Please Kill Me! (Photo of me, mid-1990s)
Please kill me!
Just kidding…but be forewarned, this post is not one of my more positive ones. However, inspired by motivational speaker, Lewis Howes, I share my vulnerability in trust this story may help others. Those who follow Lewis Howes understand how sharing is to emotional health, growth, and healing.
Summer of 2008 I began my business Pear Tree Enterprises after a long career in journalism. For those who have been following my career, in the grassroots stage I was doing more marketing and personal assistance as opposed to what I do today — motivational speaking (on ZOOM since the pandemic began) and ghost writing/editing (remotely since the pandemic began).
Since the beginning of 2020, I’ve been incredibly busy, even when Covid hit. I counted my blessings because any self-employed business owner knows busy can change at the drop of a hat (and for millions it did drop during the pandemic, so I felt strangely fortunate during these times). But, also, any smart self-employed business owner knows that during the slower times we can embrace time off or taking time to learn a new skill.
I had such an opportunity a few days ago. Actually, brushing up on an old opportunity that I haven’t mastered — photography. As a journalist, when I went out to cover a story, I was often accompanied by a professional photographer. Not always did I have this luxury and many times I’d have to take my own photos to accompany my own stories. I enjoyed it, but could never feel comfortable saying I was a “photographer.”
When I was hired to photograph a recent session, it was under the umbrella of “assistant.” The pay was low, but it was an opportunity to brush up on an old skill. I was under the impression I would be photographing “product” for a self-proclaimed “health coach.”
Then I was asked the magic question, “Will you feel comfortable wearing a mask?”
However, my assignment was not explained correctly. Yes, I was to photograph “product” but the “health coach” was modeling with the product. And of course, for the photos she would NOT be wearing a mask. Only I would. Had I known this ahead of time, I would not have accepted the opportunity.
It was inappropriate that I wasn’t given the right details; kind of sneaky, in my opinion. But I looked on the bright side, for years I’ve been under the care of a kick-ass nutritionist. I’d say the best in the country. He is so good he doesn’t have to advertise; he goes strictly by word of mouth. And so far, so great — no Covid.
However, I do not want to think cocky and believe I am above it. Anything is possible. And like I said before, Grandma always told me, “When your time is up, your time is up.” So, I humbly go with that.
After three hours of photographing, “Health Coach” had another assistant come in. This assistant was told she didn’t have to wear a mask. “No, you’re good,” said “Health Coach.”
Why? Why did Assistant #2 not have to wear a mask? This assistant had just come from Whole Foods, where social distancing is not practiced. Anyone who shops at Whole Foods knows this. Yes, maybe the cashiers wear masks and gloves, but throughout the store, people still shop on top of one another. I believe only 100 people are allowed in the store at this time, but it only takes one person to pass Covid on to another.
Me, I only came from my home. (And I work from home. I do not know what the other assistant did for a living). My husband works at a company that takes his temperature every day. He does not have Covid. I recently got my temperature taken at the eye doctor. I do not have Covid.
I was too shocked, like a deer in headlights, to explain this. Plus, I was hired and in the home of a client. I was not there to defend myself or argue. But looking back, I should have walked out right then and there, for the sake of MY health. Perhaps it was a power play. I do not know. I’m so used to being around positive people all the time, when something this negative happens, I am confused.
The next portion of being an assistant was helping to film the “health coach” doing a You Tube cooking show. During this time, “Health Coach” seemed rushed and stressed. The show had to be finished during daylight hours and time was running out as the sun went down. The stress level was super high and even the “health coach” admitted after the fact, while viewing the footage, that the show was “low-energy.”
DUH! Of course it was low energy! Here is a person stressing herself out as she tried to squeeze a 12-hour day into a mere six hours. And worrying about me giving her Covid. With the exception of me having a snack and a sip of water here and there, during the very long day I was not without mask. If I forgot to put my mask back on, she reminded me, “The mask! The mask!”
The whole afternoon I had to listen to this “health coach” rant about food, what’s in food, if people knew how food was made they wouldn’t eat anything, what a salmon fish eats….blah, blah, blah. But a major point was missing in her rant. The true fact–SCIENCE–that what comes out of your mouth is more important than what goes into it! What came out of her mouth lacked a major ingredient, kindness.
This is why I’ve used quotations around the words “health coach” throughout this blog. Fear is not healthy. Stress is not healthy. Pulling power trips on people you hire to work with you is not healthy. And being unkind by making someone feel like a leper because you falsely assume they have Covid is not only unhealthy but NOT COOL! Acting superior is not a sign of health. It’s a false sign of feeling worthy. Acting like you are better than others is a bright neon warning light to those who know better. You are telling me, “I’m very insecure.” And that’s scary because insecure people give off stress. She may be the “health coach” but it is me who briefly worried about what her stress and bad energy was doing to MY health!
When I left this woman’s home, I felt drained. I’m not playing victim, it’s my own fault for letting her harsh energy get to me. I should know better. On my drive there, I felt two angels on my shoulder. One angel said, “Turn around and go back, this isn’t for you.” The other angel said, “You’re not a quitter. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
I listened to the second angel, and respected the first angel. Both were correct. No, this wasn’t for me. And no I am not a quitter. What I learned from this experience is that I’ve been in such a great place in my career, with amazing clients, that when a not so desirable one pops up, I am blind-sided. I need to be more on top of my game. I should not only try to sell myself to a client, but have them sell themselves to me as well. You want me to wear a mask? Sure. But will you be wearing one too? Will others in my presence be wearing masks? Do you treat people you employee with upmost respect or are you a bully who pulls a power trip on your assistant? These questions are important for every self-employed person, because the client is not always right. Sometimes, like in this case, they are downright WRONG.
I reminded myself of an article I wrote several years ago, The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter … Can you guess which type of client the “health coach” was?
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: email@example.com.
She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :
“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary
“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You
Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats
Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique