This is a story. About a girl. A girl who didn’t have a lot of confidence. A girl who chose to follow instead of lead.  A girl who kinda went through life not really understanding that we are put here for a purpose. A girl who did what most people do. Go to school. Go to college. Get a job. Get married. Have a baby…

What this girl didn’t realize is that she was braver than she believed herself to be. She travelled the world. She moved cities, moved provinces and even moved countries just to meet new people and have new experiences. She loved to try new things. What she didn’t understand was that lurking under the surface was the ugliness of depression and anxiety.  She was very good at hiding it, but it was always there.  It never stopped her. Only slowed her down every once in a while. But she didn’t know what “it” was.  She didn’t know why she cried all the time. She only cried when she was alone. She didn’t know why she felt unworthy. Didn’t understand why she made the decisions she made. Sometimes good decisions. Sometimes bad. She just kept going, not realizing that these intense feelings were not “normal” because they became “her” normal.

Then she got pregnant with her first child and she should have been ecstatic. She wasn’t. But she acted like it. She was definitely happy, but more so, she was scared. And sad. And nervous. And convinced that this mom thing was something she definitely could not do.

Then her life changed again. She had her son and fell completely in love. A love she’d never experienced before. But with this love came a crushing ache and a sadness inside of her that just wouldn’t leave. And it stuck around for a few years causing her to hide away. Not see her friends as often. Quit her job (actually 2 jobs). Not trust anyone.  She just wanted to be alone.

Then one day she had the courage to ask her doctor if this was normal. The answer was an astounding NO! That day her life changed again. She went on medication. The clouds started to lift. She went to therapy. The dull aches in her body and her mind started to go away. She started to feel better. Happier. More alive. More energetic. Heck, even her memory started coming back.

But she was still very afraid, so she stayed home. But she really wanted to work. She wanted to feel useful, to contribute. To do something. To BE something. Thanks to the help of a wonderful friend, she took her skills and started her own business.

She worked hard and ran that business for over 3 years. And that business was a success. That business helped some of the most impressive business women she’d ever met.  That business helped her grow and flourish as a mom, as an entrepreneur, and as a business women. That business was one of the best things to ever happen to that girl. The girl will be forever grateful.

Then one day another opportunity came along. And that girl was ready to make a change. She was finally ready to leave the house. The safety and security of her house was no longer needed all day, every day. The girl wanted to get out, learn new things again, meet more new people. And so she did.

That girl is now employed with the London District Catholic School Board as an Administrative Assistant. That girl starts her new job on Monday.  She is happy. She is scared. She is excited. She is nervous. But she is ready.

Unfortunately the girl cannot work a full-time job and run a business, so one has to go. The girl is very sad to say goodbye to her business, but she knows that her family, friends, colleagues and clients understand, are happy for her, and she gives them huge virtual hugs.

She also wants to thank everyone who helped her in her journey and supported her business. She knows that each and every person she met over the past few years, played an integral role in the success of her business, and her growth from a just a girl into a business woman and entrepreneur.

Thank you. I truly, truly thank you.

Michelle Callipari

unfriend

 

Yes. I did. I “unfriended” over 400 people from my Facebook personal page, and I’m sure there will be more in the future… and now I feel guilty.

Contrary to what people may think about this, I didn’t do it to be a bitch, or because I hate all those people. I did it because I really don’t know them. Even worse, some of them I didn’t know at all.  If I don’t know you, you can’t possibly be interested in my personal life, right?  (I wanted to post one of those funny memes about unfriending people on Facebook, but most of them were a bit inappropriate. lol)

Once upon a time, in order to add someone to your business page, you had to have them in your personal friends list. (This may still be the case, I’m honestly not 100% sure), but this is why I had well over 1,000 people in my friends list.

I spent many years in network marking and more recently, networking my Virtual Assistant business; therefore, a lot of the people in my friends list are people that I’ve met at a business event.  These people are not family or friends. They are acquaintances that I’ve stayed in touch with because of business. That may sound harsh, but it’s the reality.

What I realized is two-fold:

  1. I no longer enjoy scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. Why? Because I was seeing more sales posts, network marketing posts and posts from people I don’t know, rather than seeing the posts of my family and friends.
  2. I was so focused on networking and making connections, that I didn’t realize how many strangers I was letting into my personal world.  When I started going through my list, I couldn’t believe how many names I didn’t recognize, and now that I think about it… that’s really, really creepy.

So I made a change and started deleting. I still have more work to do on this clean up as I still have around 700 people on this list, but it’s a good start and all the complete strangers are gone. Phew.

The ones I feel kinda bad about are people that I’ve connected with at networking events, that I actually enjoyed spending time with. But I have to be honest with myself and remember that these people aren’t “friends” either, they are acquaintances… and it may be time to let go.  And that’s where the guilt creeps in.

Guilty feelings aside, the best part of this initial clean-up is that I am now seeing more posts from family and friends, and stuff that I am actually interested in.

The other thing I did in my recent Facebook purge was leaving over 100 Facebook groups! OVER 100 GROUPS! WTH.

Warning… here comes a rant.

