Introduction: Embracing The -Ish

Show Notes

Learn to LIVE and LEAD from your own story instead of creating a sequel of someone else's.
Rustic Cuff | Shop Our Instagram

Audio Transcription

Speaker 1:
Do you ever feel like you’re building an ark with only the instructions for a canoe? If so, you’re not alone. Welcome to CEO-ish, where we’ll discuss traveling the path of the unknown, while making it your own.

Jill Donovan:
You know how you have a very important letter to write to somebody and you sit down and you write the letter out and when you get to the very last bracelets line, it isn’t exactly the way you wanted it. So you do this. That is what I have done with this very first episode of CEO-ish.

Kelly Smith:
That is true.

Jill Donovan:
It is true. Nobody will admit this, and maybe people do and it’s just not the bracelets podcasts that I’ve listened to, but I have started this first episode so many times.

Kelly Smith:
Quite a few times.

Jill Donovan:
That I decided whatever comes out in this particular take-

Kelly Smith:
This is it.

Jill Donovan:
This is it. So it’s just you get what you get on this one.

Kelly Smith:
You get what you get.

Jill Donovan:
Okay.

Kelly Smith:
Because we’re ish, all the way.

Jill Donovan:
All the way. There is no formula that we are following for this podcast, this company, what you’re wearing today.

Kelly Smith:
That’s kind of why I like it.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. And I look up the definition of ish, because people might think what in the world does CEO-ish mean? I looked it up, and it means more or less, somewhat, kind of, sort of. You get that.

Kelly Smith:
I do get it.

Jill Donovan:
Don’t you feel like quite a few things that we do in life, as well as this company Rustic Cuff bracelets are ish.

Kelly Smith:
Definitely.

Jill Donovan:
You are one of the most ish people I know. Kelly is a, this is Kelly Smith. Did I introduce myself?

Kelly Smith:
You didn’t.

Jill Donovan:
Oh I didn’t. I’m also Kelly Smith. That’s fun, to just change my name.

Kelly Smith:
Because we’re just winging it.

Erica:
I loved how you started.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, yes.

Erica:
You started talking [crosstalk 00:01:56]-

Jill Donovan:
Yes. I’m Jill Donovan, and you know what? Why do we have to say our names at the beginning of the podcast?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know.

Jill Donovan:
We don’t have to.

Kelly Smith:
We could do whatever we want.

Jill Donovan:
From now I’m saying it somewhere about the three-fourths mark on a podcast.

Kelly Smith:
Yes you are. You do what you want to do.

Jill Donovan:
I am almost to the three-fourths mark on this particular bracelets episode.

Kelly Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
Because why do they have to be exactly 17 minutes long?

Kelly Smith:
Who said that?

Jill Donovan:
This is going to be seven minutes and 17 seconds.

Kelly Smith:
That’s right.

Jill Donovan:
I’ll show podcast world. So ish means sort of, kind of, not really yet, somewhat resembling. Okay. I thought, well, people are going to wonder what is CEO-ish? Just to give you a little background, for those of you who know nothing about CEO-ish or Rustic Cuff bracelets, a little background is that, you know how sometimes you project what you want to do in your future when you’re 10 years old? I was going to marry John Geyer.

Kelly Smith:
Right, I was going to be ballerina.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, you were?

Kelly Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
How’d that turn out?

Kelly Smith:
[inaudible 00:02:56].

Jill Donovan:
I was going to be a teacher, and I was going to also be a stay-at-home mom.

Kelly Smith:
Really?

Jill Donovan:
Yes. I wanted to be a teacher during the school year and a stay-at-home mom during the summer. That’s how much I knew. I was going to marry John Geyer. And I was going to have four kids.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. When I was 10, I wrote it all out on a piece of paper. Okay. Everything that happened from that point on, 10 years old, was nothing that I had on that piece of paper at all. At all. I always felt like everything that I did, I was never quite prepared for it. My preparation was definitely not before the thing I did, it was right smack dab in the middle.

Kelly Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
I always said, “God, why did you not give me a handbook before I started?”

Kelly Smith:
Right.

Jill Donovan:
I needed instructions. The way that I describe it, I feel sometimes like I was called to build an ark, but only given the instructions for a canoe.

Kelly Smith:
I remember when I had my son, my first child, and I was so overwhelmed with mothering and parenting and all of that.

Jill Donovan:
You still are.

