New Year Bringing New Lessons from Life

We’re approaching episode 100 of the Making a Marketer podcast (!!), and this season I decided there will be occasional episodes where it’s just me–this is the second one of this kind (check out episode 89 for the other).

Taking what seems like just circumstances and seeing it in a different way! There are so many lessons in everyday life–we need to look for them. The lessons in this one didn’t creep-up on me, y’all – they just about slapped me in the face!

Holiday adventures, lesson from football, and new year / new work are all covered.

Could This Snowed-In Story be a Metaphor for Life Choices?

Have you ever been snowed-in? As someone who grew up in silicon valley, we only had snowPhoto of my car snowed-in in the lower Sierras of Northern CA after Christmas 2021 once in my childhood – and though it was just a dusting, we lost our minds, it was so cool!

I’ve had people tell me they would absolutely love being snowed-in and cut off from the world, a sort of forced tech detox, if you will. But, here’s the thing… without knowing when it will end? 

The day before I was supposed to leave my brother’s house (the day after Christmas) in the lower Sierras of northern California, the snow began to fall. It was so pretty and I was really happy about it! I did not think through how I would drive away from there in my front-wheel-drive Honda Civic, but it had never snowed enough to keep me there in year’s past.

Being without power for a day and a half is also disconcerting. Thankfully, my brother and his wife have a wood burning stove that heats the house (primarily), so we stayed warm!

I found myself being so grateful for my charging brick so we could at least listen to music. I also realized I had downloaded a movie from Netflix and had some shows on my iPad, so we ended up having some entertainment! I read a lot. I colored. I slept well.

My car being hooked up to be towed out of the snow and iceBy the time I was five days into being STUCK, my brother asked if I have AAA?

Aaahhhh, and there it was, my attitude improved – I felt the grumpiness leave my body, and I was able to enjoy our quiet little new years eve (with power, gratefully!) with a renewed sense of hope for getting my car towed out… and home the next day. Now, the getting out process wasn’t easy, but I did it!

Looking back, I’m playing Monday morning quarterback on that six days! I wish I wrote more. I wish I got more introspective. It’s the whole “If I knew then what I know now” kind of thing… But that’s always easier said than done, right? 

Lesson learned: I don’t do well feeling I don’t “have a way out” in any situation, so this was perhaps a metaphor to drive home this point – we should all get out (of whatever it is) earlier than we do. I didn’t want to drive on Sunday because the traffic was going to be nuts. Looking back, I should have spent the extra 2-4 hours driving home on Sunday so I wouldn’t have been stuck for almost 6 days! 

So I think we can do this in our business and personal lives. 

Exiting, saying goodbye — letting go of relationships, letting go of jobs, letting go of clients, whatever it is. Doing that sooner than it might feel comfortable, I think, is almost always going to yield more positive results. I think a lot of people who make change look back and say to themselves, I wish I had done this sooner.

Never. Give. Up. – Not a Cliche, y’all – But a REAL Thing!

I’m a huge sports fan, as many of you have come to realize over the years. Nothing makes me quite as happy as my team winning or as cranky as my team losing. My non-sports-fan-friends, please bear with me on this one–the lesson is life and business-related, I promise!

2019 was a dream year for my football team – the San Francisco 49ers. We started out 8-0,Photo of me and my sister Maureen after the 2019 Divisional Round win over the Vikings clinched home field advantage in the playoffs early, and it was so insanely exciting because they had been terrible the previous five years. This was our year! Of course, it ended with a Super Bowl loss to my co-host Jen’s Kansas City Chiefs, which was soul-crushing, but that season was such an amazing ride.

2020 was full of “you know what” and a TON of injuries. We were terrible, which got us a high draft pick for 2021. What came with that was all sorts of quarterback controversy this year.

Think whatever you like about Jimmy Garoppolo’s abilities as a quarterback, but he has led this team on and off the field with so much grace. A rookie quarterback came in and cast a shadow in a way, but it also lit up a competition the fans took to crazy levels. Jimmy never let all the noise seep in and destroy his ability to lead his team. They believe in him 100% because of his leadership.

Coming back the last week of the season from being down 17-0 to the LA Rams (winners of theMe in front of Levi's stadium with a Playoffs towel during the NFL Playoffs in 2019 NFC West division) and winning 27-24 in overtime is epic! It really was the last 2-minutes that were so extraordinary. A monster drive that ended with a touchdown to tie the game made overtime — and a chance to win, sending us to the playoffs — a reality. 

