In life, there are occasions when no matter how much we’d like to avoid it, a difficult discussion is necessary with a teammate, coworker, family member, or friend so we can navigate a tricky situation or deal with challenging behavior.
As a business owner and manager of people for more than 16 years, this is familiar territory. In my last role I served as the president of a company with over 500 team members). Confrontation, coaching, corrective discipline, and sometimes terminations have been part of my regular responsibilities. I think I handled such interactions well at times — but I also bombed on some occasions. More than once, I recall walking away thinking, “Wow, that did not go the way I that I thought it would.”
I tried to learn from each less-than-stellar experience. Leadership development courses, reading, studying, trial and error, and a genuine intention to learn and improve in this area have helped. I’ve found a fbew strategic ways, over the years, to approach these interactions thoughtfully. And I’ve shared successful techniques with my teams and colleagues.
With a little pre-planning and the right intentions, you can turn what could be a difficult conversation into an opportunity to build trust, communicate needs and expectations, and foster an environment for growth and improvement.
For many of us, just the word “confrontation” carries strong negative emotions. We may fear that we will hurt someone’s feelings, create a difficult work environment or compromise a friendship.
Developing the ability to confront issues is essential in the workplace and in other areas of our lives. Addressing issues as they arise lets team members or coworkers have the information they need to meet expectations in relationships, job performance, and workplace culture.
You can foster communication by providing an opportunity for people to correct and grow with the organization, while also documenting your efforts to help them. Unfortunately, sometimes a manager's best efforts don’t make the needed difference, and documentation may be necessary to support a decision to terminate employment. However, many times I have discovered that an employee didn’t realize that their behavior was creating a problem. When given the information and an opportunity to improve, they made corrections and began to thrive.
I am sure you would like to avoid a conversation that leaves you asking yourself, “What just happened?” There is an art to approaching difficult subjects in a positive manner that will create an intentional environment for growth. I hope to provide a coaching opportunity to align my teammate with the goal. I’m not going to claim I win ‘em all, but I’m sure this thoughtful preparation will put you on a path to the most positive outcome possible.
When we confront, we are trying to bring to light something that needs to be addressed. Remember, that is our perspective, but the person you are conducting the conversation with may not see it the same way, or even be aware that there is an issue or concern.
Here are my tips for mastering difficult conversations:
1) Be the example
5) Avoid back-tracking
Take confidence in knowing that confrontation, coaching, correction, acknowledgment, and encouragement are all essential aspects of leadership. When performed well, these types of communication and engagement can positively communicate needs and expectations. They can help you improve performance and grow relationships and trust with colleagues, coworkers, and personal relationships — even parenting! Learning to embrace these communication essentials will inform your team, inspire and grow you as a leader, and create better communion within your organization.
If you got to the end of this article, keep up the great work! You clearly have a heart for inspiring healthy communication and expectation transparency within your teams! You are going to do great things!
Long Live the Adventure,
Authenticity: The courage to be yourself
Live with Intention
As individuals, and as a family, we find that we are more whole when strive to live each day with intention. Starting with our morning routine. We specifically incorporate some form of: Gratitude, physical activity, meditation practice and spiritual connection before turning to our calendars, breakfast with our tribe and our work begins. We work hard, and play even harder. We don't always nail it, but when you're living purposefully you get close and your feel good!
Here are some of our Hacks for Purposeful Living
One of my favorite quotes is, "No one cares, work harder." I love this, because it serves as two reminders for me:
1) Don't take up space in your mind worrying about what others are thinking about you. Because, guess what, they're not thinking about you! As women, I think we can be particularly susceptible to this. Reminding myself that everyone is focused on themselves and running their own race, helps me to focus on mine.
Extra Insight: If they are thinking about you, they must have a lot of free time.
2) Don't seek fulfillment in accolades, or approval, from others either. If you believe that God (the Universe, whatever you call your higher power) has a purpose for your life (which I do), then it's your obligation to pursue that purpose with intentional obsession. Work harder!
Own Your Plan
On an episode of the Rise Podcast, I heard Dave Hollis say, "If you want a life that's different from other people, you have to live a life that's different from other people." Mic drop! I repeat this mantra regularly. If you want a supernatural life, you have to be intentional about your choices every single day, and you have to own, and be confident in those choices. This is your plan, for your life, everyone else's opinions about your plan, is just that, their opinions (prepare yourself to hear a lot of these). Get up early everyday and remind yourself that the path toward achieving your best life is going to require work, intentionality and risk. You've got this!
Stay the Course
When you're living an intentional life, focused on achieving professional and personal goals, spiritual wholeness and physical wellness, while striving for your life to be an adventure with your family, a you will hear people say: "You're working too hard," "You need to slow down" or "When are you going to rest?" My experience is that you must fight the urge to let these statements take up residency in your mind. People who love and are genuinely concerned about you, will say this. It's easy to think, "Maybe they're right. Maybe I am running too fast." But, I promise, if you are where you are called to be, you will have the energy, strength and passion to live full out, keep cadence and enjoy the lifestyle you are striving for. And, when times get challenging (which they will) you'll be equipped to go into battle, climb that mountain and push through.
Be True to Yourself
With today's social media exposure and inundation to other people's highlight reels, it can be difficult to navigate true authenticity. Only you know the true desires of your heart and they are different from mine and everyone else's. I find daily journaling, gratitude and meditation practices, coupled with a 30 minute workout essential to my wellbeing. These daily disciplines help to subdue the outside distractions, to keep me grounded and to focus inwardly on what I find truly fulfilling. Getting to know myself, and knowing what I place value on in this world, empowers be to shed the self-doubt, insecurities, and comparisons with others. Practicing loving myself and prioritizing my family and goals, is a daily exercise that I am fairly certain I will never master, but doing the work is changing my life and my family's and is no doubt, the best investment of time I have ever spent.
