Welcome to episode number one of The Game On Girlfriend Podcast!
I’m so excited to bring you my new podcast. But before we jump in, let’s talk about something pretty obvious.
I’m very aware that the world didn’t need another podcast. But, sometimes we have to listen to what other people tell us, right?
It’s one of my absolute joys to get to speak across the nation at large and small events, with business of all sizes.
After I finish speaking, I often get to meet the women from the audience, and I invariably get questions like:
“What’s your podcast? I mean you have a podcast, right? Please tell me you have a podcast!”
“Can you just come home with me, please? I need to keep your voice in my head all the time so you can keep me on track.”
So, after years of hearing comments like this and knowing I have so much to say about where women are right now, it occurred to me that it’s kind of impossible for us to have too much support.
That said, let’s do this! In this episode, I’ll be talking about branding. It’s something you hear a lot, yet we’re not always given practical ways to actually apply it.
I’m also going to discuss the singularly horrific and specific-to-human feeling, regret. I’ll talk about what it is and how you can avoid it.
Then I’ll wrap up by letting you know what I see for women in the year 2020.
BRANDING: WHY I CHOSE “GAME ON GIRLFRIEND”
So, as my daughter says in the podcast introduction, this is not your practice life.
I love that phrase. I think that’s so fun, and it’s a great way to remind us that this is our life! Right now. Today.
And the other thing I know is that you found this podcast for a reason. There’s a reason you’re listening right now, today, and I hope what you hear is of use to you.
So, I’m first and foremost a business mentor. And what that means is I support women in starting businesses that they love or starting businesses when they’re not sure what businesses they should start.
I help them maintain those businesses, and then I help them grow those businesses.
In addition I’m hired often by corporations to come and speak to leadership teams around the country.
Now, you should know that in my family, we love media. We just love it, and we take it pretty seriously.
Friday night it’s pizza-movie night at our house. In full disclosure, as the kids have gotten older, it’s been harder and harder for us to agree on which movie to watch—but pizza-movie night is sacred in our house even though it sometimes becomes Chipotle-movie night. And that’s OK—we let that slide as long as the movie part doesn’t change.
One of the things my husband and I started doing when we were first married and I was pregnant with our oldest child was watch TV together. And one of the shows we loved to watch was “The West Wing.”
C’mon. It’s so good.
And in one of my favorite scenes of that show, the President is about to go on stage to debate for his re-election campaign.
Around him are all of his advisers and his wife, and they have an awesome phrase they always say to him as he’s getting ready: “Game on.”
They say that, and they look him in the eye. He gets excited, they get excited.
Then everybody leaves the room and he’s left alone with his wife, played by the beautiful Stockard Channing, and they start talking.
He mentions wishing he had his advisor’s tie, as it had brought him luck in the past. “There was a lot of juice in that tie,” he says. She says, “Tough,” and assures him that he’ll do fine.
And then she looks him right in the eye and says, “Game on, boyfriend!”
The exchange of love—that look of love on their faces—it always warms my heart. But at the same time, it excites me because there he is, out there fighting for his position, fighting for what he loves, and he turns to the person he loves most in the world for encouragement and inspiration and support.
And then she cuts his tie.
No, seriously. She grabs the scissors and cuts the whole front part of his tie clean off! He freaks out, looks right at her, and says, “You’re insane!”
So everyone is running around, and, of course, he grabs Josh’s tie, and they’re taking the old one off, putting the new one, chasing him down the hall as the seconds count down.
His wife is making it look great—and just before he goes on stage, he’s ready with his lucky, uncut tie.
So, I’m here to tell you, the game is on, woman. You have a reason for being here. You have something that other people need. You have life lessons that other people need. And you have a vision that needs to be shared.
I’m going to share one more personal story with you about this and how much I believe in this. Very recently, someone I love very much had something horrible happen to her teenage daughter. She was raped at gunpoint.
It’s been absolutely horrific. But she called me the other day, and said through tears, that every person who’s helped them—every single one—has been a woman.
The detective, the doctors, the nurses and the case workers. And she said to me, “I know that all of these positions and programs exist because a woman before me went through something like this, and she had to do it alone. I know that all of this exists because a woman made it happen.”
That’s what “Game on” means to me. That’s what I’m talking about. You have been given the talents, the experiences, the creativity, the expertise that you’ve been given because somebody out there needs you. That is a promise.
I’ve seen it over and over and over again … and this recent harrowing experience has shown me more than ever.
What happens to the state of the world when women start saying and doing the things that need to be said and done, just like those who are supporting my loved one?
Could you imagine if you had gone through a situation like that and you were supported that way? How much would that matter to you? You can be that person for someone else.
And that’s everything from making the most gorgeous cookies that put smiles on people’s faces to being the best massage therapist to being the best seamstress.