The pastor of the church I grew up in had a saying “Never give up” (I realize it did not originate with him, but that’s where I learned it). Sounds simple, but it is aPhoto of my church with the words "Never Give Up" on the outside of it challenge in the face of adversity (he also had it put on the building, as pictured to the right!).

No question, every human on this planet has been through plenty of adversity over the past couple of years.

If we’re able to keep our eye on what we’re working towards, the key is to stay at it. If I had given up on my business when my biggest client decided to shut down his business, I would not have had all of the great experiences and new relationships built over the past four years. Simply put, it hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t be where I am right now, which is exactly where I’m meant to be.

Lesson here: Keep your eye on the prize and keep a never give up attitude because doors will open that you did not expect. If you give up, you don’t know what could have been.

Quick Starts Are Deceiving (aka, good things come to those who wait)

That’s actually an awesome segue to my third and final lesson for this episode.

“It takes courage to begin. It also takes courage to end.”

-Mark W. Schaefer

In the last quarter of ‘21 when people told me “it looks like everything is going great for you,” I thanked them. And then I went on to explain to them “I’m a duck.” I wasn’t a duck because the water rolls off my back, but because on the surface things look cool – like I’m guiding across the water easily… but you know what’s happening under water, right? 

What you can’t see is all the kicking to keep moving and find my way to what is next. 

I spent the better part of 2021 – especially the last six months – searching in earnest for a new full-time professional “home.” 

While also knowing podcasting is something I wanted to lean-into further, I was in search for other opportunities there also.

TSNN's "Trade Show Talk" podcast logoAs I shared on the last episode, I’ve found a new professional home at Event Marketing Partners! This month it was also announced I am the host of Trade Show News Network’s new podcast, called “Trade Show Talk.” That show will also have two episodes per month, focusing on a different theme each month. We started out talking about Community and every person listening to this will benefit from the wisdom of the first two guests.

Did I mention I’m also hosting trivia weekly at a neighborhood bar/restaurant? I am.

All of this news caused someone on my Facebook page to comment “Congrats on a fast start to 2022!” to which I replied, “ ‘Fast start’ after many many months of working hard to make everything happen!!”

This brought to mind famous people I’ve heard commenting about people saying they are an “overnight sensation” – when it took them years of hard work to “get” that break!

Final lesson: Oftentimes it looks like things are just happening / coming together for people, but know that it’s extremely unlikely it happened overnight!

What’s Next for Making a Marketer?

Jen and I recorded episode 100 on Jan. 14th to accommodate our VERY amazing guest’s schedule and we can’t wait to share it with you (it will be published on Feb. 23)!! We’re keeping the person under wraps at the moment, but we will be dropping some hints in the lead-up to see if we can get any accurate guesses! 

Next up is Chad Illa-Peterson and we will talk storytelling – he’s going to help us learn how to discover our stories and the emotions that connect us with customers…

Do you have any examples of things you learned like I did over the last few weeks?

Here’s this podcast episode if you want to hear me talk everything in this post!

Business Lessons Pulled from Life

In 88 episodes of the Making a Marketer podcast I had never done a show with just me! I have been toying with the idea of creating a brief third episode each month that’s just me sharing what I learned that week, so perhaps this is a “toe dip” into that — I’ll see the feedback I get and maybe this will become a regular thing.

If you’d like to listen to it, this is it… and this is the transcript.Promo image for the Making a Marketer podcast with guest Megan Powers

As I entered into my recent BIG birthday week, it hit me that it’d be fun to have my friends and family share things they have learned from me throughout life that can be applied to business. Well, among the merriment, not thinking about work, and all the activities we had planned… that never happened.

SO! I thought I’d share things I learned throughout the week from these friends, family, and experiences that aren’t just business related, but SELF-CARE and personal-related. 

You get out of relationships what you put into them

I had three friends fly in who I have known since kindergarten and 5th and 6th grade. We don’t see each other super frequently, but these friendships have been nurtured over the years. You don’t still have friends for that many years by accident, though, right? It takes work! We do pick back up right where we left off because we have so much history, but we have been making an effort over the years to stay connected. I know I can count on these people for anything I need. One of my newer friends said that’s a testament to me as a person, but EVERY relationship takes 2!Four childhood friends celebrating a BIG birthday year

I fully believe this is the same thing in business. Relationships we build with co-workers, colleagues, and clients are worth continuing to nurture, regardless of whether they have something FOR you. There is a huge chance you all will be able to help each other in the near or distant future, Especially given the environment we’ve been in for the last 18 months through this pandemic where we aren’t having those in-office conversations like we used to, right?