Remember, knowing what the work is, and doing the work are two different things. My prayer for you, and for me, is that we DO THE WORK!
Live Your Best Life
If this type of purposeful authentic living sounds like your cup of tea, and you want to know more, we're Here to Serve! If you'd like more information on goal setting, morning routines, and other development outlets, we'd love to help get you plugged into a wealth of resources to help you live your best life!
Learn more here at www.cummingscamp.com, or follow us on Facebook and Insta: @MsNikkiCummings | @BuddyCummings | @CummingsCamp
We'd love to DO THE WORK with you!
Nothing like an unflattering freeze-frame to keep you humble!
Over the years, I've written about our husband and wife partnership as entrepreneurs building a business. I've covered living on the road while working and growing a family. I've discussed how to find your center when raising a family while building your empire. And I've shared work hacks to keep you on top of your game while traveling.
Across the board, I've emphasized the importance of a routine to ensure discipline and traction both personally and professionally when you're scaling a business and raising your tribe. I felt like my husband Buddy, and I had a leg up on working remotely and being productive.
If there were ever a time that could test my strategies and beliefs in my capacity for stress and change, it's government-mandated quarantine. Wow! Our family was sick with colds and cases of flu before the California COVID-19 quarantine, so at the time I'm writing this, we're actually in Week 5 of Sheltering in Place. Thank God it's Spring Break.
Seriously, I like my kids' schoolwork even less than they do, so Spring Break came at a much-needed time. I've always loved our children's teachers, but they have achieved a whole new level of greatness in my eyes. I don't know how you teachers do it. Then, many of you come home and do homework with your kids! I tip my hat to you all!
We lived in an RV with a toddler while I was third-trimester pregnant with number two, in North Dakota. We were 50 miles from the Canadian border, and it was the middle of December, yet we went to work on a construction site every day. Sounds grim, right? Well, I gotta tell you, that was easier than the past month at home with two kids doing "independent" online schooling — and a three-year-old running around trying to derail the train!
Our motto for many years has been, "the family that travels together, stays together." And now all I want is a weekend away with my girlfriends! Or better yet, a weekend alone, in silence, in an ashram. Do you remember silence? What I wouldn't give for a little silence.
In my last post: Finding peace amidst uncertainty, I explored some of the hacks we were using in an attempt to keep the peace in our little village! Fast forward a few weeks, and we've figured out a few more things, experienced some more failures, laughed, argued, had a couple of meltdowns, and learned more about ourselves and each other.
All of their lives, our kids have had front row seats for our American Dream-Chasing Tour. In fact, they've had backstage passes. So for them, watching mom and dad juggle schedules, tag-team work and chores at home, coordinate school pickups and drop-offs — along with work meetings and travel schedules — is nothing new.
What is new is that we've taken on the additional responsibility of trying to be teachers — and without the help we usually have (from a babysitter or family member.) Don't judge, or do if you want! But, if anyone tells you they keep their pace personally and professionally without any help —they're lying. Our life isn't one-size-fits-all, but we're fighting hard to design the life of our dreams, and most of the time, it works for us. When it doesn't, it can get a little messy.
As bootstrapping entrepreneurs, I think we are pretty nimble and innovative. But pack all five of us, and our French Bulldog Lovie, around the clock in a home with no office, garage or den, and even the greatest domestic diva would be tested. Oh, did I mention it's been pouring outside for days on end!
It's been a learning experience, and no doubt will continue to be for the foreseeable future. I think I can safely say we are starting to make a little more progress each day. As partners, as a couple and as parents, we're getting better at coordinating our schedules in advance to prioritize the kids and their school schedules, along with needs for physical activity and play. We're organizing our schedules to allow time for each of us to work on our professional and passion projects.
What we haven't mastered yet is much time together as a couple. These kids are ALL UP IN OUR BUSINESS! The big kids are still a little young to babysit the three-year-old. Besides, I'm convinced that if they were alone on an island, he would be named Lord of the Flies. Date nights are a nice idea, and an overnight getaway is a distant memory of days gone by. We have to shelve any real chance to connect until we get the kiddos in bed, schoolwork reviewed and uploaded, and the casa cleaned. Then we pour ourselves into bed, both exhausted from schooling, parenting, housework, and work.
Next week, we're going to work on prioritizing our time to talk, plan, and connect during the little man's nap time. Look out kids, mom and dad are going to start having a lot more "conference calls" midday, so no knocking on the door, it's an important meeting!
Sometimes, the days are long and other days seem even longer, and then there are days when I feel like we're in our element and could take the kids out of school, move on to a boat and sail around the world! For clarification, this feeling lasts for about 3.2 seconds, and then the baby spits milk across the room in an effort to make his siblings laugh, and I'm jolted back to reality. In all seriousness, though, I know we'll look back on this epic, scary, and crazy-beautiful time in our lives, years from now and long for these days with our babies. Humor is just one way I choose to find joy, and hopefully, bring a little joy to you as well!
At the end of the day, isn't how we choose to control our attitudes part of this whole endeavor? With so much out of our control, our perspective is one thing we can control. We have to work at it, but we do have choices. It's too soon to know what the future will hold or the shape of our "new normal." But one thing is already certain: There is an opportunity in this for us all. We each have an opportunity to learn, evolve, and to grow closer as a family and as a community. What will you choose?
Long Live the Adventure,
I know I’m not alone when I admit that this past week was a little crazy! Each morning, I’d visualize our day filled with love and laughter. I’d see us working together as a family and drawing closer to one another during this time of quarantine. And while that was a lovely intention, by mid morning without fail, I’d feel like I needed to retreat to my closet to gain a little composure. The reality of keeping a calm and peaceful environment amidst our circumstances was harder than I visualized.
