Due Date.

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August 16th – the day that I’ve been waiting for since December 13, 2016. Today is the day that I get to meet the person that I’ve thought about every moment of every single day for the past nine months. Today… is my due date!

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m pregnant and due any day now with who I know is going to be the most perfect little boy. Since I’m writing this post on July 6th, it’s quite possible that I’ve already met him. Maybe I’m at the hospital right now… who knows! What I do know, though, is that right now I’m more anxious and nervous and excited than I’ve ever been, all while being the happiest I’ve ever been.

Everyone has a bucket list, right? I have some of the typical items on my list like sky diving, travelling, getting married, buying a house, getting to the point of being debt-free, learning to play guitar etc., but my number one has always been to be a mom. Being a mom to me is the ultimate dream. The idea of doing laundry all hours of the day, having my normal day-to-day outfit be jogging pants with an oversized t-shirt and a messy bun, not sleeping for more than two hours through the night, taking 30 minutes to grab a bag of milk from the corner store as opposed to the 5 minutes it takes now… all of these things are, in my mind, what make up the perfect life.

I know I sound crazy. I’ve been told multiple times in the past few months. It doesn’t make any sense to some people that I’m ready to completely dedicate my life at the age of 24 to caring for and unconditionally loving this tiny piece of me and my other half for the next eighteen+ years. I’m also more than ready to give up the “me, myself and I” life that I’ve been living over the past year. Until recently I lived alone, I slept alone, I went shopping alone, and I LOVED being alone. But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I was ready to give it all up and start this new chapter of my life. Sure I was scared at first. Who wouldn’t be? I had a million and one thoughts running through my head when I first saw the little ‘+ 2-3 weeks’ sign on the test stick:

How am I going to do this? What will my friends and family think when I tell them? How am I going to tell them? What about work? Who will take care of my customers? Will there be an opportunity for me to return when my maternity leave is up?

There were SO MANY QUESTIONS that I was asking myself in the beginning that now seem so silly because in the end, those aren’t the things that matter. What matters is I’m healthy, the baby is healthy, my relationship with my boyfriend is healthy, and we are happy and ready to embrace this change and grow and learn and make mistakes together.

As I’m sure you’ve already figured out, this will be my last blog post for a while. Instead of drafting emails, making cold calls and attending conferences, my new focus is going to be changing diapers, keeping a clean house, catching up on sleep whenever I’m able to, and doing the best that I can to make my relationship with my boyfriend a priority even when it seems impossible. With that being said, I’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s taken the time to read my posts over the past two years!

In closing, I’d like to share a quote that I came across on Facebook a few days after I found out I was expecting. It struck a chord with me and has since become one of my favourites. It helped me realize that despite what anyone says about us being ‘too young’ or not being prepared or not realizing the shock that we’re in for, everything will be okay and turn out the way that it was always meant to:

“Being a young parent means we met a little early, but it also means I get to love you a little longer. Some people said their lives ended when they had children, but I know my life is just beginning. You didn’t take away my future; you gave me a new one.”

Tessa-NEW

Making the Switch 

It’s been a few months now, but I recently shifted gears in my career. In April 2017, I decided to leave my job of four years. It might not seem like a massive deal to most, but this had been my first taste of working full-time after university. In 2013, I began my career as a Communications Specialist FedNor intern at NORCAT. I was an eager university graduate who thought I could take on the world. I quickly jumped into a newly created role, and started molding the job. Not only was I an intern, I was in a brand new role; at first this seemed daunting, but only afterwards I realized how rewarding this would be. I was twenty-one, had just moved back in with my parents, and had to start putting my pricey paper to work. That first year had taught me more than anything I had learned in university.

Fast forward a few years… During my time at NORCAT, I had always felt a sense of pride in my work. I had successfully implemented several inaugural programs, had grown social presence, and had organized more events than I can remember. However, a mentor once told me that “all progress takes place outside the comfort zone”.  Sure, I absolutely loved my job… over the course of four years, I had built invaluable relationships, lasting friendships, and hit personal milestones, but as my mentors told me, “Don’t be too comfortable. You’re only 25”, I knew it was time.