Reach out to a couple of former bosses or colleagues, and set up a coffee or drink meetup — even if it’s over a video call! I feel super fulfilled every time I do — and we both get ideas for how we can help each other.

Having a plan is crucial, and being flexible about everything not going just as you planned is equally important

As I set out to celebrate this milestone birthday I wanted it to be a big deal. I’ve traveled to New Orleans, Vegas, Mexico, and Catalina for significant birthdays of friends, so I wanted mine to be a trip too. The MAIN reason for that was to get people to commit–to really commit to spending some quality time with me and our other friends. Combine still being in a pandemic with having some friends in education, this wasn’t the ideal time to have everyone travel.

I had the idea to have it be local — to get a beach house here in San Diego — and I sent out a preliminary survey to get the pulse… and no one was anti-SD (surprise!). I figured those staying at the house would go to everything and all the other events would not be over-crowded, so I’d have a chance to get QT with everyone. This didn’t go exactly as planned, however. There were some no-shows, surprise appearances, quick visits, some wrong directions taken (on me!), and we rolled with it.

The best laid plans as we plan events or do anything in business are just that – plans. It’s important to be flexible and understand (as hard as it might be in the moment) everything will work out as it should! You might not get the client you want, or as big a deal as you want, or as many participants as you want, but ultimately there will be a lesson at the end. When I worked in AV production I had several events in-a-row where there were failings of equipment or people that were totally out of my control. It was the most stressful time in my career.

Ultimately, my team pulled off what I felt was a really clean event. When I handed the recordings to my client at the party and asked her how she felt… she blamed us for some failings on her part. This “I just can’t win” moment is ultimately what pushed me toward a different career path. BOTTOM LINE: If something isn’t working for you? Make a change. I was over feeling that way and complaining about it, so I took immediate action and made a change.

Paddling against a strong current is hard, but worth the payoff
Megan on a Stand Up Paddleboard in Pacific Beach, CA

This house on the bayside in Pacific Beach had stand up paddle boards we could use and I had never done it, so I was super excited! One of my friends went first and she went far, really fast… And it took her a long time — and what looked like a circuitous route — to get back to where we were on shore. I was a little worried about trying to stand up the first time, so I started on my knees. I also started to turn around what felt like very quickly because it looked like it would be difficult.

A few days later I started out standing — had a better paddle — and a plan to stay close to shore. I didn’t fall and all was going according to plan until the current I was going against got stronger and stronger. I felt like I wasn’t moving there for a little while, despite how hard I was working!

It hit me this is a metaphor for my current professional journey. Sometimes it’s easy going and the wind is against our backs. And sometimes it feels like we aren’t moving forward or making any progress at all. The key is to not give up, but to keep paddling, no matter how hard it is. I was close enough to shore that I could have given up and walked the rest of the way, but I didn’t — I talked to some guys on shore who encouraged me! If you feel stuck or like you can’t move forward, talk to someone. Whether it’s a friend or a trusted colleague, or even a coach… someone else can help you through the rough spots and get you to shore.

We can all see business lessons that come from our everyday lives… Do you have any you’d like to share? I’d love it hear it!

I’d love to hear what you thought about this episode! I’m glad I was able to do it for this show.

Relationships Matter – An Open Thank You Letter

I’m not alone in calling Jessika Phillips a soul sister, but my (core) reason might be a bit different Photo of Megan Powers and Jessika Phillips at SMMW19 from others. It’s a little unorthodox to write a thank you letter openly as a blog post, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought there are some killer lessons to be learned from this gratitude.

So, here we go!

Jessika, I’m pretty sure I saw you speak before (I knew) we had mutual friends. Your talk was about relationship marketing and I had to be there to see if your viewpoint was in line with mine. I used to be in sales in the event space — first in a venue and then in audio visual production. I happened upon sales by accident, but I was pretty good at it. One thing I never did, though, was cold call or what I like to call “dialing for dollars.” 

See, I learned early on that I could attend industry conferences and networking events, and meet people who could become customers. I was strategic in which events I went to and with whom I (intentionally) spoke, but I never overtly sold to them. I established a relationship – they would learn what I do – and one day we might get an opportunity to work together (I built a $2.5 million book of business this way, btw).


Of course they matter because that’s how you build trust. A highly respected consultant in the AV space said once that people who claim they are “relationship sales people” are kidding themselves (I’m paraphrasing). Now, of course there was more dimension to the discussion, but I’ll never forget reading that and thinking – nah, not if you do it right.

