Yes, You Can Have It All…But It Will Cost You

Nearly 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours have passed since the moment my life changed forever. Nineteen hours of labor seems like a distant memory…well, if I think about it long enough I do have flashbacks of terror.

Being pregnant and giving birth to our son has been the most awe-inspiring experience I’ve ever encountered. It changed me…forever.

Today, our little Kingston is 1 years old! Before he arrived, I often thought about how motherhood would fit into my compact and crazy life. Could I be a good CEO and a good mother? Oh, how I wanted to be more than good, I wanted to be great. As a high achiever who coaches leaders – I want “it all.” I often talk with women about the conflicts we face between the professional and personal roles. Before Kingston, I thought I understood the conflict. Now, it’s even more clear. Children do change everything.

I want to be all that God created me to be – wife, mom, sister, friend, executive, manager, fitness athlete, author, speaker…and the list goes on. Over the past 12 months, I’ve been put to the test. It’s called Mommy Bootcamp 101. Yes, I still believe you can do and be “all” that you want to be. However, you can’t be all things to all people at all times. Every choice comes with a cost. Sleep, your own private ambition, time, money, relationships…fill in the blank. At different times and seasons in my life, having it “all” looked very different.  If you’re struggling with the quest for having it “all,” here are three simple questions that help me get clear:


Why do I want it? – Be clear on the purpose of my pursuit of “all”. Honestly, what is my motivation. If I don’t know where to start – I ask myself “why” five times. Slowly, I peel back the onion to get to my core motivation. Sometimes the answer is… “because it matters to me,” “because it’s my assignment,” “because others said I can or I can’t” or “maybe, because of fear of missing out.” Aligning meaning matters. For me, I’ve learned that purpose is my highest pursuit. So getting clear on my motivation helps me to determine if what I think matters…really matters. I believe I’m purposed to be a mother. That is who God created me to be. I also believe I am purposed to impact the world through my life’s work. Can my role as mom and CEO co-exist? Yes, but the next few questions help me manage and create boundaries verses unrealistic ideals at this time of my life.

What are my priorities? –  Every choice comes at a cost. What will I prioritize in this season of my life? What am I willing to let go in order to achieve my priorities?  There were many things that I dreamed of doing as a mom and as a CEO. When my son came two weeks early, my work transition didn’t happen. I had to re-negotiate my priorities. Clarify and articulate your priorities and work to organize your time around those priorities for this season in your life. Everything has purpose for a specific season. It’s summer but I would look ridiculous wearing, summer, fall, winter and spring clothes at one time. Yes, I need all of my clothes but I don’t have the capacity for all of them at the same time. Prioritizing will force you to choose best over good. It may mean, for this season of time, this priority has my unrelenting focus. The more clarity you have with question two, the more strategy you can apply to how you will execute your priorities daily.  Priorities create boundaries for your time and talent.

Who will help me? Once you have clarity of focus on your purpose, it gives you freedom to pursue your priorities. Your ability to do your “all” is directly linked to how much you are willing to invest in the resources and relationships to delegate to someone else. Yes, you can have your own version of “all” in your career and you can be a present parent but time is ticking. Who is going make the meals, clean the house and do the laundry? Who is going to travel globally for the new assignment and who is going to stay late to ensure the delayed project meets deadline? Help can look like: your spouse, staff, assistant at the office, personal assistant at home, a babysitter, a house cleaner, an organization expert, massage therapist, physical trainer, a lawn service provider, etc. You see, the more support you have to help you delegate the daunting but necessary daily tasks – you have freedom to do more. If you are in a season where you where you don’t have the finances to pay for help — you can barter. If you can’t barter than you have to go back to question #2 and renegotiate your priorities. Time is the great equalizer, there are only 24 hours in a day; 17 waking hours (or less). We all have to make choices about what we do with our time and unfortunately we can’t be everywhere for everyone at the same time.

Using this litmus test daily has helped me get real with what I can do and get honest about what matters most. I’ve realized that often what has to change — is my mindset. I can be present but I must slow down to speed up. It is about cherishing the moments that matter most in this season of my life.