For a few months it had truly been bittersweet. I had been a summer student, an intern, and full-time employee with NORCAT. I had friendships, clients, and projects that were very close to me, but I knew that if I was going to make a change, it had to be now. During my time at NORCAT, I had been exposed to so many entrepreneurs making that same decision, which I realize now, only motivated me to follow suit. Of course it’s a major decision; it’s hard to leave something you’re so familiar / comfortable with, but opportunities to expand your career don’t present themselves every day. I’m thankful for my time at NORCAT; the experience truly shaped my career, and gave me opportunities I probably wouldn’t have elsewhere. Although, my new journey is still getting started, I’m still that eager university student at heart.

HAILEY-1
Hailey Short, Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Greater Sudbury Airport

Husband of a She-E-Oh

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First of all, I don’t exactly have the ability of writing wonderful blogs like my wife and her colleagues do on a regular basis, so please bear with me on this one. Second, this is my first ever blog post and I have to say, it’s not exactly an ideal way to spend my long weekend. But okay, seriously, I’ve never religiously followed blog postings by anyone other than my wife. I have read a couple of the other blog postings that were very nicely written by her co-workers at Plan A and StaffStat, and I must say I do enjoy some of the topics they discuss week to week. These women really know how to get their ideas across to the reader and I applaud that. Great work ladies.

Now getting back on topic… Now that I’ve humbled myself and promised to write a wonderful blog about being the husband of a she-e-oh, here’s my story.

There are times where I think that what makes someone so committed to their work or so committed to what they’re doing is that they’ve had to put certain things on hold. They might be on hold just for a moment or maybe for a while, just to make sure that they are on the right path or to make sure everything is how it’s supposed to be. It’s only one in a million… okay maybe that’s a tad exaggerated. One in a thousand… ok that’s too little… Once in a while you get a person who is so dedicated to their job because they actually love what they do.

Every morning and every afternoon I try and stay in tune with what Mel is going through at that moment. After being with her so long, I get these “hunches” and I can tell how she might be feeling. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the day starts with a “looking forward to the day” kind of feeling. We talk about regular stuff, give each other a hug and a kiss and be on our way. This usually takes place after the excruciating task of getting our teenage boys up and making sure they don’t miss the bus. Somedays this is an absolute nightmare, as we are also tired and don’t really feel like dealing with it at the moment. The other one percent are the days where she worries about things; things about the company and what the next steps are. This is where I become “Curtis the Criticizer”. I’ll purposely ask the tough questions to try and get her going. Good thing this woman loves me because if I were a stranger I think she would boot me out the door. But this usually becomes an understanding, a “mutual respect” type of thing, where she has very legitimate answers for my unnecessary questions. Her knowledge and ability to answer my unnecessary questions never ceases to impress me.

The afternoons or after-work periods are not necessarily times to relax or unwind. As most of you know, she also has this band thing happening and she does photography with her sister too, both of which she excels at. In saying that, I truly believe that whatever she puts her mind to, she pours everything she can into it to make it the best it can be.

This now brings me to the time we have together. It’s precious. It’s what I look forward to, week in and week out. As a shift worker my schedule doesn’t help the situation. It’s hard to get quality time together, but we find time, and the time we do have, just her and I, is wonderful. We have meaningful conversations, we prod into each other’s lives, and we want to know what’s been going on with one another. Still after all this time together, we’re getting to know each other and I’m good with that. Our lives have purpose and our lives mean something to one another. Our days always seems to end with a smile or a chuckle and that’s perfect to me.