THANK YOU, Jessika, for articulating the C.A.R.E. approach: “Capture Attention, Articulate Message, Relationships (for repeat and referral business), and Exceptional Experience” in your talks.

I was delighted to hear this was recognized as “a real thing” in marketing also, as I had seen it work for me first-hand in sales.

RETURN on Relationships

About 11 years ago I read a book called It’s Not Just Who You Know by Tommy Spaulding. He talks about “relationship economics” or “relationship capital.” There are many levels to this (too much to get into in a thank you note!), but at the heart of it is what you teach, Jessika. One quote from his book highlights it well: “…it’s never been more important to figure out how an organization can give more than lip service to the idea of building a culture that values authentic relationships, because relationships have become the currency of the modern economy.” 

I know I’ve heard you say a version of this, and it’s remarkable how you not only walk the walk yourself, but you have built a culture in your company NOW Marketing Group where everyone is on board with this concept. And as an event professional myself, I was beyond impressed earlier this month to see how you built this concept and feeling into your conference, Social Media Week Lima (SMWL).

Your company, your event, your personal brand — they have all expanded because of who you are. Because you not only live in authenticity, empathy, curiosity, and gratitude, but you make those around you want to live in these too.

THANK YOU for proving that relationships matter, but also that we need to nurture them.


The Memory Jog slide from Chad Illa-Peterson's talk at SMWL21As Chad Illa-Peterson gave his talk at #SMWL21 on how we all have stories within us, he shared that our stories are our unique selling proposition. He provided some exercises we can do to work our creative storytelling muscles. After one of the exercises he shared I found myself thinking about how, exactly, I ended up in that event center in Lima, Ohio.

In brief (succinctly going back ~9 years)…

    • I worked for a non-profit where I needed to learn more about social media
    • I joined the San Diego Social Media Club 
    • The club had an event at a restaurant owned by a group I had worked for
    • I approached them and won the business (managed their marketing for 6.5 years)
    • Club members talked about an event – Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) in ’13
    • I attended SMMW14 where I made a ton of friends I still have today
    • I met Phil Mershon (SME’s SMMW Director of Events) in ’15 at the Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) Summit, and shared I had attended his event for the past two years
    • I got to know Phil and helped him with his audio visual production selection for the following year
    • I volunteered on the SMMW Community team, working under Jen Cole in ’17, and a wonderful friendship was formed
    • Jen and I started a marketing podcast with our friend Elizabeth in August of ’17
    • Jessika Phillips was referred to have on the podcast–and our relationship started
    • I got to know Jessika and this extended group of amazing friends over the years
    • Jessika hosted a networking event she invited me to at SMMW
    • I kept hearing about what a great experience SMWL was, but wouldn’t make 2020
    • 2020 happened and #SMWL20 did not
    • Jessika hosted me at #SMWL21
    • I made a handful of new contacts & friends – new relationships… What’s next?


Margo, Ali, and Megan holding Mark Schaefer's Cumulative Advantage booksAnother cool thing that happened at SMWL — Chad gifted me a signed copy of Mark Schaefer’s new book Cumulative Advantage. As I read this book, I can’t help but think it’s these relationships I’ve built over time that are cumulative. Those relationships I built while in sales? They are exactly what led to the success of my own business for almost eight years now! “Success is a collision of events” is one section of the book (in chapter two). I was able to build and maintain a successful business because almost all of my clients came by referral from this accumulation of relationships.

Of course, I wasn’t thinking about it in this exact way at the time, but I built relationships and did good work… Looking back, Mark has also made me realize I took specific actions to “sway serendipitous fate” in my favor. I intentionally built relationships, hoping they would bring me business in the short term, while knowing it was about more than that (even back then).

THANK YOU for bringing this incredible group of people together.

EVENTS In Person – They Hit Different

I nurtured existing friendships. I have a dozen new friends. I have several new podcast guests. And I have some potential for new business relationships. This happened because you brought us together and you enabled me to be there! 

Jennifer Watson on stage at SMWL21Jessika, you also put together a rockstar speaker lineup. I didn’t leave with a long list of tactics to put into place, but almost every speaker got me thinking — truly thinking — about how to move forward on goals I’m setting for myself.

Relationships are only as good as the work we put into them — we have to nurture them. Environments that meetings and events afford us provide the framework, but it’s the people who Chad Illa-Peterson on stage teaching about storytellingtruly make experiences memorable.

