Virtually real- Virtuellement vraie

Micheline Harvey: Virtual Assistant, real person/Adjointe Virtuelle, mais tout à fait vraie

Big decision number 3 – Not worrying about what other people think February 10, 2013


I had an AHA moment during my recent trip to Cuba in January, when I turned to my husband and said “That’s it! That is my Big Decision Number 3. Please remind me to blog about this when we get back.” Well, of course either he completely forgot or he wasn’t really listening (I vote for option 2), and I really need to carry a pen and paper around or something so I can write, even when I’m on a tropical vacation, because whatever it was slipped my mind as well.

Of course, at the moment I was still angry at him for acting like a toddler and having a temper tantrum about an outing we were supposed to book while on vacation, so perhaps it wasn’t really a Big Decision, but more an immediate reaction to the situation.

No matter, Big Decision Number 3 snuck up on me on its own, perhaps with the help of Big Decisions 1 and 2 that required much effort on my part and are still ongoing. This time, it was natural.

Big Decision Number 3 is not to worry about what other people think, or at least worry less about it. Not that I am obsessed with what other people think. I’m able to be silly, even in public, laugh at myself and I’m not that easily embarrassed. But I have always been self-conscious, and believed that people watch me and see just about everything that I do. In reality, most people are quite oblivious to what is going on around them. Unless it involves them directly, they mostly don’t give a crap.

This may sound silly, but feeling like this has kept me from trying or doing many things, and I’m sure I missed out on quite a few opportunities specifically because of this tendency to be so self-conscious, unsure, much too preoccupied with what other people might think, and afraid.

Well, today I can honestly say that I don’t feel like people are watching me. Also, I don’t really care what they think if they are looking at me. I had proof of that just last week when I brought my lunch to the research center on Tuesday and the only plastic bowls that I had to mix my oatmeal and my soup in were a Carmen Campagne bowl for little kids and a Disney Princess bowl, both very flashy and ridiculously juvenile. Normally, I would have waited for the staff kitchen to be empty to prepare my meals and wash my bowls. This time I didn’t even give it a thought. I marched right into the full staff kitchen and did my thing in full view of all the young lab employees, without a care in the world. I OWNED my silly kid bowls and did not care.

This may seem like nothing to you, but it was a significant step forward for me.

As a reminder:

Big Decision 1: Severing ties with a major client.

Big Decision 2: Letting go.

Big Decision 3: Not worrying about what other people think.

Stay tuned for Big Decision Number 4!


But why do I always have to make the bed? November 4, 2012

Hubby seems to have an aversion to a nicely made bed. Either that or he thinks that magic little cleaning and bed making fairies come after he awakes and make up the bed.

He never makes the bed. Not even when he gets up after me. Not even when he banishes me to the guest room because I have a cold and am coughing. By the way, he snores loudly and often. On a regular basis, he wakes me up several times per night and it takes me awhile to get back to sleep. I have never banished him to the guest room. Just saying…

I’ve confronted him about making the bed, at least once in awhile to give me a break. He insists that he has already turned down the bed so his job is done. The thing is, I turn down the bed often, and I don’t consider this a job. You have to take off the pillows and pull down the blankets to get into the bed! But he says that if he turns down the bed, then he shouldn’t have to make it.

This week, he banished me to the guest room because I caught his horrible man-cold and was having coughing fits.

Every single morning, all week long, I ended up making the guest bed AND our bed.

I don’t think it even occurred to him that this was wrong. Not to mention lazy.

So, why do I always have to make the bed?


Me time/Du Temps Pour Moi October 27, 2010

After weeks of being extremely busy with many client projects and endless things to do at my on-site office with next to no time at all to myself, this week ended at a more “normal” pace. I handed in several projects that were due, put finishing touches on some ongoing things, tied up loose ends and sent my on-site client on a trip very, very far away for a few days.

Suddenly, I actually had time where I could work ON my business instead of IN my business. I was able to spend time on personal projects that had been put aside, to write, and to work on my ongoing plans. I even had time to read and take care of myself.

The funny part is that I was sort of bewildered for a moment, unsure, confused. And I must admit that I was also a bit afraid. I felt that all too familiar fear that everything might come to a halt and no more projects would come in. I felt the urge to make calls, send out e-mails, do some PR to drum up business for the week to come although this makes no sense, as the work always comes in.

