Forget You Had a Grandmother?

“Forget you had a grandmother?” It’s what mine always said to me when I waited too long to call or stop by.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been thinking about her, I had.

But I was a twenty something year old English professor and it was the end of the semester, which always landed me in scarcity around time. I wouldn’t even call to say hi or stop in and check on her like I normally did because I’d so much rather go over for what usually amounted to at least an hour, if not an entire afternoon.

I didn’t think I had that kind of time.

I’d stay away; She’d be disappointed, if not downright mad at me, especially during the pre-amble to the holidays when she was prone to depression and that lonely feeling lots of us know well.

She was hoping I would stop by and I was avoiding her.

It wasn’t because I didn’t love her or our time together. I was avoiding her because I loved her and our time together too much. I know it’s sick but stay with me…I’m forever working on being better.

I hate to rush. Especially with the projects and people I care about most. And so even though my grandmother and I would have benefitted from the abridged version of our time together, I denied myself, and her, the pleasure.

I’d feel guilty, she’d be passive aggressive, and away we’d go.

In the rearview mirror, I can see this dance my grandmother and I used to do was a form of perfectionism on my part. If I couldn’t do the visit properly, if I couldn’t connect with her as deeply as I knew was possible, I wouldn’t do it at all.

And lo and behold, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a good look at myself nearly making the same maneuver with you at the close of this year. Not because I don’t love writing you, you must know I do.

After all, it’s December and I wanted to write you something truly magical in the spirit of the holidays.

I no longer have papers to grade but December hasn’t changed much; it hasn’t turned into a sleigh ride. There’s so much more to do at a time when most of our bodies are telling us to slow down, go to bed earlier, to rest and just be.

Cue my mother’s voice: Be careful what you wish for…My little one has brought home not one but three mutant viruses recently–not exactly the kind of resting I’d envisioned– in between what seems like an endless number of gatherings creating more to-do’s then there is time to check them off my lists. My oldest dodged the bug until last night when Falalalalalalala

There are as many excuses as there are presents to wrap but you know what?

I’m not playing at perfect anymore.

What are you resisting writing? Do tell me, please. All I want for Christmas is to know how your heart and mind work. The kinds of moves you make to avoid doing the things you love, the work you really, really, want to do.

Knowing will help me help you.

And here’s what you need to know about what’s been going on with me since I last wrote. It has everything to do with you and yet I haven’t yet communicated it. Ever make that woeful move in your relationships? You know, the one where you have one-way conversations that happen inside you alone? If you take away one thing from this missive, take this: those thoughts and ideas will never pass for communications. You must write or speak your heart and mind to make yourself and your relationships even better.

So here, I’ll go first:

  • My trip out west was all about you.
  • In Arizona, at the beautiful Biltmore, I fantasized about creating a hybrid writer’s retreat, workshop, conference…the likes of which I’ve never quite seen before. Stay tuned, this vision has me reverse engineering how to make my first truly fabulous live event happen including hiring the right people to help. Visionaries need people who think on the ground.
  • At the leadership conference I attended in L.A., I dreamed up a ga-zillion ways I want to make myself a better, more visible, leader for you in 2018 and beyond. I’ve since backed up these dreams with the action to make them come true.
  • I gave gratitude for you setting my Thanksgiving table.
  • As I finish up this year’s work and plan into next, I’m wondering what YOU want and I’m asking you not only to think about it but to follow my lead and communicate to me what you’re thinking.
  • I said yes to an offer to–drumroll please–Keynote to hundreds at the National Society of Research Administrators International this March. I’m thrilled and busy prepping an expertly tailored talk just for them. Yes, I’m walking my talk.
  • And, I’m getting meta about it: I’m creating an online course called Walk Your Talk so you can do it too.

So please, think of me as your non-denominational Santa and send me a list–even if it’s only one item long—and tell me what you most want to learn about writing from me. If it’s one of the other aspects of writing I cover, namely, professional advancement, business books or memoir, I need to hear about those too. I have the feeling that this is the first of many courses I’m going to create. And I still have blogs to write, videos to make, and talks to give with YOU in mind. So please, do it right now; just e-mail me at and blurt it out. It does not have to be fancy but, when I give you what you most want in 2018, it might just feel like magic. Thank you.

Happy, happy, holidays. Peace, joy, love, prosperity…even more than you think you can stand.

XO, it’s the holidays, pretend there’s mistletoe,


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