Home Organization

What is your organizing style?

Do you ever wish you could be more organized?  Have you tried various methods to become organized and felt unsuccessful because you couldn’t maintain it?  Not all organizing systems are right for everyone!  Let’s discover your personal organizing style!



You like minimal visual clutter with a very detailed organizing system and are able to maintain it once it’s in place.


You like using labeled file folders that are micro-organized by month or vendor in a filing cabinet.

You put your tools in a tool chest, one tool type in each drawer.

You want your crafting items organized in a cabinet, with one item type per container behind closed doors.

You might put off organizing until you can do it properly.

Visual and Detailed

Retro kitchen

You like to see your belongings and want them organized in a very structured and pleasing way, often striving for perfection.


You like sorting your craft items on shelves with like items, all thread together, all scissors together, all ribbons together and may even prefer to have them color coordinated.

You like having your clothes or tools out where you can see them easily.

You like the idea of having an open pantry in your kitchen where you can see everything.

You are highly organized and want your frequently used items out where you can reach them easily.

You may put off organizing if you cannot do it properly.

Simply Visual


You want to be able to see your belongings but you also want simple, macro-organizing solutions.


You like using clear containers to put your things away so you can easily locate them.

You prefer shelves over cabinets.

You want your belongings easy to find and easy to put away.

You find clutter distracting!

Simple and Uncluttered

Spacious living room

You want minimal visual clutter but a simple and easy to use organizing system.  You are unlikely to use a complicated organizing system.  You want something that helps you do things quickly.


You are likely to keep your home looking clean and tidy, but are prone to shoving things in drawers and cabinets.  You want organizing solutions that keep your belongings out of sight but easy to access and help keep your home looking beautiful.

You like your flat surfaces cleared of clutter, preferring to have your kitchen counters empty of all items.

You like ottomans that have hidden storage, cabinets with drawers and hidden shelves where you can quickly and easily toss your belongings.

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Me Time: Stress Management Tip

After a highly productive day yesterday, the night ended with a huge bummer and a lot of irritation.  I’ll save you the suspense, but I had a sty in my right eye.  It was red, swollen, leaking and so painful.  The drops helped, but I knew I just needed to wait it out.  So my evening was not very productive at all.  It’s difficult to do much of anything when you’re holding a compress to your eye with one hand.  In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t major.  It wasn’t a car crash, or death…it was a sty.  But to my schedule, it was a huge disaster.  All of the things I had planned to do, I simply couldn’t do one handed.  I was sorely disappointed and with Christmas coming so quickly, I have so much still to do!

Now, you may have guessed by now, I’m very much a type-A personality.  I am a classic over-achiever and a perfectionist.  And I absolutely hate it when my body (or in this case, my eye) is the reason my accomplishment is delayed (or denied in some cases).  I work through illness, pushing myself harder and harder as if to prove to my body that it doesn’t control me.  As I’m getting older, however, I’ve had to learn the hard lesson that sometimes, my body will not cooperate with me.

About 8 months ago, I was killing it at the gym.  I dead-lifted 195lbs, bar-squatted 135.  Not bad for someone who was a good 75 pounds overweight and only 5’4″.  I had been working out with a trainer for a several months and had worked my way up to those lifting weights.  It was a lot of hard work and dedication.  That week, I also decided to start running.  I decided that I was going to lose the damn weight no matter what.  I ran 2.5 miles.  I was so freaking proud of myself!  And then a few days later, I had pain in both knees.  One MRI later, and my orthopedic sat me down to explain something:

“You’re old.  Your body can’t do the things it used to be able to do.  You can’t just decide to go for a run.  In fact, you shouldn’t be running at all.  Lay off the weights.  Do body-weight or light weights only.  Increase reps and intensity instead.  You have arthritis in your knees and stress fractures.  Why don’t you try yoga?”

I was shocked.  I wasn’t OLD!  I mean, I’m 42.  It’s middle-aged, right?  But the fact is, another doctor told me something similar a few months later when we were talking about stress.  He explained that we adjust to stress, so if the stress doesn’t go away, we adapt and it becomes our new normal.  After he learned about my life, he asked me, “On a scale of 1-10, how much stress do you feel on a regular basis?”  I thought about it.