I’d love to tell you that we entered into the weekend with grace and ease, but I’d be a big ole LIAR! Let me start with the fact that for two weeks before the new reality of Social Distancing, our schedules were diverted as our family suffered through a cold, followed by a nasty stomach flu. So we were already laying low and trying to keep our germs confined when the world went crazy in response to COVID-19 health concerns. As schools closed and folks posted memes about the horrors of having their kids at home on Day 3, we were, in essence, on Week 3! Lord, help us all!
Our circumstances were like many others: Two of our kiddos began independent studies, mixed with online instruction. We started to tie up loose ends with trips to the grocery store and post office. We rescheduled meetings from face-to-face to virtual and streamlined our schedules to enable us to be home to care for the kiddos. Remote classes are a great alternative to allow the kids to continue their education during this time of uncertainty, but they are far from independent. Trouble-shooting technology issues and helping the kids stay focused requires a great deal of our time. Of course, this was in addition to trying to execute our professional initiatives. Plus, I haven’t done fourth and sixth-grade math since I was in elementary school, and at the risk of embarrassing myself, it’s tough!
March has been wet, but we were blessed with a little sunshine this week. It was brisk out, but the break in the rain allowed the kids to play outside for short periods, which helped. Anytime it rains in California, it’s a blessing. But since we’re also in the middle of a construction project, the areas around our house — which someday will be concrete driveways — are giant mud puddles. We can’t pave until the ground dries out. Add three kids to that scene and you can imagine how many times a day we have to sweep our floors!
Don’t get me wrong; this is life and part of the joy and responsibility of “Adulting.” I don’t even think I’m complaining, as much as I am processing. For example, my car is in the shop, and I’m stressed knowing we’re temporarily a one-car family, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere. I’m late for nothing, no one is waiting on me, I haven’t missed any deadlines, our whole world is on pause, and yet the feeling of angst is still present.
Buddy and I have a pretty exceptional relationship most of the time, and we work hard at co-parenting. Still, truth be told this week left us both vying for personal time to have our meetings, catch up on emails, read contracts, and me trying to carve out a few minutes each day to work on a book I’m writing. We found ourselves on edge, disagreeing over quarantine philosophies, and exhausted from the increased efforts at home. We were at odds over how concerned we should, or shouldn’t be about the quarantine, and debating about whether to fly to Hawaii to visit family or to hole up on our ranch in the mountains.
There has also been some beauty in isolation. We’ve had dinner together as a family every night. We’ve been able to witness and better understand our children’s work ethics and habits. We’ve started to work on some projects that have been lingering and reprioritized some life practices at home, like getting back into a little homesteading.
When moving into our new home in the country, we elected not to get cable or satellite TV. We have the Internet and a smart TV, so we watch movies, but we didn’t want the TV and certainly not the news to have a prominent role in our daily lives. I have a news app and regularly check headlines and read more about what’s relevant to us as needed. I must say that not having cable has been wildly liberating and often ignorance feels like bliss. At times, however, we have felt a little disconnected throughout the international and now local pandemic. Now that the virus is upon us, in our county, and our state has mandated quarantine and all non-essential businesses cease operations, we’re paying even more attention to the growing concern.
Even with intentionally veering from the news hysteria, I have experienced a myriad of emotions recently and especially this week, as I’m assuming many of you have also. Panic, anxiety, and conspiracy theories have all taken up space in my mind. I consciously and repeatedly choose to move away from entertaining these thoughts, but I must admit it’s scary.
It's been an effort to stick with some essential daily practices and to implement some new ones. I want to ensure sanity, normalcy, and a sense of productivity and momentum. These measures and absolutes helped me this week and will benefit me in the coming weeks.
As the week comes to an end, I reflect on what went well and what we can improve on. I know that the weeks will likely become more difficult, lonely for friends and family, and the news of our world and neighborhoods will become even scarier, but these practices will help us remain strong in the midst of whatever storms may come:
-Choose Joy - As you notice your hearts becoming heavy or your irritability rising, try to take a few breaths and remind yourself that the only thing we can control is our attitude and our thoughts.
-Stick to, or establish, your Morning Routine - Friends, this is EVERYTHING. It will start your day off with positive momentum and give you a little time to yourself to practice self-care and execute on some of your priorities.
-Move your body every day - I have a stationary bike, but there were times this week we had dance parties, or practiced running in place and doing yoga online. No excuses — move your body every day!
-Make healthy food choices - Eating well provides you with more energy, and gaining weight during this time will only play more tricks on your psyche.
-Choose one organizing project every day - You don’t have to go after a whole room. Pick one cabinet, one dresser, one coat closet that needs some love. Purge whatever doesn’t serve you, reorganize and clean the space. You will feel pride in the accomplishment and freedom in letting go.
-Start a new habit - Ever thought of raising chickens for eggs, waste composting, making homemade cleaning supplies, or implementing essential oils? Now is a great time to educate yourself and explore something new and positive that will benefit you, your family, and our planet. Thank God for Amazon Prime!
-Develop a parenting plan for the week with your partner - Look over each other’s schedules and decide who is doing what each day. This will help manage expectations and ensure you both understand the other's commitments and goals for the week.
-Don’t keep a scoreboard with your partner - Commit to each other that you won’t keep track, or throw back at each other, who’s done what. This behavior won’t help anything.
-Have a plan - Do try to implement some fun activities: Lip Syncs, Board Games, Family Meal Preparation. A little creativity will go a long way in breaking up the long days at home.
-Encourage the kids to journal - These are historic times around the world and they likely have a lot of feelings about it. Maybe they will want to share their journal, or elect to keep it to themselves. Either way is okay and spending a few minutes writing their thoughts down can be beneficial.
-Give yourself a break - Sometimes just surviving is thriving! Do not compare yourself to other’s highlight reels on social media. If you are doing the best you can, and you’ve made mac ‘n cheese three days in a row, it’s okay, sister! Just keep going!