The last 12 months I’ve inhaled each moment as best I could. Yes, it cost me. Some days it’s sleep (well most days), a missed workout here or there and some days it’s walking away from the computer and calling it a wrap. I can confidently say, I’m living my version of “all” in this season of my life…committed to my purpose, my priorities and creating the support system at work and home. Everything else, will just have to wait.

Making Time for What Matters This Christmas


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It’s Kingston’s first Christmas!!!

It’s hard to believe that on the week of Christmas last year, we discovered that I was pregnant. Now, four months and fourteen days after his birth, our little one will be celebrating his first Christmas.

This month has been a little different. While I’m usually slowing down at the end of the year, the last few weeks have been hectic at work. Since adding mommy to my title, I’ve forced myself to focus like never before. I’ve had to learn to anticipate, plan and prepare in order to make sure I’m giving my best to my priorities.

Now, we are still sleep training which means most of my nights consists of feeding, cuddling, or tip-toeing back to bed to get at least a few hours of consecutive sleep. It’s been brutal; but, beautiful! Seeing his face in the dark smiling at me at    4 am makes my heart smile. But, this is only one part of my job.

In my role as the President of Velvet Suite, I’m taking advantage of down time when my customers are away, to prepare for a busy 2017. We upgraded our coaching curriculum which has been a HUGE undertaking; but, I’m so excited to launch our upgraded platform in 2017.



The time on the set recording was special because I had my little one with me for a little while. He gives me another level of drive and focus. The work I do in my business is for his legacy. We completed the taping of our new content after 48 hours of non-stop studio time and hours of prep, it was a wrap!


I quickly moved my focus to mommy mode and creating the first Christmas for our baby boy at The Simkins home. It’s been fun decorating and watching him pay no attention to some of the hard work mommy is doing to create the Christmas spirit at our home!  Yet, I still feel way behind.

So, what do you do when you feel like you are running out of time and you should do more than you did? You take time to get perspective. I’ve learned to be kind to myself and choose progress over perfection. This means, I am doing my best; but, focusing on what matters most.

For me, this priority is time with God, myself, my family, and my work.

In our home, the real meaning of the season is the birth of our Lord and Savior. So, I go down the checklist, do we have love in our home – yes, do we have so much to be thankful for – yes. We have all we need. Gifts are not important; but, love is. I also realized that if I wasn’t careful at the bottom of my “things to do” list would be time for me.
In order for me to be my best, I have to take time for me. I would say since having the baby and coming back to work, I’ve been a little slack on time for me.

This is hard for most women to do. Yet, for me to be my best, I have to commit to making me a priority. I anticipated I would feel like this at this time of the month so I booked a massage for tomorrow. I am committed to finding that time to reset, recharge, and most importantly be still.

Here are a few things that I’m going to commit to doing the last week of this month to help me recharge for 2017:


  1. Take time to sleep – I’m going to find some time to sleep in, take a nap our sneak one in while the baby is asleep.
  2. Take time to reflect – Get still, reflect, and journal and write down three of the biggest blessings that happened to me this year. I try to make note of these blessings so I can look back upon them to see how things always work out even in the most difficult situations.
  3. Take time to dream – Upgrade my vision board. With a new addition to the family and a new title of mommy, I want to make sure my vision is aligned with where my life is today and where it is going.
  4. Take time for fun – Laughter is good like medicine. I’m going to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment with my hubby, a good movie, and whatever else gives me joy.


No matter what you are going through, I’ve learned to not let the pressure get the best of me. When the sense of overwhelming comes over you, take a step back to get perspective. The easiest way to do this is to be still and take back some time for you.

What are you most grateful for this year and how do you plan on taking back time for yourself?

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday and happy new year!

Why This Thanksgiving Was So Spectacular

This Thanksgiving was spectacular for so many reasons.

I spent time on Thanksgiving morning, thinking and praying for those who are dealing with loss, loneliness and darkness during the holidays. I know that it can be difficult and extremely painful. However, I’m a living witness that it doesn’t have to last forever and that brighter days are ahead.

Even though it may feel like the fight of your life right now, know that God has greater days ahead and that we can fulfill our heart’s desires if we don’t give up.

Proverbs 24:10 – If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.