A healthy balance is important, as is taking time for oneself. I realize that even after three years of being an entrepreneur VA, I am still in the process of learning this lesson.

One day, I’ll be a me-time expert. This is my goal.

*Upon posting this, the author already had new projects in her queue! 😉


Après plusieurs semaines extrêmement occupées et remplies de projets de pige et de tâches à accomplir pour mon client « sur place » en ayant presque pas de temps pour moi, cette dernière semaine s’est terminée sur une note un peu plus « normale ».  J’ai pu terminer et remettre plusieurs projets qui étaient dus, ajouter des touches finales ici et là et envoyer mon client « sur place » pour un périple de quelques jours dans un pays très, très lointain.

Tout à coup, j’avais du temps pour travailler SUR mon entreprise et non seulement DANS mon entreprise. J’étais en mesure de terminer des projets personnels qui avaient été mis de côté, écrire, faire avancer des projets mis sur la glace et mettre sur papier des idées. J’avais même le temps de lire et de prendre soin de moi.

Curieusement, je me suis sentie un peu déboussolée, incertaine et confuse. Je me suis sentie aussi un peu effrayée. J’ai alors ressenti cette peur irrationnelle mais trop familière que tout s’arrête complètement et que je n’aie plus du tout de projets de pige de mes clients. J’ai alors eu envie de faire quelques appels, transmettre des courriels, faire des relations publiques afin de faire entrer du travail pour la semaine à venir, et ce même si cette réaction est insensée, car le travail finit toujours par entrer.

L’équilibre c’est important et prendre soin de soi l’est tout autant. Je réalise que même après trois années en tant qu’entrepreneur et AV, je suis encore en apprentissage de cette précieuse leçon.

Un jour, je serai une experte du temps pour moi. Ceci est mon but.

*Au moment de mettre ce texte en ligne, l’auteur avait déjà quelques projets dans sa file de production. 😉


True to myself/Fidèle à moi-même May 19, 2010

If I’ve learned one true lesson in recent years, it’s that doing what you really love can make everything else easier. I love being a Virtual Assistant. I have found my niche in translation but I enjoy offering many other services as well. I love the lasting and constructive relationships I have built with my great clients and the friends that I have found along the way. I have learned to appreciate them every day and not to dwell on the ones who are only passing through. They open the door for new opportunities.

Being a happy and productive VA has also helped me focus on recent challenging family issues and essentially learn to be true to myself. So, keep this ride going…I’m having fun!


Si les dernières années m’ont appris quelque chose, c’est que le fait de faire ce qu’on aime vraiment rend tout le reste beaucoup plus facile. J’adore être une adjointe virtuelle. J’ai trouvé ma spécialité dans la traduction mais j’aime aussi offrir tous les autres services de mon répertoire. J’aime les relations durables et constructives que je bâtis avec mes bons clients et les amitiés qui en ressortent. J’ai appris à les apprécier pleinement et à ne pas m’en faire avec ceux qui ne sont que de passage. Ils ouvrent la porte pour de nouvelles opportunités.

Le fait d’être une AV heureuse et productive m’a aussi  aidé à garder le cap lors de récentes épreuves familiales et à rester fidèle à moi-même. Alors, continuons cette aventure…car moi je m’amuse bien!


Stop this ride/Arrêtez ce manège May 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — matamich @ 2:50 pm
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Stop this ride, I need a rest!

How I wish I could simply say this out loud and immediately obtain a well-deserved break. I love my freelance business, I love my life, but this past month has been so personally stressful that it makes me wonder why I keep spinning on my little ball. Why don’t I just escape? I could seriously see myself sitting on a tropical beach, sipping cool and fruity drinks, taking a few hours a day to virtually freelance and spending the rest of my time just relaxing, tending to my exotic flower garden, sharing good meals and good laughs, hanging out with positive people, smiling and saying “Ya Man” as a greeting to everyone I meet.

My teenage daughter, the love of my life, has turned into a stranger in the space of a few weeks. Gone is the little girl who looked up to me and adored me. Gone is the younger teen who said that I was so cool. I am suddenly persona non grata and find myself struggling for a modicum of respect.

I am at a time in my life when all I want is to be happy and to continue doing the things I enjoy.

If someone has the perfect recipe to stop the stress and slow down the ride, please let me know ASAP!