Limit your alcohol consumption - I used white wine in a recipe last night and poured myself a glass. It tasted so good on my lips, I poured another! I thought, "Oh wow, this could be dangerous." For context, this was the first drink I've had in a week, but in times like this if I weren't careful, I'd find myself day-drinking by noon on the regular.
-Exercise grace with the ones you love, and with yourself - Forgive quickly and ask for forgiveness when you have a lash out or breakdown that’s bound to happen. These are stressful times, don’t be too proud to say you’re sorry.
-Pray - I don’t just mean pray after you’ve lost it on your kiddos, or partner, and life has turned into a poop-show, and you’re questioning your mental health. Pray in the morning, during the day and at night. Carve out time to sit in silence and meditate. This time in silence and time connecting with your creator will help calm, center, and ground you.
As we begin a new week and work to build and improve on last week. I'm feeling restored by the weekend of exploring and rest. I'm a little scared, but I'm starting the week with intention, purpose and optimism, anticipating that we will achieve that visualization of love and laughter after all.
When the worldwide danger and fear has subsided, I believe and hope that some truly beautiful changes will have occurred. I believe that we’ll have an opportunity to be more centered around our families, make less of an environmental impact, and witness the spirit of American entrepreneurialism at its best, among other things. My hope is that we won’t lose sight of this time, that we’ll implement truly positive change at home and in our world. We’ll get through this and have the opportunity to be closer and stronger than ever.
Stay Safe, Choose Joy and Show Love.
Long Live the Adventure,
My husband and business partner, Buddy, and I have owned and operated businesses together for over 16 years. We have established and sold two companies and are now working on our third venture. Over the years, we have spent a lot of time traveling, both for business and pleasure. When on vacation or business travel, the work back at the office doesn’t pause or slow; it continues to build. Having a structured remote work routine can be the key to your success, allowing you to stay on top of business even when you are out of the office.
Growing, and scaling, our businesses over the years has required a great deal of commitment and time and often required us to travel, sometimes at length. We embraced the philosophy, “the family that travels together, stays together,” and took our children with us whenever possible. We also turned many business trips into a vacation to make the most of our time somewhere. One summer, we drove cross-country on two different highways, taking crew members to dinner and conducting job interviews, while stopping to tour national parks and visiting family members along the way.
When your spouse is your partner, and you’re traveling together, (meaning you are both out of the office), you need even more self-discipline. Striking a balance can be challenging when working remotely. For us, it’s been a learning process, and sometimes I feel like I have to learn the same lessons over again. Here, I’ll cover some tactics we’ve learned over the years that might help you manage your existing workload, gain traction on new initiatives, spend quality time with your family and explore new places and adventures on your journeys.
A theme in our family and my life is: Work Hard, Play Hard. You’ll find this underlying message in all my writing, speeches and videos. I believe in embracing life to the full and living purposefully every day with that objective in mind. Yes, at times, this intense lifestyle can be exhausting. I have to live very intentionally to keep pace with our self-imposed chaos. This starts with a relentless morning routine. I also work to incorporate meditation, a healthy(ish) diet, adequate sleep and other beneficial daily habits. Let me disclose; I’m never 100 percent. I never fully crush it in every area, but I am always trying and that helps keep me centered amidst the mayhem.
Travel is part of that mayhem, but it’s worth the effort. Travel will enrich your life and create impactful experiences and memories to share with your family. It can also expand your business, and I’m not just referring to the big meetings and conferences you attend while on your trips. Exposure to new cultures, excellent customer service and interactions with new people can serve as an opportunity to broaden your experience and foster an environment for creative innovation within your own business.
Here are some Work & Travel Life Hacks to help you prepare for your next business trip, family vacation or hybrid of the two. You’ll be excited and organized with a smart plan that will allow you to stay on top of your work life as you embrace the next adventure with your littles!
1) Prep hard before leaving: Plan ahead to take as little work with you as possible. I work like crazy when preparing to be out of the office. I make a list of all of the tasks that I can complete before leaving, so I go into my trip feeling really good about all the momentum I’ve made.
2) Put everything in a planner: I know it’s 2020, but I still use a planner. I also use my Outlook/iCal, and my husband and I share calendars, so we don’t double book each other. When I’m preparing to be out of the office for a while, I find it a helpful exercise to write everything down and to see it all laid out in one place. I can review it daily to see what the week and specific days look like at a glance.
3) Set up autoreply for voicemail and email: I used to be wildly insecure about using autoreply, I thought my clients would lose respect for me if they knew I didn’t chain myself to my work desk. Now, I use my autoreply as a chance to gain respect and build trust with my clients and team members by keeping them informed.
Here’s an example of how I structure an autoreply:
I’m working remotely from Monday, Feb. 17 through Friday, Feb. 21. I’ll be responding to emails and messages twice daily, so there may be a slight delay in my response time. If you need immediate assistance, please reach out to XXX at (XXX)XXX-XXXX. Otherwise, I’ll be in touch shortly. As always, thank you for your trust and confidence in our team.
Long Live the Adventure, Nikki
4) Streamline your meeting schedule: Once you’ve organized your schedule, identify what you can delegate to minimize the number of conference calls you need to attend. Delegation is essential to scaling a business. You must have a capable team that you trust. That's why you hired them, right? If you aren’t a natural delegator, start working on this skill now. It will empower your team and elevate your capacity to focus on areas of your highest and best use. (Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’ll write a blog about this soon.) Also, assign someone to take notes in meetings and to email you a recap for your review during your scheduled work period (see below).
6) Tag-team: Cover for each other: You both don’t have to be everywhere at once. Decide who needs to attend what meetings, and let that person recap the other when possible.