I realized that for the first time in a long time, I was not only grateful for my blessings but I was living in the manifestations of my prayers, my hope and my dreams. I remember, many years being grateful during the holidays but at the same time feeling empty. I was hurting, broken and lonely. After going through times of loss, I just prayed for strength to get through this time of year.

I’m so thankful that God didn’t leave me in that dark place. As I kept living, believing and giving to others — he eventually, in time gave back to me what I most deeply desired. I wanted companionship, a husband, a child, a beautiful home and peace in my heart.

This would be Kingston’s first Thanksgiving so we made sure to get a picture of him with the famous fried turkey that my husband makes every year. In fact, only 4 weeks after meeting me, he came to my house when my parents were visiting and made his Thanksgiving fried turkey and asked my dad for my hand in marriage.


Kingston with turkey - First Thanksgiving Nov. 2016


Of course, there is nothing like a holiday to give a new mom reason to take more photos and to find yet another outfit to dress up her baby!

Each year since we have been married, we have had family over for Thanksgiving. However, this was the first time we had close to 20 guests. Family traveled in to see Kingston and it felt like a reunion.

I believe welcoming people into your home is the ultimate sign of hospitality and I love to show my guest love and appreciation. I want you to feel special when you come to The Simkins!

Everyone pitched in to bring a special dish to help with the meal. I decorated the table in a festive way with one of my favorite decorations of fruit and flowers. This centerpiece had cranberries floating in water with white roses. It was just gorgeous! We also gave away post cards of Kingston’s first Thanksgiving and asked each family member to share three things they were thankful for this year.


Table setting 

The table was set beautifully and I contributed my dishes including: macaroni and cheese, collard greens and sweet potato casserole. I love to cook but I was so happy to see that we ate almost all of the leftovers over the course of the next three days.

Although hosting the holidays is a lot of work, I realized that it is worth it. Bringing family together is important to celebrate our blessings, reconnect, and stay grounded with who we are and where we came from. I loved seeing the generations connect and watching my father play with his grandson. Creating memories is priceless.


Dad with Kingston 2


Lessons from My First Month of Motherhood

So, it’s been six weeks since our world turned upside down for all the right reasons! Kingston rules our house these days and he has our hearts wrapped around his tiny winy pinky.345am kingston awake

What in the world can prepare you for the job of mom…NOTHING!

I never imagined I could take so many pictures in one day and be compelled to share them with everyone I know, especially complete strangers. Many days I’m overwhelmed with exhaustion but I’m overcome with gratitude when I look at his big eyes at 3:45am. I’m a planner who always wants to be prepared. Yet, this job can only be learned through on-the-job training. The perfectionist in me is embracing the imperfect. In fact, right now as I write there is a stack of laundry, a bib, diaper bag and a breast pump are all around me!

Motherhood continues to be a revealing experience. After being at home for weeks on end with my precious loved one, I longed to simply get out of the house. Driving became something I couldn’t wait to do. When I finally got a few moments away, all I wanted to do was get back home to him.


Work Plan - MDS

As President of my firm, there is a struggle between the real and your own version of ideal balance between your personal and professional life. I had a version of ideal for my maternity leave. I would walk away from work cold and somehow empty my brain and magically never think of work again until my return.

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Here is the real.  Our son was born two weeks early. There were things undone at work. Yet, I realized that I could complete what needed to be done but I would have to find a way to finish my obligations without cheating us of precious moments together. As the designer of my own perfect day, I can have both and every day I make it work.


Body Confidence - MDS

I’m eager to get my body back but I realize that this too will be a process. Thank God for breast feeding because it has helped me tremendously loose my round belly (which I actually miss).  When I look in the mirror I don’t look the same, today. I couldn’t work out much during my last trimester so I have lost muscle tone and I feel the weakest I’ve ever been. Yet, I realize just like everything else I have achieved, it takes perseverance, consistency and faith to believe it is possible. Rather than become overwhelmed with the thought of losing baby weight, I’ve decided to become energized by the opportunity to see myself transform again and become a healthier more vibrant and sexy version of me in order to have the energy to keep up and look good doing it.


new date night with Kingston

Keeping Marriage First - MDS2

My hubby and I agreed that date night was mandatory, especially now. Our date nights in the past were concerts, dinners, movies, theatre, vacation trips…you name it. However, now, our date night would be dinner, watching a movie while having our little guy lay on our lap. You gotta learn to improvise. We recently traveled to Baltimore with our little man…his first road trip!