THANK YOU for all you do to teach about relationship marketing and for what you do to bring people together. I look forward to speaking with you and Mike Gingerich LIVE on Magnet Marketers on September 28th to explore exactly how events bring us together, and enable us to establish and nurture relationships.

I think this quote by Priya Parker from her book The Art of Gathering puts your event perfectly:
“A gathering run on generous authority is run with a strong, confident hand, but it is run selflessly, for the sake of others.” 


P.S. For those of you who are reading this (who aren’t Jessika)…

If you aren’t yet convinced relationships have a HUGE role in our marketing (nee, business), then you should sign up for this cool relationship marketing managers thing she has going.

Are You Experiencing Inspiration Frustration Like Me?

Finding inspiration is a fickle thing. This fickle pickle must be figured out.

I feel like I used to be inspired to write MUCH more than I am these days. I’d have a fleeting thought and it would hit me — I should write about that! I think it’s partly because I’m not traveling as much. For some reason I do some of my best writing when I’m flying!

So, as I write this, I’m sitting at the bar of a local brew-pub just before 5pm. On my laptop. I had a business meeting here for lunch and brought my laptop, as I thought the change of scenery might do me some good.

That darned Marie Kondo has me all sorts of distracted in my home office these days!! #sparkjoy

Other than the woman next to me who needs to be introduced to her inside voice, I’m strangely motivated. I simply popped in my earbuds once she got going, and I’m focusing better than I was at home.

Why is this!?! There’s got to be some sort of neuro reason for it, right?

A simple change of scenery might be all it takes to take your thoughts to a whole other place. I have a HUGE list of things I need to get done for my own business and my clients. At home I also didn’t feel quite the sense of urgency I’m feeling now.

I told this prospect at lunch today that I’m a writer at my core. Writing is my superpower… in addition to parallel parking, of course. And I really need to get going again!

To get inspiration to write I’m hereby pledging to do the following things on the regular:

  • Get out of my home office more often.
  • Write quick notes when things hit me (no novel needs to be written on a fleeting thought).
  • Take at least 10-15-minutes per day for some quiet time–getting off my computer and into only my HEAD should spark some stuff.
  • READ MORE–good writers are good readers, and I tend to turn the TV on much too frequently. #damnnetflix

What about you? What inspires you? Of course, it doesn’t have to be about writing… have you also gotten into an un-inspired funk you need to snap out of? I’d love your tips!

Here’s to being 1/12th into the year and getting at it.

Goal-Setting & Forward-Looking = KEYS to Success

Are you a goal setter? Of course, closing one year and embarking on another is always a time to reflect and goal set (notice it’s “goals” and not resolutions?). Here I’m putting a focus on five KEY things that will make professionals (those in events and beyond) more productive in the new year.

Sometimes we can also use a little boost to get our goal-setting kicked into gear.

5 Steps to Productivity

1) Keep self-care at the top of your list of priorities.

One of the reasons event professionals tend to be so stressed is because we’re traveling so much. Being a road warrior takes its toll, so it’s important we remember to make our own self-care a priority! Eating well while traveling can really be difficult, but here’s an article for busy event professionals that will help you make some better choices. Using your hotel’s gym seems impossible, but setting an achievable goal of getting in there for just 20-30 minutes every other day (of course, daily if you can!) will make a huge difference in how you feel (and sleep). These things are a bit easier when we’re home, but keeping them in mind on a regular basis will help make this self-care a HABIT.

2) Make at least one new professional contact per week.

We all receive regular LinkedIn invites from people we may or may not know. But are you a passive networker? What if you took the time to explore LinkedIn — and maybe even Twitter (#EventProfs) — in search of professionals you could be connected to? It will make you literally more connected within our community, and will also expand the resources available to you on both the planner and supplier sides of the business. We can learn from both sides, and having contacts provides us with resources when we need them! When I plan events finding vendors whom I can trust is a challenge. Having planner friends who can refer vendors to me is important, but it’s also important to keep a running list for when those opportunities present themselves (currently wishing I had kept my rental company contacts from “back when” as I wrote this).

3) Have your organization’s end-goals in mind, but also focus on your own personal professional goals.

When we work for a corporation or association it’s normal to focus on what the organization’s goals are, in addition to the goals that might have been set for us in our annual reviews. The best advice I’ve received is from friends who are life or business coaches, or have had their own business for a while: it’s key to also focus on our own personal goals. What is the average lifespan of a job these days? Fewer than five-years, depending on your age, is typical. That means your own personal professional goals should stay just as important to you as your organizations. We’ve all reached that point professionally when we’re ready to move on, but then we feel stuck… setting goals and priorities for yourself can help keep you focused and prepared for when it’s time for a change. It turns out having a “sense of purpose” also leads to getting better sleep, so this could help you there also.

