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When I began drafting this post, I didn’t realize how long it would be. In the spirit of getting to the heart of it, I invite you to revisit my 2015 Holiday reflection. Erin, Sydney, Charlotte and I send you this same message again this holiday season.

For those with a minute or two, I invite you to read on. Last December I wrote about choosing one word to focus on for the year. My word for 2017 was “pause.” In retrospect, the universe and the powers that be, took me seriously. Too seriously, if I am honest. I experienced pause at every intersection this year.

My mother passed away in February, on the same day my father died 28 years earlier.  I had the opportunity to spend sweet time with her, my sister and two brothers during her Hospice stay. It was the first time in probably thirty years all four were able to break bread together for every meal. Her end of life journey taught me so much about the process, her and how we hold sorrow and peace in our hands at the same time. There were times during those 11 days I joined a conference call or hosted a webinar from an empty room next to my mother’s. The nurses posted a “Do Not Disturb” note on the door for me. Thank goodness for a good mic and secure Wifi connection.

In March, my mother-in-law came to live with us. In November, we celebrated her 100th birthday and the short-term memory loss withstanding, she goes strong every day. What’s it like to have your mother-in-law move in with you? What’s it like to live with someone who is 100?

Truthfully? There are no words. Adapting and living with others is no easy feat on the best of days. Helping someone who is still fiercely fighting for independence and speaks from a filter-free zone is hard. At the same time, I applaud and respect her wide-ranging appetite to engage, read, learn and process a world that is changing at rapid fire all around her.

Explaining how her Facebook friends post on a wall and aren’t talking directly to her is a bit confusing. Succumbing to a landline and a princess phone after 15 years of cell phones only made sense after we realized that the number of steps to make a call from an iPhone was far too many for her to remember, even when they were written down. Have you counted them? It’s crazy. Swipe or push button, enter passcode, push green phone button, enter phone number, press green button again, talk, push red button to end the call. Not even sure I wrote them all down. I do this at least 20 or 30 times a day. Hmmm.

At the end of May, literally minutes after celebrating our daughter Sydney’s engagement announcement, our beloved Golden Retriever, Lucy, died quietly as we thanked her for being a great family dog, Intero’s Director of Security and the only dog on planet Earth who could (if it was at all possible) teach LinkedIn. Lucy and I, over the course of 12 years, probably walked more than 11,000 miles together. For more than a decade, she helped me process my life during those walks. And for all those years, I thought I was doing her a favor. While I didn’t set an intention, these walks were more meditation than anything and often were the only way to quiet my brain.

To ensure this post doesn’t sound bleak or woe is me, let me share some of the great moments: Watching Erin discover the joys of motherhood, the joy of seeing Sydney and Jim take the big leap (although Jim had to pause their trip and the big question because of my mother’s funeral), the excitement when our middle daughter, Meredith, committed to pursue her fitness passion and relief and gratitude when Liza, our youngest, traveled solo (days after a terrorist attack in London) and studied at Oxford University this past summer. Charlotte, our newest team member joined us in August and immediately contributed with great energy, insight and some memorable one-liners that keep us laughing.

Each of these life events caused a pause. Each event created negative space that held something I needed to wrestle with and gain insight on. The meaning in the negative space carried me through the many long days of this year.

  • I learned to let go. I learned that my team, Erin, Sydney, Mollie and toward the end of the year, Charlotte would do so many things so much better than I could. They were the rocks this year. And, they were the stars too.
  • I learned that FOMO (fear of missing out) is a deadly sin and should never be the grounds for making a decision. Instead, I’ve begun to apply a decision-making process to all significant decisions, professionally and personally. Always, always follow your intuition. Trust yourself before you trust the unknown.
  • I learned that reframing is refreshing and reinvigorating. It’s the negative space playing out, I think. It’s easier to see something well when it’s not crowded with other things or people. It’s hard to fully see one person in a crowd. See that person in an empty room, and you can see all of them, the nuances of how they stand, their nonverbal, the shape of their face, etc. For me, it became easier to see where we, at Intero, could go and how we can best serve our clients and lay claim to who we want to be. We are just getting started.

I’ve joined a MasterClass for Women Entrepreneurs. A former client/CEO is serving as an advisor. Our team, each having experienced significant life events this year too, including a new baby, engagement, graduating from college, continue to pursue their talents and skills within their personal frameworks. It’s good to watch.

The point of this post? I love the exercise of having a defining word, seeing how it plays out and realizing how each event and so many conversations have provided significance this year, personally and professionally. Additionally, we helped our clients generate more than $3.5 million in lifetime value, based on the feedback we’ve received. We certainly haven’t heard from everyone whose profile Erin worked on, job search we inspired, connection that resulted in a good hire, a new business opportunity and relevant introduction, however, we are confident that when our process and best practices are applied, results occur.

Every profile, coaching session, training workshop and LinkedIn Outreach campaign rolled out with a spirit of serving every client and their best interests. Every day gives us an opportunity to do that again and again.

Geoff, my husband always reminds me, “Don’t forget to thank people for listening.”

Thank you for listening, learning, referring and sharing with us.