Are You Sick of Yourself Yet?

After some weeks of waiting – shout out to the Dallas Public Library request system – I finally got my hands on Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass at Making Money.”  I’m reading it not only for elucidation on business but also because I have seen many people sing the praises of both the book and the author.

One way my consumption of books has changed in recent years is that I now read the introduction to the text. It’s a great way to find out what inspired the author, including additional works/reading recommendation. In discussing her change from an excuse-making, perpetually broke writer to an international bestseller, Sincero said she “suddenly couldn’t take listening to myself complain anymore.”

This brought to mind a question (and I paraphrase here) that hit home for me:

Are you sick of yourself yet?

If you’ve ever had an out-of-body experience in which you hear yourself complaining about the same topic you’ve harped on for weeks, months or even years, that question is for you. It is a question I’ve had to ask myself before, and it was truly an uncomfortable moment. I had a patient partner (now husband) and a supportive mother who would listen to me word-vomit at length about my “troubles.” However, I found that I was complaining to them about the same situations – not feeling valued, disrespectful managers – across multiple jobs.

Finally I began to realize, I was sick of myself. I was sick of acting as though I had no agency in my own life. I was sick of complaining about the small matters that had no impact on my output but my previous managers felt was life or death. Most importantly, I was sick of finding myself unhappy and not acting in my own best interests.

Once you determine that you are ready to change your behavior, ready to rid yourself of the excuses for inaction, there is very little that can stop you. Here are some recommendations for changing your mindset:

  1. Journal – whether you purchase a 99 cent spiral notebook or invest in a leather-bound notepad, the important part of this step is to capture the moments of achievement, outreach and frustration. When you go back and recall where you’ve won and lost, the journal will help you easily track how to improve.
  2. Communicate – I’ve previously talked about how much of a difference it made when I opened my mouth and asked for help/support from my network. When you have proven that you and your work are valuable, people want to help you grow. Tip: know before you reach out, whether in person or via email, what you ultimately would like from a person. If you are asking for an introduction, offer to provide them with the text for an email. If the goal is feedback on an idea, ask how much time your contact has to listen. Edit your presentation for their schedule and leave time for feedback. Show you respect someone’s resources – time and connections – and you’ll get far.
  3. Exercise – Entrepreneurs end up dropping the ball on some part of their life – wellness, relationships or sleep. As someone who slid off the wellness wagon, I encourage you to not let exercise be the victim of busyness. Exercise here refers not only to the bodily effort but also to training your curiosity. As mentioned earlier, I love the Dallas Public Library. Not only do I get access to physical books, but they also offer books on CD, e-books and audio books. Search for any topic you want to study and you can find a resource through your local library. Download the audio book and take a walk around your block twice a day. Travel in your car for work? Get the CDs and make use of the time commuting.

Moral of the story: You don’t have to stay sick of yourself. Make a change, large or small, today and let that be the beginning of your transformation to running your life instead of allowing others to steer your ship.

Shopping for Your Workout Without Going Broke

I got a fun package in the mail this week: new exercise tights. Colorful, stretchy, sweat-wicking workout gear. Me, being who I am, I immediately shared it to Instagram.

A photo posted by Leisa (@leisawithane) on


Several friends wanted to know about how to shop for their workouts. I’m now working out or teaching upwards of 4-5 times a week, and I’m learning about making a limited supply look good. Plus, according to the sales numbers, activewear represents nearly 16 percent of the total apparel market, which means we’re spending plenty on workout clothes. 

Here are some of the things that I’ve learned about shopping for a workout wardrobe that will keep motivated to move.

Buy on clearance. Who doesn’t love a good sale? Online retailers and brick and mortar shops alike have to clear out merchandise regularly, which means a great deal on clothing. Make friends with the team at your favorite store and sign up for email alerts to be in the know about upcoming sales and specials.

Shop at the end of the season. In addition to sales, shop seasons. Once the temperatures start to change, and when you have drastic temperature changes like we do in Texas, you need to move from sleeveless singlets to layers. Some of the deepest discounts I’ve come across have been during the summer and winter gear swap in merchandise.

Be open to non-name brand clothing. Some yogis, CrossFitters and Zumba-heads are label-conscious and only wear Nike, Adidas and Lululemon. But me, the way my checking and my savings is set up…I can’t afford to drop $75-$100 on tights and $20-30 on tanks and tees. Not only am I sweating pretty heavily every workout, I’m washing items at least weekly. While I am not spending $5 on throwaway t-shirts and cotton tights that go nubby in one wash, I do believe in a bit of frugality. I’ve found that J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and H&M (home of fast fashion) provide a cute and comfortable outfits, usually with wicking material that helps keep you dry while you’re lifting, dancing or stretching.

Choose your prints wisely to mix and match. While we all want to be cute in colorful patterns, a monochromatic color palette means no one knows how often you’ve worn a piece. Maybe your lucky color is black, blue, red or green. Use the solid color as a base and throw in patterns for variety.