I have composed a list of 5 tips for other husbands of busy wives and they go like this:

  1. Support her every move. I cannot stress this enough. It’s important to let her know you’ve got her back no matter what the situation is.
  2. If she loves what she is doing and spends a lot of her time doing it, you should love what she does too. This enhances what you’re doing in the tip #1, and it also keeps things positive and confirms for her that she is doing the right thing.
  3. Find time to have “dates”; date night, date day, date-whatevers. This is the necessary break you both need to unwind, take work off the table and have meaningful conversation. I personally always look forward to the next one.
  4. Do your part around the house – sometimes even take on extra. As a husband of a she-e-oh, I sometimes have to do more around the house because of her busy schedule. This doesn’t bother me, it is what it is. The last thing she has on her mind after a hectic day is to come home and do chores. As a shift worker I have days off during the week, so this is where I try and catch up on the extras.
  5. Enjoy life, period. Try not to let work rule the household conversation. When you walk in the door, close the books and pay attention to each other. Sometimes a humorous story will pop up in your head about something that happened at work and that’s fine, but keep it like that. Nobody wants to hear how “Bob” screwed up at work and made everyone angry. Who really cares about those things anyways? Keep conversation about work upbeat and funny and leave the negative stories in the dark.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your day. May your fellow employees treat you well and may your employment be meaningful. You have one life to live, so live it to its fullest! This world is beautiful and there are people in it that make it wonderful, and the main one for me is the one I married.

 

One Year Work-iversary


AHHH, time flies. Last week LinkedIn notified me with a congratulatory message that it was my one-year work anniversary with StaffStat. I thought “wow, it has been a year!?” This past year has flown by and I thought it was appropriate to reflect on the happenings of this past year.

A little over a year ago, I was asked to transition from our sister company, Plan A Long Term CAre Staffing & Recruitment, to StaffStat. The position I was asked to fill was in sales; I had no sales experience at all but one thing I knew for certain was the product. StaffStat was and still is the tool and the secret sauce at Plan A; the advantage that keeps this health care staffing agency ahead of the curve. Coming from my experience with Plan A, I knew and understood the pain-point and inefficiencies of calling down lists of staff when there is a shift to fill. I knew that other organizations HAD to lay their eyes on this product and that they would easily recognize the value and want the same ‘lean’ efficiency. Our main focus is delivering our solution to the health care industry and our sales efforts have been concentrated on long-term care homes, community service sector organizations and hospitals.   

Over the last year I have learned that sales is one of the most difficult tasks I have ever done. It takes a great deal of persistence and patience; which of the two, I really had to learn patience. I have a patient nature but have had to succumb to the realization that I am not my prospects’ or my customers’ number one priority—a tough pill to swallow as my daily work routine is 110% focussed on attracting new customers to our product. I have learned to celebrate even the most minute ‘win’, such that a ‘no’ from a customer may not be a solid ‘no’, instead it may be a ‘not now’, which really is permission to continue practicing patience and persistence.

What have I experienced? I have experienced yet another leap outside of my comfort zone.

I have experienced further growth with the BEST team I have ever worked with. I have experienced mentorship from professionals qualified and knowledgeable in the industry, yet my greatest learning experiences have come directly from my customers and prospects. Through them I have further enhanced my knowledge of their day to day, and the industry they work within. Some have become my “go-to” when I have a question.

What are my plans for the years to come? I plan to keep pushing even when obstacles, objections and rejections may weigh heavy. I plan to maintain my focus and keep my eye on the lofty goals our team diligently sets. I plan to continue to grow my customer base and contribute to the ongoing success of a start-up from the North. The progress we have made to date is quite impressive and I am eager to see what the next year brings for our team!

Cheers!

 

 

A Monthly Ritual

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On the last day of every month, I sit back, look at everything that’s happened over the last 4 weeks and set my sights on what’s ahead. I pick up a pen and write out my goals for the upcoming month. Some are personal, some are professional, the key here is that every line I write is important to me. Whenever there’s anything that I can share that might make a difference for someone’s self-motivation, I’m always game and this blog post is just that; me, sharing a habit that has a positive impact on my life.

