It’s that time of year again when we begin to feel a little nostalgic about where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re headed. As our team here at Chris Flickinger Performance Mindset and Development prepares to wind down 2022… working on our OWN North Stars, Strategic Plans, and 30 day to-do’s, (and yes, it is every bit as painful for us as it is for you!) one of the things high on our list is to appreciate 2022 and the people who’ve joined us along the way!

2022 has been a year of changes on our team. As the ‘OG3’ (Chris, Jen, and Betsy) welcomed two new team members to the fold, we were happy to have new insights, new ideas, and new personalities (more D personalities to help Jen manage Chris!). But don’t take my word for it… Read on to hear why Chris is thankful for a punch in the face… and then find out a little more about the ladies who are happy to take a few swings (only when he needs it, of course!): 

Chris Flickinger:

I am grateful for some of the meanest people I know!

You’ve probably heard the phrase “iron sharpens iron.” But, do you really believe it… embrace it? Better yet, would you ever be grateful for it? For me, that searing iron usually presents itself as a metaphorical punch in the face!

There are four significant people in my work life — four of the meanest people I know (all of them women) — for whom I’m extremely grateful. Why? Because these “pushers” make me better. Who are they? Well, they are my team members. Now, for the sake of discretion, I’m not going to name names. But, if you read closely, you might be able to figure out who’s who.

Calm Down: I say “meanest” in the most affectionate and endearing way possible. These four people do NOT have darkened souls, rather they routinely do and say things I don’t like because it forces me to move, move faster, move in a different direction, re-think and re-work. 

Meanest Person #1:

I’m pretty sure this person rises each morning with a specific mission — “I’m going to catch Chris in as many failings, mistakes, and mishaps as possible, then call him out, and if I can make him cry, it’s a bonus!” I am extremely grateful for this person. Why? Because just like water looks for the path of least resistance… I look for shortcuts. I struggle to set the right priorities, follow the rules, stay on task, follow-through, and think through how my actions will affect others. Mean Person #1 keeps me on the straight and narrow, keeps me sharp, and in-bounds. Just knowing this person is watching me and not afraid to yell causes me to take a few extra minutes to do what’s right rather than what’s easy.

Meanest Person #2:

This person can be very intimidating. She’s direct, decisive, and uses “colorful” language to make her points. When she’s nearby, would-be criminals, Karen’s, and out-of-control kids put their nefarious plans on hold. If I prolong making a decision, over-explain a concept, or avoid a task, she’ll aim some of those “colorful” words at me. But… I’m very grateful for her and the example she sets. Huh? That’s right — her example! It’s two fold. Her dedication to our team and clients is incredible. She’s all in! She once even took it upon herself to drive 2 hours (round trip) just to help me out of crunch (that was my own fault). Still, it’s her drive to constantly improve that is most impressive. Simply put — she’s NOT AFRAID, she’s NOT INTIMIDATED! She challenges herself to grow, do, and be better all the time! She’s even dedicated herself towards curtailing that colorful language. I’m inspired to be so tenacious and unabashed.

Meanest Person #3:

I’m terrified of this person. When she was a kid, she was known as the neighborhood bully. In college, she was the “enforcer” on her D-I soccer team. As a young professional, she trained elite miiltary units. She’s lived in 8 states… or something like that. When visiting my home for the first time earlier this year, she threatened to break my 11-year-old son’s ankle during a game of tag. Within the first month of “infiltrating” our team, she quickly gained the trust of the other women who then proceeded gang-up on me during meetings. Did I mention she’s only 5’4… Bottom line, she’s very smart, very confident and I’m pretty sure she could successfully lead a revolution to overthrow a small country within days. Why I’m extremely grateful for her? Because she won’t give-up. It doesn’t matter what challenge is in front of her, if her surroundings change or if she’s out-numbered. Her mindset is simple: find-a-way, over-power, and press onward. I need more of that in my life and she gives me a great example to follow.

Meanest Person #4

This particular person’s mean-streak had to be learned. Why? Because she’s naturally the nicest person you’ll ever meet. Seriously, everyone loves her. And, here’s the kicker — she’s genuinely this nice! It’s not an act. You’d only have to interact with her two lovely daughters — who are the sweetest girls you’ll ever meet — to know she’s like this all the time! But with such a nice and pleasant demeanor, she could fall prey to those who’d try to take advantage of her kindness. And, that’s exactly what happened. The culprit? Me! Within her first year being on the team, I showed-up late for at least a dozen meetings with her. I think I even blew-off a few too. What was her response? Nothing. She’d just let it go. Eventually, I started feeling bad for taking advantage of her and her time. So, at her performance review, I insisted the next time this happens she needs to confront me and push back — “be upset, be mean with me,” I said. Well, she took that advice to heart! She immediately turned on the “mom” tone the next few times I was late for our meetings. Oh, and she got tougher and tougher with each episode. Let’s just say, I’m not late for our meetings anymore. So, why I’m grateful for this person? She adapted her default approach, stood-up for herself, and pushed-back — at the right time! The truth is, I don’t like conflict and too often I let things go because I don’t want to upset others. But, if she could do it — the nicest person in the world — then I could do it too. And, look, we’re still friends!