4) Read at least one industry article per week that will enhance the work you’re doing.

We see the “top influencer” lists, “top 40 under 40,” etc. that come out each year. What these folks have in common is this: they share great content. Some of them are also writing/contributing great content with the industry, but mostly they are sharing the awesome articles that have been written by other individuals or organizations (each other in many cases). Unique spins on information we already read about is hard to find, but it’s out there! Taking the time to read about what’s happening in our industry will help keep your focus forward. There’s so much great content out there that can help us in our jobs, and it also helps us as individuals to focus on what’s important.

5) Use a project management tool to increase collaboration and efficiency in your planning.

Are you using anything that helps you and your team focus on what tasks need to be done in planning your meetings and events? Do you find that maybe you’re using several different programs or systems that don’t talk to each other… and then you wonder where your team is in terms of accomplishing tasks and goals? If you aren’t already using a cloud-based tool to help you collaborate with your team AND your vendors, now is the perfect time to consider making a change. Having a system in place that enables everyone to see what they need to see, while including the proper files (and most up-to-date versions!!) in one central place online, not only prevents everyone from hunting-and-pecking for the info, but makes the planning process more clear. Having a 20-tab excel matrix might be “comfortable” because you’ve been using it for so long, but expanding into a project management program will enable you to shrink those docs, and help get every stakeholder on the same page (LITERALLY).


Top Tool Suggestions:

Redbook has a very nice interface, enabling users to sort tasks, keep detailed productivity reports, keep visual project timelines, and hold teammates accountable. It has integration with Zoom so you can hold video meetings, email plugins from Outlook and Gmail, and integrations with Box, Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, and more.

Time Doctor enables you to not only track time spent on specific clients or projects, but it also has integration with a ton of tools you’re likely already using such as Google Drive, Slack, FreshBooks, Podio, Asana, Basecamp, and more.

Proofhub is a great alternative to the “big” tools like Basecamp, Wrike, TeamWork, Asana, and Trello. They even have comparisons of their tool to each of these explained on their Website. It has project templates, chat, discussions, time tracking, a calendar, Workflows and kanban boards, and reporting. They also have some key integrations that will streamline your workflow!  

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a great start! It’s a way to get our minds brewing on some of the things we all struggle with as professionals, whether you’re working in the meetings and events industry or beyond.

What if you posted this list next to your computer? It’s likely it would help you focus on honing in on the goals you’ve set. Focusing, thinking, and executing on these things will also help you feel more accomplished… And that’s something we can ALL appreciate in our daily lives (both professional and personal).

Prioritize. Ponder. Perform… Repeat.


Time Doctor blog post with a TON of tools summarized.
Proofhub has also provided a great post with a tool summary.

Getting Real and Being Real – Is it all Rainbows and Unicorns?

It’s difficult, I think, for folks who have never experienced any turmoil or adversity in their lives to understand just what it takes to persevere. I had a boyfriend during an extremely stressful time in my life who had never experienced any loss — of a job or otherwise. He couldn’t relate, and all he could do was to tell me not to be stressed.

I just watched a vlog – Day 118 on his road to 300 – by Demian Ross. He had a different plan for the video, but it took a turn to a really personal story for him. A REAL story about the real, not-so-positive-life-turn for him a couple of years ago.

This video got me thinking about my own situation and low times for me in the past. Things are not always rainbows and unicorns, and it helps to share realness, because it shows people they aren’t alone.

Social media does tend to be this place where we show the good. People will assume all is well and perfect if all you ever show appears perfect. Clearly, everything is not always good!


In 2001 I was laid-off from a dot-com. I made it through three layoffs, but couldn’t escape the fourth. Three months earlier I had to be out of an apartment I was renting because our lease was up, and my roommate and I were both moving on. I was in the process of buying a condo, but hadn’t closed yet, so I stored my stuff and was living with my boyfriend for what was supposed to be a few weeks. Well, the sellers ended up taking it off the market!

Needless to say, it seemed I was “lucky” I didn’t get that condo, but now I was jobless AND homeless. It was the beginning of 2.5 years of my belongings being in storage, and me living with friends and family. I was unemployed or underemployed for most of that time before things finally came together for me. It was a daily struggle of trying to make ends meet. Of relying on others to help me.

