30 Days of Deepening Friendships

Beyond vugs—face to face

Posted by on Sep 25, 2010 in 30 Days of Deepening Friendships, Authenticity, Connections, Inspiration, Love, Virtual Assistance | 2 comments

I’ve learned that bonds made virtually that you don’t think can get any closer—can absolutely get deeper. I met thirty fellow AssistU community members last weekend at AssistU’s Homecoming in Reston, VA. Once you’ve hugged in person, not wanting to let go, and looked searchingly into their eyes and laughed together until the tears are streaming (or pee your pants if you happen to be connecting with Lee or listening to Antonette’s pealing laugh!) you know words are not needed to mesh your hearts any more tightly. You're gotten and you know it. I’ve experienced this at every AssistU gathering since the first DC Metro/Maryland Chapter picnic I attended as a newbie in 2005 followed by AU10 in Gaithersburg, MD 2007; AU11 in Las Vegas 2008; AU12 in Minneapolis 2009; and Homecoming in Reston, VA 2010. Thank you to Anastacia and Dawn and the entire Homecoming team for making this event so memorable! Especially the evening tour of DC which absolutely rocked! I’ve become deeply attached to so many now familiar faces and had the opportunity to meet fabulous new faces and even introduce myself as Laura Laura Allen (and be joined by Lee Lee this year!). In Minneapolis I didn’t want anyone to be confused by the similar names of Lara and Laura Jo and Laura and after I’d said hi I’m Laura I realized I needed to say which Laura so it came out Hi I’m Laura, Laura Allen. 😉 I’ve had the pleasure of meeting one of my interns at every event and this year was no exception. I originally connected with Beatrice Ten-Thye through my aunt in Oakville who told me she had a friend who would love to do what I did. Bea and I connected through email and when she was finished traveling at the time she said she’d be in touch about the AU VTP, and about a year later she was. I encouraged her to do her research thoroughly, get her questions answered before she applied to the program and had a pleasant heartfelt interview with her while I was Admissions Director. Since then she’s become a joyful and welcome addition to our community. When Bea graduated from the VTP and opened the virtual doors of SMART VA she and her husband were planning to travel on their new boat for a few months at the end of summer and asked to do her internship with me. Would I be willing to experiment with her? Of course! I was thrilled and honored to work with her and have the opportunity to get to know each other better. My husband and I have put our plans to become liveaboards on hold while I care for my mom but I was so excited to see if Bea would enjoy working from her boat for several weeks. Bea has become a full partner not only in my business and with my clients but in my life, she brainstormed possibilities with me, juggled everything I tossed her way and she listened on the days when I was overwhelmed as a caregiver and when I debated about traveling to Virginia for Homecoming. Her and her husband’s generosity in treating me to the awards luncheon and DC tour moved me to tears! I wasn't surprised at all when she was nominated for Most Supportive Community Member of the Year (my running mate in that category, too) but I knew the community would see her as I do; Bea cares deeply about her friends, partners, classmates, and clients—she was a shoe-in! The first highlight of my trip was...

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Being seen

Posted by on Jul 12, 2010 in 30 Days of Deepening Friendships, 31 Days of Experiencing New Things, Authenticity, Connections, Love | 0 comments

