Most people don’t really consider themselves to be experts in much–for example. My kids once accurately defined our specialized fields: “Dad’s kinda funny sometimes and mom finds stuff.”
But when it comes to hammering out that brief description of yourself in LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram it can be surprisingly difficult to find much to really brag about–let alone translate it to a full-blown resume.
It’s a lot easier to look at your reflection and see that one tiny zit rather than combed-hair, clean teeth or at maybe even someone who remembers to clean the mirror once in a while.
When my high school classmate Lynn Eads was asked to contribute a chapter to the new book The Truth About Success she was asked to contribute her expertise. This was a bigger challenge than a Facebook blurb or a CV. Perhaps it’s a better question to ask your friends what you’re an expert in, eh? “What am I an expert in?” she asked.
Every five years since 1983 our high school class of 245 has stayed close and held reunions. The tenth one was the wildest as most of us had the stamina or started families and were very excited to get away from the toddlers. The years passed, fewer empty vodka bottles went into the Knights of Columbus dumpster and plenty more people headed home before midnight–even though they didn’t have to pay a babysitter anymore.
One constant during these reunions has been the planning committee. The same team of 5-10 of us who meet up at a bar and go over the catering menu, picking the price-plan and work on getting the word out. And Lynn has always been our buoy of support, kindness and fun.
Over the years, Lynn and her husband fellow Clawson ’83 grad Ken have remained in Clawson and have been in regular touch with all of us. I’ve been impressed by her resilience as an entrepreneur and most recently in her series for parenting support with her website and social media platform Learn with Lynne (with an “e” at the end for education). Most impressive through her years as a mom, nanny, business owner, recent grandmother and now author has been the same positive energy I noticed in the mix-master of that tough sixth grade class when went through three poor teachers.
She joined me on a podcast this week–where we covered topics ranging from our childhood, including trying to pitch a student court program to our high school classmates, all the way through grandparenting during COVID, and lessons learned along the way–all adding up to her unique expertise and exciting projects.
Lessons from “Failure”
It’s hard enough to admit failure, but even harder to learn from it. Lynn and her husband purchased a typesetting business when their two kids were still in toddlers and tried to live “outside of their lanes,” diving into a field where they had little background. They both worked hard, made progress, increased clients but the key moment came when Lynn’s dad observed her that she didn’t seem herself, she was so stressed.
Lynn admits that it was tough swallowing that medicine but she took a step back, spoke with Ken and they both admitted it wasn’t what either of them wanted so they sold the business and the client-list and not only haven’t regretted it, but have let it shape their future businesses.
But first they needed to be open for this “failure” and the learning that can follow–into further entrepreneurship into essential oils and other projects–and constantly learning–including Lynn developing her own brand growing an increasingly strong social media presence–including the new open forum Clubhouse: Drop-In Audio Chat which has allowed her to grow her Instagram followers to over 1,000–simply by being open, engaging and the fun and positive “expert” I’ve always known her to be.
Not Everyone Can “Parent”
Those of us lucky, truly lucky, to have a solid family background with positive, supportive role-models who make the time to prioritize your growth should not try to double-dip and buy a lottery ticket as well.
Lynn and I discussed the unique perspective you get growing up in a small town, meeting classmates’ families and seeing the wide-variety of home dynamics that exist in just a single block in your town. We recognized the teachers that gave us warm support or discounted us with either indifference or a stinging comment–some of those barbs that can still be quoted verbatim at our reunions 35 years later.
Lynn, like my wife, has been a nanny for many years and has remained in touch and seen her charges grow up. The skillset she has long taken for granted is now transformed into parental coaching and the development of a parenting course and a book–complete with exercises and videos. The exciting part is the evergreen aspect of making an impact on so many more families–staying “evergreen” and impacting generations to come.
De-Cluttering Closets–and Life
Patrice and I joined Lynn’s Facebook “Declutter Challenge” and tackled our closets, filling two bags of shirts in Week 1 that we donated to the Vietnam Vets (who handily come right to your door). It’s interesting how getting rid of physical clutter gets rid of the mental clutter as well–giving you some breathing room and not feel like you really don’t want to open that door because of the avalanche that may fall.
Lynn points out, like deciding to ditch the typesetting business, that life’s too short for clutter–that if something isn’t “sparking joy”–if that thing in your life is as drab and depressing as that crumpled shirt at the bottom of your drawer that you haven’t worn for two presidents, then say goodbye.
Knowing How the Story Ends…
Lynn tells anyone who will listen, based on her “failure,” that starting a business with no business plan isn’t going to end well. It’s like taking the family on a vacation and hopping in the car without the right luggage, half a tank of gas and just figuring I-75 will take you to Tampa eventually–despite your kid in the back seat pointing out the Mackinac Bridge coming up.
Lynn’s established a road-trip–with her parenting classes, her upcoming book–maybe a podcast soon and the opportunities seems to be rolling her way.
Thirty-plus years of marriage, hard choices, re-inventions and the relentless positivity so many of us noticed in her in 1976 has shaped Lynn Eads into truly being an “expert” in life–a truly commendable feat.
You can order The Truth About Success on Amazon.