Time With God - MDS

During this time, I’m hearing clearer. Through being still and prayer, I realized that I don’t have to be frustrated, overwhelmed and feeling ill equipped for my new job description.  God was giving me permission to reinvent schedule, my priorities and align myself with a greater value and greater level of success. I’m energized by this vision. I realize that my priorities have shifted but I’m blessed to work my passion and to see the fruit of my labor expand. The more I invest in spending time with God, He shows me new and surprising opportunity that I couldn’t see before because I was busy and doing things my way.



The lessons keep coming and I’m sure they will go on for a lifetime. I’m grateful to be the student again, learning from this first month of motherhood and taking notes each and every day.

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My New Normal

This month, I added a new title to my name…Mommy. On August 11, 2016 at 4:41 PM, our lives changed forever. Kingston Edward Simkins was born.

I’ve heard my mom and others talk about this overwhelming sense of love that comes at birth. I now know exactly what they mean. From the moment I heard his first cry, my heart burst with joy and my soul was in awe.

Now, after a week or so of sleepless nights filled with crack-of-dawn bonding moments, I am have a new normal.  My favorite hand bag has been replaced with a baby bag on my shoulder at all times!

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Exchanging my designer bag for a diaper bag.

I’ve discovered a new appreciation for silence, sleep and moving slow — all of which I deeply undervalued when I was single and jet setting. It’s time for change but how do you embrace a new normal?

You may not be a new mother but all of us go through seasons of change. Right now kids are going back to school and summer is wrapping up. The change of seasons requires a change of mindset.

In this new season, I’m filled with many emotions. I’m excited, grateful, nervous, uncertain, overwhelmed and these are just a few feelings that come to mind. Emotions are facts but facts change, just like the weather. I’m learning to focus on truth.

When you are faced with emotions about a changing season in your life…feel empowered. You have a choice. You can be ruled by the facts that change or you can choose to live by the truth.

In this new season, I’m choosing to embrace the truth about change. The truth tells me this about my new normal:

“He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.” Philippians 1:6
Savoring mommy time in the rocker at the hospital.

1. Know you are equipped with everything you need to be successful in this new season – It took so long for us to conceive; I didn’t think much about the fact that a baby eventually has to come out. LOL! I was nervous about delivery…who wouldn’t be? This is a fact. The truth is women have delivered babies since the beginning of time. My body is equipped to do this with success. God always finishes what He starts. I did it! I was able to deliver a healthy baby boy.

“He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.” Philippians 1:6

2. Savor what is left of this season, while preparing for the next – I’m a summer baby and I love this time of year. However, we are quickly approaching the end of summer. Now, I’m enjoying and relishing in the little things in this transition. For example, the silence in my home before everyone awakes. This is the time to reflect on this journey and dream again. Before you become overwhelmed with where you are going, stop to savor where you are. You may not come back this way again, so don’t let anxiety rob you of the blessing of this moment.

3. Letting go of the minor empowers you to embrace the major – Everything is not a priority. You have to know each day what are your pivotal priorities. For me, it is spending time with God to reconnect with what matters, taking care of me, taking care of my husband, our baby and my business. Knowing my priorities forces me to make choices. It helps me to align what matters most and eliminate the fat.

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Handling business…on our way to our first doctor appointment.

I’m learning to embrace a new season in my life. I’m learning that slow is actually satisfying. I’m embracing a whole new rhythm and I’m leaving space for all the unexpected surprises that will come along this journey.

I believe change is coming your way. I want to encourage you to embrace it, don’t fight it. Realize that through change and the unexpected come our biggest blessings.

Cheers to our new normal and loving every moment of the journey!



Bonding with Baby Simkins Using BellyBuds!

We are only one month away from Baby Simkins’ arrival and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

Creating a new life is truly a miracle from God and we are so grateful! Our fertility journey has made me even more grateful for our blessing and I’ve been soaking up every minute. One of my favorite ways to connect with Baby Simkins is with my BellyBuds!

