Help for the Co.

Ivy&Co

Meet Ivy, the name & face of Ivy & Co., a small boutique filled with unique handmade accessories & gifts located in a revamped warehouse space on Kauai. Ivy’s mom, Rebecca, and I go back to our college days in Orange County, when our paths crossed at Chapman University. After graduation, she moved overseas briefly, but then returned to her hometown of Maui. She eventually met & married her husband, Kit, and they’ve settled down & built their family on Kauai. 15 months ago, they expanded the Co. by adding Ivy’s little sister, baby Teak, to the team. Over the years, we’ve only seen each other a handful of times, but we’ve kept in touch in big part because of Ivy & Co., which is my go-to source for some of my own favorite accessories as well as adorable baby gifts. I’ll forever hold a special place in my heart for Rebecca as a friend who has been there for me when I needed it most. When this opportunity came up to do just a little something for a small business, I knew I had to pick Ivy & Co.

I’m beyond grateful to work for a company that’s made a tremendous commitment by launching our #SmallBizRelief initiative, in partnership with Yelp & GoFundMe. Intuit gave each and every employee the ability to sponsor a small business of our choice, which means up to 9,000 small businesses around the globe will be supported & highlighted during this uncertain time. It’s such a great commitment to our mission: Powering Prosperity around the World.

I’m typically a fixer, a doer, a problem solver. The impact of Covid19 on me personally is frankly quite minor: I don’t have small children, Brian & I already work from home, and as I have learned the past month of being in social quarantine, I’m apparently not very social in person anyway. Most of my relationships & interactions (by nature of my normal life traveling), wind up being online, via text/ FaceTime, etc. The hardest party of all this is missing my daily workouts at the gym (but I’ve gotten creative with that too, and I’ve settled into my new normal routine).

My heart aches though for everyone around me – here in our small town & around the world – who are struggling personally & professionally. We’ve seen the doors close, we know the owners who are scared that they won’t be able to reopen. We know those who have lost their jobs & are just hoping their employers make it out the other side & rehire them. I know moms who are desperately trying to keep up with their new roles as teacher on top of everything else they’re holding together. And I have friends with new babies, or sick babies, or who are sick themselves & carrying heavy loads with very little help.

While I know I can’t save the world, as my great grandmother always said, “if everyone does a little, nobody has to do a lot”. So even if it’s just a little, I’m thankful that it’s something. If everyone can make a little difference, then together, we’ll make a big difference – who knows, maybe we can even change the world?

GoFundMe – Ivy & Co. in COVID-19

 

Fueled By Passion…Fulfilled by Performance

It’s Friday night, about 8pm Mountaint time, & I’m sitting in the Denver Airport United Club waiting on what’s turned into about a 3 hour flight delay. I should (hopefully) be home by midnight, but it’s unlikely any sooner…

In the last 18 days for work, I’ve been in 16 cities, driven well over 20 hours (across 5 states & 3 tropical islands) in 7 different cars, slept in 8 different hotels (and 1 airplane), been on 8 flights (and I still have 1 more to get home), spanned 4 time zones…and met with 17 firms & hosted 6 QuickBooks Online training events attended by over 100 accountants.

Oh, and did I mention I was home for a whopping 67 hours last week between trips?

Needless to say, my life has been an absolute whirlwind the past few weeks. I’ve had to make decisions like “do I care more about getting in a training session or cardio or sleep” (knowing I may only be getting 3-4 hours of sleep regardless). I’ve been on hold at 1am more than once with the United Premier desk trying desperately to figure out how to make it to my destination or home before midnight and without driving hours as my glass slipper gradually becomes a pumpkin. I’ve far exceeded the recommended dosage of protein bars & tuna packets (in my car racing from one meeting to another). I’ve fallen asleep more than once with my face in my laptop somewhere between 1am & 3am local time. My earliest (but not only pre-dawn) call was at 4:30am local time. And, I’ve managed to pack in more first-time meetings with new partners than I typically do in a month (or more).

