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Batter, up!

Colleen Hannegan

That's the feeling I carry with me this week. One more time, I'm standing up to bat in a new game, a new chapter, a new inning in my game of life.

My memoir is due out this month. After seven years in the works...(more like five decades in the making!), four editors, numerous coaches, self-help classes and retreats that number more than my toes and fingers, I'm standing up to launch my book into the field of a zillion other books and memoirs, among great and unknown authors alike. Why would I attempt what I have never attempted so far in life and at this later stage? 

I've wondered at many 3am wake-ups this very thing. Why am I willing to risk so much time and money, the hours and effort on such a grand endeavor?  

Because I have a dream. Or maybe it's I had a dream when I was a young woman about how fabulous it would be to write and interest others in my experiences, revelations of life's wonder and magic and in the different places and people I meet along the way. And that at my mid-life juncture this dream came back to me and could no longer be shelved in that place of unlived desire and wishes unfulfilled. It demanded I live it, no matter what. 

So I lived and so I write. And in the telling of my mistakes and success, crisis and healing, the magic proved to be still alive and well in the girl within, who will not shut up about going out and having fun, telling the stories and sharing them all with other women, as well as the brave men who dare to understand the power of the girl within.

My palms are sweaty as I grip my bat, dig my heels into the dirt, and focus my vision on that opportunity that says "batter up." I see the prize of a solid hit, the sound of that cracking, slamming drive and the path this book will take. I'll drive it out into the world and see how high it will fly and where it lands.

And if the dream I have comes true, it will sail into the crowds and I'll have a home run. 

No matter what, I will have lived a dream and seen it come to fruition.

I do still believe, I do still dream and so I write.

 

me on bike



Flow, baby, flow.

Colleen Hannegan

    

My heart is broken open….again. Love is the greatest adventure, the highest mountain; deepest ocean, immeasurable, ever moving, calm and raging- a peaceful revolution. It’s not a battlefield, though passing through its’ charge can bring down the mightiest and raise up the lowly to an equality of the human experience. 

 

    Love heals, though it can feel like pain, chipping away at the hardened shell we often hide in imagining we are safe and cannot be touched by true love that always asks for our surrender.

 

    How difficult,  to be looking into the depth of our soul, facing our self truth and coming to a screeching halt, knowing there is only this one truth that will set us free from all doubt and worry- that we are lovable. And realizing  the only change that we affect in our lives and in this world is accepting that unattached loving is our greatest lesson, our prized possession, our only honest,  deliberate purpose in life…to love ourselves and all we put our attention to without attachment to outcome. There is no finish to love, or end. It can’t be dammed up and collected or saved or hidden away or owned. 

 

    And when we hurt and blame loving, we know we’ve tried to hold too tight to the outcome we imagined. An open heart is a living place for love that has no walls, no roof, no doors, no locks. It lives forever there and forever it flows.

 

Take a Hike and sharpen your Senses

Colleen Hannegan

This morning I decided to walk to the hardware store to make my purchase instead of automatically reaching for the car keys. My idea was to combine morning exercise with a simple chore. Three miles ’round trip. My walks and hikes are more often in the opposite direction from morning traffic but today I thought I’d see what I could see, and to hear things differently.
As I walked on the sidewalk alongside the zooming commuters, my slow and quiet pace was a stark contrast to speed and noise. I reminded myself of how often I drive too fast to make that green light and too impatiently wait for a sole pedestrian to make it across the street. Do I have to wait until they get all the way across? I sensed that was the thought for those caffeine amped worker bees waiting for me to hop back up on the sidewalk and get outta the way! This morning though, drivers were very patient with me. Not one person tried to mow me down in the crosswalk.
I stood at the busy corner waiting for the red hand to turn into the green walker, a bit self conscious, standing solo, feeling vulnerable and so “seen” while thirty odd drives looked at me. I always check out the walkers waiting for their signal to cross when I’m in my car, waiting my turn. It’s something drivers do. You can’t help it. No other walkers were nearby. I was the one pushing the crossing button and single handedly altering traffic flow. That was a power rush, a push of the button and the world demands I get a chance to cross safely.
I walked along an area near the overpass that was dense with high bushes and noticed someone had been sleeping there recently. I’d never noticed speeding by in my CRV. I walked past a man, waiting at the bus stop, his bike next to him with a flat front tire. We made eye contact and smiled. “Oh, a flat tire.” I said. He replied, “Yeah, my brother gave me a bike but didn’t include the air!” We laughed at his joke.
The landscape maintenance worker respectfully paused his mower and smiled a “Good Morning” as I passed his crew and stepped around the trimmed grass and trees.

I made my purchases then headed back home.

Walking along noisy streets is not my first choice for outdoor exercise. I’m out on wilderness trails and in neighborhood parks getting my exercise almost every day. But once in awhile, walking in my neighborhood helps me to remember how to be a conscious driver; easy on the speed, more patient with pedestrians, aware of the people around me, not just their cars, and pay better attention to what I see and hear. It’s so easy to be distracted inside your car.