The Ritual:

  1. Details matter.

I set monthly goals. Again, this is a personal choice. My projections at work layout my yearly and monthly expectations (that helps me determine what my professional goal will be for the month). As an example, I’ve set a goal to personally add 1,000 users to our platform in the month of July and that’s what’s on the monthly goal list. From there, I break down that goal and specify the ‘who’ and the ‘how’.

  • Who – what customers, specifically, do I plan to bring on? Where am I at with each of those people and what will it take to get them on our platform?
  • How – looking back at the last question above, I take into consideration timing, method and resources and plug away.

In other words, it’s great to list that you want to lose 10 pounds this month but how do you plan to achieve that? Meal plans? Workouts? When will you workout? If you add details and thought to the goal you can guarantee 2 things. First, you care enough about this goal to flesh it out. Second, you’ll have a detailed plan to help you achieve or maybe even exceed your goal.

  1. Include things that matter to you.

Fleshing out a goal and divvying it up across your month as a plan can be done for anything: saving money, losing weight, career advancement and the list goes on. What’s important is that every goal you list has a legitimate reason for taking up space as a monthly goal at all. I list things from date nights with the hubby to which books I plan to read. I think of my career, my family life and my home. I have goals to advance and/or nurture each one of those. While my focus might shift slightly from month to month, I always ensure to only add things that matter to me. When you care about the ultimate outcome, you’re bound to put the energy needed to check those boxes off at the end of the month.

  1. Push yourself.

Most people have heard the term ‘SMART goals’, right? There’s one letter in that acronym that bothers me, the “A” for achievable. Depending on what article you’re reading, it stands for different things but overall, it always comes back to setting goals that you know you can attain. That, to me, is the wrong way to go. If you think you can save $1,000 this month, push yourself to save $1,200. Why even bother to write it down if it’s a safe assumption and achievable? What satisfaction will you gain from checking it off if it was a given anyway? I’m a believer in pushing yourself beyond your limit. Our limits are set by what we allow ourselves to believe. Why not try harder, believe a little bit more and come out ahead?

There you have it—Mel’s goal setting 101.

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Social Media Day

Happy Social Media Day!.pngDid you know that June 30, 2017 is observed as Social Media Day across the globe (and the web)? It’s no doubt that social media has completely changed our lives over the years and has defined how we interact with our friends, family, colleagues and the rest of the world.

The launch of MySpace in 2003 allowed teenagers and college students to connect with each other, post bulletins (think Facebook Statuses, but much, much longer), share their top 8 friends (that changed weekly and was the source of a lot of drama in friend circles), and try their hand at HTML coding to spruce up their profile. Although it is no longer being used for its original purpose, many consider MySpace the beginning of the social media era.

Next came Facebook—the social network founded in a college dorm back in 2004 for the purpose of communicating with other college students and was referred to as http://www.thefacebook.com at the time. Early adopters surely remember the days where virtually “poking” others was all the craze and how the permanent “is” at the beginning of status updates resulted in poor grammar for many. The demographics on this platform shifted and Facebook recently surpassed 2 BILLION USERS! Yes, you read that right—2 BILLION! Gone are the days where individuals used this social network solely for the purpose of creating weekend plans with friends. Businesses and advertisers have recognized the significance of using Facebook as a tool to market their products and services directly to those in their target market—at a cost that typically beats that of traditional marketing. Live videos, news updates, instant messaging, trending topics, pages and groups round out the many reasons why people LOVE Facebook.

Shortly after the launch of Facebook came Twitter, a “microblog”, where users are forced to confine their thoughts to 140 characters or less. Its growing popularity has allowed users to quickly find trending news topics, Tweet along to live television shows, find others at events with a simple hashtag search, show your support for causes, host question & answer periods, conduct polls, and connect with brands. Have a question regarding your new present on Christmas Day at 10 AM? Simply Tweet to the company and you just might receive a response. Breaking news story? Search a relevant hashtag on Twitter and receive the latest updates from various news sources, bystanders/attendees, and opinions from others reflecting on the story. Stuck at work for the Olympic championship hockey game? Luckily for you, other Twitter users can provide us all with play-by-play Tweets so we won’t miss a minute of the action.