7) Schedule working periods: Schedule working periods twice a day to check and respond to emails, review recaps and take action on any outstanding projects. Ensure that these time slots are short and as efficient as possible. Mitigate distractions so you can dive in, be productive and then get back out to your family, who will be anxiously awaiting your return. Note: Don’t take calls on the botanical garden hike to the waterfall with your kids. Be present. They deserve it.
8) Wake up early: We are relentless about our morning routines, even when on vacation. We still wake up early and tackle our individual routines, first thing. Early morning is a great time to knock out your first working period of the day. The kiddos are still sleeping, and you both can be extremely productive without distractions. You can get through all of your morning emails before the team is in the office, and can still hit the slopes for some morning turns.
9) Maximize flight/naptime: I try to maximize flight time, to get the extra edge before starting a vacation or returning to the office. I use this time to work on big initiatives that I might have put off. Our kids don’t have access to tablets, unless we’re traveling a long distance, so during this time, they’re pretty captivated. I’m working on writing, preparing a presentation for an upcoming speaking opportunity, building a budget, or reviewing contracts, while they’re watching the newest movie we downloaded before the flight. It’s amazing how productive you’ll find yourself on a plane! If your kiddos are still young enough to nap, this is another perfect time for scheduling your working periods. They won’t even notice that you’re growing your empire while they’re sleeping peacefully.
10) Play hard: Lastly, remember what’s important. Work hard during your scheduled work periods. Stay on top of your emails, so you don’t fall behind and bottleneck your team. Empower and build trust in your leaders — your company will be better for it. Be in the moment with your partner and children. Focus on each other and cherish the time together. Abstain from checking your phone while you’re with your family, and don’t feel guilty. Life is short and they’ll be out pursuing their own adventures before we know it. Prioritize your family; don’t fit them in around your business. When you schedule your priorities — instead of prioritizing your schedule — you are in control of what you deem is most important. What’s most important to you — the journey or pursuit of what’s at the end of it?
This weekend, our home away from home, Mammoth Lakes, and snow sports lovers the world over said goodbye to the godfather of winter recreation, Dave McCoy, who passed away at 104 years old on Saturday, Feb. 8. Dave was the visionary and founder of Mammoth Mountain. His ability to dream big built a first-class ski resort with some of the best all-around terrain in the world. He leveraged his passion to build a profitable business that created jobs for over 3,000 people and attracts visitors from all over, making Mammoth Mountain the third most-visited ski resort in the world in 2018 with over 1.2 million visitors.
Born in El Segundo, California, on August 24, 1915, Dave first visited the Sierra Nevada when he was just 13 years old and fell in love with the snow. After completing the eighth grade, he moved to Washington state with his grandparents because his parents had divorced. But once Dave finished high school, he headed south, back to the Eastern Sierra. He joined the Eastern Sierra Ski Club, where at age 22, he became the California State Skiing Champion. And he skied for a living, too, after he became a hydrographer for Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. His job was to measure snow levels so the City of Los Angeles could predict how much water would be available in the coming spring and summer. Some days he would ski 50 miles to take snow measurements.
His entrepreneurial story could, and should, be made into a movie. While working as a hydrographer, Dave met and later married Roma Carriere. Turns out, Roma was a clerk at the bank where McCoy sought an $85 bank loan in 1938 to set up a tow rope at McGee Mountain. McGee is located along the 395, just south of Mammoth. The bank turned him down because his only collateral was his motorcycle. Dave left the bank, but the story goes, the young clerk marched into the bank president’s office and proclaimed that if he didn’t give that young man a loan, she would quit. Well, they gave him the loan and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1953, the Forest Service awarded McCoy a permit to open a ski area on Mammoth Mountain, (where he had moved his tow rope to from McGee due to better snow) with the condition that he develop the mountain as a ski resort. In 1955, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area incorporated and Dave applied for another loan, but this time it was for $135,000 to purchase and build a chair lift. Again, he was turned down. That wasn’t going to stop Dave, he found a way to secure a used lift, that would become Chair 1, now known as Broadway, and he and some fellow skiers worked long arduous hours to install it themselves.
The dreaming, the trials, and the hard work continued as Dave faced economic struggles. Not only was he dealing with tough terrain as he expanded the resort, but Mother Nature didn’t always cooperate. But Dave survived the dreadful 1976-1977 season, when Mammoth only received 94 inches of snow, and he never stopped believing in Mammoth. He knew that once people discovered Mammoth they would come back and bring others with them. And, they did! When Dave retired in 2005, he’d been running the resort for 68 years. He sold the resort to Starwood Capital Group in a deal that was valued at $365 million.
Dave continued to ski until 2008, when he had a knee replacement. He became an avid and talented photographer and he and Roma enjoyed excursions into the backcountry behind their homestead in Bishop in their ATV. I’m only scratching the surface of Dave’s interests, talents, vision and contribution to Mammoth here. I could write for hours.
He and Roma were incredibly committed to the communities of Mammoth Lakes and Bishop where they raised their six children. They, along with a few friends, founded the Mammoth Lakes Foundation in 1989 to bring education and arts to the Eastern Sierra. They were instrumental in securing a permanent building for Cerro-Coso Community College. The foundation allocates scholarships for Bishop and Mammoth High School graduates to attend and obtain their AA degrees at Cerro-Coso.
My husband, and business partner, Buddy and I have been visiting Mammoth for years. We have always been inspired by Dave and Roma’s marriage, vision, courage, dedication, and most of all, the love of their team and their community. Dave was adored by his team, and with good reason, he adored them just as equally.
They took big risks, and in the end, gained huge rewards. All along, they were committed to, and invested right back into the towns that had supported them along the way. They are an incredible example of the power of humility, hard work and passion.
When we purchased our cabin in 2016, we thought our family was complete with the two of us, and our daughter and son. Turns out, we were wrong. We loved Mammoth so much, we soon found out we we’d be adding one more to our family in 2017. When we learned we were having a boy, we started to think of names. One day, while driving north on the 395, I asked Buddy what he thought of naming the baby McCoy. His response was immediate. He said enthusiastically, “That’s it!” And, from that day on, we awaited our McCoy.
