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Taking Care of the Rocks

At the beginning of the year when they asked me to do an “anniversary” blog every month or so, looking back at some aspect of Stampin’ Up!’s 25-year history, I wondered what would be most interesting for people to read about, what they were most curious about or wondered about. Soon afterwards, Sara had a downline meeting, which I attended, and I asked the members of her downline what sort of things they would like to know about. The first question that was asked was, “How did you do it ALL?”

I hear that question a lot when I talk about Stampin’ Up!’s history, and my first response is, “We didn’t!”

Vonna and I did our best in the moment, and I certainly believe in the adage that you can do whatever you set your mind to, but that doesn’t mean we did it all right. Back then we were growing so fast and there were so few of us. . . it was both exciting and overwhelming! Sure, we did it all, but we didn’t necessarily do it right. I didn’t sleep well, didn’t eat well, didn’t take time out for myself or my family. There are many lessons I learned and things I would do differently.

Mostly, I would put first things first. You pay a dear price when you don’t have your priorities straight, and the one thing I always tell people is that I would spend more time with my girls and my sweetheart! There were so many times when I put the business first, thinking that I’d do “whatever” (vacation, date night, Mommy-daughter time) once certain deadlines were met or projects completed.

What I learned is that there is always a deadline or project, and if you wait to do the important things until “after” certain things are done, those important things never get done. I heard someone once talk about trying to get rocks, pebbles and sand to fit in a container. If you put the rocks (the most important priorities) in the container first, the pebbles and sand will fit around them. So I’ve learned to take care of the rocks!

I lead a much more balanced life today than I did back then, and I encourage others to lead a balanced life as well! That doesn’t mean I’m always doing it right, but I’m definitely doing it more right than I was two decades ago!

I have also learned to delegate, let go, and say “no.” I am one of those people who need to have order in order to think and function, so I hired help with the house early on. That was actually a hard thing for me to do—I like things done a certain way, so I had to let go of certain ideas and expectations, and learn to live with the way other people did things. That’s been an important lesson that has served me well through the years as well.

Along with letting go of some control, I let go of some expectations. I have a hard time telling people “no,” but I’ve learned that I have to do that sometimes too. Even when I’m saying “no” to a good thing. It’s that whole idea of good, better, and best. . . sometimes the hardest choices are when you have to choose between good things and good causes. We really can’t do it ALL, so we have to choose what we do. And really, I’m no different than anyone else. We’re all learning how to make those choices. . . how to take care of the rocks!





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Reader Comments (14)

I love that analogy! I've seen it shown several times, and it is always a good reminder to take care of the "rocks" in life first! You don't have to be perfect, just do the best you can! Thanks for being a good example!
May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Davidse
To your well made point saying "no" to things is saying "yes" to priorities which in your case equals people.
May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoni Pawlikowski
Hi Shelli!
Thank you for this wonderful post! It sure means a lot to hear that you are just like the rest of us demos who try hard to keep a balance in life. It sure helps to know we are not alone.
Today, I am making my first ever televison appearance for Stampin up! I am super nervous but excited to share what I love. I wanted you to know that I am so inspired by you in all that you do! I am holding you in my heart as I make my 3-5 minute segment on CTV Morning live here in Calgary.
Wish me Luck!!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRose Marie Coleman
Thank you so much for the rocks, pebbles, sand analogy....and for sharing your experience and wisdom of prioritizing! You continue to inspire me, and so many others in so many ways.
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertracy baird
I really enjoyed reading this post today. Balancing life is a challenge and always a learning curve. I learned and realized to take care of my rocks first too because life can be short and unexpected things happen that make you realize "Rock" are the most important things in life. I also think it is funny you used the housekeeper perspective because I also have hired someone, she is great, but have had to learn to let go of this area. I feel less stressed now and with that more freedom. I try to explain this to my friends but they have yet to let go of the reins and try out this new sense of freedom.
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Santoso
Shelli, I enJOY reading your blog ~ always! Today, though, I have particularly enJOYed the wisdom you have gained over the twenty-five years of Stampin' Up! I agree with all you have shared and have 'filed it away' to merge and integrate with how I approach life, too.

Thank You ... for ALL your sharing ... for your experiences ... for your JOY ... for your wisdom ... and for Stampin' Up!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Love this post. I've never commented on any of your posts before Shelli, I usually read things quickly, just keeping up with my favourite blogs and whizzing through my own blog posts like a crazy women! Yes, it's a question I think to myself regularly, "How did she do it?"
How do you still do it? You are such an inspiration and would just like to say thank you for your honesty. I am really enjoying learning about the 25yr Stampin Up journey. With Love, Louise X
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouise Sharp
Shelli we used this analogy at Boy scout training for Scout leaders all the time. It really helps to put the important things in life in perspective. So inspiring to see the demonstration With a big glass pitcher and instead of rocks we use ping pong balls to represent the rocks. we usually pour in sand pebbles and marbles and then 2 cups of coffee or tea to show you can even have a cup with a friend once in a while when you put the important stuff first. The demonstration is usually best if you show both ways if you put all the other stuff in first and then try to put the ping pong balls in it won't fit but if you put them in first you have room for everything else plus the two cups of coffee or tea. Amazing results and always makes you think if you are spending your time wisely.
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebi Pippin
You really hit the nail on the head!! I can get so caught up in the details that I lose sight of the big picture. You are really an inspiration to so many women- but I am glad that you are putting your insight in the most important place- family!! As I celebrate Mothers Day today, I reflect on how precious are the ones that made me a mother in the first place!! Thanks for your honesty and words of wisdom.
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Lopez
You really hit the nail on the head!! I can get so caught up in the details that I lose sight of the big picture. You are really an inspiration to so many women- but I am glad that you are putting your insight in the most important place- family!! As I celebrate Mothers Day today, I reflect on how precious are the ones that made me a mother in the first place!! Thanks for your honesty and words of wisdom.
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Lopez
I really enjoy hearing your insight. It is so profound, even though they are letters in words, that make sentences. They are so powerful, helpful, caring and loving.

I would have tried to put all the sand and pebbles in first so I could get more done... LOL But the rocks, I would imagine are the big things in our lives... lesson well learned! Thanks!
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLois Folla
I just want you to know Shelli, you are such an inspiration to thousands of people. I'm so very glad I stopped by today because your message is beautiful, and so very true. Even with its flaws (running a business), you must have done a lot of things right because you have a beautiful family. I think the "wear and tear" was mostly on you because knowing you; "you tried to do it all!!"). Sorry this is so long, but I don't write you very often. If you have a second, check out my blog to see how much of an influence you have had on me -- thank you!!
May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandi Dailey
Shelli, I love how you write your blog on such a personal level - it really touched me today - I am a busy working Mum of two boys and constantly remind myself to stop, turn and make eye contact with my boys when they are talking to me (regardless of the subject matter!) instead of always trying to multi task - they are definitely my Rocks!
May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan Radu
Hi Shelli, I totally agree with you. One lesson I learned is that "stress" is what happens when your gut says "no" and your mouth says "yes". So I've learned to say no and the stress has dropped tremendously.
May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Hill

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