Here are a few links around the ‘Net that will help you maintain your wardrobe:

How to avoid pilling in yoga pants: 6 athletic wear questions answered – via

Toxic chemicals lurking in your yoga pants – via PopSugar

I Used Airbnb and Lived to Tell My Story


So I’ve been out of touch, and for that I’m sorry. Then I’m not sorry, because I became an aunt for the first time and I had to take some time to visit with the newest addition to my family. Keeping it short, she’s gorgeous and ready to be spoiled for life by her favorite Tia Leisa.

Since the visit was a multi-day affair with me and my mom flying from Dallas and Atlanta, respectively, to London, I introduced my mom to Airbnb for our housing needs. As a traveler in “the know,” I’d of course heard about Airbnb – the good and the bad – and figured the savings from being able to cook our own meals and not take the Tube everywhere would offset any kind of weirdness that I would feel from staying in someone else’s house. So here are the pros and cons of my Airbnb experience:


  • Locate yourself where you need to be – Blessedly we found a flat that was only a 10-minute walk from my sister and brother-in-law. As anyone who has been around a newborn can attest, they keep their own hours that have no relation to any plans you want to make. Being able to come and go, or have them visit us, at hours that didn’t depend on finding a cab or taking the train eliminated a potential travel headache. Takeaway: Use the search feature to find a place conveniently located to what you want to do in town, whether it’s popular dining, family-friendly attractions or outdoor activities.
  • Local flavor – To stave off cabin fever waiting for mom and baby to make their way over, I found myself taking meandering walks around the neighborhood. The benefit of being away from the tourist areas is finding a cafe other than Starbucks, a grocery store other than Marks & Spencers and clothing stores other than TopShop. From my walks I discovered that Crouch End may have more coffee shops per square meter than anywhere else I’ve ever been. They also have excellent brunch spots that are very kid-friendly. Takeaway: Get away from all the other tourists and discover the city outside of the guidebooks.
  • Save, save, save – The entire time I was there, I never took public transportation. Anything I needed to do was nearby, including a hike to Alexandra Palace for some great views of the city. Seriously, it was five miles, uphill. I also had the benefit of avoiding expensive takeout and restaurants by making meals in the rented flat. Takeaway: Take the budget you would use to splurge on touristy dining and enjoy a show or other attractions.
Alexandra Palace on a perfect sunny day. Also, look at that incline!
Alexandra Palace on a perfect sunny day. Also, look at that incline!


  • No “comforts” of home – Clearly not everyone will have the same idea of “comfortable” that you do. Suffice it to say, my back wanted to go home far before my mind did. Takeaway: Pack your own pillow if you can.
  • The mess you make, it doesn’t go away – One of the benefits of staying at a hotel is that when you disappear during the day, the hardworking housekeeping team works their magic on your room. Your towels are replaced, the counters are free of goop and they even turn down your bed. With Airbnb, it’s all on you. Takeaway: Work into your mind that you will have to at least spot clean to keep your sanity, especially on longer trips and especially if you’re traveling with kids.

Would I do it again? I actually would, especially if I was traveling alone to a city known for high hotel rates: Paris, Rome, pretty much all of Europe. I now know to bring items like multiple pairs of socks, a personal pillow and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Do you have an Airbnb or other housing rental experience you want to share? Leave me a comment with your best story.

Does Being a Leader Mean Never Having to Say “I’m Sorry”?

Think about the last time you made a public mistake, be it in your personal or professional life. How did you handle it? Were you apologetic? Did you immediately make amends to anyone affected? And then, when the dust had settled, did you reflect on it, file the information and move on? Those are the “right” things to do, according to anyone with a lick of sense. When it comes to me, though, you won’t find one phrase in my acts of contrition: “I’m sorry.”

Now, this is not to say that I don’t experience regret or feel that I’m wrong, because it definitely happens. What I’m saying is that the words “I’m sorry” are not part of my vocabulary (usually). They’re right up there with the act of crying – there are just some things that can’t be taken back.

Let me explain my rationale. I want to solve issues, preferably before they become full-fledged problems. When a problem does arise, I’d rather dedicate time to quashing it than explaining it, apologizing for it and then resolving it. The act of saying “I’m sorry” puts you on the back foot. Unless a person has truly goofed in an irreparable way, there is always a way to make things better. Being solutions-focused means I’m looking ahead at next steps, not down at where I am currently still in the mistake.

To give an example: I encountered a situation in which, though it wasn’t me who screwed up, it fell to me as the person responsible for the one who did screw up. My response was to take responsibility, in writing, and begin discussing what could be done to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, the phrase “I take responsibility” didn’t have the same effect as “I’m sorry” to the superiors, and I was admonished specifically for not apologizing. Even years later, I believe this was one of the best examples of mismanagement I’ve encountered. Instead of focusing on my desire to fix the problem, the manager instead only saw the lack of the specific words that made them feel better. Even after pointing out that I had not shirked my role in the situation, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. The manager’s reaction confirmed what I’d already suspected about some people: To say “I’m sorry” is akin to groveling, laying prostrate and allowing someone to be “right” in your wrongness.