Kelly Smith:
Totally, in a different way, in a new way.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
But this was the beginning of the overwhelmed bracelets feeling. I remember looking at my husband and saying, we didn’t have any money, we were young, married and had a little baby, and I was like, “If there was an instruction manual for this child and it cost $10,000-”

Jill Donovan:
You’d get it.

Kelly Smith:
I would be like, take out a loan and get that manual. I just want to know what to do with this kid.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
I just don’t know what to do. I was so overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge.

Jill Donovan:
Anything that I have ever done, I am always overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge. That got me to asking God, “Why don’t you give me the knowledge before I start?”

Kelly Smith:
That’s would be so nice.

Jill Donovan:
Super great. I brought my daughter home from the hospital, and I babysat, so I thought since I babysat-

Kelly Smith:
You got this.

Jill Donovan:
I got this.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
I often would call my mom and have her come over until the parents told me they were coming home, and then I would have my mom leave. No lie. I did that. I got paid 75 cents an hour, so I think that was okay. 75 cents an hour.

Kelly Smith:
What is it, like 1914 you were babysitting?

Jill Donovan:
1979, when I was nine years old, I got paid 75 cents to babysit. The parents were home, but still, 75 cents.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
Anyhow, I thought I was prepared for a child. When I got home with this baby, I said, “You all should not have let me leave the hospital with this child. I don’t have the degree in raising children.”

Kelly Smith:
Which is true. We don’t know what we’re doing.

Jill Donovan:
No. The very first night I was home, they were awake the whole time in the hospital with Ireland, the first two nights, which means-

Kelly Smith:
You mean the hospital staff?

Jill Donovan:
The nurses, yes, which means I’m thinking that people need to stay awake with her all the time.

Kelly Smith:
Oh.

Jill Donovan:
Yep, 18 days. You can ask my sister-in-law, 18 days in a row.

Kelly Smith:
Jill.

Jill Donovan:
I stayed up while Ireland slept or Kelly stayed up.

Kelly Smith:
Oh my.

Jill Donovan:
The first night-

Kelly Smith:
That’s totally sustainable.

Jill Donovan:
Now my kids are like, “Mom, stop staring at me while I’m sleeping.” So I called the hospital, the labor and delivery wing the very first night I got home. This girl answered and I said, “Hi, this is Jill Donovan. You just rolled me out in a wheelchair and, and I’m home with Ireland.” And I said, “I need to have a nurse, a real nurse.” Because Kelly wasn’t there. My sister-in-law was a nurse, but it had been 10 years since she practiced.

Kelly Smith:
Right, that’s-

Jill Donovan:
“I need a nurse that will come over as your second job, and I just need you to stay awake with Ireland, at night.” And she, “I’m sorry we don’t have that available, but there are some places that will do that for you.” 18 days in a row because I didn’t know what to do.

Kelly Smith:
You must have been acting insane with not sleeping for 18 days.

Jill Donovan:
I don’t remember showering either. 18 days. This podcast is titled CEO-ish bracelets, but it really could be titled anything-ish because I was so mom-ish. It wasn’t what I thought a normal mom should, could, would be.

Kelly Smith:
I’m mom-ish now.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know what I’m doing.

Jill Donovan:
No. I know there are people that do, but I, we are not friends with them.

Kelly Smith:
We are not friends with them. We are not them.

Jill Donovan:
No, we are not them. I mean, and all the ones who have ownership in Pinterest.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. I do think they’re lying. The people that say they know what they’re … parenting wise.

Jill Donovan:
Do you know any moms that really know what they’re doing?

Kelly Smith:
[inaudible 00:07:36].

Jill Donovan:
We have 100 plus ladies that work up here. Do you think any of them would say they know what they’re doing? If so, we need to let them go.

Kelly Smith:
I don’t think so. Even if they know what they’re doing, they don’t know what they’re doing, sometimes I think people maybe don’t share it. I don’t think anybody knows what they’re doing, but I think some people are less honest and open about their-

Jill Donovan:
Oh, I know somebody who is like the mom.

Kelly Smith:
Oh.

Jill Donovan:
She’s here right now.

Kelly Smith:
Really?

Jill Donovan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Smith:
Who is it?

Jill Donovan:
Well, she has three children.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
I’ve never ever heard her talk about her children fighting ever.

Kelly Smith:
What?

Jill Donovan:
She lives Pinterest, like she is Pinterest bracelets perfect. Anytime she comes in, and she says, “So-and-so didn’t get his homework done last night,” I was like, “Yes, your children are normal.”