Arrêtez ce manège, j’ai besoin d’un peu de répit!

Comme j’aimerais pouvoir simplement dire cette phrase à voix haute afin d’obtenir immédiatement une pause bien méritée. J’adore mon travail de pige, j’aime ma vie, mais ce dernier mois a été tellement stressant au niveau personnel que je me demande parfois pourquoi je persiste à faire tourner ce ballon sur mon nez. Je me demande pourquoi je ne prends pas les jambes à mon cou pour m’évader. Je me verrais bien sur une plage tropicale, à siroter des verres fruités et frais, à travailler virtuellement pendant quelques heures par jour et à passer le reste de mon temps à me détendre, m’occuper de mon jardin de fleurs exotiques, partager de bons repas et des rires, passer du temps avec des gens positifs et inspirants, sourire tout le temps en disant « Hey mon ami(e) » à chaque personne que je rencontre.

Ma fille adolescente, l’amour de ma vie, est devenue une étrangère en l’espace de quelques semaines seulement. La petite fille qui m’adorait et dont j’étais l’idole est disparue. La préadolescente qui me trouvait tellement cool et qui le répétait à ses copains s’est volatilisée. Je suis tout à coup devenue persona non grata et je dois me battre pour obtenir une toute petite parcelle de respect.

Je suis rendue à une étape de ma vie où je veux tout simplement être heureuse et continuer à faire ce que j’aime.

S’il y a quelqu’un qui connaît la recette magique pour arrêter ce stress et faire ralentir ce manège, veuillez m’en faire part le plus vite possible s’il vous plaît!


Healthy balance/L’équilibre santé April 5, 2010

I recently read an article that said something about clients not caring about your personal life and well-being. Well, perhaps this is true. But I think that when you are an entrepreneur, you absolutely need to maintain a healthy balance between working in your business, working on your business and taking care of yourself and your life.

Without this balance, it is just too easy to burn out, become overwhelmed, make mistakes and end up regretting your decision to venture out on your own.

We don’t want this.

We want happy, productive, original, competent and healthy VAs who love what they do and know just how important it is to divide their energy in order to run a professional, smooth and fabulous service.

As time goes by and as I gain experience in this freelance venture, I have also noticed that I tend to gravitate towards clients who understand this crucial need for balance. I also tend to move away from clients who have no concept of and no respect for the time and effort that is needed for me to keep my business successful and to keep myself happy in the process.

I believe that business is moving away from the old fashioned concepts and bureaucratic beliefs that have resulted in so many workers on sick leave, so many costly errors and so much staff quitting to get away from bad management and an unhealthy outlook.

Take care of yourself, take care of your business and you will enjoy doing the work even more.


J’ai récemment lu un article qui disait que les clients se fichent éperdument de notre vie privée et de notre bien être. Ceci est sans doute assez vrai. Par contre, je crois qu’en tant qu’entrepreneur, il faut absolument en arriver à maintenir un bon équilibre entre le fait de travailler pour notre entreprise, dans notre entreprise et de prendre soin de soi et de sa vie personnelle.

Sans ce précieux équilibre, il est trop facile de finir en burnout, être complètement dépassé, commettre des erreurs et finir par regretter notre décision de partir en affaires.

Nous ne voulons pas en arriver là.

Nous voulons des AVs heureuses, productives, originales et en santé qui adorent ce qu’elles font et qui connaissent bien l’importance de partager leurs énergies afin d’offrir un service professionnel, agréable et hors pair.

Avec le temps et l’expérience en tant que travailleur autonome, j’ai remarqué que je tends à graviter vers les clients qui comprennent ce besoin d’équilibre. Je tends aussi à m’éloigner des clients qui n’ont aucun concept ni aucun respect pour le temps et l’effort requis afin de faire de mon entreprise un succès tout en restant heureuse et en santé.

Je crois que le monde du travail s’éloigne des anciens concepts et des vieilles croyances bureaucratiques qui ont comme résultat un si grand nombre de travailleurs en congé de maladie, qui sont la cause directe de tant d’erreurs coûteuses et du haut taux de roulement des employés quittant leurs postes afin de s’éloigner d’une mauvaise gestion et de mentalités qui ne tiennent pas compte de la santé et du bien être des individus.

Prenez soin de vous, prenez soin de votre entreprise et vous prendrez davantage plaisir à accomplir votre travail.