Monthly Archives: January 2021

Jan 19

Tweak Your Life

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"The Biggest Trick in Life is Making it All Look Easy."
My husband, Eric, is a professional magician. Before you say anything, the answer is yes, he's tried many times to make me disappear, but that's not what this article is about. It's about watching the progression of a magic piece he's developing. The first time he showed it to me, I was impressed. It was surprising and beautiful at the same time. I thought he couldn't make it any better, and yet, he continues to work and improve it in tiny increments. Eric has shared his new effect with a few trusted magicians to get their feedback and suggestions. It's interesting to watch his work evolve, and I realize that's what sets an artist apart. Taking the time and effort to create something unique and interesting requires several adjustments.

Life is like that. Living up to our potential and doing our best means always looking for ways to improve ourselves. It's being open to constructive criticism and not being offended. We may find it hard to ask for help because we feel we're admitting defeat. The opposite is the reality. We're showing others that we want to grow and willing to take advice. Think about what you're involved with right now. Do you feel confident in your communication skills? Are you prepared for your Zoom meeting? What are you making for dinner? Seriously, what's for dinner? I'm running out of ideas.

Speaking of food, the right combination of seasonings can make a big difference when cooking a meal. It's trial and error until we find that perfect blend. I've ruined a few dinners when trying a new recipe. (Who knew that too much cheese could ever be a bad thing?) Learning a skill can be frustrating in the beginning. If you want to be proficient, you'll keep at it until it becomes a part of you. Once you have a strong foundation of your newly acquired talent, the attention to detail will hone your expertise.

The performers and artists I know are never satisfied with their work. I find that same drive in other professions as well. Are you the top salesperson in your company? Have you received an MVP award for your team? Do you have the Best Mom in the World coffee cup? Well, you don't have the last one, because my Mom has it.

The way to stay engaged in our lives is to strive for excellence. When you need some guidance, seek out a mentor. Talk to your family and friends and ask for support and encouragement when you doubt your abilities. There are resources on the internet where groups of like-minded people get together and brainstorm concepts. It's challenging to be innovative in a vacuum. We need to bounce off our thoughts and ideas to others. It could be a simple word or perception from another person that makes everything click. It's a fantastic feeling to have an epiphany and solve an issue you've been struggling with that brings your product or service to life.

The small things matter when it comes to presenting your work. Take the time to tweak and adjust. Practice your introduction before meeting with a potential client. Take note of what is and isn't working for you at a networking event. When planning a project, ask for feedback and recommendations from people you hold in high esteem. Develop the mindset that you're always evolving and creating for your audience. You never know who will be inspired and motivated by your example. The biggest trick is making it look easy. People may not recognize your hard work and hours of preparation, but they will appreciate the results.

I have to make a delicious dinner now before my husband tries once again to make me disappear.
Jan 12

To Find Success-Show Up!

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Success only happens when you show up."

Woody Allen said in an interview that he believed eighty percent of success is showing up. I've heard this over the years, and I know other people have said the same thing in one way or another. It seemed odd that this piece of advice was necessary. I mean, of course, you're supposed to show up for work, class, or an event. Why wouldn't you? If there were an emergency keeping you from your commitment, that would be understandable. I learned over the years that many people simply don't show up.

I talked to Jane Parmel, an excellent business coach, who like me, had been in the hospitality business for years. She said one of the reasons her company stood out was her reputation for showing up on time, being professional and personable. She was surprised to find that many vendors hired for events didn't bother to show up or even call to say there was a problem. Jane said this kind of absenteeism is so prevalent that she found herself having to take on other roles at the last minute.

One time she had to dress up as a clown for a children's party when the person they hired was a no show. "I'm having stage fright, and I feel ridiculous at the same time. I was so worried that I wouldn't be funny until my partner pointed out how silly I already looked." Luckily, the children were entertained, and the party was saved. This sense of responsibility is what cemented Jane's well-deserved notoriety.

I told Jane that many of the jobs I had happened because I showed up when no one else did. I was in college, trying to work out ways to make money when I was offered a job as a cocktail waitress. I was sitting in the club enjoying the music when the bartender came over to my table. He said, "I have a packed house, and my waitress didn't show up for work. One of the guys in the band said you're looking for a job. Would you like one right now?"

