When will I be enough?


This is probably a question that pops up in everyone’s mind from time to time; it’s like a stain that keeps reappearing or bad breath that a mint can’t cover. It persists so we persist in trying to define “enough.”

The chorus in my head has been on the same verses for too long: Am I good enough? Successful enough? Smart enough? Pretty enough? I wish I could say that the answer is yes. But depending on the day, it can go either way.

I had competing viewpoints on if I was enough in my childhood. My mom was generous with praise, always the encourager. But she pushed a lot, too. Straight A’s were expected. I never had a B until high school, but she wasn’t harsh, just slightly disappointed. My father, on the other hand, was absent and incapable of praise. Instead I got a lot of lectures on being fat. When this is how you start out in life, it’s hard to be kind to yourself and believe you are “enough.” Because ultimately isn’t it about having that belief in yourself?

But we keep falling into traps about what is “enough.” We get snared and dragged down, losing all focus on the things that really matter.

Trap One: If only some magical thing will happen then I’ll be enough. If I get the right job or the perfect marriage or some other thing then finally I’ll be enough. Listen, we all need to have goals and dreams. It keeps us moving, but what happens is that we stop caring about the present. It’s easier to look toward the future with hope that things will be better. The past betrayed us, and the present is just this thing getting in our way of the perfect future.

You know those vision boards that were so popular years ago (maybe they still are?). People put so much time and effort into looking at a board that was their ideal life that they didn’t appreciate what they already had. I don’t have a vision board. I stopped looking for what was at the end of the rainbow and decided the rainbow’s pretty awesome on its own. I haven’t completely conquered this trap; I still want more. I still have plenty to accomplish, but I refuse to ignore these moments that I’m experiencing right now.

Trap Two: Self-doubt and insecurity make us less likely to ever get to the prized “enough.” How much confidence do you have in yourself at this moment? Probably less than you deserve. I’ve always been confident in my intelligence and skills. With every fiber in me, I believe in my talent as a writer and marketer. I’m educated, curious and work hard every day to keep sharp. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have doubts. I still second-guess myself and feel that I’m not where I should be in my career. I’ve made mistakes. I stayed at jobs too long that didn’t nurture me and my ideas. However, I do make my living writing. People pay me to write! The topics aren’t always interesting, but it beats looking at spreadsheets or filling in balance sheets (I hate math!).

Do the most successful people in the world have self-doubt? I don’t know; it’s hard to believe that they could be confident in everything 100 percent of the time. I can only speak for me, and I am harder on myself than almost anyone ever could be. Some would say it’s tough love, but being kind to yourself has nothing to do with being “tough” and everything to do with being comfortable with who you are and where you’ve been.

So when will I ever be “enough”? I’ll probably consider myself an utter failure until one of my books is out there in the world. I may never be a best seller, but I’ll never give up on this dream. It’s the same dream I’ve had since I was a five years old. It’s been really close then far away then close again.

So what is your “enough”? This is a real question from a real person typing these words, not a ploy for engagement. Because if we can all make peace with “enough” doesn’t that make the world a little bit better?



Are long forms killing your landing page conversions?


Listen, I know you want a lot of information on prospects that download your gated content. But some brands need a reality check on the value of their offer compared to the information requested. I saw an offer today on LinkedIn. The asset offer was for a research paper so I understand that it took time to create it. Analysis and conclusions take work to develop. But I’d be very curious to know what their bounce rate is for this landing page. I’m going to guess it’s high because these are the things they request on the form:

  • First and last name
  • Company name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Number of employees
  • State
  • Country
  • Currently use their products

These are all required fields! If I had to put this piece of content in a buyer’s journey stage (haven’t read it, just inferring from the little information provided), I would say it’s either awareness or consideration. I lean a bit more toward awareness because the “value” of the research paper is to prove that doing X leads to Y. And Y is something a prospect would be happy about. In the awareness stage, it makes more sense to ask for less information. It’s the getting to know you phase. I recommend asking for name and email only. With a prospect opting into email, you have a channel to communicate and nurture the relationship by providing more content and eventually a decision stage offer of a consultation, price quote or demo.