Kelly Smith:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
You know who it is?

Kelly Smith:
Who?

Jill Donovan:
Erica, do you know who it is? Her name starts with a B. She works downstairs. She has blonde hair.

Erica:
Becca.

Jill Donovan:
Becca.

Kelly Smith:
Oh.

Jill Donovan:
We’re calling Becca.

Kelly Smith:
Her children don’t fight?

Jill Donovan:
Becca has not one single problem at all, as a mom.

Kelly Smith:
Okay, we’re going to get it out of her.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
Because she’s just being-

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. She’s not mom-ish. Becca is mom.

Kelly Smith:
No, she’s not.

Jill Donovan:
No, Becca is all mom.

Kelly Smith:
We’re going to have to talk about the his.

Jill Donovan:
Don’t tell her we’re on a call. I’ll tell her. I’ll get her permission afterwards.

Kelly Smith:
I won’t talk.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. So is this way? Okay. Usually employees during the day answer it, because they always get afraid.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah.

Becca:
Hello?

Jill Donovan:
Hey, Becca.

Becca:
Hey.

Jill Donovan:
What are you doing?

Becca:
I’m working on my computer downstairs.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, you are? Hey, I have a quick question for you.

Becca:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
You know how we always tease that your kids are like perfect and you never have any issues.

Becca:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
And that I’m mom-ish, but you’re mom.

Becca:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
And you’re Pinterest perfect.

Becca:
Yes, we do tease that.

Jill Donovan:
Will you just make me feel better right at this moment? I’m feeling a little down about my mom-ish self. Will you just tell me about the last time maybe that your kids may be looked at each other the wrong way?

Becca:
Okay. Let me think, because it’s so hard, since they are so perfect.

Jill Donovan:
Oh wow. Yes. She’s not kidding.

Becca:
My two youngest ones, they have a hard time getting along, and so it’s daily that we have to remind them to talk nicely to each other.

Jill Donovan:
You mean like, every day?

Becca:
Every day. Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Things are not as perfect as I thought.

Becca:
They’re not as perfect.

Jill Donovan:
Okay, one more problem, Becca, just in general. Has anybody gotten the sniffles lately in your bracelets house?

Becca:
Yes. Gavin was sick all week.

Jill Donovan:
Did you run out of Kleenex perhaps?

Becca:
I-

Jill Donovan:
Did you make him chicken noodle soup?

Kelly Smith:
No way.

Becca:
I ran out of food for the kids’ lunches.

Jill Donovan:
Wait, you ran out of food for the kids’ lunches?

Becca:
I ran out of food, yes.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, okay.

Becca:
So they had to buy.

Jill Donovan:
They had to buy their lunch at the cafeteria?

Kelly Smith:
Terrible mother.

Becca:
At the cafeteria, isn’t that horrible? Instead of a home home cooked meal.

Jill Donovan:
You can stay. I love you. We’ll chat later.

Becca:
Okay, sounds good.

Jill Donovan:
Thanks Becca.

Becca:
Bye.

Jill Donovan:
Bye. Oh, and by the way, you were being recorded. Hope you’re okay with that.

Kelly Smith:
Becca is just a very nice person.

Jill Donovan:
Beyond nice. I’ve traveled with Becca before.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
She’s so incredibly giving.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
So considerate. I don’t wish any ill will on Becca.

Kelly Smith:
No. It makes me feel a little bit better-

Jill Donovan:
Wait.

Kelly Smith:
… when her kids are fighting.

Jill Donovan:
Becca ran out of food for her kids’ lunches.

Kelly Smith:
They had to buy their lunch at school.

Jill Donovan:
I would never run out of food for my kids’ lunches, like ever.

Kelly Smith:
Right.

Jill Donovan:
I would get up at 4:00 in the morning.

Kelly Smith:
Totally.

Jill Donovan:
And go find the only open store in town is to buy them.

Kelly Smith:
Yes, yes, and my children have never ever eaten school lunch.

Jill Donovan:
School lunches. Becca’s kids are buying school lunches. Somebody put that in the newspaper.

Kelly Smith:
Okay, and when I said every, never ever have my children eaten school lunch, I meant every single day they buy their school lunch.

Jill Donovan:
That’s mom-ish, right there. I’m going to induct Becca into the mom-ish club.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. What kind of a mom is that?

Kelly Smith:
I mean, please, buying their lunch.