“Unless something crazy happens, my stress level is usually about a 3 most of the time.”  Because that was how it felt.

He actually laughed, right in my face.  He said, “So, you own your own business, do the books for another business, you sleep 4-5 hours a night, you volunteer, you teach, you have a boyfriend, you’re a single-mom with a daughter and now a grandson, you have at least one doctor appointment per week, exercise 3 times a week, and have a medical condition that requires a special diet and regular maintenance…Oh, and you have three dogs.”  He let the silence descend as I considered what he said.  “You don’t know what stress is, but if you don’t manage it now and decrease it, you will end up giving yourself a heart attack.”

He was absolutely right.  When I heard him say it, I realized that I do so much and it’s just my new normal.  So we worked on it, for several months, getting everything in order within me.  And I started to notice that my stress levels, my anxiety, my worries, and my racing thoughts, not to mention my symptoms, started to calm down.  I was able to sleep longer, woke up more refreshed, had a more positive outlook, and more energy.

Now, I still do plenty of things and I’m always busy, but the difference is now, I’m taking time for myself each day doing things that bring me happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.  Sometimes, it’s taking two hours on a rainy day to watch an old movie that I love.  Other times, it’s painting a wall in my house or refinishing a piece of furniture that I picked up at Good Will.  I know that doesn’t sound like “me-time,” but I love making my home beautiful.

It’s a challenge to find time every day to do something that I love, just for me, but I schedule it in daily.  I made a list of all the things that bring me joy, help me relax, or help me feel good about me.  Some things take almost no time at all, like have a cup of tea and listen to some music for 5-10 minutes while doing nothing else.  When I made my list, I tried to put things on there that varied in time so that even on a really busy day, I can squeeze in the Me-time regardless of how busy I am.

I challenge you to make your own list and schedule time daily to do something just for you.  If you’re looking for ideas, see my list at the end of the article.

This morning, after an unproductive evening last night, my to-do list hadn’t magically shrunken overnight, and I was feeling rather stressed.  While some of my deadlines are self-imposed, some of them are not.  I quickly went through my list and prioritized the things that absolutely had to be done today.  I did those first, as quickly as possible.  I finished up around 11am (I started at 4am).  As I went to grab my list to see what I should do next, I realized that I had a headache and my heart rate was a little too high for the activities I was doing.  Before I continued, I really needed to take a small break for some Me-time.

As I’m working from home today, and it was almost lunch time, I decided to try out a new recipe for home-made mayonnaise that is SIBO friendly.  Cooking, trying out new recipes, is definitely something I love to do and I find it relaxing to just play around in the kitchen.  I told Alexa to play spa music and got to blending.  I combined my Me-time with lunch and sat listening to relaxing music as I cooked and then ate.  Not only does this help my digestion, but it was exactly what I needed to refresh myself for the rest of the day.

We don’t think of our lives as stressful until something unexpected or out of the ordinary happens, but with the constant bombardment of technology and information, with the multi-tasking, rushing from one place to the next, sitting in traffic, not to mention all the little things that seem to fill up our day without us even noticing, stress can easily take over.  In order to be more productive, I’ve found that taking a time-out during my day is essential.  I get more done, have more energy, and feel much more positive when something unexpected does occur.  I can handle these bumps with grace now, most of the time, anyway.

Reducing stress is different for everyone, but doing this one thing will help you get started.  Remember, if you find yourself thinking that you just don’t have time for this…aren’t you worth 15 minutes of your time?

You will spend your entire life, from first breath to last, with only one person…You.  Give yourself the love, care, compassion, and attention you need on a daily basis.  Learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and misjudgments.  Learn to treat yourself with the same compassion and patience that you give to others.  Learn to accept that you are doing your very best and that is all you can ask of yourself.  Lastly, remember to pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you.  When it’s telling you to slow down, take the advice and give yourself a little break!

What ways do you reduce the stress in your life?