We now split our time between our ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains and our cabin in Mammoth Lakes, where we’ve celebrated birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, rang in New Years and have had more epic pow days that one deserves! We’re often stopped by Mammoth staff when they hear us call out to McCoy. They’ll say something like, “Do you know you have the same name as a guy who’s pretty special around here?” I get the joy of telling them that he is in fact named after that “special guy” and their faces light up every time.
Mammoth Mountain will be a legacy that will live on with skiers and snowboarders now, and for generations to come. But, Dave’s kindness, generosity and love for his mountain, his staff, his guests, his athletes, his community and so much more will echo in the Sierra Nevada forever.
Dave, my heart breaks that we must bid you farewell. Thank you for dreaming, for dreaming so big, that most people thought your dreams were impossible. Thank you for staying the course in times of adversity. Thank you for being the example of servant leadership at its very best! Thank you for creating a paradise that has afforded me, and my family memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for everything!
Goals, Goals, Goals! For many of us, goal setting is an exciting exercise. For some of us, it can be an overwhelming task. Either way, we reset, refocus and walk into a new year or new chapter, with intention. As the weeks wear on, and the chaos of day to day life ensues, the excitement fades and we can find ourselves feeling defeated. It can be hard to channel the same energy we started with and we wonder, "What happens after the excitement wears off?"
Trust me. It happens to the best of us! Below are a few tips and tricks that I've identified over the years that help me stay the course:
1) Morning Routine: The success of my day begins with executing my morning routine. I do the same thing every morning, seven days a week! Having a routine helps me start my day with positive momentum. Achieving the goal of executing my morning routine, means I've checked one daily goal off of my list, and that I'm heading in the right direction to have an awesome day! You've seen it before: "Success is on the other side of your consistency." For me, my morning routine is EVERYTHING!
2) Set One Achievable Goal: When I'm working on my annual goals, I love to dream big, and work my way back. I intentionally set one or two annual goals that will have a positive impact on my objectives but are relatively achievable with a little time and focus. Why? Because it feels good to check something off of your goal list! I believe in the power of momentum, and if you have the momentum of completing one goal early on, you'll feel good and want to continue down that path. Currently, I write down daily: "I complete the outline for our book." I'm just now putting the finishing touches on the outline. Then I can cross it off my list! Next, I'll write: "I complete the talking points for each chapter in our outline." The ultimate goal: "I complete our book in 2020, and it's a New York Times Bestseller!" That's a BIG goal, but breaking it down into bite-sized segments makes it appear more achievable, and makes me feel good and empowered as I complete each task.
3) Get Yourself an Accountability Partner: We have family and friends we love, but not everyone is on the same personal growth journey train that we are on. You will find it wildly helpful to identify one friend (or, like me, your entire social media community), who you can share your goals with and who will "jam you up" in love. I'm in a rad "girl-gang." I have a group of friends who know what the others are working towards in their lives, and we regularly ask each other about our goals and dreams, cheer each other on, listen, support through struggles and most importantly, celebrate each other's wins! We are each other's #1 fans! Get in a gang y'all! Even if there are only two of you, it will be a blessing!
4) Don't Set Too Many Goals at Once: Goal setting is a creative and exciting exercise, but it can also become overwhelming! I personally like to start big! I visualize myself and my life 10 years from now. I write it all down and keep that sheet of paper. Then, I ask myself what my life will need to look like in five years to achieve my 10-year vision. I keep that sheet. Lastly, I contemplate what I need to do this year to work towards my five and 10-year plans. I identify 10 solid goals to work on, in the next 12 months, that will get me closer to being that woman, and having that life. I don't set more than 10 goals. As you complete each goal, you can add another. I'm never working on more than 10 at one time. From that 10, I identify one mini goal to work on that will get me closer to achieving one of my 10 goals (like finishing my book outline so I can move forward with writing the book!)
5) Write Down Your Goals Daily: As important as my daily routine is, I write out my goals every single day! I incorporate this into my morning routine, because it's such a priority. When I say I do it daily, I mean: I do it daily! And, I write them as if they've already happened. Example: I want to work on being a more patient mom, but instead of writing, "I want to be more patient," I write, "I am a patient mama." This conditions my brain to know that I AM patient.
6) Define Your WHY: It's critical for me to sit down and define why I'm setting aside to time to pursue my life with intention, because it's a lot of work! It's worthwhile work, but it requires sacrifice and change. When I've identified my WHY, I have something I can meditate on to get excited about, and also something to refocus on when I've lost momentum. Here's my WHY: I must lay it all out on the field of life to see what the Creator has in store for me. Because I know His plans are so much greater than my own. I must leave a legacy for my children. I cannot get to the end of my life wondering, "What If?" My WHY excites me and inspires me to get off of my butt, to take risks and to love big!
7) Change Your State: We all have bad days, seasons of struggle and times we don't feel motivated. A few minutes of physical activity can change your entire mental state. A quick walk around the block at lunch, 10-20 jumping jacks in the restroom or doing a breathing exercise at your desk works wonders. If you take a risk, you might surprise yourself. A few moments to change your surroundings and increase blood flow will work wonders on your mental state and get you back in the game!
8) Remind Yourself That You're Worth It: At the end of the day, you must believe (even if it doesn't come naturally) that you are worth it. You deserve to be the best version of yourself, to reach your full potential and to chase your dreams. There is a purpose for your life, and you are entitled to live out that purpose, without regret or guilt. You may have to shed decades of conditioning to do this, but you will not reach your life's full potential without truly believing this. You will be a better you, for everyone else, when you do the work on you, and believe that YOU ARE WORTH IT!