Am I exhausted? Drained? Sleep deprived? In major need of a few days at home (and manicure)? Heck yeah – but am I energized and inspired by all of the amazing conversations and “light-bulb moments” that I’ve experienced in the past 3 weeks? HECK YEAH! These past few weeks have been an amazing reminder to me of why I do what I do – and why I push myself so hard.

K&HEmail

There’s a sign at my gym that reads, in part: “I’m obsessed, a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated”. I read it constantly when I’m training, and use it to motivate myself to push harder, lift heavier, go faster…but recently I’ve been thinking of that even outside of the gym. It’s really become part of my core, part of my why.

After making the 90 minute drive from a firm in Northern Utah this afternoon, my last meeting of the trip, I arrived at the airport to this message from them in my email:

AJEmail

I had so many similar conversations with partners I’ve been meeting with that it’s impossible to even think of slowing down. Those conversations and their excitement has propelled me into my next non-stop day & I’m so excited to keep turning on the gas over the next few months.

I’m extremely fortunate to have a husband & family that enable me to put my career and my partners so high on my priority list. I honestly couldn’t do what I do on the road without my life-line back home. We’ve made a commitment to each other to support both of our careers, and have adopted a “work-life integration” motto (thanks for the term, Ed Kless). I never feel that I’m taking away from my home life by putting so much of myself into work – instead, I’ve got a built-in motivator cheering me on (and me him) each step of the way.

Throughout these daunting marathon days, as I’d drive from meeting to meeting, to hotel, to airport, I got to share the great news of another awesome visit. Each time I was reminded (as usual) that it’s moments like those that motivate me to keep going, and affirm why every flight, every mile, every early morning, and every tuna packet are just adding fuel to my fire.

Unplugged on Oahu

Sounds like a dream come true? Think again! Anyone who longs for a business trip to Hawaii (or any exotic destination for that matter) obviously hasn’t ever been on one of my island work adventures. Colleagues, family, and friends often tell me they’re envious of my travels. Unfortunately, at least in my experience, traveling off the mainland for work is no more enjoyable – but often a lot more frustrating – than any other business trip. Now before you call BS on me, let me just give you a glimpse into my little world a few weeks back as I traded in my stilettos for flip flops on my desperate search for power.

After a great-but-exhausting 5-days in Las Vegas for the first part of the week (if you missed my recap, see Hey, Baby – Let’s Go to Vegas!), my commute to Waikiki was extraordinarily crazy. Between the 4 ½-hour drive from Vegas, the 15-minute “layover” at home in OC, and my 1 ½-hour rush-hour drive to LAX, I arrived at the airport a cozy 30 minutes before my 6-hour flight to the beautiful island of Oahu. So, when I finally arrived at my hotel around 11pm local time (3 hours behind PDT), I was beyond wiped.

I managed to be pretty productive on the flight and cranked out proposals, contracts, and even a blog post. But as we approached the island, my battery read my mind and decided it was bedtime. When I got to my room, I quickly plugged in to release the emails I had drafted, but after the day I had just been through, I threw in the towel and decided to tackle the rest in the morning.

To my horror, I awoke not to the sound of waves outside my window, but to the sight of a low battery warning on my iPhone (which was charging from my laptop). I immediately realized that something was wrong, and my laptop wasn’t on. With my poor Ultra Book clocking as many frequent flyer miles as me, I’d been dealing with a temperamental power cord for weeks. Up until that point I had just managed to use the old “wiggle & twist” & “stick a wad of paper in there” tricks to keep things functioning. Not that day though. I was officially dead in the water.

I got creative, managing to use my iPad & iPhone for my morning calls & web meetings…of course, not thinking through the drain on their batteries while doing so. When I finally got a free window, I decided to trek out to the mall to see if I could hunt down a replacement charger. Several hours later, with a dead iPhone, dead iPad, and visit to three different stores, I returned to my hotel room victorious (Mahalo to Jared at Best Buy in Honolulu, my geek in a faded blue shirt, who saved my day & helped me ensure that the cord was the problem).

As I told this story to various people the past few weeks, the common reaction was an overly-sarcastic toned “Oh you poor thing, stuck in Hawaii with no laptop”. To which I can only reply that until you’ve been in my shoes, you’ll never know how bad it feels to be powerless trying to work on an Island.