How Do You Know When ‘The Party Is Over’?


Is the fat lady singing? Did the curtain close? Did you hear the final bell? Has Elvis left the building? Are the lights are out? Truth is, in our hearts, we know when the party is over, but sometimes we just don’t want to leave!

There are beginnings and there are endings. We like both to be ‘happy’, don’t we? Well, sometimes they are and sometimes, not so much. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step… and ends with the last. It’s easy to identify the first step, right? But after that any one of ‘em could be last. How the heck do we know when to quit? (If you’re thinking that maybe you should have determined that BEFORE you took step one, BAM!!! You got it. Hang with me, though, we’ll get to that.)

Whether we’re talking about a relationship, a job, a work of art, a business or a project – whether it was fun or not – whether you reached your goals, or not… stuff ends. When it ends and how it ends – that’s what matters. That’s what determines how you feel about it as it ends and when you look back on it.

It’s like cooking fish… You should probably stop cooking the fish when it is just shy of done or it will overcook – and it’s probably time to call it quits just shy of having to call it quits (aka when it’s no longer a choice; not your decision).

And, my friends, herein lays the brilliance of having a plan and goals. Backed with a commitment to succeed, your plan and goals are your roadmap and the destination for the journey. You know where you are going and you have a plan to get there. I mean, seriously, how will you know when you get there if you don’t know where you’re going? And how will you know if you’re lost?

When Motivate and Activate was launched in November of 2015, I made a one-year commitment to writing a new blog and leading a one-hour, group coaching and conversation call every week. I wanted to “reach the masses”, and I wanted to eliminate everything that might block people’s participation. So, I made it inexpensive ($50/month). I scheduled the calls midweek and after dinner so that they wouldn’t interfere with anyone’s work, date night or family dining time. ‘Sharing’ was optional. All of the calls were recorded so, if missed, they could be listened to at one’s leisure. See, I had a plan.

And, along with my trusty Wing Woman Extraordinaire, Tracy, we set goals. We would consider the program to be a work in progress until we had at least 50 members. It was fully expected that 100 people would be enrolled by the January of 2016… and that we’d have to split into segments and add more weekly calls so people would have a chance to get some one-on-one with me. I had visions of special interest groups, live workshops and gift cd sets.

Short version… that didn’t happen. The ‘fish fried’ for six months without the anticipated numbers, but my commitment was for a full year – and I couldn’t/wouldn’t abandon those who had enrolled. I had followed my plan and, although I LOVED the journey, I never reached the destination. Elvis had left the building. My heart told me the fish was fully fried.

Was the program a failure? NO WAY! It was awesome and I’d be thrilled to do it again. (In fact, I will, when I can figure out how to monetize it.) Did I quit? NO, I took it to completion. Did the party end? Silly question, all parties end. But, to answer the question: SURE, the party ended… but that didn’t make it any less of a great party!

Wrap Yourself Up and Be PRESENT!

Your Presence

Holidays can be difficult times – for such varied reasons. We each have our own list of who we don’t really like seeing, what we don’t really like doing, where we don’t really like going and why we should forget it all this year and skip the holidays completely. Yes, it is supposed to be a time of joy… sharing, giving and loving. Why then, for so many of us, does it often end up being a dreaded time of year; a disappointment, or worse yet, exactly as bad as we expected it to be?

Why? Well, from a sociological standpoint, we have so many “fabulous reasons” to embrace. Thanks to a variety of alternative lifestyles, today’s families are generally “broken” or “mixed” to begin with… It’s not unusual to celebrate the holidays with “family” you just met or hardly know. By virtue of birth, death, marriage, divorce and remarriage the landscape of familyland as it used to be, has been devastated. Now, add in an abundance of alternative life styles and hey, is it any wonder that hanging out with the family is a little tense and stressful?

And then there’s what we bring to the party… We show up for the holidays with lots of presents… (get ready for a very cool PUN) and a whole lotta PAST! If there’s any time that we humans carry the past in our pockets, it’s holiday time. I know that I personally have total (and often totally inaccurate) recall about what it used to be like; those OLD familiar smells and sounds, the songs and traditions; the games we played, the inside jokes, all that warm fuzzy stuff that just gets better as the memories get older. And, oh yeah, I remember all that “other” stuff, too. “THEY” were always at least an hour late, he was always so loud and so rude to everyone, she always wore waaay too much cheap perfume, they never listened – just talked, she never helped clear the table…

Every December – for as far back as I can recall – I have watched my favorite holiday movie, Miracle on 34th Street. I lose it every time little Susan Walker (played by Natalie Wood) finds Santa’s cane next to the fireplace. Seriously, I’ve seen this movie at least 50 times and every time… I cry. I remember watching it with my family when I was a child and, later, with my own children. It’s a magical, feel good movie. Based on this movie, I have an expectation that the holidays will bring miracles. Just like in the movie, I assume that there will be bad guys, problems and upsets… followed by miracles.

Based on the past, most of us expect everyone and everything to be “just like it’s always been”. Cousin Mark and his family will be late. The Cramer clan will be early. Aunt Ruth will pinch your cheeks and call you Cupcake. Uncle Frank will eat too much and fall asleep right after dinner. Great Auntie Linda will give you pajamas. The twins will fight over their presents and Grandpa will get indigestion from overeating.

I am an adult… until I get around my brothers. At that point we revert to thinking and acting like the children we were. We play, giggle, pull pranks, get loud and get physical. Is it any wonder that I am treated, as if I was still ten or eleven years old? Oops, what happened to the holiday “present”?

So that’s what we bring to the party… We show up for the holidays with lots of presents… and a whole lotta PAST! If there’s any time that we humans carry the past in our pockets, it’s holiday time. Empty your pockets… and get PRESENT!