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November, 2012

Is having an "ideal" keeping you from being joyful? 


With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, we have officially entered the season of holiday hectic-ness, count-down craziness or simply pure consumer madness.


This season always makes me reflect on my very own profession:  Marketing.  After all, I hear so many people inadvertently blame me, or my industry colleagues, on the commercialization of this time of year.


Are marketers really to blame? 


No, I don't think so.   And here is why.


Good marketers usually provide consumers what they want, meaning they don't just try to sell what they have.  Marketing is about creating and providing products and services that fulfill some deep seated need or want that consumers have.  Many of these needs and wants are emotional.


And the holidays are a time of strong emotion.  Strong expectations for things to be perfect, in-a-June-Cleaver-kind-of-way; like having a happy and close family, being in a perfect and loving relationship, and having a fulfilling job with a perfect company and a wonderful a fantasy or ideal.


Ideals live within us all the time, but the holidays bring these ideals more sharply into focus. 


Marketers do leverage these insights when trying to show you how their products and services will satisfy your needs and wants that your ideals create.  They put it out there to connect and relate to you. 

But they don't create these ideals, they simply respond and leverage them because they have learned to listen well to their consumers. 

However, I find that these ideals for perfection, which increase so dramatically during this time of year, keep us from really finding joy. These ideals can 

drive unproductive behavior and unhappiness.  



After all, it isn't the marketing; take ownership for your part of this collective need for the perfect holiday.


I have lived it and contributed to it too.



I remember feeling the pressure to take every client out for the holidays, or to send a meaningful gift to those I work with, or to make meaningful contact with long conversations with dear friends all over the country, to send out hundreds of cards before mid December, to wrap all gifts beautifully, or to host a holiday get together on top of getting out gifts to family out-of-state.  The list was just too long and too painful to get through gracefully and joyfully.  


Through the years, I have learned to let go of many of these ideals which create an unrealistic list of must-do's or must-have's.


I have realized that many of these resulting must-do's and must-have's are not grounded in truth.  For example:  An expensive gift from a spouse doesn't really mean you have a closer relationship.  A tree full of gifts for a child doesn't mean they will be any happier than they already are (they don't actually play with half the gifts anyway).   An extra, holiday dinner or lunch with a client or a team won't make up for a lack of appreciation felt throughout the year.  Hosting a party or sending cards doesn't really bring long lost friends or acquaintances any closer.


Now I accept that Holiday cards can become New Year's cards, or none at all if time does not permit.  I now understand that touching base during other times of year can matter more to friends and family in far away places.  I now know that having a few late gifts that show thought and meaning matter more than just having many timely "somethings".  I now realize that even if my house may be less decorated than those down the road, it doesn't mean that my spirit is any less bright.   


Putting these things in a cost/benefit perspective will allow you to see and to focus on the things that matter most to you based on truth and not the falseness created by our ideals of perfection.  


My hope is for you to have more joy by letting go of some of these ideals that you may have in certain areas of your life which come to a head during this time of year. Allow the journey of getting to the holidays be as joyful as the destination.


And please don't blame the marketers; instead change your piece of this collective need for the ideal.  I promise that over time as more consumers find more joy and are less driven by these false ideals, marketers will take note and the messages will change. 


May your road to the holidays (or any other destination you may have) be joyful!


Please Join The Texas Women Who Rock on December 6 for another great session that will help you to learn how to ask for what you want.  Find out more about "Getting the Most from Your Resources."


Are you interested in developing yourself as a better leader and understanding what your next step should be? Consider one-on-one business coaching to help you get clear on what's next and how to position yourself for success. Contact Laura for some customized and personalized coaching.   


Laura Lopez is an award-winning author of The Connected and Committed Leader.  She is also a consultant, and a Birkman Method certified business coach who has been featured on the Today Show ,Latina Voices Smart Talk, Living Smart and Fox News


In addition, her accomplishments have been highlighted in several business periodicals including  Personal Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership Excellence. 

Laura can be contacted via her Web site at:


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All the best,
Laura Lopez
Laura Lopez & Company
(713) 868-5025
cell (713) 828-8829