Monday, July 31, 2006

Update: Martha Graham Dances on the Head of a Pin

Here is a dance update you can post.

Last Saturday our performance came and went without our little pinhead......the night before she committed to being there. A couple of the other girls had talked to her and she agreed to ride down with one of them. Of course the one she was going to come with showed up alone as our little pinhead was not there when she went to get her. She wouldn't answer her phone either. The best part of it is that the one she was supposed to ride with (BTW it wasn't me) left her a nasty message on her phone that she should have had the "balls" to tell us at least that night before she wasn't going (yes, this is the edited version of her message and she was lucky it was the other one who left it and not me!). This was done as we were scrambling to change the dances to work without her little pinhead there. Needless to say that even though this was our last performance for the summer we are still going to complain to 'higher authorities' and hopefully she will not have a place with the troupe next year. Mean? Maybe but something has to make her wake up and realize the world doesn't evolve around her little pinhead!

Martha G.

Well, Martha--you tried. All we can do is our best. You and the troupe gave her every chance to make it right. She couldn't rise to the occasion. That must be one scared little puppy there. Sad story, indeed. Let's hope she gets the help she needs.

Thanks for editing the message before sending it to me. This could be a family site!

Appealing to higher authorities so that she won't have a place with the troupe next year is not mean. Of course, it could be done in a mean-spirited manner, but that isn't necessary. Take the high road (once again). Simply report the facts. That will likely be sufficient to bring about the desired outcome from the powers-that-be.

If push comes to shove, you all can simply refuse to be on the same team with her again. However, I think if she doesn't have the cajones to tell you she isn't coming to the performance (after telling you again that she would), she won't have the cajones to try out for the team again. I mean, let's face it--would you want to face you and your team members next year? I don't think so.

The world may not revolve around her little pinhead, but I hope it will evolve beyond it.

Thanks for the update.

Another Expert Who Wants to Get Paid

I hope Wanda posts this because I think it relates, at least a little. I am a hairstylist and people will call me or come in the shop and ask me what kind of color they can buy and do at home themselves....hhmmm. There are a few things wrong with this. Over the phone do I know what kind of shape their hair is in and if something goes wrong whose fault it is? Then you get bad mouthed! The other thing is I didn't spend all the money and time to go to school to tell people what to do for FREE!!!! If they come in and see what a great job I can do then they will spread the word and I will have even more customers!!


Of course, I'll post this! Not only is it in the comments section where you left it, but it is worthy of a headline and a response.

Next time someone calls and asks you what they should use on their hair, tell them to hold the phone up like they are looking in a mirror so you can see it. Then tell them to run the phone through their hair so you can feel it. If they go through those steps, say, "Hmmm...I think you need a professional to take care of that for you. I don't know of any over the counter products you could use to handle that problem. When would you like to come in? Let's get you scheduled."

If they say, "What is it? What is the problem?"

Tell them, "I'll discuss it with you when you come in for your appointment. I can't talk about it over the phone."

Or if they come in and ask for a product name you can always tell them the name of a product and say, "When would you like to make the appointment with me?"

They say, "But I am going to do this treatment and home."

Your response is, "I know. When are you going to do it? We can schedule an appointment after that so I can fix it. Of course, I might have to charge extra for that."

Taking the high road doesn't mean you have to be humorless or a patsy. Let me know how it works.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Email me now with your questions...

At can email me at and send your questions to be posted here with my answers. Use the link here or click on "View My Complete Profile," followed by a click on the "Email" link.

You may also write me if you don't have a question. Some of you might have a smart remark--I mean, a wise comment to share, and I would love to hear those, too. may still post your question as a comment on any of the existing posts. Blogger will still email it to me and I will still answer.

Any questions?


Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Homily v. Sermon

Another off line submission:

Dear Wanda,

I have this problem. I can't ask other people. I am afraid of what they would think. You know what I mean? So I have to give this homily--a sermon--every so often. Preparation is very laborious. First, I live in the south and elongating my vowels is very trying. And sometimes I forget and sound normal--I mean northern. And then the shoe I use to pound the pulpit has to be polished and I mean "polished" every single time.

Wanda what would you do???

Homily Hannah
[edited for clarity]

Dear Homily Hannah,

The way I see it you are asking about several issues:

First, I think it is really important to decide. Is it a homily or a sermon? The word homily comes from a root word meaning conversation. Sermon, on the other hand, comes from a root word meaning speech. Are you having a conversation or giving a speech? If it is a homily it's just a conversation and it isn't really necessary to do that much preparation. I would much rather have a conversation than give a speech any day.

Second, perhaps eating more pre-homily hominy will help with the vowel problem. I don't think it is possible to eat hominy and sound northern. Add some grits for breakfast and you shouldn't ever have problems with your vowels (and maybe your bowels) again.

Third, regarding the shoe issue, I would have a pair handy. That way, you could polish the pair after every other sermon. On the other hand, unless you are Khrushchev, you don't really need to pound your shoe on the pulpit during a conversation--I mean, homily.