BellyBuds are small speakers that adhere to my belly so that Will and I can speak to and play soothing sounds directly to the womb. Sometimes while I’m catching up on my pregnancy magazines, I’ll read to the baby and Baby Simkins loves it! I also have been reading to the baby some of the same books my mom read to me! My mom was really great at saving a lot of the books and items from when I was a baby and it’s been so special for me to have them for Baby Simkins.

I’ve been using my BellyBuds since my second trimester. They are super easy and comfortable to attach to my tummy as pictured above. You can learn more and get yours here on the WavHello website.

We don’t have long to go until our due date, and I’ll admit I’m going to miss bonding with this sweet babe in my belly and feeling baby kicks! The baby is especially active when I’m using my BellyBuds, which is such a special feeling!

What gadgets or routines did you try during your pregnancy that you loved? Share them in the comments section below!

Lessons From My Father

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love birthdays. Today is special because it is my father’s birthday!

When I think about parenting (which I think about now more than ever), I am reminded about the powerful and positive impact of both my mom and dad. I have to admit, I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and my father was the first man I ever looked up to. His voice, his presence and his quiet strength always made me sit up taller and feel prettier. He set a standard of excellence in our home. Because of his presence, we all wanted to be better.

Daddy was valedictorian of his senior class in high school, a track athlete, the first in his family to graduate from college, one of the first African-Americans admitted to the Purdue University Pharmacy program and he is a man of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He was the first in our family to receive his undergraduate, masters and PhD degrees; the first to author a book (he is the author of over seven books now), a prostate cancer survivor and so much more.

He is a pharmacist, college professor, poet, pastor and many other words that start with the letter P! Most of all he has been a present and praying husband and father.

MDS & Dad 4

Anyone with children will tell you that it is a daily dilemma to provide for your family, grow a career and do all that is demanded upon your time and schedule without neglecting your most important priority…your family.

My father was masterful at doing both really well. Although he is very accomplished in his career, his crowning achievement is his consistent and deep love for God and family.

From his life I have learned the value of living a life that is focused and totally committed to what God wants and to use my gift to help serve others. He didn’t just tell us, he lived this by example.

Here are three lessons I caught from my father without him saying a word:

1. Consistency = Power – My father is a man of many routines. The one that has most impacted me is his consistent daily prayer time. I’ve watched him do it quietly and without recognition. I will never forget being the first one to get the call from my grandmother that my grandfather, Lonnie Johnson (his father) had passed. I had to be the one to tell my dad his father was no longer with us. When I first shared the news, I remember it like it was yesterday. His knees buckled as he gasped for air. He drew us close and the first thing out of his mouth was a prayer. I will never forget that moment. In his weakest moment, I watched him lean on a power greater than us. His consistent prayer life was his power to bear through a very dark moment in life. I’ve learned to lean on my faith…first. I’ve learned that storms will come but if I have consistent communication with God, I’m building the strength to endure those difficult and uncertain times.

2. Give first, even when it’s your time to receive – For many years my father would give gifts to my mom, sister and I on HIS BIRTHDAY. Yes, he really would do that! I remember the first time I got a gift on his birthday, I was confused. He would say, “I want to give a gift to those who I’m most grateful for in my life.” WOW…that blew me away! I learned to look for ways to out give others even when I felt it was my turn. I’ve learned there is a blessing in giving and it feels good to share when people least expect it.

3. Work in silence and let your results speak for you – My father is a reserved man. Yet he is one of the hardest working people I know. He still writes consistently on his blog each and every day and teaches both online courses as well as in the classroom. He works diligently without need for attention or visibility but the breath of his work shows that he is a master of his craft and a consummate professional. I’ve learned how to dig in, be diligent and work my craft in the lab. When you focus on mastering your craft the world has no choice but to recognize your worth.

MDS & Dad 3

As I prepare for parenthood, I pray I can have that type of impact on my child’s life. I want my child to know how to live successfully in every way. Both of my parents were great examples of this. They did it their way. Will and I will find our way as well.

