Monthly Archives: April 2014

Watering My Dirt

A few weeks ago, after a long and cold winter, we finally got our first warm, sunny day in Connecticut. Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.45.28 AM

As often happens on the first nice day of the year, I got inspired to clean out the garage and our new landscaper came by to assess the off-season damage to our yard.

The front yard was the only real casualty this year, because my yellow lab, Buttercup, is getting old and no longer has the motivation to walk 20 steps from the front door to the woods to “do her business.” So she made the lawn, only five steps away, into her own personal doggy bathroom this winter . . . killing most of the grass. (I know, gross. You’re welcome for the visual).

Anyway, our new man raked, limed, seeded, fertilized, and covered the whole area with hay (not making me any promises).

And so began a two-week period of me standing in shorts and flip flops (with full bed head), and usually a hooded sweatshirt and a cup of coffee in my left hand, with the hose and sprayer in my right hand . . . watering my dirt.

I’m not much for work around the house, but it’s actually a tiny bit exciting spraying the area the first few mornings. After all, it’s springtime and the thought of a beautiful thick green lawn is part of what makes northeast living bearable through the winter months. (At least for me).

After a few days, though, it begins to get a little tedious.

On morning number four we woke up to two inches of snow on top of a sheet of ice. My first thought is, “did the grass seed survive?” My next thought is, “I wonder if it germinated before the ice,” and I don’t even know what “germinate” means. A few days below freezing eventually gave way to warmer temperatures and a thaw and I was back out there watering my dirt.

A week goes by and there’s no sign of anything happening on that front lawn. And now my seemingly fruitless watering combined with the cold weather spell has “reasonable doubt” creeping into my mind. “This isn’t working.”

Another week goes by. Still nothing. Now I’m reaching the point where I feel a little stupid standing there watering my dirt.

Nevermind the fact that I’m now leashing Buttercup three times a day and personally running her through the garage and into the woods, to keep her away from that front yard.

Just as I’m reaching the point where I’m ready to give up . . . something happens! Is it my imagination, or are those tiny little sprouts actually grass? I see a ray of sunshine and I swore I heard harp music and angels singing. I got down on my hands and knees to look at it from ground level. Yes! It’s not much, to be sure. But now I have renewed faith that at least something is going to happen. So I water on.

Somewhere in the middle of week three it becomes clear that my new grass is really growing. It’s still early, but my worries have passed and I’m now supremely confident that I am about to have my front yard back!

What an interesting process though. Through my accrued minutes of watering that dirt, my mind wandered repeatedly (a dangerous thing) and, as usual, got me thinking of how another one of nature’s lessons is (again) a glowing metaphor for what we all go through in our business lives (especially in the network marketing profession I love so much).

People start out in network marketing with high hopes of growing a “beautiful lawn.” They have to rely on trust in the system, and enter into the process with belief in their landscaper (sponsor). That belief isn’t enough, though, because when the landscaper leaves they are required to water the dirt with consistency. Over a period of time, it may look as though nothing’s happening. And unlike with the grass seed, a network marketing “lawn” may take weeks, months, or even years (not days) to sprout and grow. Doubts and fears will arise along the way (ice and snow), and there will be inconvenience; ie turning on the hose, watering, running the dog to a new pee pee area three times a day . . . you get the picture.

To top it all off, I just learned that when my grass finally does grow in fully that 80% of the seeds my landscaper planted, will have died. That means only 20% of the seeds that were spread actually sprouted and grew into a full, thick lawn. “It’s the 80-20 rule,” he told me. I had to laugh, “yeah, I’ve heard that rule once or twice!”

In the end it looks like it will be another beautiful summer in Tommyville! That front lawn is going to look as good as it has in years and I’m happy to say it will have been worth it.

Glad I stayed the course.

And, as always . . . “I’m Glad I Drank the Kool-Aid.”


Are YOU an Ass Clown?

You wake up, roll out of bed, get your coffee and power up your computer. Image

You used to check email first, but you get so much spam these days that Facebook seems the safest place to play.

Your Facebook inbox is flooded with messages and the good news is, they’re all from people you actually know!

After all, you “friended” them.

After replying to what you deemed important, you notice that you have some friend requests from a few people you haven’t seen in years! “That’s crazy,” you mutter, shaking your head, as you click on their profiles to see what they’ve been up to.

“Oh, how cool,” you think, as you click on the pictures of Rich’s trip to Italy. “He does so many cool things. Someday . . . “ Will’s on the golf course again. And Justin’s out on his boat. Do those guys ever work? Dana has a new car. Eric posted a motivational quote that gets you thinking. Wow, Jason and Kristin’s kids! How adorable. They’re growing up so fast. Oh, and look a “Throwback Thursday” picture of Lynn’s college days!

“I really have to make an effort to get back together with them all,” you make a mental note.

Oh no.

Say it aint’ so.

It isn’t. It is.

The Facebook Ass Clown!

And not just one. It’s a whole circus!

Your personal space has been infiltrated!

Johnny is trying to advertise savings in electricity. Roger is being a bully with his political views. Rachel is posting grotesque before-and-after photos selling weight loss shakes. Tim is selling insurance. Linda has a video talking about the “greatest home business in the history of the world.” And Kim is posing as an expert again (even though she’s the least-successful person you know).

You’ve been recording your favorite TV shows so you can blow past the commercials and now they’re being forced down your throat by your own “friends!”

Should I “unfriend” them? Will they know? Will they be offended? Will they like me anymore?

So you try to ignore it. But you can’t. It happens every damned day!

And every day your personal image of that “friend” gets lesser and lesser.

The world is changing. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are actual words in the dictionary these days. If you’re not a part of it, it’s as odd as not having a color TV or a microwave.

The problem is nobody ever teaches you how to “behave” on there. You might be shy or stand-offish in a public setting, but behind the keyboard you are empowered to say whatever’s on your mind. But, like I tell my teenager, the whole world is watching (and judging).

If you want a sure-fire way to alienate yourself from 50% of your social network, then you should go ahead and post your political viewpoints! During the last election, Facebook was flooded with mean and nasty rants about the presidential candidates. When somebody posts a political opinion, though, they get feedback. It feels good. They get lots of people agreeing with them. It’s what they yearn for. Acceptance. The problem is,  the other 3,000 people who are reading it now think you’re a jerk. So what’s the point?

And if you want to alienate 50% of what’s left, just talk about your religious beliefs. Countries go to war and kill each other over religion. Don’t get yourself killed!

A touchy subject to be sure. You’ll argue that “people who disagree with my opinions aren’t really my friends anyway.” Hmm. Think that one through.

The truth is, you can use your Facebook page to do whatever you want. After all it’s yours!  But next time you’re about to make a post, instead of doing it behind the shield of your computer screen, imagine if you were standing in front of a room full of your friends. If you wouldn’t scream it out there – then don’t write it.

You wouldn’t want to be pegged as The Facebook Ass Clown!

* Full disclosure: I’ve done this in the past. Many of us have. My goal isn’t to insult anybody, just to be a friend. You can thank me later!



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