The rise of Instagram followed soon after. The popular photo-sharing platform (acquired by Facebook in 2012) boasts approximately 700 million users! The allure of creating and sharing a professional looking photo feed with friends and the rest of the world is what allowed its popularity to soar. Now, users can interact via direct message, live feeds and stories to share glimpses of their lives. Brands can advertise, create communities through hashtags, and even provide customer service to their followers in seconds in a more personalized way.

One of the newer platforms taking the world by storm is Snapchat, an image messaging application that launched 5 short years ago and is already exceeding 165 million active daily users. Something about sending self-destructing images and videos with animal filters on them to friends and family or broadcasting moments in your day just feels right to many. Users can spend a large chunk of time discovering and reading news stories and articles from popular outlets (such as DailyMail, Buzzfeed and Cosmo) and watching video stories from their favourite celebrities, influencers, brands, and events. Perhaps the reason for Snapchat’s growth is the fact that it consistently provides updates to keep things fresh and exciting for its users, while many other networks have yet to embrace this strategy.

Whether you use social platforms because 1- you’re generally curious (or nosey) about the lives of others, 2- you want to learn more about what’s happening in the world, 3 – for entertainment purposes, or 4- because it’s simply your job, we can all agree that social media has shaped the way we communicate, and that’s something that should be celebrated! So on June 30th, 2017, I encourage you all to share what Social Media Day means to you using the hashtag #SocialMediaDay on your favourite platform.

MeganSignature

Rejection Handling – Part 2/2

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Here we go, part two of two.

Today I’m going to discuss one of the most common rejections that we face as sales specialists working with technology: “I’m not interested”.

Talk about a blow to the ego. You’ve taken time out of your day to reach out to this person (and it usually takes more than one attempt to actually get a hold of them!) and offer them a solution that you know would serve them well to consider and they completely blow you off with three simple words, “I’m not interested”. How do you respond? What do you say to come back from it?

To start, do whatever you can to avoid having that rejection thrown in your face at all. Once you have the chance to connect with your prospect, begin the conversation by getting to know them – ask how their week is going so far, ask how they’re enjoying the sunshine, talk about the news article that you read last week about their organization etc. This sets the stage for a ‘conversation’ rather than a ‘sales call’. It will also make you seem more trustworthy if you start the conversation by asking about them and not throwing in their face whatever it is that you have to offer.

Even though you may start the conversation off positively and it may seem as though they are genuinely interested, the “we’re not interested at this time” rejection may still come out. In that case…

Consider their geographical location and their size (number of staff for example) before calling. If you’re able to compare them to another organization that is using your product/service successfully that they may be familiar with, that might be enough to make them rethink their response. If you have a good enough rapport with that organization, you could even consider the idea of requesting to use them as a reference for your prospect if you see enough potential with them. Hearing about the benefits of a product/service from a user has much more of an impact than hearing it from a salesperson!

If you’re bold enough, come out ask the question that everyone wants to ask, “What makes you say that you aren’t interested?” Hopefully their response will answer a few of the following questions: Are they the individual that you should be speaking with? Are they not able to see the value because their position wouldn’t be affected by the implementation of your product/service? Has their budget been used up for this year, meaning that next year would be a better time to connect? Do they not have a need for your product/service because they already use something similar? It may seem bold to ask, but without asking questions you won’t get any answers!

If after that point you’re still receiving pushback, you can’t force anyone to say yes or want to know more about what it is that you have to offer; at some point you have to step back and accept the “no”. I once sat in on a sales seminar where the speaker told us that no only means no in social situations, so keep that in mind. Just because they’re saying no now doesn’t mean that the answer will be no three or six months from now. Set yourself a reminder and try again later on!

Tessa-NEW