Jill Donovan:
She has to remind her kids daily to get along. I mean seriously. I love Becca now. I love her.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, she’s in.

Jill Donovan:
She’s so awesome. Anyhow, back to the ish part. We could say ish about everything.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
Because I then became nothing that I had planned. I worked for American Airlines for seven years, and then I went to get a law degree, and never wanted to be an attorney. Really, I didn’t.

Kelly Smith:
Really?

Jill Donovan:
Do you know why I wanted to get my law degree?

Kelly Smith:
Why?

Jill Donovan:
I wanted somebody to just come up to me and say, “What do you do?” I just wanted to say, “I’m an attorney.” Because I don’t have to say I’m a good attorney.

Kelly Smith:
Right, or a practicing attorney.

Jill Donovan:
No, you don’t even have to say practicing, just attorney. It felt so good. I mean, I’m young and loved bracelets.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
So this is my feeling of just like, “I just want to say that word.” But the entire time I was an attorney and then an attorney law professor-

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
I should have said attorney professor, because that would have really shown my ish. The entire time, I never, ever knew exactly what I was doing. Really. But I will say, the reason we’re doing the podcast is because it’s in the beauty of the not knowing that you find and flourish from your own story.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Because if you don’t embrace that and press in the not knowing part, then all you’re doing is, you are copying someone else and you are making a sequel from someone else’s story. When was the last time you saw a great sequel?

Kelly Smith:
Rocky II?

Jill Donovan:
Everybody knows The Hangover, right?

Kelly Smith:
Right.

Jill Donovan:
Does anybody know Hangover II?

Kelly Smith:
No.

Jill Donovan:
Did you even know they made a Hangover II?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t think I did.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Do you know why sequels have such a hard time of being really, really over the top incredible?

Kelly Smith:
Is it because the reason the companies are making them is because they saw that they have another opportunity to make money?

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
And it’s not based out of a good script or a great idea. It’s based out of, “Oh, that worked. Let’s keep it going.”

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. They may not agree with us, if we would ask them that question. But I think the general consensus is, is that they feel that this was a moneymaker here, and people loved it, so let’s just do that again.

Kelly Smith:
Let’s do it again, and again and again and again.

Jill Donovan:
But do you know why the original did so well? Because it was original.

Kelly Smith:
Right.

Jill Donovan:
It was original. It is very, very hard to copy and do extremely well what the original did. So whatever … Sorry.

Kelly Smith:
That’s okay.

Jill Donovan:
No, I kicked you. That’s what we do on bracelets podcast-ish. I kicked Kelly hard under the table.

Kelly Smith:
That’s okay, and I said, “That’s all right.”

Jill Donovan:
It’s okay.

Kelly Smith:
It happens.

Jill Donovan:
And she kicked me just now.

Kelly Smith:
Sorry.

Jill Donovan:
Everybody edits their podcasts. We decided we’re not going to edit this podcast.

Kelly Smith:
I mean, unless we say a bad word, and then we should probably edit that part out.

Jill Donovan:
Becca may say bad words, but we don’t, in her family, but we don’t here, in this family. I’m sorry. Becca may. I’m not going to call her-

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know. I kind of like it not being so perfect.

Jill Donovan:
Perfect smerfect.

Kelly Smith:
I mean, who’s perfect. I’m not.

Jill Donovan:
I know. Do you know what it makes me feel like to listen to a perfect podcast?

Kelly Smith:
Bored.

Jill Donovan:
No, so imperfect.

Kelly Smith:
Oh, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
It only highlights all my imperfections.

Kelly Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
I just love to hear that people just can be really, really real, and not edit. So the beauty of this is that you may hear little clicks in it, like it has been edited, but that’s just because we had to stop and start a couple times, because people walked through. But this will be the unedited first version, the first episode of CEO-ish. If you come back and listen, I promise at some point you will identify with something in your life that everybody thinks that you should know exactly what you’re doing, but sometimes you have no clue. I would say embrace the ish. Embrace the fact that you need to be living from your own bracelets story, instead of copying the sequel from someone else’s story.

Kelly Smith:
I need to hear the advice myself.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
Because even though I believe it and know it in my head, I flow in and out of this, “Oh, I should do it that way.” I do it all the time. I think everybody does.

Jill Donovan:
What’s the number one thing that you think people copy or try to make a sequel from somebody else’s story?

Kelly Smith:
I think a huge one is parenting.