NOTE: I've been goal setting for many years and I have tried many frameworks. Currently, I get inspired from Rachel Hollis. You can go to Episode 72 of her podcast The Rise Podcast for free, to listen to, and walk through the process. I promise it's worth it. Do the work!
As we move through the first month of the new decade, I hope that the intentions and goals that you set for yourself are off to a supernatural start. This month, I find myself reflecting on 2019 and the last decade as a whole. I'm also looking toward the horizon of this new decade thoughtfully, as I prepare for the personal and professional development work I will do in 2020. Part of that work is identifying some of the books I plan to read this year. As I was adding to my ever-growing Goodreads Wish List, I took a quick look back at the books I read and listened to in 2019.
I try to read an average of two books a month. I like to listen to audiobooks and read hard copies, based on the book. Sometimes, I'll listen to a book, and it's so filled with nuggets of wisdom or inspiration that I'll purchase it in hardcopy and read it again. This way I can have an additional chance to absorb the content and take notes in the margins. If a book is truly exceptional, I'll start a book club or look for a workbook. One of the books I read in 2019 was so good and relevant to our business, it was my fourth time reading it. In 2018, I read four different versions of "The Art of War," each offering a different perspective. You might not believe that an ancient Chinese general's timeless classic could have such an impact, but it's worth your time to check out at least one of the translations of this book.
While most of the books I read are in the professional or personal development genres, I'm not gonna lie, I do throw in a work of fiction every now and then, just to mix it up. Such books might not change your life, but they may bring a little laughter or distraction to your day, and hey, every now and then, we need a little fun, for no reason other than that, FUN!
In 2019, I read some amazing books and kissed a few frogs. Perhaps in this new year, you want to read more, or you're looking for ways to gain specific knowledge abourt your business, or home life goals. Below is a list of my book highlights of 2019, as well as a few extras that I've read over the years. These extras I consider a MUST-include in my Top Fave Book List for any year. I left out the lowlights, and books that didn't rock my world because I'm not a professional critic and just because a book didn't strike a chord with me, doesn't mean it won't resonate with you. If you are curious about a bestseller that's not listed here, shoot me a message, and if I've read it, I'll be happy to let you know my thoughts. If you've read any of the books listed below - or as you read them - I'd love to hear what you think. And please let me know books you're reading that are a must, because I may not even know about them yet. Happy reading, y'all!
Memoirs / Self-Discovery
Good Ole Fashioned Fiction
Since retiring from World Wind & Solar, I've had more time and find great joy in encouraging others. I hope that some of these books may serve as an encouragement, inspiration (and maybe a few laughs) for you!
NOTE: The book images are linked directly to their Amazon pages for your convenience. For more recommendations, reviews and to check out my Wish List for 2020, follow me on Good Reads.
I'm not going to lie, "I've gotta get out of this town," is something I've heard, and said, over the years. I live in the smallish town of Tehachapi, California. Tehachapi is a quaint mountain town in Central California, composed of about 30,000 residents, in the heart of the last conservative county in the state, Kern County. Kern County is frequently referred to as the Texas of California, so it's no surprise that in recent years, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Texas. I've visited several Texas cities and landmarks for both work and pleasure, and each time I go, I find myself even more smitten.
Texas has a long larger-than-life history of cattle ranches, farming, oil barons, industry, US presidents, independence and pride. The state is known for Texan hospitality, out of this world barbecue and so much more. While Texas boasts a long line of impressive women in history, recently, some charming Texan businesswomen are staking their claim and taking social media, HGTV, their communities and the world by storm with their vision, style, spunk and entrepreneurialism. Joanna Gaines of the television show, Fixer Upper, from Waco and Aimee and Jolie the Junk Gypsy Sisters in Round Top, along with their families and teams are putting Texas in a new spotlight.
The phrase "everything's bigger in Texas" isn't lost on these spitfires. Their inability the think small has developed an international following. They are outspoken women of faith who have warmed our hearts and inspired us to express our personal styles in our homes, through entertaining and cooking and encouraged our desire to pursue our own dreams and the belief that anything is possible with a dream, taking some risk and putting in hard work.
During a recent trip to Texas, my husband and I were again blown away by what Joanna Gaines, her husband Chip and their Magnolia Team have done to completely transform their community of Waco, Texas. This is not an understatement, Joanna and her business partner and husband, Chip have leveraged the celebrity of their show and have invested in multiple commercial real estate business in Waco. At the center of The Magnolia Market at the Silos, is their gorgeous home decor store, Magnolia. On the property is also a garden store, The Silos Baking Co. and a bustling outdoor pavilion and courtyard that is home to numerous small business proprietors of food and beverage trucks. They opened a cafe in 2019, the Magnolia Press on the Silo campus as well. In addition to the Silo property, they have the Little Shop on Bosque that serves as a last chance retail shop at discount prices. In 2018, they opened Magnolia Table and have plans to open a store featuring their own furniture line in 2020.
Prior to 2015, an average of 25,000 average visitors came to Waco each month (those numbers are after two seasons of Fixer Upper had already aired). In 2018, Waco hosted over 2.7 million visitors. That's 225,000 people a month y'all! TripAdvisor ranked Waco No. 2 on its list of top destinations on the rise for 2018. Way to go JoJo!
After visiting Waco, we ventured southeast to the Texas Hill Country to visit my favorite "Big Time Small" town, Round Top, Texas, population 90. Round Top is the home of the Round Top Antiques Show, and the Junk Gypsies, two sisters who made junking a full time and prosperous endeavor. Their boho-meets-vintage-meets-yard-sale style has become all the rage. Their famous Airstream trailer renovations have garnered them national exposure and a reality TV show. They now have a gorgeous store, The Junk Gypsy, bed & breakfast, The Wander Inn and an incredible online retail endeavor.