This scenario played out in my favor again and again. I worked the phones for a brokerage house for the summer because the receptionist stopped showing up for work. I worked as a DJ for a club when their house DJ didn't come in. I was a substitute teacher, a bartender, a director's assistant, and a last-minute drummer for a band all because somebody didn't show up.

Opportunities for success are all around us. When we make assurances to a business or social event, our presence is felt as well as our absence. I've seen Zoom networking events get canceled because most of the registered participants didn't come on. There's quite a bit of planning to put on these virtual meetups, and it's disappointing when they don't happen. Sometimes, the coordinator goes ahead and works with the people who do appear. I've been able to network, get advice, and make new friends because there was more time to do so. Once again, showing up worked to my advantage.

My advice is to be open to all possibilities. Don't make the mistake and assume a position you want is unattainable. When you take the time and effort to have a foundation of skills and expertise, the chances of finding your niche grows exponentially. Let the people around you know your aspirations. Attend virtual networking events, meetup groups, and webinars. Share your contact information and follow through with a personal message to connect.

When you get that new job, a promotion, or land a client, do yourself a favor and show up. Otherwise, I'll have your position instead.

For more information on Jane Parmel, visit her website: Jane Parmel.com

Jan 05

Abbey Normal

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"I Don't Know How to be Normal. I Only Know How to be Me."
Is it possible to give up on the word "normal"? Bear with me a minute to explain. I know that the society we grow up in has a set of acceptable cultural norms. We learn an unwritten set of rules for participating and contributing to our family and community. Ideas of right and wrong evolve as we learn and gain experience in our world. Growing up, your family is your universe, and you don't know anything different. As you get older and meet people, you realize growing up in a home that doubled as Grand Central wasn't the norm. Didn't everybody open their doors at two in the morning for guests? I think "normal' is hard to quantify. I think there are expectations that we set out to achieve, but many times we fall short. The goals laid out for us may not be what we want for ourselves or are so lofty that we're set up for failure. Not everyone wants to be married and have kids by the time they're twenty-five. Not everyone wants to be a doctor or lawyer. Not everyone purposely tries to disappoint their parents, but there's some fun in doing just that.

I believe this fascination with being "normal" puts blinders on us. It gives us a narrow scope of how we view ourselves and others. It keeps us from fitting into what is perceived as "acceptable." "Acceptable" to who; our parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors? I don't know about you, but I've yet to meet anyone that I would consider "normal." Everyone has their own set of perceptions and experiences that shape their mindset. If you spoke to my brothers and sisters separately, you wouldn't think we grew up in the same house. We each have our own renditions of our childhood. Also, you would walk away, feeling none of us had a regular upbringing. Don't feel bad, you didn't either.

I would rather replace the word "normal" with something much more simple. Nice or not so nice. I think this person is friendly and I like hanging out with her. Whatever she does in the privacy of her home that doesn't affect me adversely isn't any of my business. I don't feel the need to judge anyone or put conditions on a relationship. We all have silly quirks and see the world a little differently. Who wants everyone to be the same? Not only would it be boring and uninteresting, but it would also keep us from seeing things in a new light. Philosophy and enlightenment come when we pay attention and gain knowledge from our differences.

I avoid people who are insulting, petty, or rude. I believe respect is a two-way street. I try to give everyone a chance. Sometimes we don't present a great first impression because we're having a bad day or we had too much to drink. It happens to all of us, and I would want someone to give me a second chance as well. Some people I meet I click with right away. Others may take longer, similar to a developing skin rash, but we become friends, warts and all.

Your idea of "normal" is not what I would consider "normal." That's the beauty of meeting and getting to know people. We have the opportunity to learn from each other because we are different. Even though we know not to judge a book by its cover, we tend to label and categorize new acquaintances anyway. If we take the time to get to know people on a deeper level, we may be introduced to some great new stories. We get a chance for inspiration and connections that can last a lifetime.

Be open to other people's views and thought processes. You never know who may motivate and encourage you that will set you on a new path. Whatever you decide on your life's purpose, understand you've upset your parents, again, but it still beats being "normal."