So, What Would Wanda Do?
  1. I would opt for conversation (homily),
  2. eat lots of hominy (and grits), and
  3. pass on the Khrushcevian punctuation (although I must admit, I don't mind polishing shoes--I can do a spit shine that looks almost like patent leather).

Hope this helps.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Is it appropriate for angels to dance on the head of a...pinhead?

Another off line entry:

Dear Wanda,

I am in a dance group of 6 girls. We have an out of town performance tomorrow. Yesterday one of the girls said she isn't going because she has an old boyfriend there who gives her a hard time. The thing is she is 21 with the attitude of a high school kid. She has known this was coming up all summer.....why didn't she say something sooner? Our dances are of course on all different counts we all have different moves. Now there is no time to change anything and the rest of us can't back out on this commitment. I am ready to grab her by the neck and have a straight come to Jesus talk with her but I know it wouldn't do any good. The other girls are ticked about it too. I would like to ban her from any other performances but this is our last one!! What would you do? Other than this I like the girl ok but she needs to grow up.

Martha Graham

Dear Martha,

I want to address your thinking that a "come to Jesus" talk wouldn't do any good. Au contraire! I think it would do a lot of good. It might not change the outcome (i.e., she still might not keep her commitment), but it will do you and the other girls a lot of good on many levels:

1) It will prevent you (and maybe your dance mates) from developing a grudge and carrying your intense reaction into other situations, making it easier to stick up for yourself the next time someone backs out on you.

2) Coming together to have a talk with her might develop more cohesion in the troupe and it could turn into a conversation that allows you to figure out another solution.

3) Since she is a "high school kid" who needs to grow up, this could be an opportunity to teach her that her behavior is a problem and is unacceptable, at the same time modeling more adult behavior.

My guess is that she didn't speak up before this because she was scared. First of all, she was scared about the ex. Then she was scared to say anything to the rest of you. If she acts like a kid, she probably feels like a kid and it might be intimidating to speak up to the rest of you if she sees you as adults. In the final analysis, she was more afraid of the ex and since this is the last performance, she can cut and run. Chicken? Yes. So talking to her about it makes her face her choices.

First of all, I would recommend that all five of you have a meeting with her. Choose a spokesperson who can be direct and not overly angry or accusing. Write up a script beforehand so that the spokesperson knows what to say and the others know what the spokesperson will say. When you come together, be as calm as possible, yet straightforward about what this means. Say something like this (in your own words, of course):

"We need to talk to you about tomorrow's performance. By deciding not to go, you have let all of us down and put us in a very bad position. We are angry and more than that, we are disappointed and feel betrayed. You have known all summer that this performance was coming and that your ex will be there. It would have been helpful if you either would have told us that you weren't going so we could re-work the numbers without you, or we could have talked about how to make it work for you to go.

"It is too late now to work you out of the numbers and your not going will really hurt the quality of our performance. We can, however, talk about how to make it work so that you can go and figure out a way to keep your ex away from you.

"It is still your choice. We want you to know that your decision affects us in a big way and that we are willing to help find a solution."

You might also go on to say that if she decides not to go, she won't be invited to be part of the troupe next year (if that is even an option).

I am a great believer of taking the high road. So while part of you may want to rip her face off and another part of you may want to ignore the whole thing and fume, the better response would be to have a conversation ASAP and see if there is a way to make it work.

Even if she still decides not to go, you have modeled more adult behavior--something she is clearly lacking--and you have stood up for yourselves in a way that is adult and appropriate not mean and vindictive. It can make you feel so good for sticking up for yourself and speaking your truth.

Good luck...and let me know how it goes.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Confused Expert wants to get paid?!

Confused Expert said...

What would Wanda do about this?

Last week, I taught a workshop to an industry association. One of the members sent me an email requesting that I give out my workshop templates so they can be posted on other sites ... to help other people ... for free ...

My dilemma is this. I do want to help other people. But teaching workshops is how I make a living. How do I gracefully say "no" without seeming uncooperative and greedy?As always, I know you'll have something to say about this. As a matter of fact, I can hear the phone wringing already.

I know it's you ...

Confused Expert

How about this for an answer? NO.

Honey, what you hear wringing is my hands...maybe my hands reaching to wring the necks of the fools who want to diss you by even asking this of you. Just kidding, violence is not the answer. However, if it is a first impulse, it may be an indication that boundaries have been this case, yours.

Seriously, if this is how you make your living, how is giving it away for free helping you to do that? How can anyone consider you "uncooperative and greedy" if what you are doing is making sure you get paid for the work you do?

Okay...don't answer that. Some people will think "uncooperative and greedy" and there is nothing you can do about it. However, just because they throw the hook out there, it doesn't mean you have to swallow it.

On the other hand, maybe you can throw them a hook. Is there some small piece of your template that would be useful that would not give away the whole program, yet would put your name and contact information out there for people to come and get more? Is there a way you could use this as "free" advertising for yourself without being taken advantage of?

A lot of people want something for free. There's no getting around that. What I have found is those who want something for nothing don't value what you give them. They place the value at what they paid. Don't give them the opportunity to place zero value on your work.

