The Hot List

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did I lead you to believe there would be pictures from People Magazine of Halle Barry or Tom Cruise? No, this is so much more useful. It’s about one of the most important lists their assistants prepare for them in their homes and one of the most important aspects of doing your job right–being able to contact the people consistently in your employer’s life. You can prioritize them as those on the “hot list” vs those on the support list. This “hot list” consists of people in their industry who they are working with at that time, close family, close friends, employees and emergency vendors who are constants like the doctor, pharmacy, pool man, swim teacher, gardener, veterinarian, etc. This list is laminated and posted or in a drawer nearby the phones in the house and updated a three of four times a year.

I once had an employer explain to a new employee that it was very important for them to know the “players” in the entertainment industry so they are familiar with who they should “jump” for. It can be embarrassing for you and your employer if you don’t. For the motion picture executive, it would be important to know Steven Spielberg’s development executive’s name when they happen to call. Or the big venture capitalist who is financing your employer’s next big project. Do you see how it would be important to know the “players” in their life?

Along this line, you would want to keep a list of birthdays for the important people in your employers life: usually those who are close family, those your employer are working with on a project, and of course, close friends. Circulate a monthly birthday list in advance so you can have plenty of time to buy gifts and are clear on how personal the card should be and to know in advance the best method to deliver the gift. Once the month is completed, file this list to refer to for next year. Often, seeing what they chose to get them (flowers vs  $500 bottle of wine) helps you make suggestions the following year.  Keeping your lists in an organized fashion helps you so you won’t have to ask twice.  By year three on the job, you won’t have to ask at all. Progression: Year one you have to list the people with a blank next to the name; year two has suggestions based on the prior year; year three has the gift you sent next to the name “I sent — and a card from you.”

So much of the job as an assistant is reading between the lines and being able to assimilate the nuances around making you aware of who is and is not on your employer’s every changing radar. But having key contacts at hand (and on their cell phone) is one of the tools to be efficient/prepared for the both of you.

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New Year’s Resolutions…Again?

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m sure you’re all thinking, moaning and groaning, please not another blog about New Year’s Resolutions. I owe it to my thousands of followers (uh hum) to offer my bit of untraditional wisdom on the subject. Did you ever realize nothing happens overnight? The phenomenon of an “overnight success” is just that. When you look at someone like Michael Jackson and the success he achieved, many forget he was rehearsing, practicing, recording, and performing when most of us his age were outside playing kickball. Disney stars like Justin Timberlake, Brittany Spears or Christina Aguilera are all examples of this, young stars who have been working it since an extremely young age.

Success comes from a series of consistent and focused small steps towards a goal or overall idea of an outcome. Yes, “focused on a feeling” can be just as important as zeroing in on a specific target for those of us who can’t seem to figure life out.  My own evolution as a personal assistant started at a young age of taking care of my own family and home. My mother died when I was 12 and because my father was a working musician, he was often away touring. There were times when I was in charge of paying the housekeeper, organizing our home and paying all the bills from the signed checks and credit cards my dad entrusted to me. I had to develop small systems of organization to do this “job” while keeping up with school, homework while still having a teenage life. I had a friend whose parents toured and soon this became a side job for me to do so for their family too.

My overall goal then was to have flexibility, good pay, work in anything but a corporate environment and I had come to expect a certain level of excitement from the life I led as a musicians daughter (let’s just say party planning was another skill I learned early). While I didn’t “plan” to be here and had explored other avenues, I eventually excelled at what came as second nature to me and “officially” became a personal assistant and organizational expert. I did this by taking small steps of doing this career in an abbreviated version since I was a pre-teen.

The point to this you say? Often we are very clear on what we don’t want, but not what we want. If you are stuck and tired of your job or want to do anything different, don’t wait for a perfect opportunity or million dollar idea. Start small. Make small changes towards the life you feel is more ideal for you each month or every two months even. This is so much more important and lasting than a list of extreme changes you intend to make this year.  Write out your baby step strategy, commit to it, and see where it leads.

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Happy Really New Year—Chug, Chugging Along!

January 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

It struck me on this very new morning of the New Year what a great time it is to be alive as I believe this is going to be a year of peace. I think if there is to be a theme during this time, it is that countries, states, and individuals are demanding their freedom and fairness like we’ve never seen before.


You only have to look as far as what has happened in countries around the world who are going through a period of tremendous upheaval and change so great that some areas have been dubbed the “Arab Awakening” or “Arab Spring.” The countries of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan and Oman are all embarking on huge changes to their “business as usual.”

It is no wonder that “The Protester” was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

The fallout from the demonstrations and leaders stepping down or dying, as in the instance of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un, or the American Occupy Wall Street movement remains to be seen. But I think the momentum garnered by the blood, sweat and tears that went into the demonstrations and the passion of the people will only focus more and more on what is to be, Peace and Cooperation because people are finally AWAKE. Bolstered by the tools of the internet like Twitter and Facebook, global atrocities can now be put on blast, front and center for all to see.

So of course on this new morning of the new year of 2012, as I watch the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, I recognize that it had more floats promoting peace and honoring sister cities and people around the world, more than I’ve ever witnessed. Maybe I’m more tapped into it, but I for one am looking forward to a very good year with what counts most—that which is unseen: faith, harmony, love, peace, and soooouuul! (Thank you Soul Train).

Hope you’re dancing into a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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