Wishing you peace and rejuvenation,



Me-time List

Mental Activities: Read a book, write, journal, Sudoku, meditation, yoga, listen to music, watch a movie, play games on tablet

Crafty Activities: Color, paint, craft, DIY projects, make bath products & lotions, try new recipes

Self-care: Pedicure, manicure, bath, body scrub, hair treatment, massage

Learning: YouTube videos or articles on new topics, self-help books, motivational videos and books, attend a class,

Physical Activities: exercise, yoga, take the dog for a walk, garden, ride a bike, clean, organize, rearrange furniture






Home Organization

Start with your Center: Create a Relaxing Space

When it comes to organizing our homes, we often want to start with the spots that bother us the most.  In reality, we should begin with the space where we can feel good and relaxed, a refuge and sanctuary.  For many of us, that place is our bedroom, but it doesn’t have to be.  It can be a home office, an outside space, a little reading nook, or simply a corner with a comfy chair.  The important part is that this space is just for you.

Many of us want an organized and tidy home.  Many of us are also EXTREMELY busy!  So how can we tidy and organize our home when we’re exhausted?

The answer is start small and find your motivation.  When tidying means constantly cleaning up after others, it’s hard to find the motivation.  What if getting started on the road to organized meant creating a space just for you?

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine what you would feel in a spot that was just for you.  Whatever it is that you want to feel: peace, inspiration, focus, or quiet, let’s look around your home and find a place to create it.

Steps to creating the perfect space

Only you know the type of decor that will suit you.  What we are talking about is clearing and decluttering the space so that you can feel good in it.

Step 1: Take out the trash.  Literally!  Spend a few minutes looking around for any trash, cups, empty boxes, etc. Don’t sort through any papers yet, just find the obvious trash.  If the bag isn’t full, leave it in the room for now, we might find more to throw out soon.

Step 2: Start sorting through your belongings.  Gather all like items together into piles.  It is very necessary to go through everything.  All clothing, for instance, should be put in a pile together.  All books in another pile.  Papers in another pile.  All small electronics in another pile, etc.  I also like to grab a jar for any loose change I find.  Often our bedrooms become the catch-all for random things, especially when company is coming.  Anything that does not belong in your room should be put in a basket or pile of its own.

Step 3:  This step can be challenging, but I know you can do it!  PURGE!  Take one pile at a time and start purging.  I recommend choosing the pile that you have the least emotional attachment to, like paperwork.  Unless you are sorting business receipts and bills, most of us do not need to hold onto receipts and paid bills.  If you find any unpaid bills, put them in a pile to keep.  Do not throw out tax returns, tax documents, insurance or mortgage documents, or any other important papers like identification documents.  The rest of the papers you don’t need should be put in a box to be shredded.  I am always making lists and I often find dozens of notes to myself that I have tucked away.  Do this for each pile in turn and work quickly.  Don’t think too hard about it.

For many of us, clothing takes the longest.  The clothes you wear regularly should immediately be put in a pile to keep.  Then start going through the rest.  Get rid of the old underwear you never wear, the torn bras, the ripped leggings you are holding onto because one day you might patch them up.  If you haven’t done it by now, you’re not going to!  Anything that is ripped, has holes, or is so stretched out it doesn’t fit right…throw it out!  Are you holding onto clothes that don’t fit?  Clothes that you wore once and didn’t like the feel?  The money has already been spent.  Free up your closet and donate or sell them!

Once you’ve finished, take all of the trash out to the trash can.  Take the donation items out to your car and the items you want to sell should be put in a box and removed from the room for photographing.

Step 4: Now it’s time to take a look at what is left and find it a home!  Are you putting them where they are easiest to access?  Is there anything you need to change?  Look for the best place that makes the most sense.  With fewer items, you may be able to relocate your belongings to a place that is more efficient for your routine.

Step 5: It’s time to start putting things away.  Is there anything that bothers you about how you have stored your belongings in the past?  Think of all of the organization methods you have tried.  Which ones worked and which didn’t?  Do you know your personal organizing style?  Read this short article to see which method fits you best, then let’s start putting away your purged and organized piles.

If you are a Traditional organizer, you may prefer to micro-sort your piles into even more specific categories before storing them.  Just remember to keep track of your time!  If you don’t have the time to do it, leave them macro-sorted for now and come back later to tackle each category individually later.  You may prefer to put some items in closed, labeled bins inside your closets.  Bins will help you take advantage of vertical space on the shelves in your closet.

If you are Visual and Detailed, you also may prefer to micro-sort, but resist the temptation if you don’t have the time.  It’s important to finish the project as soon as possible and then come back later when you have more time.  You may prefer to choose clear bins that are clearly labeled so that you can see your belongings.  If you have a small closet, consider removing the doors so that you can easily see your clothing!