Yesterday was Anastacia Brice’s birthday. I think of her every time I see a clock that reads 7:11 and I looked at the clock twice yesterday when it read 7:11am and pm and sent my love winging her way. When I started sending Anastacia birthday gifts five years ago she would report back to me how they made her cry because she felt so loved. Of course she self describes herself on her website that she ‘cries at the drop of a hat’ but it's more than that, it's because she loves deeply and authentically. The challenge became to make her cry for her birthday. Does this sound a bit twisted? I wondered and then realized that for someone to cry tears of joy because they feel utterly “gotten” was a special gift. And not all my gifts have been something I created; the first one was an unusual book that spoke to me when I picked it up and at the ’95 picnic I passed it around and asked everyone to sign it. Over the years I’ve given her one of each thing that I make/create. I was out of ideas. This year I opened myself to the Universe as to what to give her to keep those tears flowing and joy bursting. Synchronicity always comes into play and first I found a simple blank book that had a saying about joy on the cover. Ah, a beginning. Once I had a foundation I spied a clay pen I had experimented with making years ago, before I even knew Anastacia; it had been waiting for her all these years. When she shared her current photo (I haven’t seen her in person since last September!) I knew it had to be a part of the journal and celebrating herself. I came up with an idea and let it flow—creative juices puddling everywhere. 😉 Then I asked her what her word was—duh… love. And Jeff created these fun ‘changeble’ words on his scroll saw! Ya gotta love a guy who’ll roll with your request for the letters ‘e’, ‘ed’, and ‘ely’ and not have you committed. 😉 To me these were simple gifts but I see they can have a big impact. I’ve been considering what it means to create and give gifts from the heart to someone you love. It’s actually a gift to be the gift giver. It’s an expression of my love yes, but it’s also a manifestation of that love. This is a big deal. Without someone to create a gift for I wouldn’t have this opportunity. It doesn’t have to be an expensive fancy gift; it’s about the intention—the thought and care that goes into the giving. To quote the famous movie Avatar, it’s to say with soul-filled eyes, “I see you.” I see you Anastacia, happy birthday. Happy...

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My Virtual Assistants

Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 in 30 Days of Deepening Friendships, Authenticity, Connections, Virtual Assistance, Web/Tech | 2 comments

Belonging to the AssistU Community keeps me connected to a group of amazing like minded women and men who love to learn and grow personally and professionally. Within our community we have many special interest groups and monthly group calls; Chapter meetings, Town Meeting, an Alumni call as well as new student calls. We’re all about support! One of the programs an AU Virtual Training Program graduate can participate in is an Internship Program for eight weeks. They volunteer to partner with a senior AU VA and act as her VA. This is hands on training in a safe environment where the intern will see exactly how the senior VA runs her business from the inside out; how she manages her time, builds relationships with her clients, what tools she uses to collaborate. And so much more! I’ve had the privilege to work with sixteen interns over the past four years and a half years! I appreciate everything they do for me and they remind me what it’s like to be a client and see our relationship from the flip side. Their enthusiasm is contagious; they keep me motivated and accountable. It’s my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much.  I’d like to introduce my recent intern: Cyndi Perron of Shared Forces and thank her for her friendly, helpful, knowledgeable support. Cyndi and I were able to meet for lunch as she only lives a couple hours away, before our partnership started and that cemented the start of a great relationship. If you’re searching for a VA Cyndi’s enthusiasm, can-do attitude, and friendly easy going personality will be an asset to your biz! My new intern is a friend of my aunt’s in Oakville, Canada. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting Beatrice Ten-Thye but have joined her on so many AssistU calls I feel like we’re already fast friends. Beatrice and her classmates are recent VTP grads and she has opened the virtual doors of SMART VA. Beatrice’s warmth, caring, and passion for doing work she loves is apparent as soon as she begins talking. Her authentic efficient work style is the SMART answer to an entrepreneurs question: How do I get it all...

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30 Days of Deepening Friendships

Posted by on Jun 4, 2010 in 30 Days of Deepening Friendships, Authenticity, Connections | 3 comments

I’m participating in another delightful blogging topic from Stacy Brice: June is 30 Days of Deepening Friendships. This coordinates perfectly with my theme of ‘celebration’ for the month of June and my 46th birthday on the 25th. (read more about that here) I kicked off connecting with friends by visiting a childhood friend in Vero Beach that it seems I only see once a decade! Kat’s been in her new home on five acres for ten years and I’d never seen her place. She was married for the first time in March so I also got to meet James along with her menagerie of farm animals from horses to Java chickens to boars! We went horseback riding for a couple hours on trails in her area—Albi her sixteen hand Thoroughbred mix gelding was the best and was very gentle with me. It’s been years since I rode and my muscles rebelled instantly, but we had a great time! I found getting away even for a quick overnight trip renewing and energizing and being able to add an activity like horseback riding to my exercise routine was a special opportunity. Time to sit on the porch and reminisce about the good ole days and catch up on our lives over the past thirty years was fulfilling and there’s something about the connection of someone who knew you as a kid that just makes ya grin! Thanks Kat! I can't wait to see what other connections are renewed or forged this month! Here's to each of YOU my friends who have given me the opportunity to love and support you in so many beautiful ways. Big...

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