Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Like everyone else, my company has spent the past five weeks figuring out how our entirely in-office team could suddenly, in the course of three days, become an entirely remote team. Needless to say, it’s been a *bit* hectic. The first week and a half mostly consisted of a lot of frantic phone calls, people driving back to the office to get forgotten cables and long conference calls with our technology providers when things didn’t work like we thought they would. (Literally nothing worked like we thought it would.)

However, to the credit of our amazing team, we are now…

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I just cried for the third time today.

The first time was in the shower, thinking about another day spent in my home office, staring at my own dumb face in Zoom meetings, fending off dogs and kids and trying trying trying to get something meaningful done.

The second time was when I logged into our ERP system and saw that we had six orders for the week. Six. For less than $1000 in gross profit. A fraction of what we normally have on a Monday. …

Author’s Own Photo (And Actual Vision Board)

I believe in the power of beginnings. Sundays, the first of the month, the beginning of a new quarter, a first date, the start of a new fitness regime — they are all important. How you begin a project, or a period of time, or a relationship sets the tone for the rest of it. (That’s not to say you can’t recover from a rough beginning, but it is much easier just to have a good start.)

I’m especially fond of the New Year. I think there is a power to January 1st that can create real change in a…

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This New Year didn’t get off to a great start. I had hopes. I had aspirations. Reality had different ideas. January 1st was going to bring waves of change to my life — a new eating plan, a better business year, my 40th birthday, weight loss, etc. Instead, I saw everything I’d planned for fall apart, in rapid succession.

We arrived home from our holiday vacation to a house with a broken furnace and had to sleep in our long johns, under four blankets. The furnace repair company that we had used before Christmas ghosted us, and no one would…

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I grew up on a small farm in Ohio, raising beef cattle (not to be confused with dairy cows), chickens, goats, and the occasional hog when my brother was in 4-H. We only ever had one or two head of cattle at a time, and we lived on 50 acres — what people in our area called a “toy farm.” It was nothing compared to the hundreds of acres most of our neighbors owned, and certainly just a blip on the radar when you consider the size of the factory farming operations that now exist in our country.

Our cows…

Photo by RODOLFO BARRETO on Unsplash

Over Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law commented that she admired my organization because I had looked at the traffic online before we started our 325-mile drive home. (I had gone on Waze the moment I woke up to see how long the drive would take.) I just laughed and said, “Actually, it’s kind of a curse.”

I wasn’t joking, or humble-bragging. It is a curse to be as obsessed with punctuality as I am. From the minute I wake up, I’m backward-planning my day, trying to figure out the most efficient timeline for everything. And if I get off schedule, or (GOD…

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When I first started my company ten years ago, I didn’t think much about managing my emotions. For one thing, I was the only person working there, and for another, I figured my eventual employees would just have to deal with my moods, just like I’d always had to deal with the moods of my bosses in the past.

But as the years passed, I became acutely aware of how my emotional presentation affected everyone else in the company. I have a big personality, and a lot of energy, and when that energy isn’t positive, it can seriously derail the…

Photo by Tanner Daniels on Unsplash

The first time I saw the Cincinnati skyline was in the summer of 2006. I was here on a weekend visit, spending time with a man I’d just begun dating. As we drove down the hill from the East Side where he lived into downtown (you have to drive down a hill from anywhere to get into downtown Cincinnati), the skyline appeared and, breathless, I thought: “I’m home.”

I’d visited lots of cities and never once had I had the feeling of absolute belonging as I did that day. I saw the P&G headquarters and Carew Tower and the bank…

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Last week, I had to let someone go who had worked for me for nearly six years. It was a difficult situation, made more so because his exit wasn’t his fault — we’d simply made a strategic change that had eliminated his job. It was a textbook definition of a layoff (change of work conditions, etc.), but that didn’t make the termination any easier.

This employee served on our management team, and had access to all our passwords and security keys, and could have very easily shut the company down for a while, if he’d wanted to. I didn’t have…

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

One of my favorite scenes from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is where Clark Griswold opens his annual Christmas bonus check. A courier hand-delivers the envelope, and in front of his entire extended family, Clark announces that not only is he using his bonus to put in a swimming pool, but he’s also already paid for it, even though he didn’t have the money in his account yet. When he opens the envelope, instead of a check, it’s a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.

I was reminded of that scene last week, when, during a holiday catch-up lunch…

Lacy Starling

Serial entrepreneur, educator, storyteller. Laser-focused on helping organizations improve culture, strategy, sales and marketing.

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