If you are Simply Visual, clear bins are definitely the answer!  Just remember to label them clearly and consider leaving off the lids to make putting things away easier.  To take full advantage of your vertical storage space, you may need to add shelving.  Removing the doors on your closet can make it much easier to see everything in your closet.

If you are Simple and Uncluttered, clearly labeled, opaque baskets or bins are definitely a good solution.

Step 6:  Once you’re finished, give it a few weeks and see if you find it easy to maintain.  If not, you may need to tweak those specific areas that aren’t working to make them work for you.

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New Beginnings – Change & Moving Forward

Woman sitting on sofa writing in notebookChange is never easy and neither are new beginnings, even when they are by choice.  They push us out of our comfort zones and force us to stretch and grow.  It’s uncomfortable letting go of familiar things, habits, people, but sometimes it’s necessary.  A new home, a new job, a new habit.

Regardless of the reason for the change, it’s important to embrace it!  Change can be healthy.  If you haven’t had a noticeable change in your life in a long time, you may be overdue.  You may be feeling stagnant and restless, longing for things that aren’t present in your life.

Making the change is the challenge and your situation will be different from everyone else’s. The question is: what do you do once the change has happened?  What do you do when it’s time to start over?  If the new beginning is by your choice, you may be feeling excitement mixed in with the anxiety of the uncertainty of the future.  If the changes are not your choice, then feelings of fear and despair may overwhelm you, but a simple shift in perspective can make a world of difference.

Let’s look at this change as an amazing opportunity to design the life you love!  Life will never be 100% perfect, but we can still love the life we build.  If we look critically at the life we have been living, chances are there were things we didn’t love, things we wished we could fix or change.  How often in the past did you say, “I would be happy, if only…”?

Those “if only” moments are opportunities to transform your life!  Take some time to think about those moments and what you would like them to be.  Perhaps it’s a better paying job, perhaps a different job altogether.  Maybe you want to own your own business or work from home.  Have you been longing to write a novel or start a YouTube channel?  Would your life be better if you went back to school or learned another language?  Maybe your only desire is to have a tidy and organized home or take a much needed vacation.  Whatever the desire, take some time to write down all of the things you want to be different from this day forward.  Don’t waste time regretting the things you haven’t done.

Once you write them down, they instantly become goals that you can work toward achieving.  Each one has steps you can take to get closer to achieving your goals.

Step 1: Write down everything you want to improve or change in your life.  Do not edit the list.  Do not censor yourself.  Go ahead and dream big.  This list is just for you!

Step 2: Pick 3 items that you think will bring you the greatest joy, satisfaction, and feeling of accomplishment.

Step 3: Answer a simple question for each goal: WHY do you want this?  In reality, this is the most challenging part.  What is your motivation for wanting to achieve this goal?  Is it for you or for someone else?  If you find that you don’t have a WHY for one of the items, pick something else from your list.  Your WHY is your motivation.  Without motivation, REAL motivation, you’ll find yourself procrastinating down the road or giving up altogether.

Step 4: For each goal: List three action items you can do THIS WEEK to get started.  Don’t think about all of the things that need to happen or all of the reasons it might not be possible to achieve the final goal.  Just think about the first three things that need to occur.

For instance, if you want to go back to school, you might write:

  1. Look up the application requirements for XYZ University
  2. Call the Financial Aid Office to see if I qualify for grants
  3. Look for a school with online courses

If your goal is to become debt-free:

  1. Gather ALL of the statements for my outstanding debts
  2. Get a copy of my credit report
  3. Download a budget worksheet

Don’t limit yourself with the seeming impossibility of the task!

Step 5:  Do the three action items for each goal THIS WEEK!  Don’t procrastinate it.  You’ve waited long enough to have the life you want.  Today is the perfect day to start building it!

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Networking Tips

I used to be extremely awkward at networking, especially in a room full of strangers.  I had two problems:

First, I have resting bitch face with a wonky eye-brow that just does whatever it wants.  This means, that if I’m just standing in a room, not talking with someone, I have a look on my face that seems cold, disapproving and judgmental.  I definitely am not very approachable when I’m looking this way.  The reality is, I’m just standing there feeling awkward and not sure who to approach and feeling WAY out of my depth, but with that face, no one wants to strike up a conversation with me and so these opportunities were lost on me.

