Taking Some Time to Recharge During the Holidays

By Rebecca Boyle

It’s the new year and we are back to work after the holidays. (I hope yours were good. Mine were.) The best part of my holiday break was spending some downtime with my family. After traveling to Cleveland for Christmas, we enjoyed a few days at home in our jammies and comfy clothes and we really didn’t do much. It was perfect! Taking that little bit of time to slow down and recharge made me feel happier and more relaxed—and ready to tackle the new year!

A photo of my little family taken during the big Boyle family photo shoot in Cleveland at Christmas.

Here are three things I did during the holidays that made me feel happy.

Hanging out with my kids
Whether we were watching kid’s shows and cuddling on the couch, reading books together, playing Uno, having a coloring contest, taking a family walk, or they were showing me all the cool things on the tablets Santa got them, I enjoyed hanging out with Paddy (age 8), Marcy (7), and Tommy (2) without having to rush out the door to be somewhere by a certain time.

Going on two dates with my husband
My husband Tim and I went on two dates over the holidays—one for our 11th wedding anniversary and one for my birthday. With our jobs, the kids, and his busy basketball coaching schedule, two dates in two weeks is not normal for us. It was fun to eat warm food that we didn’t have to prepare, enjoy a few adult beverages, and have conversations that weren’t constantly interrupted.

Reading books by myself
I have always loved to read. When I was younger, I would curl up with a good book and read it all in one sitting. I’d feel like I was part of the story and stay up way too late to find out what happened. These days, I’m usually reading an ebook from the library on my phone at short random times, like while I’m blow drying my hair, during my lunch break, and when the kids are in bed and I’ve decided to ignore the dishes and laundry. While I did not read a whole book in one sitting over the holidays, I was able to stay up way too late and read for a few hours straight.

Hope you were able to find some time to do what you love during the holidays as well!


World’s Okayest Mom

By Lisa Cloud

I wear so many hats in my life – I’m a daughter, sister, caregiver, friend, employee, legginWorld's Okayest Momgs lover – but the one I take the greatest pride in, well most days, is being a mom. Wanna know a little secret about me? Here’s some real talk for you – motherhood has knocked me down a few times. Okay, fine. A lot of times.  It’s bruised my ego, heart, confidence, will, drive, spunk and so much more. I’m so Type A. Like really, really Type A. Did I mention that I’m Type A? I could sit here and list all of the Type A traits I possess, but will spare you the gritty details.

What isn’t a secret is that motherhood has changed me. I know you’re thinking well DUH – of course it’s changed you, lady – that’s part of motherhood. It’s less about you and more about the kids. Uh, yeah. I get it. I get it every single day. Especially when they insist on eating dinner every single night and doing their homework. Why are they so needy!?!? (That’s a joke by the way. My kids eat usually a homemade dinner every night AND do their homework. I said usually though sometimes it’s frozen pizza or delivery Chinese food. Time is of the essence, people).

While being a mother is hard at times, it’s easily one of most rewarding roles I’ve ever had. That’s so confusing, right? It’s actually made me learn a lot about myself and forced me to learn some very tough, yet valuable lessons that are applicable in every part of my life – especially in my career.

Allow me to present ‘5 Reasons Motherhood Has Helped Me Let It Go’. I’m sorry, not sorry if you have the Frozen song stuck in your head right now.

1. Ditch the idea of perfection. Everyone’s idea of perfection is different, right? One of my heaviest struggles with motherhood is that I’m a perfectionist. I have an idea of what most every situation should look like and if/when it doesn’t fit into that pretty little box then I can go into meltdown mode. Life isn’t perfect – you do your best and honestly, sometimes the best memories, laughs,work, projects and/or solutions come from imperfections. Be open to that. In the words of Vanilla Ice – ‘stop, collaborate and listen.’ Your best successes could come from those.

2. Ask for and accept help. Everyone wants to be supermom. It’s exhausting. Come talk to me around Valentine’s Day when it’s time for the class parties and I’m stalking Pinterest to find THE best homemade card. It happens, don’t judge me. I’m learning that it’s okay to send pre-made, store bought cards or letting Grandma help out because other things are more important and I can’t do not have enough hours in the day. There’s no harm in trusting your team/village/posse/people to lend a hand in whatever capacity possible. They wouldn’t be in your life if you couldn’t trust them or they didn’t add some type of value, right? As hard as it is, delegating is key these days. Asking someone on the team to use their solid skill set only makes life better. I promise.

3. Appreciate and grow from the struggles. We all struggle in some form or fashion. It’s just human nature. I’m learning to not beat myself up about what I can/can’t do and to celebrate what I can. I’m learning to use my struggles to change perspective and see a different side of the situation. This allows me to be more flexible and agile, thus not wasting the struggle but growing from it. That struggle might be a game-changer, hail-Mary or a key puzzle piece at some point down the road.