I checked other platforms. The same offer is on Twitter and FaceBook; no distinction at all between the three posts (not even a hashtag on Twitter). I also know this is a global company with thousands of employees, and I would assume a healthy marketing department and budget.

I’m sure this is a very valuable asset, but the execution and promotion are off. Here is how I’d fix it:

Does the landing page practice good conversion-centered design? I’d say no. Here are some areas of improvement.

Context: Have they considered the context of where someone might be landing from? No. By posting on social media, it can be shared with people that don’t follow their brand. And those people have no context about who the brand is. Read more on context here.

Clarity: The posts for the asset say it’s a research paper and provide a name of someone who worked on it, but none of that is on the landing page. Also, if they are going to use someone’s name then they should tag the person so that people understand he or she is a credible source.

Congruence: This is big fail. Every element of the landing page should align with the goal. The goal is to get users to download the asset. Yet on the actual landing page there is one sentence and eight fields.

Closing: This principle focuses on getting the click. There are many elements on the page that influence conversions. This landing page has little context and requests a lot of information. Its call to action is simply “submit,” which is a negative word, at least subconsciously. There are many other positive words and phrases to use that can propel a user to convert.

In addition to the improvements need to align with conversion-centered design, their promotion strategy seems to be nonexistent. They should post it on social media based on the platform: FaceBook (visual), Twitter (use a hastag and tag the writer) and LinkedIn (longer post and tag writer).

So I guess you could say I’m silently critiquing your landing pages. If you’d like me to do it out loud, send me a note and let’s chat.


Is your marketing confident?


If you want your audience to take your brand seriously, you must market confidently. But confidence doesn’t mean being boastful or using every superlative available. It means that you lead with value, and let your audience know how your solution can revolutionize the way they do something. If your message veers off course, whether that is because you’ve gone from confident to condescending or show uncertainty, then your conversions will suffer.

Here’s an example from my own career. A designer and I created a landing page with the goal of getting users to request a demo of our software. It was a really well designed page that provided an outline of how the software worked, emphasizing ease and convenience. It also relayed the key values the user would experience, including reducing time spent on data entry, cost savings and improving the quality of their current process. It also included a link to an educational white paper, which was a free link (no form completion required).

The call to action included some specific confident language. The close was xyz will change the way you do xyz. Chat with us today to learn how we can improve your process. The close was focused on what the software could do for its users and that the brand was confident in its delivery of an effective product.

The landing page was used in a variety of channels, including an Adwords campaign, social media and email marketing. It was a very successful landing page, pulling in an 8 to 9 percent conversion on Adwords and over 40 percent on email.

Then the president of the company took issue with the confident wording, saying it was too much of a guarantee. He had a hard time understanding that marketing isn’t a legal contract. The language never guaranteed anything or exclaimed that it would change their life! Unfortunately, I had to change the language. The new language didn’t radiate confidence. It was just very bland and ordinary.

Ninety days later, I reviewed the metrics. And not to my surprise, conversions declined, mainly in the Adwords campaign, which of course was real dollars and less returns. I reported the data to my boss. He still would not allow me to change the language back. The landing page continued to have good conversion rates, but it never hit the same numbers as it had. This was the only change made so I had to attribute the decline to the change.

Fear often keeps people from making the best decisions for growth. Marketing, executed with focus and confidence, is the heart of any great growth strategy. If you don’t end with a confident close, users will sense this and lose confidence in your brand.

Forget Resolutions, Just Be Better


Ever wonder how New Year’s resolutions originated? I did, too. So I did some research. New Year’s resolutions originated thousands of years ago, tracing back to the ancient Babylonians and Romans. Back then, these people used resolutions as a way to appease the gods. As Christianity emerged, Christians also began to make promises to be more devout and cleanse the sins from the former year.

New Year’s resolutions, which are mainly secular these days, have now turned into a joke with the likelihood to keep them very slim. I’m sure they still have meaning to some; if for nothing else than to contemplate the year that has passed.

I don’t make resolutions. I do set goals. But these goals don’t hinge on a new year. I don’t need any additional pressure to “change” my life come January 1st. I want to always be willing and open to change and growth. So why not start every day with the hope to be a better person? I’m not a self help expert or a motivational guru. I’m just a real person with real challenges that loves to write. I don’t have it all together by any means. I just try hard every day to be better. Here are some thoughts on “better.”