Jill Donovan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Smith:
I think people see, “Oh, how’d they do that with that kid?” And you don’t see all the stuff behind the scenes. You might just be seeing a veneer or one great moment in someone’s life. As terrible as this is, I have three kids who I love and they are imperfect, but they’re mine. I don’t care if they’re doing it right. They embarrass me a lot. They humble me a lot. But they make me laugh and they’re mine. So I’m taking them. They’re mine. But sometimes when I’m on Facebook, and I see somebody’s kid accomplishing something, or-

Jill Donovan:
Becca. Yeah, she does have great Instagram stories.

Kelly Smith:
She does.

Jill Donovan:
I love her, yeah. We love Becca.

Kelly Smith:
But it’s, why should I take so much, something negative out of someone else’s positive? So the kid won first place in the track meet. That’s great. But why is that making me feel bad? It’s fine. It’s a great thing for them. But for some reason, there’s something twisted in there, and I just walk away feeling defeated and like a loser.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
My kid’s not a runner.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
Okay, fine. It’s fine. Do you know what I mean?

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
So I think that’s the biggest thing that I always have a lot of comparison with, is parenting.

Jill Donovan:
Because it’s the most varied thing, because there are a billion different ways-

Kelly Smith:
Totally.

Jill Donovan:
… that you can parent.

Kelly Smith:
And you parent each of your own kids differently, too.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, yeah.

Kelly Smith:
That’s my … what’s yours?

Jill Donovan:
Running this company for almost eight years now, there are many, many, many formulas and textbooks and leadership podcasts, bracelets, and conferences, and all amazing, really. But in the end, and I love hearing it, because it only sharpens my skills and I want to be a better leader and a better CEO, but in the end what I have to remember is that the thing that makes this work right here would not work if you put somebody else in here who perhaps went by a textbook way of doing things.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
It doesn’t work with this group of people.

Kelly Smith:
That’s true.

Jill Donovan:
So I have to remember that God appointed me for this particular company, for this particular season and not to ever think, “Oh my goodness gracious, this other CEOs would roll over in their grave if they saw the way we were doing things.

Kelly Smith:
I should stop doing this. This is not what they say at-

Jill Donovan:
I should stop giving them Tuesday through Friday off every week and just saying-

Kelly Smith:
That’s the worst.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. But this is what I was gifted by God, this season, this time and these people. So CEO-ish it may be, but I wouldn’t want it to be done any other way, by anybody else because this is the ish. I will embrace the ish, because it is my own story. Even as incredible as, say, a company like Apple may be, for as large as it is and all the things with Apple right now, I will say that this … I wouldn’t want this company run like Apple. Everybody else here may want it run like Apple. And they can go work for Apple. But this is exactly, this is where we are supposed to be. So instead of looking and thinking, “Oh, I should be doing it like they’re doing it,” I realized, I’ll let God show that to me, when it’s time. In the meantime, I will embrace the ish. I will embrace my story, and not live somebody else’s story and create a new sequel.

Kelly Smith:
I think embracing the ish, too, requires one to be extremely present in their own life.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
Because it’s just easier to look at somebody else’s life and be like, “Oh, okay. I’ll do that, because it’s already getting done, and I’ll do it.” But to hear for yourself what you should be doing and where you should be going, and the direction, that requires being present in your own story.

Jill Donovan:
That’s a great way. That’s a great perspective. So this podcast, not just this episode, but this podcast in general, will really be about all of the ishs that we experience, that other people experience, and whatever. I’m sure you will find yourself in some story we tell. It’s just going to be the unedited version of pretty much embracing the ish, which is embracing your story in anything you do, and not copying the original story from someone else.

Jill Donovan:
I invite you to join us on this journey. It’s going to be fun.

Kelly Smith:
It is going to be fun.

Jill Donovan:
Mainly because Kelly is crazy and funny.

Kelly Smith:
Super funny and humble.

Jill Donovan:
Then when you see her no longer here, it means she wasn’t funny anymore, or she ran out of stories.

Kelly Smith:
Or, I got fired.

Jill Donovan:
Or, you got fired. Yes. So even though I swore I would never do this in a podcast, I’m just going to, because why not? If you enjoyed today, and if you liked just being with us today, we liked being with you, if you would hit that little button on your screen that says subscribe. So then, we can be bracelets friends. Because it’s hard to be friends until we know who you are.

Kelly Smith:
Embrace the ish with us.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, embrace the ish with us. We would love for you to join us on this journey, and we will see you next time on CEO-ish. Thank you so much.