Monday, April 8, 2013

Guilt & relief

So this is the post I started on Friday, and then got busy and now here it is Monday.

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone needing CPR AED certification quickly. This happens a lot for me. Sometimes deadlines or card expiration dates creep up quickly and suddenly folks realize that their certification card has expired and they either can't work or turn in their re-licensing paperwork without a valid card.

The challenge was - all my upcoming classes before the date she needed it by were full.

I also don't have a lot of available time. sigh

My business is feast or famine, ... seriously. I'm either popular or I'm not. Since the courses lead to 2 year certification people only come looking for me once every 2 years. Right now I'm super popular. It's exciting and its overwhelming. Because not only do I run my small business; I have 4 children, a part-time job I love and a small content/writing business. Oh and I volunteer WAAAAYYYYYY too much. So suddenly I find I have no available time to fit in a class when I don't need to worry about childcare or how each child is getting to and from where they need to be.

I also have an unrealistic need,, a strong desire to want to help people out. This at times causes some stress I really don't need.

Since my oldest just made the softball team I waited a few days to get the softball schedule first so I didn't overbook myself again.

So by the time I did get back to her she had found another class somewhere else.

I was so relieved.

I should have felt sad that I lost her business. But I could only feel relief. I'm so glad she was able to find a class to renew her certification. The stress of trying to fit in another class into my schedule was overwhelming as I just couldn't figure out when we could match up our schedules.

But I'm slso realizing I need to set better limits on myself to keep caught up on all the paperwork, projects and the business of actually running a business. I love teaching, but sometimes I forget to plan for and schedule all the things that need to happen to make sure the classes are successful, including making sure I get time with my family. And that needs to be my priority.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why I don't always answer my phone

My business phone is my cell phone. It looks like this one:

Except mine has scratches and dings in it. And a pretty wacky eclectic background.

I don't always answer my phone. As a business I should try to answer it every time it rings. If you're in business and reading this you're thinking.... "she's wacked going to lose business.... why doesn't she answer her phone?".

But sometimes I'm not in a good spot to answer my phone.

I could be in the car driving (a not-so-secret secret: I have 4 kids, I do a lot of driving in the afternoons & evening shuttling my kids to their various activities). I can't look up information about an upcoming class, take a course registration, or take information if I'm driving.

I could be in a class. I can't talk on the phone if I'm teaching.

I could be at home. I do answer the phone when I'm home, but I don't always have it in my hand or pocket. If I'm in my basement folding laundry while wearing clothes with no pockets I won't have my phone nearby. Even if I dropped everything and ran up the stairs there is a slim to none chance I'll get to the phone before it goes to voicemail anyway. Oh and I don't answer my phone during meal times. We have a no electronics at the table rule in our house.

I could be the supermarket (my home away from home some weeks!) or other store. Or the doctor's office (remember.... 4 kids.... ), out walking or some other place where it is not polite, appropriate or safe for me to be talking on the phone. It's not that I don't want to take your call, I'm just not in a good spot to give you my undivided attention.

So I love voice mail. Don't hang up, leave me a message! I will call you back.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The importance of wearable ID

A while back I wrote a post about my new Road ID. As I begin training for this year's race season I made sure I had my Road ID and am doing my best to remember to where it.

Why do I feel that I need to wear ID when I work out?

If you follow the link in my previous blog post you'll read about the bicyclist who was found unresponsive on the side of the road, with no ID. No one knew who he was for at least a day. That was a wake up call for me. I walk pretty regularly. I'm not a runner, but I began competitive race walking last year. I enjoy it and it's good exercise. Yesterday I walked on a road I'm not normally on, but had time to kill while my van was being repaired. It's a road heavily traveled by very large trucks. What would have happened if the truck swerved into the shoulder? What would have happened if I tripped and fell when traffic was heavy? I don't carry my wallet or purse when I walk. My Road ID has my information and my husband's contact information on it. In an emergency I know that emergency responders will be able to identify me and contact my husband.