Be accountable. This is your life. You made the choices, for better or worse, that led you to this moment. Stop blaming everything and everyone for your situation. Yes, we’ve all had things happen to us outside of our control. Right now at this moment you’ve got to stop thinking that someone or something else is the reason for your current condition. Own your own life! We’ve run out of time to change the past. Stop being stuck in it. Being stuck in the past is like quicksand. If you don’t clear your way out, you’ll sink into it and disappear.

If you are depressed, anxious or both, get help! There’s no reason to suffer. And your spouse, partner or best friend isn’t the help I mean. Yes, having a support system is important, but I mean professional help. There’s no shame in this. Take meds if you need them. It’s okay to ask for help. Because guess what, your life’s not perfect. And it doesn’t have to be.

Stop being so self-absorbed. Try being present with those in front of you. Put your phone away. Look people in the eye. Have a real conversation. Self absorption isn’t just about the self, it’s often disguised by whatever you’re focused on like your children or job. Look, I’m no expert on kids. I’m not a parent. But I have been obsessed with my career. That was my priority. I was always working. And my relationships suffered. So whether it’s kids or career or something else, just remember that if someone is taking the time to be present with you then reciprocate.

Stop waiting for that magical thing to happen that will make you feel happy or successful or some other emotion you crave. It’s not going to happen. Maybe it will, but don’t count on waking up the next day with all your worries gone and a cloak of happiness. I fell in that trap, thinking when I accomplish this professional goal then I’ll finally feel like a success. It never happened. While I still struggle with what “success” means, I’m no longer waiting for that unicorn to ride in with a “You’re a Success” banner. The same thing with relationships. Thinking that if you’ll find the “one” you’ll live happily ever after is utter bullshit. There is no “one”; there are people out there you’ll be more compatible with than others. Ultimately though you’ve got to be right with yourself to have a real, lasting relationship that is healthy. Stop waiting on that happiness train; it’s never on time and will pass you by.

So that’s my non-advice. I call it this because I don’t really think I’m in a position to provide advice. What I can do is tell good stories based on what I’ve learned. Writing this is as much for me as for anyone who reads it. Just remember, you’re still here. You’ve successfully made it through a lot of spectacular and horrible things. The only thing you need to do is just be better.

What I Learned from 2016


Well, 2016, you sure did not disappoint. It’s been up and down all the way through. And in the end, whether if just by a thread, I’m still here, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

The year started with a break up; I left I job I loved for many reasons yet it was clear I needed to move on. What I hated leaving were mostly the people. These great people made a lasting impression on me. I learned a lot about myself through the eyes of these people and took some lessons from them as well. It’s a pretty amazing thing when you have the pleasure of being around fascinating people that make you want to just be better.

Since then my professional life has been on the rise. I got back to who I am and what I want to do. I relaunched this blog, which has been such a joy for me. To write about life and share my stories makes me happy. And I am motivated even more to keep telling more stories because of the response I’ve received. I’ve also been able to meet and work with many interesting and intelligent people on marketing strategies. My “day job” is a bit of a bore, but I’ve met many exceptional people.

Of course what took precedence most of the year was the remodel. I spent months with no floor, a few weeks with no kitchen and a few moments when I may have considered going to a hotel alone! And then finally, things came together. I won’t congratulate us just yet. We still have one more ceiling to scrape and two bathrooms, which means we’ll have to share a bathroom for a time.  Good luck to us.

While things have been mostly positive and joyful, the world itself has continued to be challenging. It’s nothing new. Conflict arises over the same things over and over – religion, race, power, money and anything that seems “different.” Have we learned nothing from history, have we really devolved? I’m not an expert on the human condition; I am however an observant storyteller. I’ve seen real anger and fear in the faces of many. Yet I’ve also seen beautiful signs of humanity. One afternoon on the way home, I saw a dog with no leash or human. It’s a busy road. He was definitely someone’s pup based on his good condition. I went to pull over and three other cars did as well. A lady jumped out and scooped him up as he was about to walk into the road. I needed to see that, it gave me hope.

