I could be bitter about my home decorating fail, or I could learn a lesson from it. Maybe both.

I’m hobbling to this week’s CandysDirt.com column with both a bruised toe and bruised ego after a home decorating fail taught me a lesson or two. With all the personal development books I’ve read, I’ve learned that done is better than perfect. But when all you’re doing is procrastinating, it’s time to rethink that strategy. I learned my lesson last week when I took a detour from writing and ended up cursing myself on the floor.

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Ahh Bra creator Rhonda Shear has two pieces of advice: One will help your confidence. The other will ensure you never get stuck in a sports bra again.

Gather in closely ladies, we’re going to talk about bras. Specifically, a little piece of life-changing seamless fabric called the Ahh Bra. (I could hear your “I know!” shriek all the way from here.)

The woman who created and manufactured this wildly popular undergarment is a former beauty queen, actress, and stand-up comedian by the name of Rhonda Shear. You might have seen the curvaceous blonde while flipping through HSN one night. Actually, the one-time Dallas resident would still fit in perfectly if only she adopted a drawl.

Shear designed her intimate apparel line “after years in Hollywood of being stuffed into all kinds of really uncomfortable garments,” she tells me during an interview for my podcast.

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Photo credit: Patrick Emerson/Flickr

A beautiful rainbow only comes after a storm, so when marketing your business, don’t forget to be authentic and acknowledge your struggles.

My freelance career as a marketing writer isn’t looking very promising right now. I’ve often been accused of writing too tight and too newsy when it comes to marketing copy. “Fluff it!” I remember one editor told me. “And that’s why I don’t do marketing copy. I write editorial,” I muttered to myself. But she was right, it’s a whole different kind of writing that I lack. So, my resume as a marketing copy writer remains scant after I was commissioned to write a corporate brochure for a locally based company and then decommissioned after they saw what I wrote. Naturally all of this has been bothering me for weeks.

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Every year the job-listing site Careercast.com ranks the top 10 most stressful jobs in the United States, based on 11 factors such as competition, physical demands, and work environment. Taking their rightful place at the top of the list are first responders like police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and the military. But there were two years in 2010 and 2011 that a new most stressful job appeared on the list: real estate agent. Well, clearly.

In CareerCast’s report explaining why real estate is such a stressful profession, they noted:

“Real estate agents and brokers work long, erratic hours including working most weekends and spend much of their time showing properties to clients. They must be extremely independent, and able to handle sales quotas and deadline pressures. The field is highly competitive, which can cause high levels of stress.” 

Now that’s a quote that deserves the big gray bracket treatment. For all those long hours worked — 9.5 daily on average — a real estate agent’s median pay is $40,000, though that’s not a set salary, causing more stress.

We’re all thankful to put the 2010 housing market crisis behind us, but the same job pressures remain. No job, let alone life, comes without stress. Actually, if I asked you to rate your stress level right now, you’d probably answer “5” without thinking. The American Psychological Association says that’s our overall average stress level, which crept up a notch this year over previous years. And that “5” is probably because I’m catching you reading CandysDirt.com on a good day.

So, what are you gonna do about all this stress?

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Bad happy hour

Bridget Jones would never “network” at a networking happy hour.

 

Maybe you’re shy. Or hate loud bars. Or hate loud people. There are plenty of reasons to dread going to the next chamber of commerce networking happy hour, and though no amount of free Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay will make awkward networking events more tolerable, here is the single most important tip to make networking happy hours better for everyone involved.

Stop networking at happy hour and start connecting.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but Scott Gerber, author of the new book Superconnectors, would say that “networking” is what’s wrong in the world. “A networker, at least in our definition, is a short-term transactional thinker, trying to make value for themselves at every single moment,” Gerber says. “They are only out with one lens and that is personal gain, personal ambition.”

But isn’t that the whole point of networking happy hours? Meeting new people that can help strengthen your network? Yes and no.

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