First of all Facebook, why. WHY are people allowed to add you to a random group without your permission? This irritates me to no end. Facebook friends, you need to stop adding people to a group without asking them first.  99% of these groups belong to friends in networking marketing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love you and I love your products, but I don’t need to be in 6 Tupperware groups, 8 LipSense groups, and 4 Thirty-One Gifts groups. (I actually use all of these products and love them, so I’m just using them as examples).   The fact of the matter is this… if I want to be in your group, I will join, so ask me first. Period. And if I don’t want to be in your group, please don’t be offended. It’s not you, it’s me.

And for the love of all things holy, if I leave your group, or I unsubscribe from your newsletter, DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT send me a message asking me WHY and DO NOT re-add me either! Talk about friggin awkward and frankly, it’s RUDE!  If I want to leave or unsubscribe, that is my business.  Yes it sucks, I get that, but it’s my choice and for you to “confront” me about it is not cool.  Again, it’s not you, it’s me.

Rant over.

I’ve even started leaving Facebook pages that don’t serve me.  I know we should listen and enjoy the Tony Robbins and Gary V’s of the world, but honestly, I’m not wired that way and can only take so much positivity. LOL  Just kidding. I actually love inspiring posts (I’d rather see those posts than all the negativity that floats around social media), but not 10x a day in my newsfeed.

So, I’d really love your take on this? Is your Facebook family and close friends only, or are you like me and have a bunch of acquaintances and people you don’t know.  Are you part of lots of groups, or just a few select groups? I know my friends Katy of SBT Virtual and Melanie of CyberSmart Canada will definitely chime in and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say on this topic.

Michelle

They say things come in three’s and unfortunately I had to send three very difficult emails this month. All having to do with communication… or lack thereof.  Two were personal and one was business.

Please let me start by saying the following:

1. I always try to use the services of other entrepreneurs/small businesses that I know personally or have been recommended to me by someone I know.

2. Method #1 normally works well for me.

3. I truly hate any type of confrontation which is why I prefer to use method #1.

4.  Method #1 did not seem to work in my favour in these three instances.

I will not go into detail about my recent experiences because I don’t want to embarrass or call anyone out, so instead I’ve decided to focus on the topic of communication.

Everyone has heard the saying “Communication is Key”. Communication is the main ingredient in every aspect of your life from your personal relationships to your business relationships.  Think about your daily interactions and how communication affects each and every one.  My husband and I have it out when there is a of lack of communication, but our relationship thrives when our communication is high.

As a Virtual Assistant, frequent communication is a staple. Without it, my business would fall apart. I work best with clear and concise instructions. It is also important that I communicate to my clients about how I work and what to expect from me. In the beginning stages of my business, I lost clients due to my lack of communication as I wasn’t asking the right questions or being open enough about my abilities and skills.  I have also released clients due to their lack of communication and in once instance their over-abundance of communication (that’s a fun story to tell lol).  I run a business and I don’t have time to chase you for important information, nor can I read your mind (I wish I had that superpower), nor can I spend valuable business hours trying to talk you off a ledge (more fun stories).

My clients receive a weekly email from me, normally on Mondays, and this email clearly states any current projects I am working on for them, where I am on those projects, how much time is left in their package, and I ask for any information I may be missing to complete a project.  It also asks them to contact me should they have any questions. My current clients are great at getting back to me. Some are just confirming the information I gave them, some are giving me the information I requested, and some are apologizing for not getting back to me after last week’s email. lol

We are all business owners and most of my clients have families as well, so I get it, shit happens.  All I ask is that if shit is happening at this current moment, please let me know. If I know you have some personal issues happening, or you are so ridiculously busy that you need to get back to me next week instead, or your child has been sick, or you’re currently on holidays, that is totally fine, I can re-arrange my schedule, just let me know (my clients are very good at this).

The same goes for anyone I am hiring. If I hire you for a service or a product, I expect it in a timely fashion. Especially if it has already been paid for (this should go without saying).  I also expect some form communication about the status of my product and/or service.  And if shit is happening and my product/service isn’t getting done, or won’t be completed within the original time-frame, YOU NEED TO LET ME KNOW!  It’s that simple.

I tell my husband and my kids this all the time, as long as I know what is happening, it’s all good. I may not like it, but I respect it because you kept the lines of communication open and I can arrange our schedules as necessary.  I also always tell my husband to not leave things up to my crazy imagination, because that’s not good for anyone. lol

I wondered if I was overreacting a bit to this topic, so I asked a friends & colleagues her thoughts on communication. Here’s what she had to say:

“Michelle, I totally get what you are saying and I think we have all definitely been there at one point or another. Without open communication, things can be left to interpretation. If I don’t hear from you I may think I did something wrong or you are mad at me. It’s just how women seem to overreact, especially when they communicate with emotions!
There I said it, yes women tend to communicate with emotion. The important thing is to take emotion completely out of communications. When you read an email and think someone is upset with you, you may read that email with a completely different set of eyes then you would if someone wasn’t. Remember tone is not present in an email like it is in a one to one conversation! The one thing I have learned is when you do have any kind of emotion then keep an email in your draft folder for at least 30 minutes. Take a break, go for a walk or do a different task and after the 30 minutes go back to the email and read it again before you send it. The same holds true for reading an email. If you read an email and think someone is upset, play a happy song and get into a fantastic mood and then read the email again – it is amazing what your own change in emotion can do to any communication!”

PS. Since writing this email at the beginning of the month, I have yet to hear back from one of the business people I was referring to. Very disappointing to say the least.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well. Comment below and share your thoughts.

Warmly,

Michelle

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