Jen Barnett (aka Mean Person #1):

I’ll say it… I’m proud that on his list of meanest people, he thought of me first. I will wear that badge with pride, and double down to be sure I stay at the top! 🙂

Thankfulness…. Gratitude… these are not things that I worry about a lot. Maybe that makes me a bad person? I am thankful, and I do have gratitude. But I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about these things. And when I do think about them, I rarely talk about them. It’s just not how I’m wired. I am likely not the person on the CF team that you 

want to come to when you’re looking for unicorns or cuddles. But I am the one you can come to for a straight answer! Accountability I can give you. Tough Love? All the way. (I am THERE for the tough love!). Need something taken care of? That’s me! Need someone to help you take yourself less seriously – I’m your gal (just ask Chris).

But I do have a lot to be thankful for. As I approach my 4th year of working for Chris – I am eternally grateful that Annissa made him take a chance on interviewing me (do you believe it – Chris didn’t even want to interview me!!) and having made it through the interview, I have not regretted my decision to accept this position for a moment. I get to spend every day doing work that I have come to love (well, except for that part where I have to chase people down to get them scheduled. If I’m being honest, that’s not my favorite…). I am so grateful for the three other ladies on our team (and Chris too, of course…). We each bring our own unique views and experiences to our work – and through our efforts, I like to think that we create a kind of trampoline for our clients…Jen's Kids sometimes we catch them, sometimes we soften their landings, and sometimes we help launch them higher! And beyond that, the five of us have become friends. We each have a niche to fill on this team, and we all work together to make sure we are giving our absolute best for our clients!

Personally, the last few years have been rocky for me. All four children have left home (at least during the school year) and my husband and I, both working from home, are getting to know each other all over again. The mental anguish of aJen & Bob mom who’s kids are all going to college or moving away is real, but my husband has handled it like a champ. In the midst of the kids leaving, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Cancer – with metastasis to his brain. My dad is 76 year old welder who has spent his life in and out of the steel mills, coke plants, and construction sites up and down the Ohio River. He is larger than life in our world, and at 74 you would have been surprised to find he was a day over 60. Thus began the last 18 months of sometimes weekly trips to Cleveland Clinic for treatBob & Earla Hicklement, and my greatest thankfulness: We have not lost him! And through all of this turmoil, I am thankful to my boss, our team, and our clients. Because no one has ever, even for a moment, made me feel that it was a burden when I needed a day (or a week) to go with my parents. The team has picked up the slack when needed, and our clients have been completely patient and understanding. You have all been there for me, even when you didn’t know it. For that I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you.

That’s it. I’m fresh out of mush over here. Someone else’s turn now!

Shelley Maurer:

I have so much to be thankful for. My family, friends, health, just being able to wake up every morning knowing you have another day to enjoy life. We take for granted so many things that many people are unable to do.

Shelley's Parents

I’m thankful that when I as 2 weeks old my parents decided to adopt me they chose me to be their daughter. They gave me so much love and taught me how to be a good person, a kind, honest person and to never take anyone or anything for granted. They taught me how to be the person I am today.

Josh, Tim, Shelley, & NickI am thankful for my husband who is such a hard worker and provides for his family. We have two boys who have brought so much joy to our lives, and I am thankful for each of them every single day. I have been able to be a semi stay at home mom throughout their lives and I am so grateful and thank my husband for that as well. I was able to attend school functions and be home after school for them. 

I now work for a company who values family just as much as I do, and I love it. I have worked here for almost nine months, and I can honestly say I feel like we are a work family. I enjoy learning new things and being challenged and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work for such an amazing company.

I am a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason” even if in that moment you feel like there is no hope. I tell my kids “you are where you need to be right now, and you will know when it’s time to take your next step.” Be thankful for what you have in the moment because in any second that could change.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Alex Neagoe:

Being a performance consultant has given me the unique opportunity to help people surpass their perceived potential, breaking down their bad habits and challenging them to take one step at a time toward change.

The goal I have for each client is for them to learn things about themselves and absorb skills that help them become a better employee, boss, parent, spouse, child or anything else they define themselves as.

My passion lies in building the whole person, preparing them to handle relationships and stress at work and at home.

What I appreciate most about my clients is their willingness to be themselves and allow me to get to know them beyond their job title. Without that vulnerability I would not be able to do my job and so I am grateful for their trust in me and the team.

Betsy Moore:

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of gratitude. We all know that we need to be grateful but simply feeling or expressing gratitude can be a challenge. Sometimes – not so fun feelings like guilt – get in the way. Researchers have found that gratitude is good for our mental and physical health, and it may be an essential ingredient in happiness – both at work and within other areas of life. The relationship between gratitude and guilt fascinates me probably because I am a working mom and there is always guilt no matter what! Finding this balance between gratitude and guilt is a dance and it changes as we grow and learn.

Betsy's Family

Brian, Jules, Betsy & MadiI don’t think that there is a right or a wrong way to be grateful. In addition to my family, my home, my poodle, I am grateful for the material things that I enjoy and I have learned to not feel guilty about that. Yes, I am grateful for coffee, heated seats in my car, Amazon Prime and pizza delivery on Friday nights! I am grateful for Mexican restaurants that welcome large groups of 15 with screaming toddlers so extended families can get together and NOT have to cook.

I aBetsy Headed to Italym grateful for my coach (yes, I have a coach too!) who pushes me to grow every day. I am grateful for my job and my incredible coworkers who have become family. I am grateful for my parents and my sisters and our families. Even though we fight and not always agree, we love each other. I am grateful still to this day that we got to go to Italy together – just the five of us.

Three years ago, I went back to work after being a stay-at-home-mom for 10 years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to use my knowledge around psychology, health and wellness to help our clients who are also trying to find their dance. Any type of gratitude is good, and the more things we’re all grateful for, the better. Yes, you’re also allowed to be grateful for Netflix.


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