After much thought and reflection I have made a big decision which affects my work/life balance.
I am stepping down as an Authorized Local Expert for Constant Contact. I will continue my role as a Business Solution Provider, working with small businesses here in Western Mass and I may hold smaller marketing workshops from time to time. I will miss working with great Western Mass organizations like SCORE, MSBDC, many Chambers of Commerce and other non-profit organizations. I love to teach and love to see small businesses succeed. It has been an honor to work with an unbelievable New England team for four years and I will miss them. Over the next few weeks I will be updating my website, various social media profiles, etc. to reflect this change.
One of my long time clients leads families through the "downsizing" process. She refers to the work as "rightsizing". I like that. It feels light.
I actually began making small changes in my work-life balance last year, letting go of working weekends (I know.) but the lightbulb really turned on when I was presenting at a WBOA social media workshop last fall. Our lunch speaker was talking about how to choose to do something, or to say "no". She advocated that instead of thinking about things as something we "should" or "shouldn't do, to remove the guilt feeling and ask yourself . . .
"Does it feel light or heavy?"
I used this question as I began the "rightsizing" exercise of my work-life balance and it has helped greatly. I have also asked my clients the same question when they are up against a marketing task that they feel they "should" do. If the task feels heavy the decision to outsource the work becomes a no-brainer. Often I hear that the decision to let something go has been replaced by more creativity and productive use of their time.
More changes are yet to come down the road, but I truly feel that the process of "rightsizing" will help me make good decisions.
Robert Green, long-time proprietor of Amherst Typewriter, recently told his story on Connecting Point, as captured in this video. As I watched, I was struck by several things. First, the mere fact that a typewriter repair shop still exists in an era where we are connected 24/7 to our tech gadgets is worth taking a closer look.
Then I really listened as Mr. Green described the tactile sense of tapping the key to strike the mechanism onto the paper without regard to making a mistake.
I was instantly transported back to Mrs. Bridge's typewriting class in high school where I saw my first IBM Selectric typewriter. It was placed at the very front of the classroom under Mrs. Bridge' s watchful eye. "Who would like to try our brand new electric typewriter," she asked. I held my hand up thinking it couldn't be worse than jamming my fingers into the depths of the standard issue contraption I was using. I remember turning it on and it being very loud and very sensitive to touch. I was soon typing my personal best. Deep down I felt a little guilty thinking that I had an advantage over the other 20 or so students who labored away on their obstinate typewriters.
Mr. Green described the relationship that authors often have with their typewriters, taking comfort in the deliberate action the machine seems to cause. I have enough trouble dealing with autocorrect on a smart phone -- a phenomenon known to provide countless Epic Fail lists. I can't imagine enjoying the experience of writing a novel on a Smith Corona.
The tools may change, but the engagement is what really counts. How we engage with the tools of our trade, and with each other. Sometimes taking the low tech route can make the biggest impact on forming lasting relationships - a hand written note, a clipped article from a newspaper, a visit over coffee . . . maybe even a trip to the typewriter repair store.
Liz Provo, Mass Marketing Resources.