People I’ve worked with since then can’t believe I went through that–that I managed to get to where I was, despite that. At the time friends would say to me “I don’t know how you’re doing it”… my response was I had no choice! I was simply dealing, continuing to look for work, and taking each day as it came (ending with having three jobs at once before finally moving into my own home again).

Cut to today…

I’ve had my business for nearly five years, and the past three months have been particularly difficult. The loss of a large client who shut down his company. Flakey potential new clients. Hopes being raised and then dashed over and over. Verbal agreement for new business, which was then taken away. While I’m not in the same spot I was in 17 years ago, I am in a low. Struggling financially is not unusual for business owners, this I know! It has had me wondering how much to share… do I remain optimistic or do I share the hardships?

I did just take a very big vacation — it was planned and about 2/3’s of it was already paid for (before losing the big client), so I went anyway. But I know how it looks… it looks like I’m flush!

I did try to make the absolute most of it, including soaking it all in as I am in this photo.


What’s the lesson?

That you never know what people are really going through. If you didn’t know Demian’s story before today (and he only shared part of it), you would never think such a funny, smart dude would have gone through what he has so recently.

If I only post the positive, everyone will continue to believe all is positive.

I know things will get better… I know there are some amazing businesses out there that will benefit from my skills and experience to help them improve their communication and sales!

If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. If you need someone to lend an ear, reach out. We’re not alone, and support from others will help us all.

Best of luck!

Deep Thoughts on Travel

Inspired. Incredibly Inspired Again by Travel.

Lisbon is one of the absolute BEST cities I’ve ever traveled to alone! I love London (here now for the 5th time in my life as I write this post), but people never chat me up here like in Lisbon!! It’s extraordinary, really. So… I’m trying to put my finger on why exactly…

Lisbon is smaller, and so many of the people out and about are tourists looking to meet other people (vs. a bigger city where locals are out enjoying the bars)? Maybe. London locals I know have even admitted to me that Londoners tend to be a bit “colder” than people in other cities.

Portuguese people (aka, the bartenders/servers) are just friendlier in general? That is part of it. I will also say it was a ratio of about 90% men to 10% women. That probably worked to my advantage ?. It was likely a combination of all of that. Oh, and apparently because of the time of year I was like a unicorn (American woman! Named Megan! Was a big deal for one German guy).

I can say without question I had some of the most interesting, fun, and infuriating (< yes, you read that right, and it didn’t even involve politics!) conversations of ANY city/trip I’ve been on in all my travels!

Being honest, I didn’t see as much of the city or take day trips outside the city like I wanted to because my nights were LATE! But it was worth it. I’m so enriched by the city, and its people, and the other tourists I got to know that I would do it all exactly the same way again. Oh, and I’ll go back for SURE.

Solo Traveler

Many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around how or why I like to travel alone. I love my friends, and I have wonderful experiences with them, but I never meet people like I do when I’m alone! It’s just different (and easier)… I relish my solo travel because I rarely feel “alone.”

I know I’m so fortunate to live this life. And even more motivated to write the damn book already!!

Now, time for work while in London, which was the original reason for the trip! Thankfully my work is also incredibly fun.


Do. Do what you love. I’ve said it before… Be a doer. No matter what it is!! ✌?

P.S. It may or may not be worth noting that I wrote this while at a London sports bar waiting to watch Monday Night Football (they were kind enough to put it on for me)… after it was clear no one wanted to socialize with me! ?

Just Jump

It’s been a really interesting seven months for me both personally and professionally. In September I was struck with the sudden reality that my parents will not always be in my life. Of course, I knew this already, but when you learn your Mom is being tested for lung cancer, it puts that reality right in front of you. And it sparks a whole current of change.

Then learning she’s terminal, and that Dad’s dementia is worse than we knew? Devastating. Of course, the weeks and months that followed have been really, really hard, with a ton of change for everyone in the family. A tremendous amount of loss.

Concurrently, my business has been doing really well. For more than 2.5 years I’ve had a marketing consulting business — a sole proprietorship that’s been steady. I’ve had a couple of peaks, but it’s mostly been consistent. Then suddenly in the span of four weeks this spring I had four separate inquiries and referrals for new business. Now, there are only so many hours in a day, so this pushed me to decide whether to take on new business and hire (previous contractors) to work for me on a regular basis.

Next level. I didn’t intend on having a corporation, but helping new businesses tackle their marketing and communication challenges, and growing my company, became a really interesting concept! I love a challenge, and new clients bring with them new opportunities to grow both mentally and financially.