4. Pick your battles. This is a practiced art every single day in my house and life. Sometimes I want to go out guns blazing but honestly, as a mother and person – I AM WRONG. My way isn’t the only way. Being able to admit that is difficult too but I have to be strategic with my words and choices. I can’t argue with my almost 7 year-old when he can’t find his shoe but I know it’s right where he left it. I know this because as soon as I walk over to the hall closet, he’ll magically proclaim that he found. I’ll try not to be super annoyed that those three seconds could have been spent elsewhere but, I digress. If a client tells you they want XYZ on their project and won’t budge, then be creative giving them XYZ. It’s not always about what we want. There are other people to consider

5. Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. I have to remind my kids to put their shoes on every morning. It’s true. One would think that they’d automatically put them on before walking out the door so they wouldn’t have to hear me ask the same questions over and over again. Nope. Motherhood has taught me not to assume something is getting done because 9 times out 10 —it’s not. It’s not a blatant sign of them not wanting to do it, it’s because something else is more appealing and shinier, grabbing their attention span from the task at hand. We’re human. It happens. Taking a few seconds out the day to follow-up can save one’s sanity. Trust me.

Motherhood is different for every woman and there’s no one-size-fits-all model. There’s no manual. It’s about the individual, what’s important and works for them. For me, it’s about small details, realness, transparency, openness and humor while learning to let go of things I can’t control. It’s trial and error. Lots of tears, laughter and side-eyes – from both mom and kids. I mean, if I can’t laugh at myself then who can I laugh at? It’s not like anyone is keeping score but just in case – Motherhood 948, Lisa 10.


Fuel Your Creativity

By Marc Diebold

Having a passion for something outside of your day-to-day job responsibilities can fuel your creative side and inform and enhance the important career-related work that you do. Over the years, I’ve found that the things our staff at dgs are passionate about outside of work can be quite varied and interesting, and contribute in positive ways to our corporate culture. For some, it’s family or community related, like coaching their kid’s sports team or doing volunteer work at their church, or physical fitness related, like working out every day or participating in sporting events. For others, it’s simply a serious hobby that brings them joy and self-satisfaction. For me, it’s performing acoustic rock music at clubs and other venues, and recording songs or backing tracks in my home studio.

don_felder-jpgRecently I had the chance to attend a three-day Master Class on audio recording at a nationally-known recording studio along with 20 other recording enthusiasts, most of whom were studio owners or audio engineers. The guest artist we were recording was the legendary musician and songwriter Don Felder, best known as the former lead guitar player for The Eagles, where he wrote the music for several hit songs including Hotel California.

During the class, we re-recorded Don playing all the guitar parts (both his and Joe Walsh’s) for that famous song using guitars, amps and microphones nearly identical to the ones he used when he did the original recording. Our challenge was to make a recording that sounded as close as possible to the original release.

We were also treated to a few fascinating ‘behind the scenes’ stories about the making of that iconic album and Don’s life with The Eagles. Besides the one-on-one conversations I had with Don throughout the day, a big highlight for me was getting to hear Don’s original demo for the song, which he recorded in his then one-year old daughter’s bedroom on a four-track tape machine – some two years before The Eagles recorded it as a band. It was amazing to hear how close that demo sounded to the finished song so many of us have committed to memory almost note-for-note.

That class was a great learning experience for me, and certainly motivated me to get back in my own studio and do some more recording. I’d encourage all of you reading this to find something interesting to be engaged with outside of your job, and let the creativity and pleasure you derive from it carry over into your career.


It’s Time to Be Thankful

By Mimi Brodt

Thankful ForIn November of 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated their first successful corn harvest with a group of Native American allies. Today, many Americans continue that tradition of gratitude by spending the fourth Thursday of November with family and friends – feasting on traditional foods, watching football, playing board games, and now even getting a jump start on their holiday shopping.

In my family before we eat, each person shares something for which they are thankful. The subjects vary widely and sometimes laughter ensues… other times tears. Whatever the outcome, it always reminds us of how lucky we are. And while the many things we have to be thankful for in our personal lives jump quickly to mind, we often forget to acknowledge the what we’re thankful for in our workplaces. In the spirit of being grateful, here are three things I am personally thankful for at dgs:

1. Passionate People
It’s fun to work with passionate people. Passion drives people to do great work and to go the extra mile when helping colleagues or responding to client needs. dgs is a group of passionate people. Each of our disciplines – account service, social media, content and public relations – is made up of fun, thoughtful, talented people. They are good listeners. They care about the world around them. They accomplish great things on a daily basis. The people who work here bring together a wide variety of experiences that blend well together. I especially love working with some of our younger team members because I really appreciate how they bring a completely different perspective to each challenge. They frequently ask why and are not afraid to try new ways of doing something. I am thankful for and energized by their creativity.

2. Great Clients
At dgs, we don’t just have clients, we have great clients. We’ve worked with most of our clients for many years, and these long-standing relationships have enabled us to really understand their companies, the products and services they sell, and the challenges they face. The result? We are their collaborative partner, which is much more satisfying that simply being one of their vendors. I am very thankful that dgs has clients who respect our talents and have given us a seat at their tables.

3. New Opportunities
About this time, we go through a planning process with each of our clients to prepare for the upcoming year. Each client shares their objectives for the new year, and based on the problems they need to solve, we then put together recommendations on what marketing communications strategies will best meet those objectives. This process is exhilarating – especially for a group of passionate people. The chance to take a fresh look at a challenge and bring forth new ideas that will help our clients chart a successful course for the new year is what makes marketing so interesting. Plus, with each new challenge come new opportunities to learn and grow. And for that, I am thankful.

So what are you thankful for?