Round Top has been home to the Round Top Antiques Show since 1968. It was founded by a visionary Texan lady, Emma Lee Turney. What was once a small week-long antique show with a handful of curated vendors, has now become a 2-week long antique festival, that takes place twice a year, and spans miles of Highway 237 from Carmine to La Grange, with Round Top at the heart of it all. It now attracts over 100,000 visitors each spring and fall.
While the Junk Gypsy Sisters moved from College Station in 2009 to raise their children in a small town, they didn't let their small town "fence them in." They'd been participating in the Round Top Antiques Show for years. One highlight of the event is the Junk-O-Rama Prom hosted by the gypsy sisters themselves. What started in 2004 as an ode to old prom dresses past, has turned into a star-studded evening with live music, dancing and outhouse-turned-photo booth, where fun is had by all!
Both sisters Amie and Jolie, have successful college backgrounds and were heading into promising careers in their fields of law and medicine, but the call to follow in their mama's footsteps and pursue the creativity of junking and design was too great. They quit their jobs in 1998 with $2,000 and a prayer to pursue their passion. That passion has landed them design gigs for the likes of Miranda Lambert and Green Day frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong. Their trash to treasure style, and Texan charm, also landed an HGTV show, Junk Gypsies, endearing them in the hearts of many of us, and putting Round Top in the spotlight for a new audience, including this small-town California girl. I'm currently planning my fourth trip back! Their style is so adored, they even have a custom line with Pottery Barn Teen!
The vision these women, their partners, families and teams share has spanned beyond their businesses and bank accounts. When driving through Waco or Round Top, there is no denying the impact these ladies have had on their communities. As a businesswoman, entrepreneur and developer, I reflected multiple times throughout the trip, and now back home, on the risks they took, the purposeful way in which they are living out their callings and the support of their families and communities in which they are thriving. After graduating from high school, I couldn't get out of my town fast enough. I needed to spread my wings and see what the world had in store for me. After my husband, Buddy (also from Tehachapi) and I started our family and business, the calling to relocate back to the roots of our hometown grew stronger and stronger.
We've been back home nearly nine years now and it's been a blessing. Don't get me wrong, there are some negatives to small-town living. I love the saying, "The nice thing about living in a small town is, if I don't know what I'm doing, someone else surely does." I know that people have always had their own opinions, but social media seems to have empowered people to more freely express their unsolicited negativity about our community's progress and our personal investments in it. I know that our town isn't unique to these rants. It happens everywhere. I read something recently that explored the concept that when you post online, versus speaking directly to someone you free yourself of receiving the expression on the person's face to whom you are speaking. You dodge the responsibility of witnessing the impact of what your cruelty has done to the other person. It really struck me. Daily, I've been reading more and more posts, primarily from women, encouraging one another to shake off such judgement and to "straighten each other's crowns." I love seeing this outpouring of encouragement, especially from our community of female small business owners. It's inspiring to see these ladies taking a stand, exerting their power, exercising their voices and loving on each other! You go girls!
Yes, the occasional, uninvited small town critic can be annoying, and downright hurtful, but my trip prompted me to consider all of the opposition and negative feedback these pioneers have surely received throughout their journeys. They didn't let it stop them. They didn't shrink or move to somewhere more metropolitan and ready for such visionaries. No, they stayed right where they were planted and blazed ahead in pursuit of the callings of their hearts. Not only did they and their careers blossom, but they undeniably enhanced the communities in which they live and invest.
I came home radically inspired. Inspired to pursue the desires of my heart and my family's, which involves continuing to invest in the community where we're planted, where we are raising our children, where we were raised. Where my family has resided for four generations and my husband's for six. We aren't going to make ourselves small, because some vocal minority on Facebook wants to criticize our design choices or investment strategies. And, neither should anyone else. We're going to stay right here and grow where we've chosen to be planted. As we journey into this new decade, my prayer for my family, friends and community members is that we'll all be inspired to meditate on our callings, to intentionally pursue that purpose, for relentless focus and to make 2020 the very best year of our lives. Heeding the calling of your heart can have a profound impact on your life, your family, your community and even the world! Let's go!
Side note: There are a couple of Texas ladies who aren't included in this blog, but I'd be wildly remiss to write a blog about today's strong Texas women and not to give them honorable mention:
San Antonio native and University of Houston powerhouse, Brené Brown is a professor, speaker and author who has written four New York Times Best Sellers. Brené specializes in studying, and coaching on, courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She works with C-Level leaders, high ranking military personnel and business organizations all over the world. Her philosophy encourages leaders to view and embrace vulnerability and transparency as strength and courage in leadership. My only wish is that I'd discovered Brené's books earlier on in my career. Her "no-nonsense" style gets right to the heart of addressing the responsibility of leadership when it comes to creating a successful or failing culture. Her philosophy and "grab the bull by the horns" tactics speak right into my heart. I encourage you to check her books out.
While Rachel Hollis, is a native Californian, she's originally from Kern County, so as previously mentioned, she's pretty much a Texan already! She and her husband chose to move to Texas as a strategic decision to headquarter their business and an emotional decision to choose the best place for them to raise their family. Our girl Rach lights the hearts of literally millions of women around the world on fire from her home in Texas. She has taken the personal development world by storm and is revered for her positive message that we are: Made for More! Her Texas roots continue to grow deeper as her company, The Hollis Co. announced plans at the end of 2019 to acquire land and build a large campus for their team in Austin. Rachel's daily social media videos, posts, podcasts, books, journals and emails are a part of my everyday motivation and have literally changed my life!
Believe it or not, both Brené and Rachel have their own documentaries. Brené's, The Call to Courage can be seen on Netflix and Rachel Hollis Presents: Made for More can be viewed for free with Amazon Prime Video.
We're a family who loves living life to the full. We try to live each day with intention in an effort to find gratitude, seek wonder, show love and a experience a ton of laughter.