The other day I asked three different people for feedback. My husband, my Pastor, and my supervisor at work. You may have read this from my Instagram post, but I’ve been asking people in my life to answer the following five questions honestly so I can better myself and improve my leadership.

  1. What do I do that inspires you?
  2. What do I do that bothers you?
  3. What do I not know about myself?
  4. What am I doing to cultivate influence?
  5. What am I doing that could be causing me to lose influence?

It was really telling when all three of them answered the questions similarly. As I reflect on their answers, here are the things I am paying close attention t0…

My instant tears from the response to question #3 – “Manda, I don’t know if you know that you are fun… that people enjoy being around you.” Clearly, this triggered something within me. I couldn’t help myself. I just got so emotional when I heard that. Tears are always something to pay attention to.

My lack of surprise from the response to question #2 – “Manda, it bothers me when you lose your cool over something small. It bothers me when you don’t maintain your composure in stress.” Yep. I nodded along. This bothers me too! Could this be another area of transformation for me rather than writing it off or accepting it as my genetics? I’ve decided to try something I’ve never done before… I’ve signed up for anger management, friends! Stay tuned on my thoughts of group therapy to come in the near future I’m sure.

My disappointment from the response to question #5 – “Manda, you might be losing influence because you’re always a driver, never a player. You drive (stay focused on work) and rarely play (let loose, interact with others, have some fun). It dawned on me how true the feedback was. My immediate response was even, “I’ve gotta work on having more fun!” I even turned my desire to be more playful into another thing to work on. Woof.

Anyway, there were a million things they each said that brought a smile to my face and a pep in my step. Asking for feedback isn’t actually scary to me anymore and I suppose I’m sharing all of this for a few reasons. First, because maybe you can relate? Second, to encourage you to take the time to ask people you trust to offer feedback because it will be like someone holding up a mirror to help you see yourself better. Third, to explain the reasoning behind my new intention, which is (drum roll, please…) to laugh more.

Yes, you read that right. As silly as it may sound, I am trying to laugh moreI have weird ambitions, I know.

I’m less playful than I ever used to be. I think that happens with age, unfortunately, but I refuse to just accept it. I’ve decided to make it my daily intention to laugh more. Although this is very new, I decided to try laughter as a replacement for frustration for one whole week and let me tell you – I think it’s working!!!

Here are a few not-so-funny moments where I chose to laugh instead of cry or get angry this week…

Monday – I purchased 100 $2.00 gift cards from Dunkin’ Donuts this week. (Long story on why I needed so many, not the point.) The cashier had to swipe all 100 of them by hand while I stood there, holding up the line for over 20 minutes. I felt awful and embarrassed, but decided to laugh about it instead.

Tuesday – I Ubered from work to a lunch meeting. When it ended, I was in a huge hurry to get back to the office for another meeting. I got into my Uber to head back and did work on my phone the entire way, only when the driver said, “Drop off for Manda” we were outside my apartment. You guessed it! I had accidentally put my home address in instead of work. I had to pay for another Uber to get back to the office, wasted over an hour of my workday, and missed the meeting! I decided to laugh it off rather than panic and sweat a silly mishap.

Wednesday – I drove to the DMV to get an Illinois driver’s license since my Indiana one expired back in September and I hadn’t noticed. (#AdultingisHard) The DMV location is downtown so I don’t know why in the world I chose to drive there, but I found a parking garage that charged me $28 to park for 60 minutes (thanks, city livin’) and walked in only to find out they didn’t open for 30 more minutes. I sat and when they finally opened, I was told it was the wrong location for what I needed. So, I walked a mile in the frigid, windy weather over to the right location where I waited in a long line and was told I needed my social security card in order to proceed. Who forgot that important piece of documentation? Yours truly, that’s who. So I left. Walked the mile back to my car. Paid extra for going over my allotted time on parking, Ubered home, got the SS card, Ubered back to the right location, waited in line, got through everything (including the written test, phew!). I threw my hands in the air when it was over and treated myself to Panda Express because that was ROUGH. Even just typing this out makes me laugh.

Thursday – K, our little love, waltz right over to me and in all seriousness, she told me whenever I am ready to have a baby she will only charge me a small fee to come over and show me how to take care of it. She explained that I don’t know how to take care of kids. This was right after I picked her up from school, helped her with her math homework, made her dinner, and gave her a bath. This is also the same little girl that told me she likes E better than me because I’ve “got an attitude.” Kids are so random and I decided to laugh about her comments rather than get offended.

This isn’t my typical kind of blog post, but I hope you took something away from the weird and less gram-worthy moments of my life.

With love & Oreos,


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Manda's weekly letters on faith, marriage, motherhood, soul care, social justice - and occasionally the collision of it all. 

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