I had this funny image of all the people going to work, walking, instead of driving. All lined up at the red lights, standing single file, tapping their foot impatiently. And the commuters in the opposite direction, walking quickly through the intersection while they had the green light favor. All that serious speed and heavy metal replaced with……..just people walking. If they had to yell at each other instead of use their horn, would they think twice? Afterall, cutting someone off while you’re walking would look rather ridiculous.

I love having my car. I really enjoy moving along and listening to music and getting from here to there in a very short time. But today I wanted to just move at my own easy paced 3 MPH and remind myself I have a choice, to stop look and listen, no matter how fast I’m moving.

Mi$take$. The le$$on$ we never forget.

Colleen Hannegan

Never leave a box of eyeglass frames on top of a trash can. This was a $1000. mistake I made during my first year in business.

“Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.” Pearl S. Buck.

I had just opened a large order of brand new, beautiful designer frames UPS had delivered that morning. As I sorted through the three large boxes, I set one box containing twenty Christian Dior frames aside,on top of the small trash can underneath my front desk. I set about pricing and entering the other two boxes of product while answering the phone and assisting clients at the same time. The day ended before I could complete the order process. I thought of finishing up the order entry but decided to wait until the next morning, not telling my business partner about my plan.

First thing the following morning, I was ready to open the third box and continue pricing and inventory.

I turned towards the spot I’d set the third box. The trash can had not moved, but the box of frames I’d set on it was gone. After ten minutes of  double-checking my work to see if I’d already accounted for the frames yesterday and searching my office for the missing frames, I asked my co-owner if he’d seen the third box and set it aside.

“You mean that empty box that was sitting on top of the trash can?” My stomach was feeling the squeeze of panic.

“It wasn’t empty. It had the rest of the inventory from yesterday’s order, in it! I set it on top of the empty trash can because it was handy while I was going through the order!”

He had taken out all the trash last evening before heading home. The full box on top of the trash, looked no different to him than the boxes of frames I’d emptied and had set aside to discard.

I ran out to the dumpster in hopes  trash pick up hadn’t arrived yet.

No such luck. $1,000 worth of new inventory lay underneath tons of garbage on its way to the dump.

The $1,000 le$$on I learned was so excruciatingly simple it pains me still, 23 years later.

Trash cans hold trash. And don’t ever expect anyone to think differently. Or that co-workers can read your mind.

I made other mistakes over the course of 22 years running my retail business. Everyone’s best lessons are learned from the mistakes we make, than from the victories. Being successful in business means  the victories out number the mistakes! My advice is don’t live in constant fear that you’ll make one, because you will.

“I’ve got to keep breathing. It’ll be my worst business mistake if I don’t.” Steve Martin.

Just pay attention and take your time in handling your daily details.

And breathe.

Wage War Against Low Wages

Colleen Hannegan

I stopped for lunch at Wahoo’s for a fish taco yesterday,in Laguna Beach, Ca. I had a client work day across the street, so the idea of my lunch break looking out over the ocean while I enjoyed one of my favorite meals, sounded perfect. The weather was cooperating nicely. Sun, breeze, not too hot, clear skies out 25 miles to Catalina Island.

The employee behind the counter, was genuinely happy I’d come in to order. She liked me so much, she offered me a FREE chicken taquito to go with my fish taco. She smiled and asked if I’d like some FREE lip balm and a tube of FREE sunscreen, also. ?? Ok, sure! Seemed like I’d chosen a day to have lunch where they were giving out FREE stuff. I noticed the posted sign on the cash register that read today was a special FREE offer day.

The pleasantry that I was greeted with, continued with the waitress, who brought my lunch to me outside on the patio, the employee who collected finished plates from guests, offered water to others and made sure each customer was being served well. Not one customer went unnoticed or neglected.
The order counter, the kitchen and the staff making their rounds kept a fast pace and shared smiles with everyone. They acted like they really owned the place.

When I was finished basking in the sun and enjoying my delicious lunch, two employees made sure they said goodbye, thanked me for coming in and wished me a good day.

Fish tacos. $3.00 I can’t recall when I’ve had such care put into my experience about eating out. Not for $20, $35, or $75 (for two)! I put in a call and left a message for the store manager to express my appreciation and delight at how well these Wahoo’s employees were trained to treat the customers above and beyond.

And I wanted to know, are they getting paid above minimum wage? Are they receiving performance-based incentives to reward and to share in the success of this restaurant? Is part of the store profits being fairly distributed as bonuses for such commitment and excellent work?

Paying your employees well, is very good for business. Cost and Trader Joe’s are known for paying way above minimum wage to employees. I’m hoping Wahoo’s is following that good idea.

Employees want two things.
1. A fair and equitable place to work.
2. A decent living wage for great work performance (and bonuses!) and to share in profits they had a direct role in creating.
Let’s add a third thing. To be appreciated by your superior for your efforts.

If you are pay your staff better than they could earn at the competitor and tell them how much you appreciate their work, your bottom line will always be better.

Wahoo’s in Laguna Beach is rockin’ customer service.

I sure hope the boss is showing his appreciation every pay-day.