Second, I am NOT good at small talk.  I don’t really know what to say when someone comments to me about the weather.  I live in Arizona.  In the summer it’s HOT.  But if you live in Arizona, this isn’t news.  Here is the scenario:

Stranger: “Wow, it’s really hot today.”

Me: “Yeah, it is.”

And the conversation peters out because really, beyond an agreement or disagreement, there really isn’t more to say.

To combat these issues, I’m sharing some easy and quick ways to get more out of networking opportunities.

Elevator Pitch

This is by far the easiest and most important thing you can do to improve your response and engagement during any type of networking event, and the formula is simple:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. For whom do you do it?
  4. What do you do for them?
  5. How does this affect them or better their lives?

Number 1: Easy, it’s just your name.

Number 2: This isn’t your job title, but rather, how you define yourself and what you do.  Now, I do many things and I could sit there and list everything I “do”, but rather, I want to define what I do by the thing that means the most to me.  So, you could be a writer, an educator, a motivational speaker, a mechanic, a fire-fighter.  Whatever it is, you should really feel that it defines who you are or who you really want to be.

Number 3: The people who benefit from your knowledge and skill, the people you help.

Number 4: One to three things you do for them specifically.

Number 5: How they benefit from those things.

Example: I’m Reyla.  I’m a writer.  I help people who are motivated to improve their lives, learn how to set their goals and create a plan to achieve them so they can achieve success and contentment in their lives.

I’m John, I am a mechanic.  I help people keep their vehicles safe and in top working condition by providing high quality vehicle repair and maintenance at competitive prices so they can keep their families safe.

This shouldn’t take you very long to create.  But the awesome thing about this is, you don’t even have to memorize the entire thing!  Simply take your answers to 1 and 5 and put them together.

I’m Reyla, I help people achieve success and contentment in their lives.

I’m John, I help people keep their families safe.

The brilliant thing about this approach is that it opens up a dialog immediately.  When you say this, your listener is going to have to ask a question: “How do you do that?”  And then you can explain more about what you do.  It makes you more interesting and more memorable because you are stating a plain fact about yourself and this exudes confidence.  And this formula works for anyone.

The nice thing about this pitch is that it can be used anywhere.  Whenever you meet someone new, when they ask what you do, now you have a quick answer.  You never know where you’re going to find your next client, or friend.  Have it ready to go!

Small Talk

Being bad at small talk is actually fairly common.  Many people don’t know what to say to someone they don’t know.  The easiest way I have found to get past this and make it fun and interesting for me, is to devise five questions that I genuinely want to know about a stranger.  The only rule about these questions is that they cannot have a yes or no response, they must be open-ended.  Simply adapt them as necessary to the event or situation.

  1. What do you do?  By far the easiest, but not the most original.
  2. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned at this event?
  3. What brought you to this conference today?
  4. How does this event compare to others you’ve attended in the past?
  5. What have you learned that you can apply immediately?

I attend conferences more than anything else, but that means that I’m meeting people with whom I already have something in common.  Try to come up with five questions to ask before each of your events.  This will make things much easier when someone makes a comment about the weather.

Stranger: “Wow, it’s really hot today.”

Me: “It really is.  So, what brought you here today?”

And the conversation has begun.  Don’t forget to ask follow-up questions.  Eye-contact, nodding, and actually listening are really needed to make this a successful encounter.  Also, if you can manage it, rephrase things they say in your response.  This is a subconscious way people feel heard.  Just try not to be awkward about it.

Stranger: “I came today because I want to learn more about how to market my business online.”

Me: “Online marketing can be really challenging these days as technology changes so quickly.  I’m hoping to learn more about that as well.  What have you learned so far to help you?”

Just this quick acknowledgement and repetition of the topic (online marketing), helps the stranger feel as if you are really listening (which you are) and will encourage them to continue the conversation.

Business Cards

Whether or not you have a business, you should have cards on you at all times.  This should include whatever contact information you wish to share with someone, your name, and a little something about you.  This way, when you meet someone randomly during your day with whom you’ve had a conversation, you can easily share your information.  You never know when you’re going to meet your next contact.

