Buying a Laptop

Old dirty keyboardIt is true that consumers vote with their pocketbooks. Over the last few weeks, this has been very evident in my family. We are far from early adopters. We’re “use it until it falls apart” kind of people. As a result, until recently, my daughter and I had been using Dell laptops that had seen better days. Both of us were dreading buying a laptop.

First of all, we were very disappointed with the poor quality of both Dell laptops. Both of them (less than 3 years old) had suffered long and agonizing deaths that began with power supply issues and ended with missing keys. My husband had replaced a number of pieces. We accepted that our laptops would soon be moving on to a toxic waste disposal facility, where they’d spend their final days living on the electronics equivalent of a farm in upstate New York.

We were officially in the market for new laptops. The reviews on Windows 8 were terrible. My friends who had Windows 8 hated it. Most of the reviews contained the words “confusing” and “frustrating.” That didn’t make me excited to learn a new operating system.

I wanted a non-Dell laptop with Windows 7. I had one choice – HP. My daughter decided that, since she was also not keen on Windows 8, she’d switch over to the Apple camp and bought a Macbook Air.

Granted, we are just one family in New York. I’m guessing that the folks at Dell and Microsoft don’t much care what we think. But we are proof that “the market” is made up of individuals who make informed buying choices and aren’t willing to buy stuff that doesn’t meet our needs. I think that’s a lesson that all companies — big or small — can learn from.

Today, blog about a challenging purchase or decision.


Overcoming Perfectionism

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I love the line from Mary Poppins where she describes herself as “practically perfect in every way.” It’s a standard that many of us aspire to (including myself and most of the people I coach).

The problem is that none of us are perfect. Overcoming perfectionism means taking action, even when we know the results will be less than stellar. It also means having realistic expectations for ourselves and our loved ones.

Yesterday I was watching a TV show in which the couple had some serious marital problems. The wife was carrying the load of their relationship and the husband was slacking off. In the end, she decided that she loved him as he was. And that their marriage was “perfectly imperfect.”

I had never heard that expression before, but it is a great way to recognize our limitations. Life would be pretty boring if we were all perfect (whatever that is) and each person was the same. I think that, if we’re going to be judging the people around us, “perfectly imperfect” is a much nicer label than most others we choose.

Today, blog about a part of your life where you’ve overcome perfectionism. Or share how you accepted a situation as perfectly imperfect?

My family won’t let me adopt a dog

I had this illusion that, when I grew up and had a family of my own, I would be in charge. My kids would line up like little soldiers and happily take orders. And my husband would be excited to make every one one of my wishes come true.

It didn’t work that way. My children (now young adults of 17 and 19) and my husband are all very independent and vocal in their opinions. I don’t think any of them have ever agreed with me, about anything, without a heated discussion.

That’s exactly what happened on Monday night. My dear little dachshund, Bella, has now been gone for more than three months and I miss her terribly. I want to adopt another dog. Sure, we have two other dachshunds, but they’re not Bella and they don’t snuggle next to me on the couch. Like my kids, they do not look at me with adoration and think I’m the center of their universe. (That role belongs to whoever is feeding them.)

I saw a dog posted on the Dachshund Rescue of North America  website and fell in love with her. She was tiny, had some challenges, and reminded me of Bella. She stole my heart. I really, really wanted to adopt that dog.

Not so with the rest of the family. They felt two dogs was enough. (It is.) And that we really shouldn’t adopt another dachshund, which is a breed prone to problems. (We have the medical bills to prove it.) And that wanting to replace a departed dog with a similar looking animal is creepy. (No it’s not.)

With no buy-in from the rest of the family, I had to say no. I’m hoping that a wonderful family will adopt her soon and I can let go of the feeling that she’s waiting for me. So if any of you are looking to support an awesome organization or to welcome a canine companion into your home … please check them out. Hopefully your family will be more agreeable than mine.

Today, blog about something you wanted to do and why you didn’t do it.


Are painfully high heels required for success?

Womens shoes heelsI spent the weekend at a business conference in New York City. All of the speakers were wonderful, polished and humorous. The women were also wearing very high heels. And it made me wonder if ankle-breaking stilettos were a part of success that I’d overlooked.

I don’t wear high heels for three reasons. First of all, I had ankle surgery about 15 years ago and my left ankle is too unstable. Secondly, I’m six feet tall, so I don’t need to be any farther above most people’s line of vision. Finally, I’m just not willing to wear uncomfortable shoes. (I think the fashion-trumps-comfort idea went away before I turned thirty.)

But the experience made me wonder about my speaking career. Is it possible that I’d be more successful if I was willing to wear higher heels?

I’m mostly kidding. But there are often “high heel” equivalents that we blame for holding us back. This might be the lack of a dedicated home office, the need to upgrade our computer, or a lack of formal training in our field. However the real truth is that it’s not the shoes or the training — it’s the story we tell ourselves.

Today, blog about something that you think is holding you back.