NO REGRETS, NO “ALMOSTS”
So, let’s talk about regret.
Regret is a singularly horrific feeling that is special and unique only to human beings. And we have it as human beings because we have the ability, yes, to look back, but we also have the ability to remember. Animals don’t have language so they can’t lock a memory and look back and evaluate it.
But we can. And if we’re not happy with what we see, it can be incredibly painful. And that pain happens because we don’t associate our current actions with future regrets.
Let me say that again.
WE DO NOT CONNECT OUR CURRENT ACTIONS TO FUTURE REGRET.
I want to share with you a moment of my absolute favorite story. It’s Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and lucky for me, I probably don’t have to give you too much background on that story, because it’s pretty well-known.
The story opens in the current day with Ebenezer Scrooge alone in his office, slaving away for more money. He’s horrible to the people he deals with. He’s always raising his prices and gouging people. He’s creating monopolies and making it very difficult for people to grow in partnership with him or even want to be around him because he is so awful.
On the night of Christmas Eve, his old business partner, Jacob Marley, comes to him as a ghost, and says you have a shot at redemption here, buddy. And, basically, Ebenezer says: Yeah, whatever. I’m fine. I don’t even think you’re really here.
They have a fight, the ghost leaves. Good times. So those of you who know the story, know that the first ghost (after Marley) to come and visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve is the Ghost of Christmas Past.
There’s one specific moment when he’s with the Ghost of Christmas Past that I think is the most impactful, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of literature—because it points exactly to the pain of regret and how it happens.
The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Ebenezer to a Christmas party from the past, back when he was an apprentice. He’s in his late teens/early 20s and as he’s dancing, he locks eyes with a girl named Belle across the room. They’re giggling and smiling and having those awkward teenage conversations that only teenagers can have.
So awkward, but very endearing, and by the end of the night, our sweet, young Ebenezer sneaks a little kiss from Belle under the mistletoe. That night, his friend starts teasing him, something to the effect of: “Oh, she’s way too good for you! You can’t have someone like her.”
And he says to them, “You watch. One day when I’ve made my fortune, I’ll be good enough for her.”
That’s where his love of money starts. Right there. It was born out of a great thing: it was born out of love. He wanted to make more money to be with a woman he loved.
Next, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes present day Ebenezer to another moment. We see Belle, she looks a little bit older, sitting on a bench in the snow. She’s waiting for Ebenezer, who’s late.
As he arrives, flustered and hurried, she turns to him and asks if he would still seek her out now, a dowerless girl, with nothing but herself to bring to the marriage. Ebenezer’s answer is too safe for her. He simply says, “So, you think I would not then.”
Right there, she“ releases” him. She says that money has replaced her in his heart, that their contract is an old one, and then she says it—the line we all need to hear as we make small decisions on a daily basis:
“May you be happy in the life you have chosen.”
And she gets up and walks away. That was the moment. That was the moment his connection with the best of himself—and with humanity—was broken.
Current day Ebenezer turns to the Ghost of Christmas Past and says, “I almost went after her.”
The ghost laughs at him and says, “Almost carries no weight in matters of the heart.”
Oh man. Ain’t that the truth, though! And it’s true for you, too!
I don’t want you living a life of “almosts.”
I almost wrote that book.
I almost got healthy.
I was almost the mom I knew I could be.
I almost started that podcast.
I was almost the spouse I knew I could be.
I almost started that business.
I almost started that leadership program.
The list can be long.
You were given your dreams, your nudges, for a reason.
Don’t live a life of almosts.
WHAT I SEE FOR WOMEN IN 2020
And that leads us beautifully to what I see for women in 2020.
We’re seeing corporations change their relationships with employees and customers. We’re also taking a new look at our food supply and how we’re dealing with our food, and what’s going on with our water supply, and how are we choosing to take care of each other.
And what I see happening in 2020 is a sense of indignant rage, a moment of truth-telling. Now I’m not talking about what happened in the 60s and 70s, where we took to burning bras, but we’re almost doing it with more of a look-you-straight-in-the-eye whisper, “Don’t mess. You’re either coming on board, or you can get out of the way.”
That’s what I see happening, and again, while there’s a burning rage, it doesn’t feel “angry.” I think it’s defiant, and I think it’s very clear, but I also think it’s really exciting.
Reese Witherspoon was recently talking about her role in her company and how important it is that you surround yourself with friends who are there for you, that you read the books you want to read, take the courses you want to take, be around the kind of people you want to be around, go to the conferences you want to go to.
Now is the time.
I’ll leave you with this little thought:
This is not your practice life. You are not promised tomorrow.
So, I want to ask you: What can you do today after listening to this podcast that you were not going to do?
Until next time, remember: This is not your practice life. The Game. Is. On.