they sell out at bit.ly/gettingbeyondthefirstdate.

 

 

The Illusion of a Partner: Seat-Fillers and Mirages

Initiative is the one characteristic that distinguishes a seat-filler from a great employee and a true partner from the illusion of a partner.

Employees without initiative get paid to come in and leave at the same time, to do only what is specifically listed in their job description, and to never have a new or innovative idea. As a manager, an employee without initiative is the equivalent of being given a $200 million winning lottery ticket — two days after the ticket expires. In other words, it sucks.

How can you identify these people? They say things like, “That’s not my job.” If you give them a project, they won’t work on it or turn it in unless you give them a specific deadline. In short, they don’t do anything unless you ask them to.

Imagine if the office had a fire and they had a fire extinguisher on their desk. As the entire office is on the street watching the flames and smoke bellow out of the windows, their response to why they didn’t put out the tiny fire in the microwave would be, “You didn’t ask me if I had a fire extinguisher.”

In a relationship, a person without initiative can be just as irritating. Remember the cartoons from childhood? A person is dying of thirst in the desert and just when they can’t take it anymore, they see a lake full of crisp, blue water. Just as they are getting close, it turns out to be a mirage.

The lack of initiative in a mate is just that: an illusion of a real partner. Just when you think you have someone to help you out, be your better half, make decisions, and help with the chores, you don’t. You have a person instead of a partner.

Think about whether you would want your potential mate as a co-worker or business partner. Because at the end of the day, running a household is a business. The bills need to be paid on time, the laundry needs to be done, the house needs to be cleaned, and food needs to be on the table.

Beyond that, there will always be things that come our way that are not explicitly in our job description. Our parents get old, relatives pass away, illness and disease happens. If your mate can barely handle the here and now, how can you expect them to handle the unknown issues and dilemmas that will definitely come your way?

Whether the situation is professional or personal, we all have to decide whether we are okay being (or being with) a seat warmer or an illusion of a partner. The choice is ours.