Road ID is super comfortable to wear and can also be used as a medical ID. They have many different band styles, are super inexpensive, and are completely customizable. I believe so strongly in Road ID that I sell them in my online store.

While I am a super fan of Road ID, ultimately it doesn't matter which brand of ID you carry or wear. Just please have some form of ID on you when you exercise or race. It can save precious time in an emergency.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Certification mills vs. blended learning

I read a great article this morning in one of the CPR First Aid Instructor forums I belong to; Unmasking the Certification Mill Problem published in Occupational Health and Safety. This is a topic I'm pretty passionate about.

Online-only CPR and First Aid certification websites are scams. They promise "nationally accepted" certification that you take in your home and you can print your card on your own printer. Unfortunately most employers and licensing boards will not accept these cards. Why? Because there is no hands-on component to the course.

I did a quick search on my blog and discovered over the past 4 years I've written on this topic a few times. Starting with Online CPR First Aid courses in 2009, I've written Be wary of some online BLS courses, False CPR certification, Video or computer based training versus learning it the old fashioned way, and I received this comment.... On my Coastal CPR & First Aid Blog I've posted What is online certification. So yes, I guess you can say I'm a little passionate about the topic.

CPR AED and First Aid are practical skills. You learn by, well, practicing the skills. It's kinda like learning how to drive. If you watch a video about how to drive a car, or take an online course on how to drive a car.... do you know how to drive a car?

When I teach a class I have a very specific goal. If I collapse in the parking lot after the class I want to know that I have trained the participants in my class well enough that they can help me. Whether it be with First Aid or CPR. If someone leaves my class and can't do that then I have failed both them and myself.

However there is some confusion over some very good BLENDED courses, which contain an online component.

Blended courses have 2 or 3 parts. Part 1 is online. It is the cognitive portion and usually has a written exam you must pass. Part 2 and Part 3 are a classroom skills session with an instructor. This is where you learn the practical skills of CPR AED and First Aid.

What is confusing is some organizations like the American Heart Association use the term "online" in their blended course titles. Many people needing certification who have been told they cannot take an online course are hesitant to take a blended course because of the online portion.

Blended courses are valid courses. Just make sure the certification meets the requirements for your employer or licensing. Some organizations require certification from a specific organization like the American Heart Association or American Red Cross. A few of these online certification mills will try to mimic the name of a nationally recognized organization (AHA) or the name on their card (BLS for Healthcare Providers or CPR for the Professional Rescuer).

Be wary of courses that claim you can be certified without practicing any of the skills. Ask questions if the course time seems to short. You may be paying for a certification card that is worthless.

Monday, April 1, 2013

the Ultimate Blog Challenge

So I did something crazy and impulsive this morning. I signed up for a blog challenge. And it starts TODAY. Ack!

I know I need to spending more time on my blogs and websites... Yeah, that's blogs plural. My primary business is teaching and it's feast or famine, I'm either popular or I'm not. The past few months I've been SUPER popular which has been great. But a lot of the fun things (blogging), and necessary things (paperwork) have begun to pile up. So I'm probably nuts to commit to this.

But I learned an interesting lesson about myself recently and this challenge ties into it.

I gave up cookies for Lent. Really, I did... except for the one I ate so I could evenly divide 3 cookies between 2 young children. If you have young children you know why I needed to do that. It was really hard at first. Especially since I'm a Girl Scout Leader and I've had Girl Scout cookies in my house since mid-February. So I fully expected Easter Evening to be stuffing myself full of cookies.

Except I didn't. I didn't crave them at all.

I realized over 40 days I'm not addicted to cookies. Yes, of course I'll eat cookies at some point. But what I remembered was a book I had read a long time ago that it takes doing something for at least 28 days to make it a regular habit. And that by blogging daily in this challenge I will create a good writing routine that keep me on target down the road. For my blogs and for those I ghost write for.

And I have cookies hidden in my freezer to help.