If you can make this a mutually beneficial proposition, go ahead. How about this?

"Thank you for your inquiry about placing my templates on your web site [or wherever they want to put it]. I am pleased that you found my presentation to be helpful and that you want to offer it to more of your members [or whoever they want to help]. That is a great compliment to the value of my work.

"I am sure you will understand, however, that as a business person, I cannot afford to give my product away in great quantity by letting others place it openly on the web. At the same time, I would very much like to see more people be able to avail themselves of the material from my workshop.

"While I cannot give permission to copy [print, publish...choose the right verb] my material, I would be happy to discuss what portion I would be willing to share on line [and choose a piece that is useful to a point that will whet their appetite for your bigger program] as long as my name and contact information and 'all rights are reserved' are included.

"Please call me to talk about this." Yada, yada.

You determine what they can put out there and the exact wording for your contact information. Word it so that it is very clear that this is a small portion of what you have to offer and they can come and get more from you. Then when they do, charge your full professional fee.

Stand in your value. Don't let them whine you into giving them something for nothing because you will get nothing out of it in the long run. Been there, done that. Made me want to wring my own neck for being short sighted. I started making more money when I began turning away low- or no-pay clients. No kidding.

Bottom line: Experts get paid for what they know and do. Don't be confused about that.

Here's hoping you find a way to make this work for you. That's what I'd do.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bloomin' mad!

This one came to me offline:

What would Wanda do about this?

I have been using the same yard service for several years. I have instructed them time and time again, "NO pruning. Just cut the grass." They have killed several of my ornamental grasses and they cut back my Russian sage before it was time. Last week--once again--I caught them cutting back the daisies and I told them, "NO PRUNING. I like to do it. I will do it myself."

On the other hand, I have to ask them to cut the weeds in the ditch by the road. The only time they do it is when I ask them to. Do they remember that? No.

So today when I got home from work, the lawn care guys had been here. My 20 foot butterfly bush that was lush and full of purple blossoms is now 3 foot sticks with no blossoms left and almost no greenery.

I am speechless. I am flabbergasted. What could they possibly have been thinking? What would you do?

Bloomin' Mad

Dear Bloomin'--

Can't say that I blame you. I don't think they were thinking at all. Sounds like somebody just had to cut something! You'd think with all the power toys those guys get to play with (mowers and blowers and edgers and such) that they would be able to keep themselves happy and not have to color outside the lines (in a manner of speaking).

It isn't like you can just go out and buy a new 20 foot butterfly bush in full bloom and replace the one they hacked. I would go over their heads and talk to the boss. Bottom line is, they keep screwing up in spite of your giving them explicit instructions. In those instances, sometimes money is the only thing that talks. I would tell the boss the whole story, then ask them to give you free service--a month, a week? You decide what it is worth to you. I might even tell them if they continue to cut back the plants that I will continue to expect free service...or it might be time to find a new company.

Here's hoping they catch on soon.


Movin' to the country...

Cowtown Pattie said...
What Would Wanda do if...Someone needs a plan of action to make a MAJOR lifestyle/physical move to a small town from a big city? We're talking where to start and how to keep that old bugaboo, "Fear of failure" from killing the dream.

Well, now Pattie...

The first thing to ask is "What am I afraid I'll fail at?" The answer to that question will put you on track to know just what it is that you really want. Turn your "fear of failure" question into a restatement of your dream...your goal...your desire. (Stay away from the "why" questions. They only take you into mental exercises that confuse the situation. "Why" is irrelevant. Go for "What?" questions instead.)

Fear is contraction and when we focus there, everything gets smaller--including the dream. However, if you focus on what you want and feed that, chances are you will get it.

Have you ever ridden a motorcycle? Instructors tell you when you are turning a corner look where you are going and the bike will follow. If you look right in front of your nose at the road, you are likely to run off the road. Being a Cowtown lady, I suspect that you have a similar thing with horses. Not only do you need to look where you are going, but you need to turn that horse's head so he can see the target, too.

So, chunk it down. What do you want from your move? What do you want your new life to look like? What do you hope will be better when you are in the small town instead of the big city? (It's not clear to me if you have the destination picked out or where you are in your process. Have you picked out a place to move to? Do you have a time line? Or are we talking about getting the right furniture...vehicle...job? If you want to share more details, I can give you more specifics.)

Once the picture of your dream is clear, then prioritize. The first step is often the hardest. Take a deep breath and stick your foot out there. The earth will catch you.

When you get to that step, let me know if I can help. In the meantime, here's wishing you Happy Trails and Smooth Moves...


Now in Blogger Format!

Welcome to the newest incarnation of What Would Wanda Do?

Soon the link between and this blog will be active.

My friends say to me, "You have an answer for everything. Why don't you put it out there?" So here it is.

If you have a question or an issue, I have an answer.

Be forewarned: any action you take is your very own responsibility. That's right. The buck stops with you. But I am glad to share my two cents worth.

The lines are open. Bring it on!