If you have a business, or you are attempting to gain new clients for a project, make cards up for that project and don’t be afraid to add your tag-line to the card.

John Smith


Keeping Families Safe

Even if you’re a stay-at-home-mom, you can still create a personal card with your name, whatever contact info you want to share, and a tag-line, even if it’s as simple as “Emily’s Mom.”

The other important thing to do in this tech-savvy world is to create your contact on your phone.  So many people prefer electronic contact information to paper business cards.  Each phone is a little different, so take the time to Google how to create and send your contact information on your phone and practice with friends or family a few times before using it for the first time at an event.  There are plenty of YouTube videos and how-to articles out there to help you get this done quickly.

At events, after I have left a new person, I like to take a second to write on the back of their card (or on their contact info in my phone) a bullet list of things I learned about them, things we discussed, etc.  This helps me remember the person once I get home.  Then I scan their card (front and back) or put their information in my phone or email contacts.  For people with whom I want to reconnect, I send them a follow up email.

Reconnecting and Follow-ups

For those with whom I want to follow-up, I make sure to have immediate notes to refer back to the following day.  This is something you shouldn’t procrastinate.  The day after an event, set aside time to send emails to those with whom you want to create a relationship.

The email can be very short, but should be personalized to each contact.  Whatever you do, please do not copy and paste the same email to everyone.


It was great meeting you yesterday!  I really enjoyed our conversation about online marketing.  The conference was great and I got a lot of information that I think is going to help me launch my business to the next stage.  Would you like to meet for lunch next week for a brain-storming session on how we can each implement these new ideas for our businesses?  As we’re both in similar situations, I am hoping we can help one another move forward in this area.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Sign your email with your name, business name and your tag-line.  This should be your signature for all of your emails, including your website and any other contact info you would share with anyone.

The email you send should reference one or two of the topics you discussed, an invitation to connect again, even via Skype, and a specific reason that is beneficial to them for accepting the invitation.  Try to avoid saying things like, “I’d like to help you,” unless they specifically asked for your help.

These follow-up emails should be sent within 24 hours, while the event and the conversations are still fresh in people’s minds.  After this time period, you run the risk of your connections becoming distracted with other things.

Resting Bitch Face (RBF)

Last, but certainly not least…Resting Bitch Face.  This has been one of those life challenges for me.  Most people overcome this simply by smiling, but I’ve always felt that my smile, when forced, seems unnatural, fake and awkward.  I always feel weird just standing on the side of the room smiling by myself.  Instead, I have learned to simply start the conversation.

It’s hard the first few times, but force yourself to simply walk up to someone who is standing alone and start a conversation.  If they are at the event with you, chances are pretty good that you have something in common.  My opening goes something like:

Hi, I’m Reyla.  I figured it was time to stop standing on the sidelines and just meet people.  I always feel a little awkward at these things! 

And I smile a genuine smile.  I’m much more animated when I talk, so my RBF goes away.  I do this even when that person has RBF themselves.  As a fellow sufferer, I understand that it can be difficult for them to get past it as well.

Generally, this opening works with those who are not already engaging with others.  It’s just a guess, but it seems like the wallflowers at an event aren’t certain how to approach others, so they always seem grateful when I do so.

Joining a conversation that is on-going is also something that works at these mingling type of events.  If you overhear a conversation about a topic you know nothing about, jump in and ask a question:

“I couldn’t help but overhear.  I’m unfamiliar with that particular style of advertising, how does it work?”  Go ahead and state right out loud that you don’t know something and ask for more information.  People generally love imparting what they know, but avoid being disingenuous by pretending you don’t know something that you really do.

Finally, try to avoid being a “know-it-all.”  When we get nervous, some of us tend to overcompensate by talking too much or imparting advice to garner respect.  The reality is, people like talking about themselves.  Asking questions and showing genuine interest in people helps them feel a connection.  Being genuine with them when they ask questions of you and not pretending to have it all together is also a great way to create that connection.  It’s okay to admit when you have a weakness in an area that you are trying to improve.  By showing this small vulnerability, you seem much more approachable and human.  Everyone has something that they’re trying to improve about themselves.  Share yours and see what happens!

Please comment with your best networking techniques or ways to get past RBF!