Daddy, thank you for being my example. I’m learning everyday how much work I have yet to do but you’ve given me a lifetime of lessons that I hope I can live up too. We are excited to add yet another name to your long list of titles…this one is kind of special, “Grandpa J!”

Happy birthday to my daddy and happy father’s day to him and all the amazing fathers who are making an impact every single day! Check out his amazing blog to get more powerful inspiration and words of light.

MDS - Lessons from my father (2)

Guilt Trip: Making Time For What Matters

I learned the hard way about time management right after getting married. I had to let go of guilt and learn how to make time for healthy food and family.

As a career-driven, single woman, I didn’t realize how much free-time I had in my “busy schedule.” Although, I stayed active, I was occupied with my own priorities and plans.

Nothing like marriage and a family to help you prioritize. You simply can’t do it all. Although I believe feeding my family healthy food is one of my responsibilities, I don’t have the time to be in the kitchen every single night for two hours.

There has to be a better way. I quickly realized, I had to be more intentional about my time.

After talking to friends and co-workers, I was not alone. Many working women and stay-at-home-moms deal with the guilt of not making enough time for cooking healthy food for our family when we have so many demands on our plate. Everything from presentations, business trips, pick-ups and drop-offs to daycare, soccer matches, basketball games, household chores and more. Sometimes it seems easier to just get a quick, fast meal.

I quickly realized I had to work smarter and not harder if I wanted to make healthy food for my family a priority. I also had to be honest. I often struggled and sometimes resented when I didn’t make time for myself. When I looked for someone to blame, the finger was pointing at me.

Here was my “reflection realization”:


  1. Priorities don’t happen by accident – I had to determine and set my priorities…early and often to make them happen
  2. Making time for me, had to be in my top three – If I wasn’t making time for me, then I was quietly feeling less than myself and feeling guilty for giving up on me
  3. There was room for creativity – I had to think creatively about maximizing my time, priorities and opportunities for my family to make healthy choices and maximize time


One idea that has become a part of our lifestyle is “Sunday Meal Prep.” Now, this is not my original idea. However, as I got more into the fitness industry, I learned the value of food preparation to stay on target with your fitness goals and to avoid as many fast food choices as possible.

When I was in high school, I lived with my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Genie my senior year. She would always make a big dinner on Sunday and then some. The extra was actually our meals for the week. My uncle and I would eat from the main courses she made (meats, starches and some cooked vegetables) over the course of the week. I didn’t realize her genius until I became older and could appreciate her intention.

She was accomplishing a few important things:


  1. She was making her life a heck of a lot easier – By cooking up front, she was giving herself back time in the evenings throughout the week
  2. She was making her family self-sufficient – We appreciated her cooking on Sunday and it was up to us to pull together our meals during the week which she already provided
  3. She ensured we were eating healthy – Eating from her table meant she was in control of the meals we ate and she was able to better control the budget that way as well
  4. She always took off – There were a few days at the end of the week – where the kitchen was closed. She took time off from cooking and we would do pizza or something else that was easy and independent of her cooking


I immediately began adopting this philosophy in our home. I also made it a special time for us to bond through cooking. It is actually quite romantic! We put on some jazz and simply talk.

It may sound silly but some great conversation can happen while dicing up peppers and onions. I get help in the kitchen and he has the opportunity to play a role in what he will eat for the week. It’s a win–win.

One thing I know for sure, no home is happy without food. So making healthy food choices is a priority in our home. We experiment with new recipes and I try to cook most of my proteins on Sunday and freeze extra so that some weeks I don’t have to cook from scratch.

Again, this has been a brilliant strategy, thanks to Aunt Ruth that has helped me stop feeling guilty and start enjoying our “Sunday Meal Prep” time.

Let me know what tips and ideas you have that we can learn from!

How Successful Women Can Overcome Feeling Single & Stuck

Managing a career is no simple task, but when you add managing a relationship into the mix, you feel like you’re being torn in two directions. It is possible to balance the two and I want to share my steps on balancing career and companionship.

It’s important to compartmentalize (keep your work and relationship completely separate) and prioritize (forge one goal for another, but don’t sacrifice one aspect of your life for another). Watch this video from the MDS Network for more on how to prioritize your personal relationships outside of your work.