I lost a lot of hope in this culture during the election. It showed a lot of the worst in people. I don’t believe that some people are all bad or good. I think people are all shades of gray, light and dark pieces in us all. But l learned something very important the morning after the election. I was on the train, earlier than normal. Two middle aged men were standing behind me on their way to offices in skyscrapers. They were complaining about lack of sleep because “They waited so long to call it.” Then one says to the other, “At least there’s not a woman in the White House.”

I don’t believe the race was lost because of gender. I’ve tried hard to dissect how and why things happened as they did. I get that things certainly aren’t as our founding fathers imagined. But I do know that when they wrote, all men are created equal, they meant white men like themselves. Everyone else has had to keep fighting for that equal. Those words I heard that morning helped me understand that I need to keep trying to be a strong voice and force for women in any way I can regardless of who is in office. I’m not burying my head in the sand. I’m going to stay as educated and informed as possible. Someone has to.

The year ended with a simple wedding, joining two people who are more concerned with a dazzling marriage. Marriage, and the wonderful man I now call husband, have taught me so much already. No matter what 2017 has in store, we will weather it together. This is perhaps the best lesson of 2016 – it’s the special moments and time with those we love that matter – everything else is just noise. I’m all for more joy and less noise in 2017. I’ll do my part; hope you will, too.


Thoughts on Westworld and What It Means to be Human


So, we are fascinated by Westworld. Billed as a science-fiction thriller where humans live out their fantasies with AI-induced hosts, Westworld is actually about much more. It asks the question, “What does it mean to be human?” and has a running theme of “pain” as the crux of consciousness. The hosts are wiped clean after every trauma but soon begin to remember. Is this what pushes them toward consciousness?

In the real world, humans of course can’t have their memories erased. We carry them around. They may act as shields or barriers or even medals. Our experiences do shape us and inform who we are and the choices we make. Sometimes for good; sometimes to our detriment. But it’s worth asking: does pain make us human?

I don’t do a lot of what if anymore, where I would run through my life and consider alternatives. What if my mom would have lived? What if my father would have been a part of my life? What if I never had cancer? There are a million other ways my life could have gone. I have no idea if I’d be the same person without pain, but my guess is no.

Westworld also has a recurring thought about loss, that the pain from loss (in the show it’s the loss of a child) is all someone has left. I’ve written about this before. That my pain is what makes me know it was real, that my mom and her love and devotion to me were real. I long ago stopped trying to shred it, but it’s also no longer my armor. You don’t have to be consumed by your pain in order to hang onto it. It’s not going anywhere. I won’t miraculously wake up one morning and have a whole heart again.

If I had to answer the question, then I’d say yes, pain does make us human. I don’t think any of us are pain free, however, some have led a more comfortable life. If given the choice, I’d say many would opt for that comfortable life. Not me. I’ll take the pain. I’ll take all the good and bad that came with my life. I didn’t choose the pain. I didn’t ask to be born. But I choose to live this life that I have and make the best of it. Without this life and in turn this pain, I wouldn’t be able to write things like this with such passion. My voice would more subdued; my thoughts more simple.

Westworld has been a ride in its first season. I was so eager for every second of it, reminding me of my obsession over Lost. But like any great piece of art, it made me think about my own place in the world and question it. I’m glad to be aware of where I’ve been and where I am. And, I would always choose the pain even if enchanting Dr. Ford told me he’d wipe it all away.

Today, a poem


I’m busy working on thoughts and ideas. Sometimes you have to walk away from what you are writing and come back to it. So today, a poem. I wrote this many years ago. It’s still one of my favorites. Never think that words aren’t powerful. They absolutely are. And don’t ever think that you can’t come back from something. You may just realize you have wings that work when you take that jump or leap.


I have this picture
You in that old olive recliner
Me poised on the arm.
We’re mirrored
From the green Izod shirts
To the blonde strands of hair.
It sits in a frame.
It hangs in my heart.
I remember you young & tan
Before too many things
Sank into your skin.
When I had pigtails
And called you mommy.
Maybe time fades pictures, curls their edges.
I’ve taken a million steps away
From that moment
It’s still clear, it’s still happening
Whenever I close my eyes.