43 Meter Jump… 141+ Feet!

So I jumped. There’s irony in the timing, too, because I just realized today is the one year anniversary of my first bungy jump off the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand — the birthplace of the bungy. A metaphor for how I’ve chosen to approach life in general, and now also in business. With the bungy decision I didn’t think about “what if something goes wrong?” I just knew it would be exhilarating, and that would be the payoff.

I’ve filed incorporation papers! I’ve hired a graphic designer to create a real logo and assets for me! I’m putting all the pieces in place that will support a successful business, including hiring staff, and shopping for admin tools we should be using. This. Is. Real.

Exciting times! And terrifying. And exhilarating! And uncertain. But that’s all part of the adventure–if I don’t jump, I’ll never know. I’ve written before about being a “doer”… Which is a touch different than jumping into the unknown. The only way to stretch ourselves, and see where it will take us is to jump.

It’s not about having no fear, but considering “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” It might not work out the way I’m envisioning, but if I don’t try I’ll never know. It’s important to own the fear, but to do it anyway. Because it might just be the best choice I’ve ever made.

I’ve para-glided in Switzerland. I’ve skydived in San Diego. I’ve bungy-jumped in New Zealand. And now I’ve incorporated. Mom would be really proud. Let’s do this!!!

In case you’d like to see the jump video (complete w/gleeful scream)… CLICK HERE

Be a Doer

I think there’s an epidemic afoot. This epidemic is called being stuck. What makes people stuck? Part of it is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success (no, really), fear of the unknown… or all of the above.
What I hear from people A LOT is “you’re so lucky” when referring to my travels or the sporting events I attend. Lucky? I struggle with how to take that because I know I’m fortunate, but luck has nothing to do with it. I work hard for one, but I’m also a “doer.”
So many people sit on the sidelines and watch other people do. I’m not saying people don’t have financial struggles or reasons for not being able to “do” things, but I strongly believe it’s possible for everyone to DO.
Game 5 NLCS Giants clincher last week!
If you’ve always wanted to get to Europe? Create a plan to get there. Figure out when you can get off of work and for how long, get estimates on how much it’s going to cost… And start to save. If attending a baseball playoff game seems like an impossibility? It isn’t. I simply got online and found tickets I could afford. Period. There’s no secret sauce! 
The thing is you can apply this to all parts of your life. I’m reading a book right now by Jen Sincero called “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.” There are so many quotes I could share, but one that stands out is this: “Living a life on purpose is available to everyone.” It’s the notion that things reveal themselves through doing and not thinking. Everything you do along the journey contributes to where you want to “get”… I learned early in my career that it’s about the journey and not the destination. Trust your gut and make your move!
I know I don’t have certain things that might prevent me from “doing,” but I also create opportunities for myself because I’m a doer. The next time you find yourself thinking “Man, I wish I could do that,” STOP and ask yourself WHY not? You might just discover that you can, and perhaps you can get unstuck and be a doer too.

Dating Tips From a 5-Year-Old

The pic’s a lil’ fuzzy – us at the Roller Derby rink!

You know the saying, everything you need to know you learned in Kindergarten, right? Well, I recently babysat my friends’ 5-year-old son, and I joked that it was the best date I had had in quite a while! No, but seriously. 

He was game for everything… 

  • He let me take him to see my friend’s Roller Derby match (and agreed to stay about 10-minutes longer than he cared to)… A compromiser. 
  • Wanted an Icee and shared it with me… A sharer. 
  • When he asked what else we were doing, I said we would get dinner and he wanted pizza… Great taste in food, even if he preferred Pizza Hut over any other kind of pizza (my compromise). 
  • He then asked if we could watch a movie and he let me pick it (we agreed to watch Star Wars 😉 ). 

He was genuinely interested in learning about ME… 

  • He asked what I do for a living. Explaining what marketing is to a 5-year-old was a challenge, but I think I did an okay job. His response? “I think you should do something else for work” – to which I asked “Well, what do you think I should do?” He responded with both the professions his Dad and Mom work within… And we had a chat. 
  • He also asked where I live – and then asked if I’m friends with my neighbors. 

HE’S 5!! 

I truly can’t recall the last time I had someone who was really interested in learning about me in such a genuine way. Of course, these aren’t just lessons in dating, but in life, and I really appreciated the sweet little evening I had with my smart new boyfriend Gabe. 

Oh, and he was right about the pizza, by the way, and didn’t rub it in too much – just gave me the “yumm-o” lifted eyebrows and said “I told you.”