Since then, I’ve stood in my anti-sorry stance. Thankfully, the people that I work with now are of the problem-solving variety rather than the make-me-feel-better type, which means that when it comes to it, we’re on the get-things-done team.

What about you? Do you find yourself apologizing unnecessarily? (The way people, especially women, apologize for the littlest things is whole ‘nother post.) Or are you team no-apologies-necessary? What’s your fix-it tactic?

The Four Lessons I’ve Learned Since Getting Fired

Photo via Flickr user C4 BOO
Photo via Flickr user C4 BOO. Image license.

I sometimes manage to miss anniversaries – like when I started blogging – but an upcoming date has not missed my notice. It’s been (about) a year since I got fired for the first time. In those (nearly) 365 days, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself, professionalism and coping with personal setbacks.

Make a plan – I saw my fate coming from a distance, so it gave me time to prepare. Once it happens to you, it’s normal to want to sit down and sulk, kick rocks and curse and generally be mad at life. If that helps, do it…but do it short-term. Then you get up, dust yourself off and start making a strategy. Nothing good comes from wallowing in your misery. Most importantly, piss poor planning prevents proper performing (thanks band years!). Takeaway: Always have a plan B (and C), even if you think you’ve found the dream job.

Maintain a network  – As I mentioned, I had a bit of a head start so I was able to reach out to my network before the hammer dropped. The fact that I had kept in touch even during the times I didn’t need anything likely helped move things along when I did need them. When I reached out to them about opportunities, it wasn’t from a perspective of “I need” but “How can I help you?” That subtle shift got me more opportunities and recommendations than submitting dozens of online applications. Takeaway: The most important question someone in need can ask isn’t “Can you help me?” but how “How can I help you?”

Invest in yourself  Losing my main source of income naturally made me want to shut down all “unnecessary” spending. I reconsidered this stance when a work associate, Tawanna Browne Smith, someone who knew my industry and had provided me with great feedback, recommended I link up with Mia Redrick. In the past 10 months, Mia has provided me with a blueprint for entrepreneurship and personal and group accountability. If you’re thinking of coaching, seriously, check her out. Takeaway: Strategic investments in your skills – continuing education, professional development, coaching – is a worthy measure if you believe it will help you get past your current situation.

Brand yourself – During a group session, we were asked if someone had to describe our services or expertise, had we given them enough to do so? A year ago, I’d been blogging but not about my area of knowledge. Since then I’ve launched my own website (where you are now), and I’ve begun using this site and my Twitter account (@VeleisaP) to tell more about myself as a professional. Another investment, but very much worth the price when it comes to search results on my name and my brand. Takeaway: Your name is often your entree into opportunities; make sure you are the one telling your story both in person and online.

That’s my wisdom. What advice would you give to a professional going through the transition that comes from being fired? I’ll share your comments via my Twitter account.

Image license

Basking in the golden silence

Photo via Joel Jefferies on Flickr

When I’m asked, I always like to say that my family is my sister and my mom. Though I have an extended group of aunts, uncles and cousins, when I consider the mental image of family, it’s those two. Because of this, I am wholly unaccustomed to boisterous weekend gatherings of generations of assorted relatives, reliving the “remember when…” stories and having hours lapse before everyone starts to peel away slowly to do it again the following week. While not a solitary creature, I revel in a quiet household where not much needs to be said because it is understood that our shared time is entertainment and company enough.

Over the years in romantic relationships, I’ve learned that the same approach I take to family togetherness works best for paramours as well. I remember in my youth, being in each other’s pockets seemed like the place to be, and God forbid something happen to one of us while the other wasn’t there to simultaneous experience it. Honestly, I’m shocked I wasn’t more exhausted from sustaining these types of dealings.

With age comes wisdom, as well as your own business, which requires you to mind. As I move within my current relationship, I try to keep in mind that while there is an “us,” more importantly there is a “me” and “he.” I have to allow both of us space to decompress, unwind, unpack and reflect without the nagging feeling of “growing apart” and he does the same.

What I see as somewhat of conventional (romantic and non-romantic) relationship wisdom, many others don’t seem to get, if the anecdotal examples from various advice columns imply. Some of my favorites are Dear Prudence on Slate, Carolyn Hax on Washington Post and A Belle in Brooklyn page. Lack of basic communication practice (ask for what you want, be open to compromise, don’t accept less than you’re worth) seems to be at the root of nearly all exchanges for which people are seeking guidance, be it a relationship between mother-daughter, boss-employee, boyfriend-girlfriend or just two people who are exploring the dating scene. Reading the submissions is one of my guiltiest pleasures; people always find a way to reach new level of “Huh?” with each question.

Mind you, in no way am I saying that my communication style is ideal – I can be short of patience, I want people to get to the point quickly and I hate arguing with those closest to me. What I always try to keep in mind is to listen more than I speak, consider all the perspectives, even the ones that aren’t being presented, and that taking 10 seconds before speaking in anger or irritation can save a whole lot of feelings. The more I operate within these kinds of guidelines, the better my relationships work. And the more of that sweet, sweet silence I get to have in my happy household.